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The Very Masterful Master

Lorraine Devon Wilke | Posted 11.26.2012 | Entertainment
Lorraine Devon Wilke

The Master, while also ponderous, complex, intriguing and likely to win Oscars, stands out as a profound, artistic saga brought to seething life by performances so startling they stayed with me for days afterwards.

The Master... Really?

Warren Adler | Posted 11.25.2012 | Entertainment
Warren Adler

The director offers up some odd ensemble scene where Hoffman does a cutesy song and dance routine before a group of sycophants where most of the women are completely naked, making one wonder how they were motivated to strip while the men remain modestly clothed.

The Fundamentally Toxic Christianity

John Shore | Posted 11.12.2012 | Religion
John Shore

The one thing I do want to say for anyone just making their way out of the darkness of Independent Fundamental Baptists is this: that you once so thoroughly bought into IFB is a sign of your strength, not your weakness.

Natasha Burton

How My Parents’ Divorce Totally Screwed Me Up | Natasha Burton | Posted 08.11.2012 | Divorce

We asked adult children of divorce to share how their parents’ splits affected their lives in the long run, for better or for worse. This story came...

Spiritual Responsibility and Cult Awareness

Lama Surya Das | Posted 08.20.2012 | Religion
Lama Surya Das

Traditional long intensive practice retreats and monastic training rules of reasonable efficacy are well known to sometimes take unprepared people over the edge.

Review: 'Heaven on Earth: The Varieties of the Millennial Experience'

Peter Clothier | Posted 08.05.2012 | Books
Peter Clothier

Millennial madness is with us again as December 2012 looms and, with it, the end of the world as we know it, as "predicted" by the Mayan calendar. It's a good moment, then, to take note of Richard Landes' Heaven on Earth.

PHOTOS: Pitchfork Lineup Completed With Wild Flag, More

Posted 04.05.2012 | Chicago

With the addition of 21 acts announced Thursday, the lineup for Chicago's Pitchfork Music Festival, slated to be held July 13-15 in the city's Union P...

Rest in Peace, SXSW 2012

Mark R. Collins | Posted 05.28.2012 | Entertainment
Mark R. Collins

Sustainability is a pillar of the 2012 hipster platform, and yet during SXSW thousands of lone star cans go unrecycled, reams of unnecessary marketing materials are printed, cigarettes litter the streets and general excess is celebrated. If SXSW wants to be a mature adult it needs to go green.

Is Mormonism a Cult?

Matthew Bowman | Posted 05.09.2012 | Religion
Matthew Bowman

The question would be easy if the word "cult" had a serious and well-justified definition. But it doesn't.

The Anusara Yoga Scandal: Can a $6 Billion Industry Salvage Its Image?

Stewart J. Lawrence | Posted 04.14.2012 | Home
Stewart J. Lawrence

As the increasingly ugly Anusara scandal unfolds, yoga and yogis in America seem to be approaching yet another defining moment. Do the movement's most sincere and thoughtful leaders have the strength -- and humility -- to push their industry to reform its ways?

Spotlight On: Mitt!

Susie Sampson | Posted 04.01.2012 | Comedy
Susie Sampson

Last week I put a spotlight on Newt... this week it's Mitt's turn! Things certainly seem tight in this race and Americans are still torn: Do they want a president with cult membership and offshore accounts or do they want to go to the Moon?!

Saki Knafo

Occupy Wall Street: Faces Of Zuccotti Park | Saki Knafo | Posted 01.03.2012 | New York

This is the second piece in a series profiling the protesters of Occupy Wall Street. Balance was standing around with some of the other protesters ...

Film: Manipulating the Mind of Martha

Marlynn Snyder | Posted 01.02.2012 | Entertainment
Marlynn Snyder

How does a young woman allow a complete stranger access to her inner thoughts, giving him full sway over her feelings and actions? An interesting question brought vividly to life in the buzzed-about indie film Martha Marcy May Marlene.

Director Sean Durkin on Martha Marcy May Marlene

Marshall Fine | Posted 12.27.2011 | Home
Marshall Fine

If confronting the things that scare you makes you stronger, then filmmaker Sean Durkin is in great shape, thanks to his debut film, Martha Marcy May Marlene.

We Have Turned Into a Cult Disguised as a Democracy

Donna Flagg | Posted 12.20.2011 | Politics
Donna Flagg

This country is not in good shape, an observation that will not come as a surprise to many, I know. And while it is easy, almost automatic in fact, to...

Confessions of a Bad Jack Mormon Woman

Terrell Harris Dougan | Posted 12.10.2011 | Politics
Terrell Harris Dougan

I've been trying to be not-so-Mormon for some time now. I never go to church. I drink wine. I use bad words. But I break out into a cold sweat if my library book is overdue.

What Is Fashion's Night Out? Sincerely, Los Angeles

Abigail Spencer | Posted 11.15.2011 | Los Angeles
Abigail Spencer

What's so fascinating about Fashion's Night Out is that it's all-consuming in New York, and in LA people are still like, "What's that?"

Cults Video Director Finds Muse In Jonestown Massacre

Turnstyle | Posted 09.21.2011 | Los Angeles

Originally published on, a digital information service surfacing emerging stories in news, entertainment, art and culture; powered ...

Extremely Unctuous

Mike Farrell | Posted 09.14.2011 | Politics
Mike Farrell

How could religious zealots possibly infiltrate and gain control over our military? Well, for one, you might start with the military academies at West Point and Air Force Academy and Annapolis.

At Home With Cults

Posted 09.11.2011 | Home

Thanks to our friends over at W magazine, we have the inside scoop into the day-to-day lives of the up-and-coming band, Cults. This New York-based duo...

Gurus: Why Are We Addicted?

Ed and Deb Shapiro | Posted 08.21.2011 | Healthy Living
Ed and Deb Shapiro

Perhaps we worship a guru so blindly and surrender so willingly due to our own self-doubt, the reluctance to acknowledge our own innate understanding, insights and wisdom.

Israeli Ministry Targeting So-Called 'Sects' and 'Cults'

Joseph K. Grieboski | Posted 07.31.2011 | Religion
Joseph K. Grieboski

Classifying religious groups into "religions" and "sects" violates religious human rights standards. It is impermissible and arbitrary for the government to confer benefits on groups it classifies as "religions."

Why Is Raising Children Religion-Free Still Taboo?

Jayanti Tamm | Posted 07.24.2011 | Religion
Jayanti Tamm

Of course, children can, and many do, grow up and shed the burden of that imposed belief system. But why should parents impose upon their children a religion to lose?

Rapture Rupture

Jeff Schweitzer | Posted 07.23.2011 | Religion
Jeff Schweitzer

Like Miller, or Franz or Applewhite before him, Camping believes he has a unique ability to interpret the word of god that gives him special insight. So we pause with bated breath to learn when the next End of Days will arrive.

What Is A Cult? Recognizing And Avoiding Unhealthy Groups

Jayanti Tamm | Posted 06.14.2011 | Religion
Jayanti Tamm

There isn't a single group that would ever admit to or advertise as being a cult. And why would they? The word 'cult' is explosive, loaded with connotations of brainwashing, lunatics, and mass suicide.