Susan Sarandon Starts a Ping-Pong Revolution
By SCOTT HUVER
“I’m not really a player,” says Susan Sarandon as she watches a variety of tabletennis fiends—from Olympic competitors to unfashionably knee-socked model/ actress/whatevers—knocking balls around at the Mondrian Los Angeles. “I’m a propagandist.”
The Oscar winner’s skill indoctrinating the table-tennis uninitiated has proven as formidable as her acting abilities. A seemingly unlikely proponent, Sarandon’s backing of Spin—NYC’s funky Flatiron District nightspot that brought the game and an überhip club-going crowd together—has proven so successful, a second Spin’s taken over the Mondrian’s lobby lounge, ADCB.
“It might be even better received in LA,” says Jonathan Bricklin, who co-owns Spin with Sarandon, Franck Raharinosy and Andrew Gordon. Their mission to bring the not-so-sexy game to a crowd that appreciates both its artistry and its kitsch appeal caught fire quickly, partly due to the game’s all-eyes-on-me element. “People wear headbands and knee-high socks and put on a bit of a show,” he says. “When you’re playing Ping-Pong, you get a little bit of stage time.”
The Mondrian space may give way to a more permanent LA home if the craze continues. “We’d like to open a space that has more tables than we have in New York,” says Sarandon, who’s exceeded even Forrest Gump in upping table tennis’ profile. “It’s just so weird my name would be associated with this young kind of idea. Suddenly I’m in the church of Ping-Pong.”
Mondrian Los Angeles, 8440 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; spingalactic.com
LAC celebrates the women of its May/June 2013 issue at Palihouse in West Hollywood.