What that UMA graffiti is all about


Perhaps you’ve seen this strange non-tagging tagging showing up lately; perhaps not.

About a month ago, my friend, Uma Nithipalan, a 27-year-old local theater actor, suffered a series of seizures while visiting her fiance, John, an L.A. musician who was touring in NYC. Turns out it was a ruptured brain aneurysm, and she’s been in the neurological ICU (a.k.a. Not A Picnic) at St. Vincent’s ever since. Stage 5 coma. Scary-bad, out-of-nowhere stuff. All-we-can-do-is-pray, “but she was so young“, there-but-for-the-grace-of-{blank} stuff.

In other words? Really. Not. Good.

But what kind of story would it be if it ended there? A piss-poor story. A limp and flaccid story. And even among thespians, Uma has always had a flair for the dramatic.

http://blogging.la/archives/images/2007/02/uma_er-thumb.jpgSo her friend, Erik, did what any self-respecting, award-winning playwright/friend would do: he began blogging about it. He got people to write about Uma and draw (green) hearts on themselves for Uma and even–yes, even vandalize for Uma. Well, I mean, he put the idea out there: he didn’t actually make anyone vandalize for Uma.

http://blogging.la/archives/images/2007/02/uma_handheart-thumb.jpgAnd the story got even more interesting. As in, “freaky-good neurological recovery” interesting. As in “people from all over (and bloggers here in L.A.)” interesting.

Of course, being a (theater) actor, Uma has crapass insurance. I mean, Crappy “Craporelli” McCrapski. So her friend, Erik, has set up a fundraising site for Uma. In addition to huge medical bills she’s racking up every second, the air ambulance requires $20K to take her home to L.A. and Cedars for neural rehab. In advance, thankyouverymuch.

http://blogging.la/archives/images/2007/02/uma_simpson-thumb.jpgBut there’s more than one way to help a gal out. After hearing about Uma’s travails, David Nathan Schwartz, a writer-performer who doesn’t know Uma from Adam, decided to do a one-night-only, benefit performance of his acclaimed one-man show about surviving a brain tumor (synopsis here) for her medifund. Which I think is pretty f*cking awesome.

So you can give directly to the fund (here), or contact the Elephant Theater (website here) about tickets to Sunday’s show. They haven’t settled on a ticket price as of this writing, but hey, it’s an LA WEEKLY Pick of the Week and it’s for a good cause!

http://blogging.la/archives/images/2007/02/uma_phone-thumb.jpgAnd if you’re broke (and Uma knows from that, I know), maybe just pass the word along. Blog it or Digg! it or whatever. Keep the inter-ma-net chain going. Maybe even commit a little vandalism in the name of a good cause, if that’s your thing.

Not that I told you to do that…

UPDATE 3/1/07, 11:19PM: The Uma Fund cleared well over $20K in just three days! Not bad for a bunch of poor people with an internet connection. Feel free to keep giving–medical care don’t come cheap–or come to the benefit Sunday night (seats still left as of this writing, 30 bucks cheep.)

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