Category: Religion

Beck's show tonight will benefit Scientology-affiliated charity

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There's been a touch of Internet controversy today about Beck's somewhat-impromptu show at the Echo tonight, first started by blogger Sketchytown, then picked up by the LA Weekly's West Coast Sound blog. Both blogs raised a flag about a charity cited on the show's promotional material, Educating Children International, which, according to the promo poster, will get the "net proceeds" of the show priced at a cool $35.

Nothing was mentioned about any connections with Scientology, and the website for the charity turns up an error message. So what's the official word from the Church of Scientology? Is Educating Children International a charity working with Beck's known (and controversial) path of spirituality?

It turns out it is.

When Pop & Hiss first contacted Scientology representative Karen Pouw, she did not recognize the charity name, but within 40 minutes or so she called back to say she had done some more investigating. She said it was part of Educating Children, a charity run by Indian Scientologist Mohammad Khalil Ullah, who has built at least three schools in South Asia, according to materials posted at the website www.educatingchildren.cc, a URL that Pouw also cited. Note the picture on the homepage of children celebrating in front of a school with a sign clearly stating "West Bengal Scientology Free School."

Pouw said about the charity, "We have volunteers there working in orphanages and getting children to school." She also stated, "I'm not speaking on behalf of Beck, but I believe his concert is in support of this charity."

When asked if Beck had a statement about the charity or tonight's show, his representative in New York declined to comment. A representative at the Echo did not answer our request for a comment.

The real question, of course, is whether Beck should've been more transparent about the show's beneficiary. If you're planning on going to the show tonight, does this change your mind or otherwise color your feelings about L.A.'s indie son?

-- Margaret Wappler

Photo: Benjamin Reed/Los Angeles Times

Prince keeps his remarks by the Book on homosexuality

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There must be something about former LA Times writer Claire Hoffman that makes people say controversial things in her presence, because her recent sit-down with noted pancake chef Prince in the New Yorker is a humdinger. In the piece, Hoffman drops by Prince's Beverly Park compound (he's lived in L.A. since last spring) and dryly notes his decorating style (Neo-Narcissist, as in more than one purple throne) and samples his idiosyncratic poetry that accompanies a new anthology of photographs.

But when Hoffman's conversation with the converted Jehovah's Witness turned to the testy topic of gay marriage and the nature of homosexuality, Prince let slip some unexpectedly fundamentalist ideas, especially for a man who made his career in ascots and eyeliner.

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