This is Photojournalist Fred G. Haseney with his eye on scientology. For today’s blog, I’ve strayed from the Pacific Area Command Base (“PAC Base” or “Big Blue”), the church of scientology’s West Coast headquarters. Instead of being needlessly and persistently followed by Sea Org members parading as Security Guards on bicycles, I’ve gone to Glendale Blvd. for the official “Call Me” billboard unveiling and press conference for Phil and Willie Jones. Today’s blog is for Wednesday, April 6, 2016, and is part of the “Reconnecting the Disconnected and Declared” series.
This is the very first time that I saw Phil and Willie’s billboard. It overlooks Glendale Blvd., which is, actually, nothing more than a glorified extension of the “2” Freeway. Everyone driving into Los Angeles, traveling from that freeway and south along Glendale Blvd., will have the opportunity to see Phil and Willie’s urgent plea.
Here I’m on Glendale Blvd., facing south, watching the work being done to cut down tree branches around “Call Me” so that it’s a billboard that’ll be easy to see. It’s about 9:30 a.m. The traffic to my left is non-stop (it isn’t there for the press conference, and it never actually increased because of the conference. The congested traffic is just a constant flow. PAC Base is just a short distance to the west, about a 10-minute car ride away.). To the right of Al’s Cycle Shop (“Quality Motorcycle Repair—Warrantied Work”), is a truck owned and operated by Lamar Advertising Company, surrounded by orange cones. The tree cutting and removal crew are on the roof of the buildings over which “Call Me” sits. Straight ahead is the skyline of downtown Los Angeles. Many of the trees to the left of the traffic are actually in a center divider between the north and south bound lanes of Glendale Blvd. That divider is where the main portion of Phil and Willie’s press conference will be held.
Parked on Glendale Blvd., under “Call Me” is the news van for NBCLA, Channel 4, and the Spanish station, Telemundo, Channel 52. The skyline of downtown Los Angeles looms in the distance.
The crew from Lamar Advertising Company remove tree branches they’ve cut for “Call Me.”
Here I’m standing on Glendale Blvd., facing north. The press conference has not yet begun and the traffic is intense (as it is always… except for a few minutes in the wee hours of the morning, or so I’ve been informed by the neighbors).
Here it is, just a few moments later, on Glendale Blvd., facing north. In the background and at a considerable elevation is a ramp for vehicles leaving the “2” Freeway. It never ends, folks, the traffic is always present.
For this picture, I’m still facing north, standing on Glendale Blvd. Here I’ve zoomed in on the traffic as it leaves the “2” Freeway; it merges with traffic on Glendale Blvd. where the red-and-white sign (“Do Not Enter—Wrong Way”) is.
Here I’m standing on the east side of Glendale Blvd., looking north at the traffic exiting the “2” Freeway onto Glendale Blvd. Just imagine how many of the drivers (and their passengers) can see “Call Me” as it is very clearly seen from the freeway off-ramp.
The TV news van for KCBS, Channel 2, and KCAL, Channel 9, has arrived for the press conference.
The TV news van for KTLA, Channel 5, has arrived for the press conference.
The press begin to assemble on the center divider on Glendale Blvd. Traffic going south can be seen. The Channel 5 news van is parked across the street, almost under “Call Me.” Behind me and out of view is traffic heading north along the boulevard.
A better, even picturesque view of “Call Me” as seen from the center divider along Glendale Blvd.
Assembling for the press conference, we see camera crews as well as Jamie DeWolf (who is wearing the black jacket with his back to the camera). To his immediate right are Willie and Phil Jones. For this shot, I’m standing on the east side of the center divider. For the moment, there is no traffic heading north (which is due to a “red” light; once that light turns “green,” however, watch out!).
More people and camera crews arrive, assembling for the press conference, which has just gotten under way. All attention is on Phil and Willie Jones.
With all excess tree branches and foliage removed, we now have our first unblocked view of “Call Me.”
As the press conference begins, I look north along Glendale Blvd. I’m standing on the divider between the north and southbound traffic, with southbound traffic to my left. Notice the high volume of cars pouring from the “2” Freeway onto Glendale Blvd. It never ends.
Here we’re only a few minutes into the press conference; Phil and Willie Jones can be seen to the right of the crowd. By this time, traffic along Glendale Blvd. has begun to slow down ever-so-slightly (it really can’t go any slower), well aware that something news worthy is going on.
The press interview Phil and Willie Jones on the center divider along Glendale Blvd. For this shot, I’m standing on the east side of the street.
This news van (it could be for either “Good Morning, America,” or “Inside Edition”) is parked across the street from the news conference, on the east side of Glendale Blvd., facing north.
Phil and Willie Jones are interviewed by “Inside Edition.”
Cameras and microphones from “Inside Edition,” Channels 5 and 4 focus on Jamie DeWolf, Phil and Willie Jones.
As the press conference continued, I focused my attention (without my camera) on traffic as it passed slowly by. Using my left index finger, I’d point toward a driver parked or crawling by in traffic. Once I got the driver’s attention, I moved my arm slowly south and upward, until both my arm and the driver’s attention hit the billboard. Almost one-for-one, the driver rolled down the window to find out about “Call Me” and the press conference. I disseminated the news to many such drivers, no matter the size of the vehicle. Phil and Willie Jones even got attention from tractor trailer drivers as they passed by. I discriminated against no vehicle: small, medium or large, they all found out what scientology has done to Phil and Willie Jones and their family. “Watch tonight’s news,” I often said. “Check out ‘Good Morning, America.” Also: “Tune into ‘Inside Edition’ for the skinny on how scientology breaks up families!” I spoke to dozens of drivers. Almost every driver I spoke to voiced sympathy and support for Phil and Willie Jones (the one who didn’t had something to say about the traffic, and rightfully so. Again, not traffic caused by the press conference).
Someone—most likely from the church of scientology—has alerted the police about the press conference. A police woman arrives; we see her friendly demeanor as she asks traffic to wait for her so she can cross the street from the west side of Glendale Blvd. to the center divider. Actually, two police cars showed up, but only one stayed. The police woman gets an “A+” in Public Relations as far as I’m concerned. She arrived to help and support, not to stop (sorry, scientology).
Here, we’re about halfway through the press conference. There are so many people and cameras on the center divider, that additional film crews and cameras had to film from the east side of Glendale Blvd. The press conference is off-camera in this shot, and to my right. I invited a local woman to join the event; she arrived (off-camera), with her dog-in-tow, to lend moral support. Neighbors with their cameras showed up on foot as well, interested to find out about “Call Me.” I spoke to pedestrians about the press conference, and enlightened them about scientology’s toxic “disconnection” policy, something I know all too well about after 37-years in that so-called church.
Channels 4 and 5 interview Grace Aaron. Grace and her husband, ex-scientologists, are eager to know the whereabouts of their son, Zack.
“Have you seen Zack?” That’s Grace Aaron holding a sign of her son as she’s being interviewed.
The press conference is winding down but the traffic hasn’t. Just check out the vehicles pouring off the “2” Freeway, all heading south—and past “Call Me.”
It’s all about “location” (location, location, location!). It’s now 45-minutes into the “Call Me” event. The news crews are still around; others gather to discuss the toxic topic of scientology’s “disconnection” policy. For this photo, I’ve managed to cross the northbound lanes of Glendale Blvd., grateful for the “red” light that went “on” a few moments before. Traffic (traffic, traffic, traffic!) fills this picture, from south to north along the southbound lanes of the boulevard.
The press conference may be over, but the traffic isn’t. As I stand on the east side of Glendale Blvd., bumper-to-bumper traffic slowly passes “Call Me.”
One last look at “Call Me” (from Glendale Blvd., that is).
Glendale Blvd. passes through a hilly, valley-like area of Los Angeles as it meanders south through Echo Park and into downtown Los Angeles. For this photo, I hiked up into the residential area that overlooks the boulevard from the east, and this is what neighbors in that neck of the woods get to see of “Call Me.” Shame on you, scientology!
“Call Me” as seen from the residential area that overlooks Glendale Blvd. from the west.
Another view of “Call Me” as seen from the neighborhood that overlooks Glendale Blvd. from the west.
This is another view of “Call Me” as seen from the neighborhood that overlooks Glendale Blvd. from the west.
All images (unless otherwise noted) © 2015—2016 Fred G. Haseney. All rights reserved.