So we thought we’d catch up with some interesting material that our great tipsters have been forwarding to us about how things are going in the Los Angeles area.
For several months now, we’ve been entertained by the shenanigans of Scientologists in the San Fernando Valley as they’ve gone to extraordinary lengths to raise money for a new “Ideal Org” that is part of church leader David Miscavige’s high-pressure plan to open up lavish new facilities.
Miscavige figures the public relations value of opening big new centers is worth the trouble, even if there isn’t growth in membership to justify it. So the remaining church members have to work like crazy to raise money in huge quantities from people already worn down from years of fundraising. How? By getting creative.
Recently one of our loyal readers stopped by the location of the new Valley Ideal Org to grab some snapshots for us.
The building sits just off the intersection of Lankershim Boulevard, Tujunga Avenue, and Burbank Boulevard in North Hollywood…
Here’s the view on Burbank Boulevard, showing what a large but rather nondescript building this is…
And let’s get tight on one of those windows, where you can see the spirit that’s going into this building’s renovation. Rah!
Hey, at least the door looks like it’s nearing completion. Who paid to sponsor those door handles? Did they get a certificate?
We want to thank our tipster for taking the time to give us that update. And we hope to learn about more wacky fundraisers by those crazy kids in the Valley as they try to get their building finished.
In the meantime, you have to wonder what all this focus on big new buildings is doing to the rest of the Scientology landscape. There’s evidence that in the Los Angeles area, the push for Ideal Orgs is decimating the local mission network.
Used to be, a thriving group of missions would be the front line in Scientology’s dissemination campaign. Missions were small and very active, and they existed to bring in new members of the public to begin their church indoctrination before being sent to the larger “orgs” later on. But are the missions today being sacrificed for the Ideal Org push?
That’s the sense we get from the reporting of Angry Gay Pope, who told us that the Beverly Hills Mission is the latest SoCal mission to go belly up.
And here was AGP’s account at his website:
The place has gone under just as I predicted. As of two years ago they didn’t even have a web page. What organization doesn’t have a web page? One year ago vandals kept defacing their sign and it looked miserable. Like almost all Scientology Missions the place was on life support. But even though it failed the mother church still makes money off of it through their licensing deals. Scientologists are instructed to take their business to the Sherman Oaks Mission at 13517 Ventura Boulevard (818) 995-3460. Their answering machine calls the mission the “Mission of Sherman Oaks and Beverly Hills.” How it can be the Beverly Hills Mission while not being in Beverly Hills is a mystery only Dianetics can explain. In review: Santa Monica Mission failed, Melrose Mission failed, Beverly Hills Mission failed.
With so many LA-area missions drying up, we’d have to say that’s some of the best evidence yet that Miscavige’s Ideal Org program is a desperation move that may only be hastening Scientology’s demise. But hey, he’ll have all those spiffy big buildings in place of actual followers!
Marc Headley Weighs in on Will Smith’s After Earth
Yesterday, we discussed Will Smith’s new movie and how critics — who generally detested the film — kept making references to Scientology in their reviews. New York magazine had an interesting piece comparing ideas in the movie to Scientology concepts, but at Gawker, Carnegie Mellon University professor David Touretzky poo-pooed the idea of a connection.
But now Marc Headley, writing for The Hollywood Reporter, has come down solidly in the “yes, it’s Scientology” camp.
Headley points to specific lines of dialogue, imagery in the film, and Smith’s acting to build a case that After Earth is very much Scientology-flavored.
Headley gives it “Two Xenu thumbs down.”
Tiziano Lugli Now Starring as Tom Cruise at the Huffington Post
Yes, it’s happened again. Just a week after TMZ filmed ex-Scientologist music producer Tiziano Lugli leaving the Chateau Marmont with his wife Jamie on their Ducati motorcycle and pronounced it Tom Cruise and his “rebound chick,” now the Huffington Post has done the same thing after the Luglis decided to go out for another bite to eat.
Actually, we can’t tell if this was a new sighting or if HuffPo is just recycling an old story. The story makes reference to Cruise/Lugli wearing a leather jacket in the new sighting as opposed to a “velvet jacket” from the previous time, but that sure doesn’t look like a leather jacket in the photo they posted.
We can’t believe we just wrote that sentence. We really don’t care! It’s Tiziano, not Tom Cruise, you celebrity reporter jackasses!
Posted by Tony Ortega on June 1, 2013 at 07:00
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