Our reader Vaquera admits that she felt a bit fanatical to purchase a membership to the Austin Film Society just so she could get her hands on two tickets to last night’s screening of Going Clear, but she says it was all worth it. Here’s her report, and photos that she took…
I had John Peeler on my arm. Baby urged us to connect this past Thanksgiving and we’ve been messaging since then. When I had confirmation of two tickets to this evening’s event, I asked him to join me.
Because of stories of ticket holders not getting a seat in the theater, John and I were the first people in line (5 pm), one hour before the doors opened (6 pm) which was an hour before the start time (7pm).
While in line, Mark Plummer, a former Scientology member who posts as “Warrior,” recognized John and introduced himself.
He had a great T-shirt and hat. There was another woman with an anti-Scientology sweatshirt and WOG hat on was with him.
By the time the doors opened at 6:00, the line wrapped around the corner of the block at 7th and Congress.
Once in the lobby, but before they let us in to sit down, I recognized Chris Shelton.
Since we were the first people into the theater, we had our choice of seats. There were a number of seats front mid-section reserved by name. John and I sat in the row just in front of them.
Marty Rathbun was behind us over my left shoulder. He and Peeler re-connected as we waited for the film to start. Rathbun’s first comment to Peeler was, “You look so healthy. You used to look like Oliver Twist!” Meaning he’s put on weight and looks healthy and normal as opposed to bone-thin.
A few others came up to John, but I didn’t catch their names.
[We also want to note that the film was introduced by director Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused, A Scanner Darkly, Boyhood).]
During the movie, there were loud gasps and vocal “no’s” from the two women to either side of us when Spanky Taylor told her story of rescuing her baby. Stories of the Sea Org brought nods and whispers from the men seated in front of us.
Mid-film, a man sat down in the reserved seats directly over my right shoulder. He literally had a bucket of popcorn and was noshing away. I turned to check him out, only to discover it was Alex Gibney, so OK, chomp away, my friend.
At the end, applause erupted and Gibney, Rathbun and Wright filed out from their seats behind us and up to the stage for a Q&A. These are the questions I noted (and sorry, I did not jot down word for word the answers):
— What more will it take for the government to revoke Scientology’s tax status?
— Chris Shelton asked (I’m paraphrasing) “There are so many stories. Do you think there is enough for another movie?” Gibney answered that they are looking into a forum for people to post their testimonials.
— The child abuse, does it still go on and what can be done? Protective services?
— A slightly off topic question about LRH’s portrayal in The Master.
— A woman who said she’d belonged to a different cult asked Marty if he sees any common parallels between cults. He riffed about yes this and that and the placebo effect, but his closing words to her were good…”Don’t be embarrassed about joining what turned out to be a cult when your drive of making the world a better place were well intentioned.” (Again, paraphrased)
After the audience adjourned, a man came up to John Peeler, saying he’d been a Scientologist at the Celebrity Centre. He’d been married to Raven Kane. I believe his name was Roger. His daughter is Alyssa and he hasn’t seen her in years.
John Peeler and I went next door for a drink and decompression. I have to say that John is a gentle soul. I really enjoyed meeting him and was glad he joined me for the event. I don’t understand how he came out of the ordeal and maintained his openness and his smile.
It was a great evening!
Also present was attorney Ray Jeffrey, who sent us this when we asked him about the movie…
“The movie’s strength is its balance. It gains credibility by presenting the positives of Scientology, and then it shows the devastating human toll it inflicts.”
And from Michael Laws, who sat next to Chris Shelton…
“How do you describe dedicating your life to the goal of saving humanity and the world, and then realize that no good was done, and maybe great bad? This film captures it in two hours without trashing those that were in. I cried.”
Today in stupid pointless Scientology ‘celebrity’ news
Here’s what I sent the news agency that asked me about its Tommy Davis photos before they were published in the Daily Mail today, which show him in Los Angeles with Erica Packer, ex-wife to Australian gazillionaire James Packer, who had a short stint in Scientology thanks to his friend Tom Cruise…
— I don’t believe Erica is still involved in Scientology.
— Tommy testified last year that he is “on leave” from the Sea Org. My sources say he’s not really involved in Scientology at all anymore.
— Tommy is married to Jessica Feshbach and they have an infant child. They live in Austin.
— Tommy works for Colony Capital in Santa Monica, and he’s often in Los Angeles. Erica is super rich. They are both former members of Scientology. I would guess they were talking real estate.
This email probably saved Tommy from a more embarrassing story at the Mail. But go ahead, speculate wildly if you must.
Bonus photos from our tipsters
Another great shot from last night in Austin…
Do it for LRH! Portland counts down the days to the Birthday Game…
Scientologists are using social media more than ever. Drop us a line if you spot them posting images to Instagram or Facebook!
Posted by Tony Ortega on March 11, 2015 at 08:15
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