Fans of “Seinfeld” will likely remember when Jerry and George planned to get rich by writing a sitcom. There was one slight problem. Racking their brains, they couldn‚Äôt think of a premise. Normally that might be a deal killer, but Jerry came up with a novel idea. Their show would be different because it would be about “nothing.”
Ironically, or perhaps fittingly in modern Hollywood, Jerry and George managed to get pitch meetings with top network brass who were totally puzzled. But soon the idea intrigued the pompous execs, and it appeared that Jerry and George were headed for stardom. It was reminiscent of “The Emperor Has No Clothes.” (Actually, we just had eight years of an “Emperor” with no clothes, which reminds me of a title for Bush‚Äôs upcoming book, “It Took a Village Idiot.”)
I mention all of this because the event I was going to write about today got canceled only hours before my deadline.
So this column, as opposed to the other 150 or so, will be spur of the moment. Uh oh. I have an uneasy feeling some readers are already moving to the crossword puzzle.
The event in question was to have been an art class between 4 p.m. ‚Äî 5 p.m. this past Wednesday, for the kids at PAL (Police Activity League) at the newly opened Paint Lab at 2912 Main St. Paint Lab is a walk-in art studio, which supplies its customers, eager to explore their artistic potential, with an inspiring space, easels, paint, brushes and a creative atmosphere, all for a surprisingly reasonable fee. At least to my eye.
The founder, Oana Bodgan, an accomplished artist herself, longs to bring art to as many neighborhoods as possible, including minority and less fortunate areas. For the kids at PAL, many of whom have little or no exposure to art, a class where they‚Äôd get to create their own paintings to take home at the end of the day, well, the idea seemed like one of those wonderful but rare “win-win” scenarios.
Unfortunately, because the drivers for the kids‚Äô van didn‚Äôt show up, it turned into one of those embarrassing, and all too common, “egg on the face” scenarios.
So there were 12 disappointed kids and volunteer art instructors, including my friend Hillary Kaye. I had also arranged for Police Chief Tim Jackman and a photographer to be there.
The good news is that the art class for the PAL kids is going to be rescheduled for summer. To learn more about Paint Lab go to their Web site, www.paintlab.net, and my guess is you‚Äôll be fascinated by what you find.
The bad news is something altogether different, an event that is scheduled for June 8. Longtime Santa Monica resident, and former champion bodybuilder, Tommy Lamparski, (“Mr. L.A.”1982) may be thrown out on the street from the apartment he‚Äôs been living in for the past 25 years. (Other than that, it‚Äôs no big deal?)
Since 1982 Tommy has gone from glory to agony due to steroids, which he began using at age 14. Now, he‚Äôs a hobbling, anti-steroids poster boy as he‚Äôs on crutches and in pain constantly. That‚Äôs no excuse for not paying your April rent. But is kicking Tommy to the curb within the spirit of the law?
When word of Tommy‚Äôs debilitating decline became public, a friend of 30 years, businessman David Glean, came forward with an offer to Tommy‚Äôs landlady. He‚Äôd pay the back rent and a year‚Äôs worth of rent in advance. The landlady declined. She wants Tommy out but said he could stay if he‚Äôd “pay fair market rent.” How magnanimous.
So, after 25 years of paying over $100,000 in rent, Tommy‚Äôs history. Ironically, the landlady, whose company owns 30 buildings on the Westside, admitted that she “doesn‚Äôt need the money,” not exactly something I‚Äôd brag about under the circumstances.
A month ago in court, Tommy lost his unlawful detainer case, as expected.
The hearing on June 8 is a last ditch effort seeking mercy from the judge. Given Tommy‚Äôs physical and emotional condition and David Glean‚Äôs willingness and ability to pay the back rent, and a year‚Äôs future rent, a reprieve doesn‚Äôt seem unreasonable.
I know there‚Äôs always two sides to a story, though Tommy‚Äôs landlady has yet to return my phone calls.
In the meantime, I hope that on June 8, justice can be equitable to Tommy‚Äôs landlady and merciful to him. If this column has any effect, then maybe it wasn‚Äôt about nothing after all.
Jack can be reached at Jackneworth@yahoo.com.