On Saturday, February 5th I went to the second showing of “Transformation: The Life and Legacy of Werner Erhard” at SF IndieFest. There weren’t many people at the premiere showing last Thursday and I was looking for more people to interact. What a difference a weekend makes; the line went down the block past several stores.
In the prior post I gave a short background on Werner Erhard and my involvement in est. Have a look for reference. As in that post, I will report on the audience and film maker during the showing.
I started talking with the woman in line behind me. She’ did the est Training in 1971, but after the first Training. Her ex-husband called her after doing the Training, telling her she has to do this thing called est and that he would pay for it. He never reimbursed her, but she’s glad she did it. Later she lived in a communal household of est graduates in San Jose. She credits est for her current marriage. In an est seminar she became serious about finding a worthy mate, making goal lists toward that.
While we were going in, I pointed out Robyn watching the line, as the director of the film. Robyn noticed me pointing and they started a conversation.
In The Theater
Inside I sat five rows from the front. The theater was about one-third full. Fay Dearborn, the IndieFest programmer, came up to me and said she saw me video at the Thursday film introduction and that I wasn’t to video. I responded that I had only videoed the introduction and decided not to do it anymore without permission. And that Robyn had told me not to so I wouldn’t. I asked if I could take photos, and she said that would be fine.
Next to me was a woman who assisted (volunteered) at the Washington House — Werner’s personal business office that was on Washington at Franklin St., San Francisco — where I had also assisted. She was a receptionist. She did est in Aspen when the center opened there in 1973 — one of the first centers. The Training went over six days during the day. At that time most Trainings including hers were done by Werner.
I also talked with the guy sitting behind me. He hadn’t done est, but knew people who had and was interested in what the film would show.
Toward the end of the film the woman sitting next to made an “Ah-ha” statement. Then when the Q&A began she said that Werner was playing the victim in his story of what the media had done to him and wasn’t taking responsibility for leaving the country. The next person who got asked her if she’d gotten anything out of the est Training. She responded that different people get more and less. She said a guy she knows says he got a lot while another said he didn’t get anything. But he always gets a parking space. People laughed since that was one of the results it was stated you could get from the est Training. She ended in saying that many who took the Training got more about responsibility than Werner.
Robyn’s partner who was videoing the Q&A came up the chairs in front of me. He turned around and I thought he’d excuse himself for getting in my view. Instead he said I wasn’t to take photos. I said she told me I could. I meant Faye Dearborn the IndieFest programmer, I think he thought I meant Robyn Symon. He said that no she didn’t say that. Later in the lobby I clarified to him that Faye had told me I could photo and he said it’s not a big deal, just a misunderstanding.
Outside I saw the guy who had sat behind me who hadn’t taken est or Landmark. I asked him what he thought of the film. He thought it was very interesting and learned quite a bit. That it was an ongoing story. At the same time the film makers were leaving the theater heading up 16th Street.