Scientology’s once powerful Office of Special Affairs (their dirty tricks department) has no power to keep Scientology friends from getting together and having a good time. There’s nothing like one-on-one face time for making a true connection. We had plenty of that during the fourth annual HowdyCon event that started Thursday evening with Happy Hour at the Broadwater Plunge, near the Hollywood Fringe, where Cathy Schenkelberg’s “Squeeze My Cans” is playing.
HowdyCon originated at Tony Ortega’s Underground Bunker, but there’s now a whole spectrum of folks who participated this year — Freezoners, Exes, other former cult members, Never-Ins — and everybody agrees on one thing: Scientology’s abuses have got to go. We all came together to enjoy ourselves and each other, while we shine a light on those things Scientology tries to sweep under the rug on a daily basis.
Friday’s highlight was the main event at the new Center for Inquiry West, where speakers put faces to the horrendous stories we’ve all heard about. But there was fun and good news too. Graham Berry, attorney extraordinaire — who’s been the target of Scientology’s fair-game policy for decades — told how he turned the tables on them during a recent vacation to New Zealand.
We found out that Mark Bunker (who Anonymous dubbed Wise Beard Man) is running for city council in Clearwater, Florida. I suspect the Flag Land Base will be spread rather thin, trying to oppose his candidacy.
If you weren’t able to make it to Los Angeles for the event, don’t worry. The main event was recorded and will be the inaugural episode for a new podcast, starring Tony Ortega, James Underdown, and an ex-JW named Jerry Minor (who is a former cast member on Saturday Night Live). It’s going to be called the Cult Awareness Podcast.
Scientology may own the Cult Awareness Network, but they don’t own the “Cult Awareness Podcast.” They won’t have the manpower to sue anybody over it anyway. Between launching an opposition to Mark Bunker’s mayoral candidacy and defending themselves from the new lawsuit that’s been filed (and many more to come), poor little Davy Miscavige won’t have time. Tick-tock, honey. 🙂
I’m sure the lawsuit will have to take priority, because it’s being filed on behalf of someone who worked with him directly, so I don’t know if he’s going to be able to avoid attending a deposition — which is always his primary goal in the event of any lawsuit. He pays his attorneys to keep him out of court at all costs.
So there goes another one of their chickens coming home to roost. A favorite Scientology tactic is to overwhelm their “enemies” with lawsuits until they cave in and quit. I think Ms. Karma is lacing up her shoes and getting ready to give them a run for their money.
Saturday was the Memorial Reunion, put together by Janis Gillham Grady and hosted at the home of Spanky Taylor. We honored three of our fellow exes, who passed away during the past year — Bill Franks, Amos Jessup, and Loy Young. Dinner that evening was at La Boheme in West Hollywood, where folks gathered together to continue to celebrate their lives.
The whole weekend was overlaid with a spirit of healing. At last, we seem to be getting over the destructive disunity that’s been plaguing us since 2016. Finally, it looks like we’ve laid all that aside and just got together with friends, like real people do. Spending time together in real life is what this weekend was all about.
Looking forward to HowdyCon 5.