This is Photojournalist Fred G. Haseney with his eye on scientology. Today, I visited the Pacific Area Command Base (“PAC Base” or “Big Blue”), the so-called “church” of scientology’s West Coast headquarters, located on L. Ron Hubbard Way (“LRH Way”). First, however, I went to the intersection of Vermont Avenue and Sunset Boulevard, with a totally different type of protest sign. This one read: “Google Scientology.” I created it using foam letters that elementary teachers sometimes use, the type that interlocks to form mats. I used just the letters which offered a nice, three-dimensional sign.
The title for today’s blog (“And Now for Something Completely Different”) comes from the British motion picture of the same name, the first such feature film by Monty Python. The film featured sketches from the television series, Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Actor John Cleese delivered the line, “and now for something completely different,” between sketches in the film, and it became a catchphrase for the British television show.
- 00:02: I’m walking east on the north side of Sunset Boulevard. Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center is to my left.
- 00:44: To my left is an entrance to the the Vermont/Sunset Station, a subway station.
- 00:50: A woman reads the “Google Scientology” sign that I’m carrying. A couple of other people look at it, too.
- 01:01: I’m facing Vermont Ave., where the cars are heading in a southerly direction. Across the street is the main entrance to the subway station at Vermont and Sunset. The street sign reads: “4700 W. Sunset Blvd.”
- 01:07: I step up to the curb and hold the sign for drivers who are waiting for the light to change.
- 01:38: I walk right up to a Body Router (“BR”) for the Los Angeles Organization (“LA Org”). I’m going to start calling him “Rudy”; I don’t know his name, and he reminds me of the matinee idol of the silent era, Rudolph Valentino. Rudy is trying to get two non-scientologists to see a “free” Dianetics Film or to take a “free” Personality Test. The guy wearing the green hat looks over at the sign and says, “Nice,” to which I say, “Thank you.” (I’ll need to adjust the mini-camcorder for future video; you’ll also notice twine tied to a clip on the left side of the sign I’m carrying.)
- 01:52: A woman sitting next to the subway escalator smiles at the sign.
- 02:00: The sign gets the attention of a guy wearing a red shirt on his way to catch the subway. A woman in a white shirt who had just pushed her stroller to the subway elevator leans backward in order to read the sign.
- 02:07: Sorry, when I raised the sign for better viewing, I inadvertently blocked the video (it’s only for a moment).
- 02:14: there are BRs across the street, on the southeast and southwest corners of the intersection.
- 02:45: A guy shouts from the window of a spiffy white car as it waits at the intersection, “What’s your connection (to scientology)?” I reply, “Against it,” to which he says, “Oh, okay.”
At one point, after the BRs had congregated on the southwest corner of Vermont and Sunset, they suddenly noticed the “Google Scientology” sign. They laughed and pointed at it; soon, an unidentified PAC Security Guard (“SG”) arrived at the location on bicycle to check out the sign (rarely do you see a SG this far from PAC Base). When a BR saw the sign, he gave me a high five and said, “That’s great promo,” meaning great promo for him. I said “Yeah, there’s a 50-50 chance that some will find bad things when they google ‘scientology,’ and others will find something good about it.” Some passerbys gave me a nod and a thumbs up. One guy who looked like a hospital employee said, “Thank you,” as he passed by, “I’ve already googled them!” I had so much fun!
- 00:01: I take the “Google Scientology” sign to PAC Base. Here I’m walking along the west side of LRH Way toward LA Org.
- 0:07: Notice the orange forklift sitting across the street: it’s been carrying “Shrub Tech.” In front of me and to my left is a palette of tall potted shrubs. Preparations are already underway for “Maiden Voyage,” a four-week long event, happening for four Saturdays in a row, beginning June 25, 2016.
- 00:14: LA Org’s parking lot is to my right.
- 00:21: Ahead of me, an unidentified SG straddles a bicycle along the curb. He’s the same SG who came to the intersection of Sunset and Vermont earlier to check out the “Google Scientology” sign.
- 00:33: I say, “Hello, Security,” and the guard gives a nod and a polite wave.
- 00:45: To my right is LA Org.
- 00:50: Four people engaged in the Survival Rundown (“SR”) cross LRH Way.
- 01:09: A Sea Org (“SO”) member walks by me.
- 01:42: Two more SO members pass by.
- 01:46: Directly ahead on the sidewalk, walking toward me, is PAC SG Odo G. Huber.
- 01:49: I raise the sign to make sure he sees it, inadvertently blocking the mini-camcorder for a moment. “Hello, Odo,” I said. Otto raises Everio, his JVC camcorder, and begins filming me. “Good to see you again” I add. (I really need to do something with all of that excess twine I have tied to the clip on the sign.)
- 02:26: Odo faithfully follows me while filming the festivities. Behind him is the ramp that connects the American Saint Hill Organization (“ASHO”) to the Main Building. The walkway under the ramp leads to an entrance to Lebanon Hall.
- 02:30: As Odo approaches me, I raise the sign just in case he hasn’t gotten a good picture of it yet.
Photo Caption: a different protest sign for a different day: “Google Scientology.”
Photo Caption: Event truss and lighting sit along LRH Way, outside offices of the Continental Liaison Office (“CLO”) for the Western United States (“WUS”), Flag and the Freewinds. The building in the background is the Advanced Organization of Los Angeles (“AOLA”).
Photo Caption: Event truss and lighing sit on the west side of LRH Way, near Fountain Ave.
Photo Caption: A scientologist eyes my sign as he sips from a beverage at the Pacific Grill & Barbecue (“PGB”), on LRH Way. Note the colorful, festive decorations.
Photo Caption: This is Janet Weiland, Vice-President of the Church of Scientology in Los Angeles. She has an office behind AOLA, in the same facility that CLO is in. Ms. Weiland found out where I live after somebody followed me home one day from PAC Base. It probably took some planning and footwork to make that happen. Ms. Weiland then spoke to the manager of the facility in which I live, and told him to “deal” with me. The manager, thankfully, identified scientology as a dangerous cult years ago. He told Ms. Weiland that if she has a problem with me, then she’ll have to deal with me. The manager, needless to say, will not be at Ms. Weiland’s beck and call. In this photo, Ms. Weiland is walking east along Fountain Ave, across the street from the Main Bldg. I proudly displayed the “Google Scientology” sign and said, “Hi, Janet. Good to see you.” She gave me a smile and said, “Hello.” Notice that while she’s pleasantly dressed, she’s garbed in black; even her jewelry is that color.
All images (unless noted otherwise) © 2015—2016 Fred G. Haseney. All rights reserved.