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Tonight, Cathy Schenkelberg takes her Scientology cans to the Hollywood Fringe

SMCans

 
Former Scientologist Cathy Schenkelberg is taking a big step tonight, and so we called her yesterday to find out how she’s feeling as her one-woman show, “Squeeze My Cans” begins a run at the Hollywood Fringe Festival.

Cathy’s a longtime reader at the Bunker, and someone who has been through some struggles to recover from her years in the church — years that ended up costing her about a million dollars and leaving her broke.

“I’m not a celebrity and I’m not ex-Sea Org. I was just a public Scientologist who got in because I met someone,” she tells us. “I’m a Midwest girl, from Nebraska, and I had been introduced to Scientology a couple of times, and then I met an actress in Chicago who told me it was helping mankind and helping the planet. And at that point in my life I wanted to do something less selfish with my life.”

Cathy says she “jumped in with both feet” in 1991. “I wanted to contribute. So that’s how I got in. Scientology sold that to me, that they were the most ethical, sane group. And they said it was non-denominational, so I could stay a Catholic. God, that was a fucking lie,” she says with a laugh.

“I was auditioning, doing voiceover work. I thought I’d go away for a year and build houses or something. I got into basic courses, and I was making a lot of money doing voiceover parts. And they knew it. So they told me that everything was dire. I was going to pull in illness or disease or even death if I didn’t go to the next level,” she says.

So Cathy pushed her way to Clear, expecting that it was her ultimate goal. “But then they were pushing me on to the OT levels. I was pregnant at the time, but I did it.”

And how high did she get in the end? “I got up to OT 7 and spent a million dollars.”

Life hasn’t been easy since then. But she’s found a way to turn her struggle into a show that she’s been workshopping and developing into tonight’s premiere. (There will also be eight more performances at the festival through June 26.)

“It’s not a monologue. I have music, sound, lights, projections. Lots of surprises. I take the audience on a journey on how I got into Scientology and how I got out of it and how difficult it was,” she says. “It’s dark. It’s funny. I got a lot of laughs in Chicago.”

Catch “Squeeze My Cans” at 8 pm tonight at Sacred Fools Theater Company’s “Black Box” performance space at 6322 Santa Monica Blvd. And then let us know what you thought of the show!

 
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No, Goldman Sachs is not funding “Scientology”

You may have seen the reprint of an article at Raw Story yesterday that originally showed up at something called “The Influence” that refers to Scientology, Goldman Sachs, and US prisons.

It’s a really excellent article that exposes a very troubling situation in America’s prisons — that a bizarre drug education program is being used all over the place that was put together in the shadiest way possible by a couple of shadowy characters, one of whom now makes a living writing books about UFOs.

We hope this article gets the attention it deserves, and that the quack “MRT” drug rehab program stops getting support from the US government and funders like Goldman Sachs.

Having said all that, we will add that we think it was really unfortunate for author Sarah Beller (or her editors) to refer to MRT as Scientology-based. That is completely unsupportable by the evidence supplied in the article.

Yes, there’s one Scientology concept that’s been awkwardly pressed into service in the AA-like program that stresses an inmate moving up a ladder of “morality” until he can reach the very Christian concept of “grace.”

This nightmare program is a mashup of a lot of different bad ideas. It’s likely that some of the language used in the “ladder” concept does reflect the “conditions” that are found in Scientology. But the overall concepts of this heavily AA- and Christian-influenced program are nothing like Scientology.

Calling MRT “Scientology-based” comes off as merely an attempt at clickbait because Scientology is such a hot topic right now. MRT is not Scientology-based. One of its chief architects is a psychologist, and MRT is generally a bad imitation of psychology, which is anathema to Scientology.

Anyway, like we said, great article, great investigative work. But sadly, now other news organizations will likely refer to MRT as “that Scientology prison program,” when Scientology actually has its own prison program, Criminon, which Beller seemed unaware of.

 
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3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on June 10, 2016 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield

 

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  • Patricia Lathrom

    I saw Cathy perform an earlier version of Squeeze my Cans in Chicago. It was terrific. Full house. Lots of support. Very dynamic. Very real. She tells it like it is. It gave me chills, made me cry. Grateful I saw the light.

    • Liberated

      I’d give anything to see her perform.

      • Dice ✓

        I would give my right arm! – now where did i leave that?!?!

        • Juicer77

          You used it up trying to get to HowdyCon!

          • Dice ✓

            Dang! it was my spare part.

            • daisy

              I can lend you my dentures if that will help.

            • Dice ✓

              can they rattle?

    • Juicer77

      Lucky you! Sounds fabulous.

    • Dice ✓

      Any pictures ? any?

  • antibity

    Went to the show Friday night. It was worth the time and the $20.

  • Cars

    This is a 9+ minutes audio version of Cathy Schenkelberg’s performance on Nov. 10, 2014, titled Cheap. IIRC, this was just prior to her first one woman show in Chicago. I wonder if this is still part of her current performance.

    https://soundcloud.com/sparkoffrose/cheap-01-cathy-schenkelberg

  • It’s Me!

    We were SO fortunate to be able to see Cathy’s Squeeze My Cans production this weekend and it was A M A Z I N G! I laughed, I cried, and I completely related.
    What an emotional powerhouse, and what a masterful performance!
    She effortlessly brought us along on her full Scientology ride beginning with her invalidating her strong instinct to steer clear of it, her enthusiastic deep dive into it, including so many interesting successes and struggles along the way as she was being twisted by Scientology into “her true self” so she could become “cause over life”.
    We shared in her wins, her losses, her past lives, her floating needles, and rode up and down the tone scale with her! She took us into the course room for her intro training, into session (commands and all) including her jo-berg confessional, attesting to Clear, and all the CRAZY way up through the OT levels (including a dangerous brush with OT inspired psychosis), plus gave us an insiders view of the disparity of treatment given to celebrities.
    She concluded with her heart-wrenching loss of faith, and her very heartbreaking exit after realizing that she’d had ALL she needed to be happy, within HERSELF all along, two decades and a million dollars later.

    Thank you Cathy. You are so brave AND so brilliant!
    It was such an honor to meet you in person…as well as the wonderful Michael Fairman! <3 Two true artists and survivors!