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Off-Ramp
Off-Ramp with John Rabe Hero Image
(Dan Carino)
Off-Ramp
Exploring Southern California with John Rabe

About the Show

Over 11 years and 570 episodes, John Rabe and Team Off-Ramp scoured SoCal for the people, places, and ideas whose stories needed to be told, and the show became a love-letter to Los Angeles. Now, John is sharing selections from the Off-Ramp vault to help you explore this imperfect paradise.

Funding provided by:

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Episodes
  • Cover Art - Off-Ramp with John Rabe
    10:38
    10:38
    Naked Reporter Ends Drought? Sanden Totten teaches us how to save water by taking a "Navy Shower" ... plus an astronaut tells us how they stay clean in space
    With Governor Newsom contemplating mandatory water restrictions - because we are actually using MORE water this year, despite his warnings - it seems like a good time to bring back the time Sanden Totten, now the host of Brains On, took a timed Navy shower back in 2015 ... on the radio. The Navy shower is a strategy for getting clean when you're on a boat with limited freshwater, and lots of sweaty seafarers in line behind you. (People in the Navy apparently call landlubber showers "Hollywood showers.") In this episode, Sanden also chats with an astronaut about how they use and reuse water in space. And drink what used to be pee. You have been warned. Support for this podcast is made possible by Gordon and Dona Crawford, who believe that quality journalism makes Los Angeles a better place to live; and bythe Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people. (Off-Ramp theme music by Fesliyan Studios.)
  • Cover Art - Off-Ramp with John Rabe
    23:24
    23:24
    Peacock, eat your heart out! Off-Ramp host John Rabe rode shotgun in the pink Corvette with the real Angelyne
    It was 2015. I was at a comic book store late one night and in strode Chris Nichols of LA Magazine. "John, Angelyne is outside and she'd give you a ride in the pink Corvette if you want." He had me at Angelyne, and the ride was awesome. 45 minutes later I had an audio portrait of one of the hardest working women in Hollywood who strives to live within her warm pink bubble. And later, when the Hollywood Reporter finally uncovered her backstory, it all made sense. As also told in the Peacock miniseries, Angelyne was fighting the dehumanizing legacy of the Holocaust in her family. This episode also features a fresh interview with LAist's Mike Roe about the miniseries, Angelyne's reaction to it, and our mutual admiration for a woman who remade herself and her life. Support for this podcast is made possible by Gordon and Dona Crawford, who believe that quality journalism makes Los Angeles a better place to live; and bythe Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people. (Off-Ramp theme music by Fesliyan Studios.)
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  • Cover Art - Off-Ramp with John Rabe
    15:42
    15:42
    BONUS EPISODE: Carol Downer, 88-year-old abortion rights pioneer, reacts to SCOTUS draft on Roe v. Wade
    (CONTENT ALERT: This piece includes frank discussion of abortion and clinical descriptions of abortion procedures.) We're all processing the news that a draft ruling from the US Supreme Court supports overturning Roe v. Wade, which has protected a woman's right to an abortion in the US for almost 50 years. A decision to overrule Roe would lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states. On this bonus Off-Ramp episode, we meet Carol Downer, now 88. Before the 1973 Supreme Court decision, this Eagle Rock woman had made it her mission to take abortion from the back alley ... to the living room, by creating an underground network of unlicensed women who performed very early term home abortions. She wrote books on female anatomy, went to jail, and ran a women's health and abortion clinic in Hollywood which burned down in 1985. After we hear Chris Greenspon's 2017 profile of Downer, we'll hear what Downer has to say about the latest bad news for Roe v. Wade. Support for this podcast is made possible by Gordon and Dona Crawford, who believe that quality journalism makes Los Angeles a better place to live; and bythe Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people. (Off-Ramp theme music by Fesliyan Studios.)
  • Cover Art - Off-Ramp with John Rabe
    15:47
    15:47
    How LA's WW2 Mayor used radio to support the Japanese Incarceration ... and what it did to George Takei's family
    Over the years Off-Ramp was on the air, LA City Archivist Michael Holland researched, wrote, and narrated many pieces for the show that used the city archive to illuminate aspects of the city's history most people have forgotten or don't know in the first place ... like Mayor Fletcher Bowron's active campaign against Japanese-Americans during World War Two. Bowron, who lived from 1887-1968 and was mayor from 1938-1953, used radio to drive his point home, and the transcripts of his speeches aren't pretty. This time, we'll hear Holland's piece from 2017, and from the same year, George Takei telling us what happened to his family when FDR signed his infamous Executive Order 9066. Note: "Internment" was, of course, a euphemism, so politicians and others didn't have to say they were putting innocent people in prison. Our policy at KPCC is to call it "incarceration." Support for this podcast is made possible by Gordon and Dona Crawford, who believe that quality journalism makes Los Angeles a better place to live; and bythe Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people. (Off-Ramp theme music by Fesliyan Studios.)
  • Cover Art - Off-Ramp with John Rabe
    22:14
    22:14
    The LA Uprising - 30 Years Later: The stories you haven't heard - Pt 2
    (This is the second part of a two-part episode.) This time, we mark the 30th anniversary of one of the darkest days in LA history: Friday, April 29, 1992, when the all-white Simi Valley jury found 4 LAPD officers not guilty in the beating of Rodney King. Rage, protests, and violence, broke out across the city and lasted for days. Five years ago on Off-Ramp, we marked the 25th anniversary with a full hour of interviews, archival footage, and an unflinching reckoning of the LAPD and its legacy of violence. We wound up with an interview with the late Rodney King. That's what we're going to listen back to on this episode, but please remember that a lot has changed in five years, and one of them is that as a newsroom - like a lot of other newsrooms around the country - we at KPCC and LAist no longer use the phrase LA Riots. While riotis used historically, we cannot ignore the media's role in popularizing a term that is now often used as a dog whistle for race. Words like response, unrest, or uprising encourage our audiences to think deeper about its origins. Support for this podcast is made possible by Gordon and Dona Crawford, who believe that quality journalism makes Los Angeles a better place to live; and bythe Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people. (Off-Ramp theme music by Fesliyan Studios.)
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  • Cover Art - Off-Ramp with John Rabe
    19:54
    19:54
    The LA Uprising - 30 Years Later: The stories you haven't heard
    This time, we mark the 30th anniversary of one of the darkest days in LA history: Friday, April 29, 1992, when the all-white Simi Valley jury found 4 LAPD officers not guilty in the beating of Rodney King. Rage, protests, and violence, broke out across the city and lasted for days. Five years ago on Off-Ramp, we marked the 25th anniversary with a full hour of interviews, archival footage, and an unflinching reckoning of the LAPD and its legacy of violence. We wound up with an interview with the late Rodney King. That's what we're going to listen back to on this episode, but please remember that a lot has changed in five years, and one of them is that as a newsroom - like a lot of other newsrooms around the country - we at KPCC and LAist no longer use the phrase LA Riots. While riotis used historically, we cannot ignore the media's role in popularizing a term that is now often used as a dog whistle for race. Words like response, unrest, or uprising encourage our audiences to think deeper about its origins. Support for this podcast is made possible by Gordon and Dona Crawford, who believe that quality journalism makes Los Angeles a better place to live; and bythe Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people. (Off-Ramp theme music by Fesliyan Studios.)
  • Cover Art - Off-Ramp with John Rabe
    19:11
    19:11
    Photographer Catherine Opie got exclusive access to Elizabeth Taylor's house ... so so do you, kinda.
    The LA-based Catherine Opie is one of the world's most famous working art photographers, and in 2011, she was given exclusive access to Elizabeth Taylor's home in Bel Air,, which she photographed before and after the star's death. Although she never met her, you feel from the photos that Opie knew Taylor intimately. In 2017, when the photos were exhibited in the exhibit "700 Nimes Road," Off-Ramp host John Rabe spoke with her about the experience. Support for this podcast is made possible by Gordon and Dona Crawford, who believe that quality journalism makes Los Angeles a better place to live; and bythe Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people. (Off-Ramp theme music by Fesliyan Studios.)
  • Cover Art - Off-Ramp with John Rabe
    12:05
    12:05
    dublab's Mark "Frosty" McNeill helps us relive the glory years of The Atomic Cafe, Little Tokyo's loud, greasy, sticky, punk Mecca
    Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi" goes "they paved paradise, and put up a parking lot." Well ... what if they tore down a cool place to ... improve public transit? (Insert sound effects of a Progressive's head exploding here.) Anyway, that's what happened. The Atomic Cafe, at 422 East First Street in Little Tokyo, was a famous punk gathering spot. It closed in 1989 and the building was demolished in 2015 to make way for the subway's Regional Connector. But luckily for Off-Ramp listeners, dublab's Mark "Frosty" McNeill created an audio love letter to The Atomic Cafe that debuted on Off-Ramp in 2016. And when I wrote to let Mark know, he wrote back: The timing of the podcast episode is perfect. We're actually having a free, all ages event on Saturday, May 7th 4-8pm at Union Station to celebrate the Deep Routes radio series I've been producing with Metro Arts. You don't need to RSVP, just put it on your calendar now, and show up on the 7th in your hightops, ripped skinny jeans, and Union Jack t-shirt. Support for this podcast is made possible by Gordon and Dona Crawford, who believe that quality journalism makes Los Angeles a better place to live. This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people. (Off-Ramp theme music by Fesliyan Studios.)
  • Cover Art - Off-Ramp with John Rabe
    23:08
    23:08
    True Crime! Murder! Scandal! In 1922, an L.A. woman kept her lover in the attic ... and her husband in the dark
    This story is weird even by today's standards. It starts in Milwaukee, where Dolly Oesterreich secretly kept her teen lover Otto in the attic of the house she shared with her husband Fred. When Dolly and Fred moved to L.A., Otto moved, too; and was reinstalled in the attic of the Oesterreich's house in Silver Lake. Everything was fine until one night in 1922, and for the rest of the story, we turn to Robert Petersen, host of the podcast The Hidden History of Los Angeles. But wait, there's more ... I've updated this story with a new interview that may creep you out as much as the original version, which was broadcast on 1/29/2017. Support for this podcast is made possible by Gordon and Dona Crawford, who believe that quality journalism makes Los Angeles a better place to live. This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people. (Off-Ramp theme music by Fesliyan Studios.)
  • Cover Art - Off-Ramp with John Rabe
    11:48
    11:48
    Meet the two friends from the Valley who convinced Charles Schulz to integrate "Peanuts" in 1968
    Charles Schulz got hate mail, and newspaper editors threatened to pull his strip "Peanuts," after he showed Charlie Brown meeting Franklin Armstrong on the beach on July 31st, 1968. All because Franklin was Black ... in fact, the first Black character in a mainstream daily comic strip.This time on Off-Ramp, we're listening back to my 2014 interview with the two friends who made it happen: Harriet Glickman, a white teacher, and Ken Kelly, a black aerospace engineer.Harriet died two years ago at 93, and Ken died a year ago at 92 ... and by the way, Ken has an amazing life story you'll hear about at the end of the episode.Advisory: Ken and Harriet use old fashioned language to describe Black people. They use the polite terminology of the time, NOT the N-word, but if this is upsetting to you, you should skip this episode.This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.(Off-Ramp theme music by Fesliyan Studios.)
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