|SCIENTOLOGY PRESERVATION IS GOOD FOR HOLLYWOOD BUILDINGS||SCIENTOLOGY PRESERVATION IS SLOPPY AND SINFUL|
ALISSA WALKER - MAY 2006 - if you live where I do, in the actual city of Hollywood, just a few blocks away from where the Oscars are held, you see the Church of Scientology as somewhat of a savior. Within a two-mile corridor along Hollywood Boulevard, the Church owns eight historic buildings, four of which are on the National Register of Historic Places. In a neighborhood where architectural triumphs evaporate with little remorse, Scientology is the most ardent preservationist force in town. (READ MORE)
JOHN KALISKY - Where to start? I could point out that five years ago the corner of Hollywood and Highland was hardly vacant; the giant project that dominates this corner was about to open to the public. But instead I think I should describe my own preservation experience at the Celebrity Center in the early 1990's. At the time I was the Principal Architect of the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles (CRA/LA) which oversaw and still oversees today the Hollywood Redevelopment Project. This project area includes many of the properties that the Scientologists own in Hollywood.
I was invited to the Celebrity Center to try and negotiate a solution to an historic preservation problem (READ MORE)
Designed by architects John C. Austin and Frederick M. Ashley in 1923, this major landmark was purchased by the Church in 1988 for $5.1 million dollars when the boulevard was run down. The cult uses the original name of the building, often just calling it the "HGB." They often do that and don't rename the structure, probably because it makes them seem more like they fit into the neighborhood. On the National Register of Historic Places this 12-story Beaux Arts tower houses the Church's management offices and the ground floor L. Ron Hubbard Life Exhibition, a museum devoted to the unbelievably amazing incredibleness of the great leader. Formerly home to a branch of Guaranty Bank, the building in its heyday also housed the offices of silent star Rudolph Valentino and famous gossip columnist Hedda Hopper. Charlie Chaplin and Cecil B. DeMille invested in this building.
But this seemingly stately structure is filled with dark goings on because it is actually the official world headquarters of the Church and it's most evil lawyers. More important, the "HGB" is the cult's Pentagon, CIA and FBI all rolled into one. With a dash of the Smithsonian on the ground floor. The Office of Special Affairs (OSA) is headquartered here. They are the cult's dirty tricksters and secret police. Main lawyer Kendrick Moxon works out of this building although his office is listed elsewhere on paper. Great leader David Miscavige also has an office on the top floor which he sometimes uses when he is in town. The building has appeared in multiple books on Scientology, including Jenna Miscavige's bio "Beyond Belief." The great leader no doubt has an office here too, even though he has been dead for decades.
It has been the site of many public protests by Anonymous and others. A video recording of one protest is at left. There is a rear entrance protected by a spiked fence where Miscavige and celebrities can enter in secret. Large white buses bring workers to this location multiple times a day to keep it staffed at all hours. Even late at night workers can be seen in the upper windows slaving away or crossing the street to go to the Regal Shoes Building. The workers are transported in cult owned vehicles, keeping them cloistered from the outside world which is full of "entheta" (anti-cult propaganda). The Church would like to build an underground tunnel between the buildings so that workers would not even have to go outside. As of 2014 this has not happened.
Like all Scientology buildings it is festooned with vast amounts of excessive security: cameras, motion sensors, infrared detectors and key card readers. They are seen at the end of the video at left. The building appeared as a 3D location in the video game "LA Noire" set in 1947 Los Angeles (right).
Welcome to the L. Ron Hubbard Life Exhibition, a museum devoted to the unbelievably amazing incredibleness of the great founder.. It gets no visitors but for the occasional Chinese tourists who will visit anything American which is free. Open from 9:30 AM to 10:00 PM Monday through Sunday. AKA every day. Even if you don't have time to visit today please stop by anyhow. The helpful host will give you an "admit one" ticket good for a free tour later. Advanced bookings recommended even though they would give you a full tour right now in your underpants if you would just please please stay a while. Please??
Since 2008 this museum has been the site of many protest videos uploaded by Anonymous and others. Elsewhere the cultists may hide behind high fences and cameras but here, on the Boulevard, they are forced to interact at close range. Various employees, such as Anti-Shirtless Lady and guard Franc Paolo, have become YouTube mini-stars.
In the lobby of the museum is a brief history of the structure. Also a statue of L. Ron Hubbard with cute water bubbles drooling down the wall behind him to add to his specialness. There's also a book display and front desk with a complimentary jug of orange juice. This slowly sweats away the day undrunk until it is probably consumed by the receptionist who is an underfed Sea Org worker. The guided tour, which is forty five minutes long, takes you from one imaginary story about the great founder to another. Eventually visitors must ask themselves "If all this is true about Hubbard why haven't I heard of him before? He seems to be a cross between George Washington, Einstein and Jesus." Meanwhile they are watching you on security cameras all over the place. Microphones? Of course!
The highlight is the end of the tour and the "hall of keys." Viewers are shown a huge collection of keys to the city and plaques from towns around the world. They are all dedicated to LRH. How did they get these keys? Was it his humanitarian missions? Was it is his global outreach? No, they simply glad-handed and donated to local politicians in many towns. Then they asked for the keys to the cities. Then they put all the awards in one place, the "hall of keys." A testament to the power of money in politics.
If you have had enough of Hubbard in the video at right then watch the equally brief video at left. It was shot by me in West Hollywood and features an equally brief report about "LRH." Both are worth watching again and again. But then, I am obsessed with watchtin' this kooky doodle kraziness!
One fellow Anon, marijuana lawyer SciSpyGuy, has been inside the Museum. He told me he went in thinking it would be a kitschy laff riot. Instead he left depressed at how desperately the founder of the cult is absurdly pushed, promoted and flogged to achieve their fascist goals. By the end of the tour the exhibits become grotesquely overdone. Yet instead of finding it funny it left him bummed about humanity, how easily people are fooled and how quickly we turn against ourselves.
After the tour the museum body-routes you into the gift shop. Only make purchases with cash! You don't want these people to know who you are, where you live and how much credit you've got! You may find your plastic card purchase of a small item becomes a much bigger transaction by the time they are done processing it and the card company bills you. Next the junk mail will begin. Junk mail that will never end, eventually even piling up on your grave.
Built in 1939 by architects Walker & Eisen this elegant Art Deco former shoe store now houses a cafeteria for the workers next door in the Hollywood Guarantee Building. Paranoid of the outside world, the windows are usually blacked out or covered by curtains, especially when protesters show up. Visible on the upper portion of the curved corner is the logo of the Sea Organization, the Church's priesthood.
Large buses used to transport workers are stored in the rear area directly behind the building. This section, and the parking lot behind it, are gated, surrounded by a spiked fence and scary razor wire. This prevents escapes. The Church would like to build a tunnel into the next door HGB Building but they have not.
The building appeared as a 3D location in the video game "LA Noire" set in 1947 Los Angeles (at right). Like all Scientology buildings it is festooned with vast amounts of excessive security: cameras, motion sensors, infrared detectors and key card readers.
The parking lot is full of motorcyles nobody is driving. They are all covered up and stored in the open near the fence. Perhaps they are owned by Sea Org members who have surrendered them because they are not allowed to drive.
This location was closed in 2013 because it was planned that the Hollywood Inn would take it's place. But that location has never been dedicated and is rarely open despite being completely finished as of December 2014. This small bookstore was often protested by Anonymous in 2008-9 and I, the Angry Gay Pope has shot videos there multiple times, such as his hilarious "Big Boobed Stress Test". That was recorded in November of 2008 and is shown at right. You can see the bookstore when it was in much better condition. Also, it's one of my funniest videos.
At the end of it's useful life the cult didn't even bother with upkeep despite the fact that they are usually very image conscious. The awnings tore, the sign fell apart, the windows got vandalized and the metal gate protecting the door at night was partially torn away as seen in the photo at left. Perhaps homeless people were sleeping in the doorway at night. If so that would probably be the first nice thing the cult has ever done for the homeless of Hollywood Boulevard and it was by sheer lack of maintenance and security. Then they redesigned it in their upgraded corporate style for the Hollywood/Sunset Blvd. area. They needed to upgrade it because the boulevard is now bustling with tourists and locals. It was bad for their image.
Almost nobody ever went in it despite sexy cultists aggressively contacting anyone who walked by offering a "free" stress test. They abandoned it in 2013 and it has sat empty and for lease. As of November 2014 the owner has yet to find a new tenant despite the fact that the boulevard is now booming more and more each day.
In 2007 the Hollywood Christmas Parade had been dead for years. No celebs wanted to be in it. Hollywood is not known for snow and they hold the thing in November. Huh? They had tried changing the parade route to go past Paramount pictures. They had done their best to make the event a fun, free night for Latino families in Hollywood.
But the parade people failed. The best celebs they could get to be in it were Marty Ingels and Shirley Jones. He's a nobody comic and she starred in the Partridge Family. Nobody under forty knows what that means. Other guests included the "Bear in the Big Blue House" and various Disney channel starlings.
But then the Church of Scientology ran out of white people to steal money from. They needed to provide community outreach to the Latino families in the neighborhood. And so they invested heavily to restart the parade in 2008 in conjunction with a push by Author Services/Galaxy Press to market founder L. Ron Hubbard's pulp fiction.
The centerpiece of their strategy is "L. Ron Hubbard's Winter Wonderland," which is open from late November to early January with Santa presiding quite often. Kids can eat churros, visit Santa and get free toys and copies of the great leader's pulp fiction courtesy of Author Services. With free live music shows and more, it's no wonder Winter Wonderland is a hit with local families. Hollywood is not known for having a lot of parks or kid friendly public spaces.
Unfortunately, as the video below indicates, the cult has not put on a Winter Wonderland since 2011. It was expensive, time consuming and produced no new recruits. Plus it was a convenient place for protesters such as Anonymous to interact with cultists. For a few years it was assumed there was no Wonderland because the adjacent Hollywood Inn was under rehabilitation. That was finished in 2014 but Winter Wonderland did not return. It has died.
Formerly the Hollywood Savings and Loan, the Church purchased it in 1995 for $1.6 million dollars. Once open to the public it has suffered frequent, screaming drop ins by protester the Angry Gay Pope. Now the front door is usually locked and security guards are ever present. One is at the front desk or out front while the other guards the parking garage entrance and the nearby El Cadiz Apartments. The former bank houses a ground-floor theater that hosts readings of L. Ron Hubbard's pulp fiction. These are no doubt poorly attended. The cult also hosts a welcome center for celebrities appearing the the Hollywood Christmas Parade which the Church has invested heavily in.
Built in the 1940s, the Beaux Arts property is also home to a library of Hubbard's novels and short-story collections. The building is owned by church affiliate Author Services Inc., which manages Hubbard's literary works. How many works of Hubbard's pulp fiction does it sell every year? Probably few despite many attempts at Christmastime to interest children in his "Golden Age Literature." It seems unlikely most children, girls in particular, will be interested in seventy year old stories with titles like "Man-Killers of the Air," "Hell's Legionnaire" or "Death Waits at Sundown."
An underground tunnel goes from this building to the next door El Cadiz Apartments so that Scientologists, especially great leader David Miscavige, can travel to and from their deluxe accommodations without exposing themselves to the outside world. The building has many security cameras.
Formerly the Hollywood Congregational Church, the cult purchased it in 1995 for $1.75 million dollars. For once the fake Church bought an actual one! During the late 1980s and early '90s the building served as Screen Actors Guild headquarters. At its peak in the '50s, Hollywood Congregational, which opened in 1925, was one of the area's most popular houses of worship. It now houses Scientology's offices of the Association for Better Living and Education International (ABLE), a "nonprofit" that coordinates the fake social programs affiliated with the Church. One of the major elements of Scientology, ABLE is an umbrella group for four entities:
Applied Scholastics, educational programs based on study technology
Criminon, a rehabilitation program for prisoners
Narconon, a drug rehabilitation program
The Way to Happiness Foundation, dedicated to disseminating Hubbard's "non-religious moral code", which consists of 21 precepts such as "Take care of yourself", "Do not harm a person of good will" and "Respect the religious beliefs of others" . These are all ignored by the Church in it's day to day dealings with itself and others.
Each one of these groups is a scam so elaborate they all deserve their own websites. Applied Scholastics is linked to the Delphi Academies which are schools for Scientologists designed to shunt their children into the slavery of the Sea Organization. They use Hubbard's nonsensical teaching methods which often involve making things out of clay with little teacher input. Criminon is the cult's prison outreach program which attempts to grab the incarcerated while they are weak and sucker them into the cult. It also gives the Church a stable of nasty criminals, thugs and arsonists it can pay to do dirty work without being exposed itself. Similarly, Narconon suckers in unsuspecting non-Scientologists weakened by addiction struggles. "Patients" at Narconon find they are paying top dollar for nothing but Scientology indoctrination. Deaths are common and, the minute you graduate, you can become a counselor there. As of 2014 Narconon finds itself drowning in lawsuits, including a class-action. Just one lawsuit named ninety defendants! Therefore the Church had to pay for ninety lawyers for ninety defendants plus other lawyers just to manage the defendant's lawyers.
The Way to Happiness has another building in Glendale California but also operates out of this one. It suckers Scientologists into paying for customized brochures with their name on them. The booklets cost almost nothing to print, but the cult sells them to believers at a hefty markup. Chiropractors are expected to give the booklets away in their offices. Celebrities are expected to promote them and give them to fans. One example at left was bought by has-been actress Anne Archer and her ultra-rich husband TV producer Terry Jastrow.
Workers are rarely visible at this location and it often appears deserted. That's because they mostly work at night to prevent them from interacting with the outside world. This has led to them to become obnoxious neighbors complaining about noise from nearby music venues like "The Knitting Factory" in the wee hours. The building has many security cameras.
A plaque in the courtyard (shown at right) thanks donors Bryan Zwan and June Zwan. Bryan helped develop core Scientology tech. He ran a company called "Digital Lightwave" which went public in 1997. At that time his company's accounting was seen to be a scam and he was forced to resign and the company settled a shareholder lawsuit. It seems Church style financial improprieties don't go over so well in the outside world. But the cult doesn't care about his alleged misdeeds. He gave a lot of time and money to them. He and his wife get a plaque!
Across the street from the Hollywood Guarantee Building, this Scientology "reading room" attempts to lure in Hispanic kids who don't have a babysitter. The reading library consists of books by great leader L. Ron Hubbard like "How to use the dictionary." It is rarely open and has few visitors. It's link to the Church is downplayed yet, for those familiar with Hubbard, he is everywhere here.
At right is a video of my Sept. 1, 2012 infilration. Their website is here.
Formerly the Christie Hotel, the Scientologists call it the "Hollywood Inn/H-I". Anonymous protesters referred to it simply as the "Long Sign Building". It has twin gigantic signs shouting "SCIENTOLOGY" to the boulevard in both directions. About 2012 the building went through a long term redo. A Colonial Revival built in 1923 by Arthur Kelly, the elegant structure is considered the first luxury hotel in Hollywood due to its private baths. At the time of construction hotels only had group bathroom facilities shared by everyone on the floor. It was purchased by the Church for $1.25 million in 1974.
At one time the Church got caught housing people here in substandard conditions which violated building codes. The City forced the Church to rip up it's welcome center/bookstore in the lobby and close the structure. It was dormant for a very long time. Scientology's recent renovation of Hollywood Boulevard's first high-rise hotel took surprisingly long: 2012-2014. They take forever to do these things despite teaching courses in productivity and time management.. The building houses an information center with digital kiosks on the religion and include 91 apartments on the upper floors. The National Register of Historic Places considers the building, which opened in 1920, a contributor to its Hollywood Boulevard Commercial and Entertainment District.
The parking lot is converted each Christmastime to the "L. Ron Hubbard Winter Wonderland", an attempt to lure Hispanic children into the cult. That site is a long time protest staple and Christmas themed human rights violation. That's because the workers made to build it toil all night long in unsafe conditions. OSHA violations? Of course! Use a lifter meant for people to hoise multi-ton evergreens? Why not! When I confronted a Scientologist about these issues at the Christie Hotel he got overcaffeinated and I got burned as the video at right shows.
2014 UPDATE: This building entered pre-foreclosure due to unpaid bills from a flooring contractor. More on Tony Ortega's blog.
It has been the site of many public protests by Anonymous and others. The building appeared as a 3d location in the video game "LA Noire" (right) set in 1947 Los Angeles as well as "Grand Theft Auto San Andreas" where the words "Scientology" were replaced with "Astrology" to avoid any legal problems with the Church.
|2013 TAX YEAR AT A GLANCE: Land Value $1,554,414 - Improvements $466,315, Land Use LAC4, Zoning - LAC4, Units 91, Bathrooms 91, Living Area 60,786 sq. ft., Parcel Number 5547012018|
The El Cadiz apartments, named for a province in southern Spain, are best seen from the air. They don't look like much from the front, on purpose. The Church LOVES that kind of seclusion. No wonder they bought it in 2004 for $4,600,000 and gated it off. It serves as a luxury apartment for great leader David Miscavige and perhaps some celebs the Church wants to impress. Designed by Milton J. Black and built in 1936 it is the last Spanish Style luxury apartments built in Los Angeles. Featuring beautiful Andalusian artwork, some of which is visible from the street, the building has a fascinating design and history.
In the early 2000's it was in danger of being torn down so the community was no doubt pleased when the cult purchased it. The City made it a cultural historic monument. The Church rewarded Los Angeles by locking the building up in progressively thicker layers of bars and security fences. This completely ruins the facade and makes the neighborhood look dangerous. Do they care? Of course not!
The El Cadiz is this only complex on this page not directly on Hollywood Boulevard. It is technically on North Sycamore right around the corner from Galaxy Press/Author Services. An underground tunnel goes from Author Services to the this building so that Scientologists, especially great leader David Miscavige, can travel to and from their deluxe accommodations without exposing themselves to the outside world.
The building appeared in the movie "Monster in Law" and the TV series "Alias." Those shows were shot before the property fell into Scientology's clutches.