In the midst of the Tom Cruise train wreck last week, I was impressed by this fascinatingly even-handed piece by Dana Goodyear about "Chateau Scientology" on Franklin Ave. in Hollywood. As a longtime L.A. resident, I can attest to the odd magnetism of the Celebrity Centre's grounds, directly across the street from a bustling street nightlife and a fine 92-seat theater, onto which a date and I once wandered many years ago and lingered in a pictureseque gazebo before getting weirded out and skedaddling.
I also know that for years at Back Stage West, we printed innumerable ads for the getting-into-the-business seminars at Celebrity Centre, and received a fair amount of complaints that these were simply church recruiting events (which a Scientology spokesperson admits they are in Goodyear's story).
Amazingly enough given the Scientologists' reputation for litigation and reprisal, I Goodyear had experienced no repercussions--until, that is, she received a copy of the Church's magazine Celebrity at her home, though she never gave the Church her home address.
My only run-in with the Church, apart from a few phone calls to a legal rep when I wrote this story, was even odder. To promote a gig by my erstwhile rock band in the late '90s, I sent out a postcard that whimsically employed an image of L. Ron Hubbard playing a bass guitar (found on this site). I didn't identify the image as such, and its provenance was lost on most of the recipients of the postcard. But apparently someone on my mailing list worked for the Church and recognized the photo, because I promptly received a cease-and-desist letter! I promised not to use the image again, but I also saved the letter and put the lawyer on my band's mailing list. Fair play, I'd say.