John Lykes, an actor whose first love is painting, is delighted these days over the sudden fame of a picture he painted eight years ago for an album cover, only to have it rejected. He's not even upset that the reproductions of his work were printed backwards.
Lykes' work is on the cover of "We Are the World," the album-sized, extended-play record done gratis by musicians to raise money for starving Ethiopians. (An album version with additional songs is coming out, but the one with Lykes' cover is the only recording that will have the full 12-minute rendition of the song.)
Lykes' painting depicts an endless stream of children from around the world, dressed in their native attire, their eyes filled with hope and the sun rising amid pink clouds.
It was done eight years ago for another album. A transparency of the painting was made, but the work was rejected.
Lykes kept the painting, unframed, in his Santa Monica home. The transparency remained in a file until a record company researcher, hoping to find material for the Ethiopian aid record cover, found it.
Robert Berman, owner of the B-1 Gallery, had the painting framed this week. Today it goes on display at the gallery, 2730 Main St., Santa Monica, with other Lykes' paintings.
"We don't know quite what we've got here, or what to do with it," said Berman. "We don't know if we should keep it, sell it or donate it."
IRS Trap No. 610
From the collect-a-penny, cut-down-a-tree department comes this item:
The IRS billed a Santa Monica nurse $412 for overdue taxes and interest. She paid.
Then the IRS mailed a notice demanding another $2.31 in additional interest. Again the nurse paid.
Back came another envelope from the IRS.
Enclosed were two copies of a letter saying that since the disputed sum has been paid "no further action is required on your part." However, the letter advised, "since you have paid the tax you may file Form 1040X to claim a refund" of the $2.31
And folded around the two copies of the letter was IRS Notice 610, otherwise known as a "Paperwork Reduction Act Notice."
Uniting Asians, Hispanics
Over at United Way Inc. of Los Angeles the inklings of the shifting demographics of the Southland's future can be detected.
United Way is heavy with Anglo volunteers, but to better fulfill its slogan--"thanks to you it works for all of us"--United Way is actively trying to recruit and develop more volunteer leaders from throughout the county.
In this spirit, United Way's Hispanic Development Council, headed by Crocker Bank's Estrella Romero, and the Asian-Pacific Research and Development Council, headed by entrepreneur Lilly Lee, got together to discuss mutual interests.
The day is coming, Lee noted, when Hispanics and Asians together may well be a majority of Los Angelenos.
"It was tremendously successful," Lee said. "The place was packed, standing room only, and there was this interest in cooperating. We are not adversaries."
Such meetings, she said, may be important because in some areas where large numbers of Hispanics and Asians live together, notably Monterey Park and San Gabriel, "there are deeper problems."
Refugees from south of the border and across the Pacific will continue flooding the city, Lee said. "We don't want Asian and Hispanic peoples fighting over this," she said.
More Esprit for the Corps
The California Cadet Corps is in danger of becoming a corpse.
Weakened by anti-military attitudes of the '60s, eroded by budget cuts of later years, the organization, formed in 1911 as a leadership and self-discipline program for junior high students, is down to 3,000 members from its peak of 8,000. And there are never enough uniforms, khaki shirts, blue berets and pants to go around.
Three years ago, the corps' Military Department funding was cut off. Since then, the program has been functioning on momentum, hand-me-downs and volunteer instruction.
But the climate may have changed.
California has declared a budget surplus. State and federal leadership, say corps officers, has become somewhat more military-minded. And for $317,000, they add, the program can be kept alive for at least another year.
"So we're starting some grass-roots re-education of the public to the benefits of the program," said Mark Ryan, a teaching assistant at El Sereno Junior High and assistant commandant of cadets at the school. "We also have people lobbying state legislators and a bill is being worked on."
Meanwhile, Ryan and other corps officers are blowing a reveille. They would like to hear from corps graduates and, in particular, those who feel the experience helped their adult lives.
In a recent mailed appeal, a corps commandant paralleled the end of the organization with Gen. Douglas MacArthur's belief that "old soldiers never die, they just fade away."
Ryan is a little more optimistic. He prefers to quote MacArthur's other line: "I shall return."