My Randomly Fabulous Week
Actor Stephen Lang with brother, ‘I Have A Dream’ Foundation Founder Eugene Lang, attend the 2010 ‘I Have a Dream’ Foundation Spring Gala in NYC — June 2010. (Photo by Mark Von Holden/Getty Images)
This week has been so random — yet kind of fabulous. Last week, I drove out to Rutgers University in the car with Newmark CEO Jeff Gural, Iris Chen and my personal idol, Eugene Lang — who is, amongst other things, the founder of the I Have a Dream Foundation. We were off to the IHAD dinner honoring kids from across the country who are trying, against the odds, to finish high school and go to college.
Mr. Lang, a spry 92-year-old, has spent his life donating the money he’s made to educational causes — and what a life! He graduated from high school at 13, from Swarthmore at 19, started companies, started universities… he is the kind of man who literally has changed the world, in a real and personal way, for thousands of people. And how many of us can say that? At the dinner, Mr. Lang told the story of how he started IHAD, spur of the moment, when he was invited to speak to a graduating class at his old alma mater, PS 121 in East Harlem.
“As I was about to get up to speak, I suddenly felt so silly,” Lang said. “As if everything I was about to say was so trite and empty. So when I got up to the podium, I scraped my pre-written speech and borrowed from Dr. Martin Luther King and said, ‘I have a dream that you all graduate from college and when you’re ready to go, I will pay for it.’ Afterwards, the principal of the school, who I was not impressed with, came up to me and said, almost apologetically, ‘Don’t worry — it won’t cost you that much — 75% of these kids will drop out and only like two or three will even go to college.’ It infuriated me. With those words, he made my speech moot. As if I would make an empty promise. To him my word meant nothing. So the next day I met with the families and kids at the Youth Action Program around the corner and we started I Have A Dream.”
In times like these where we idolize idiots, and make uneducated sports stars, singers and inflatable actresses our “heroes”, Mr. Lang offers a real option. A better option.
Meanwhile, my MTV show, Grits is plowing ahead — I am in the process of finding animators (ack!), voice actors (eek!), and directors (oof!). Like I know anything about all this — heh. Thankfully I have a whole team of peeps helping, but damn, am I on a steep learning curve. And once again, this week is full of meetings. I swear, I may not technically have a full time job, but going on meetings is coming damn near close! Seriously, people love to talk. And talk. And talk. At some point it’s like, “Shit, bitch, let’s get something done! Pull the damn trigger!” But on the bright side: At least they’re taking the meetings!
Karl, on the other hand, is living a life tinged with bitterness. Due to the severe heat, he’s been confined to the house like it’s a snowstorm in February. And I got the grudge poops to prove it.