Posts tagged with "religion"

Image via Reach Records for 360 Magazine

Andy Mineo – It Could Be Worse

Andy Mineo Releases It Could Be Worse, the first official single from Never Land II!

Album Artwork and Full Tracklisting Revealed

Last week Andy Mineo celebrated a few milestones in his career! First, his single, Coming In Hot, featuring Lecrae was certified GOLD by the RIAA selling over 500,000 copies and boasting over 80 million streams. MPJ Freestyle, a new song released as a sneak preview to warm fans up for the album, was premiered on Facebook with an astounding 1.6 million views within 24 hours and 4.7 million by the end of last week. Not surprising for an artist whose single, Coming In Hot, is already over 80 million streams!

With all these amazing moments, Mineo, motivated by fan response, dropped another track, It Could Be Worse, the first official single from Never Land II. It Could Be Worse is my Andy is back track, yells Andy from the studio console at Reach Records. His fourth studio album, Never Land II releases on September 17. 2021 and he’s already recording more new songs. He describes It Could Be Worse, as a hard-hitting rap record that’s straight hip-hop. It’s like an adrenaline shot!

Watch the official MPJ Freestyle music video available now on YouTube and peep the reveal of the album cover and tracklisting below! Stream It Could Be Worse, here. MPJ Freestyle is available here.

About Andy Mineo

New York native Andy Mineo, is a hip hop recording artist known for his reflective lyricism. His sophomore album, Uncomfortable, became the No. 1 Independent Record in the Country and delivered a No. 3 and No. 10 position on Billboard’s Hip Hop and Top 200 album charts, respectively. Mineo headlined The Uncomfortable Tour, a 52 city tour, which sold out at legendary venues across America and in Europe. He has appeared on Sirius XM’s Sway In The Morning, MTV, and his colossal hit, You Can’t Stop Me, won an ESPN Whammy Award for MLB’s Top Walk Up song. Andy is also a content creator. He scripts, directs, and produces many of his own music videos. He also created a 3-season web series on YouTube called Saturday Morning Car-Tunez, which garnered over 1 Million views and gave fans a glimpse into his creative process and personal life. Beyond the critical adulation, he is a born communicator with a comedic timing who has become a social media juggernaut with an audience of over 1.2 million and growing.

About Reach Records

Reach Records is an Atlanta based independent hip-hop label founded in 2004 by Lecrae and Ben Washer. Long before acclaim, awards, plaques, chart positioning, and radio play, the two started the label because they both love hip-hop and Jesus. Reach Records was launched with no strategy, no funds, no big players, but they made big moves! Today Reach Records is a trailblazing label with a roster of nearly 10 artists and a staff of 20 who are unashamed about sharing their faith and passionate about hip-hop. Reach Records is committed to building a movement that combines faith with music and popular culture.

Follow Andy Mineo via Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook

illustration by Mina Tocalini for use by 360 Magazine

The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles Announces Naomi Strongin as Vice President

The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles (The Foundation) today announced the promotion of Naomi Strongin to vice president of its Center for Designed Philanthropy (the Center).  A 12-year veteran of The Foundation, Strongin had most recently served as the Center’s acting director.

In her new position, Strongin will oversee a portfolio of responsibilities that include developing and implementing Jewish and general community grant programs, providing capacity-building support to nonprofit organizations, advising and educating Foundation donors on effective charitable giving strategies, and managing grantmaking for major Foundation fund holders. She will lead a Center team which advances strategic, high-impact philanthropy that improves lives and strengthens society in the Los Angeles Jewish community, community-at-large, and in Israel.

Established more than a decade ago by The Foundation–the largest manager of charitable assets for local Jewish philanthropists–the Center helps donors create more meaningful and effective giving strategies to enhance the impact of their philanthropy.  

Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer Marvin I. Schotland stated: “We are pleased to welcome Naomi as a member of our senior management team. During her tenure at The Foundation, she has distinguished herself in positions of increasing responsibility on both grantmaking and donor-advisory sides of the Center. Naomi is an outstanding leader and manager and this promotion is well-deserved recognition of her exceptional contributions over the past decade-plus. Additionally, her thoughtful approach to strategic philanthropy will help our family of donors better achieve their charitable goals and make meaningful investments in the community.”

Strongin joined The Foundation in 2009 with a background in direct social services and fundraising. As a program officer, senior program officer, and associate director of the Center, Strongin has directly managed The Foundation’s institutional grants programs, including its Cutting Edge, General Community, Israel, and Capital initiatives. She also was integrally involved in leading The Foundation’s response to the pandemic as well as its Racial Equity grantmaking in 2020-2021, spearheading its COVID-19 Response Grants and Reimagine Grants programs that provided nearly $12 million in support to approximately 100 nonprofits for pressing and long-term needs. She possesses extensive experience and expertise that includes developing charitable mission and vision statements, providing philanthropic guidance to multigenerational families, and giving interest-area issues such as early childhood development, economic development in Israel, and the Jewish nonprofit landscape in Los Angeles, among others. Strongin earned her master’s degree in social work with a concentration in community organizing, planning and administration from the University of Southern California, and her bachelor of arts in human development from U.C. San Diego. She is a certified 21/64 philanthropic advisor.

About The Jewish Community Foundation

Established in 1954, the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles manages charitable assets of more than $1.4 billion entrusted to it by over 1,300 families and ranks among the 10 largest Los Angeles foundations. It partners with donors to shape meaningful philanthropic strategies, magnify the impact of their giving, and build enduring charitable legacies. In 2020, The Foundation and its donors distributed $116 million to 2,700 nonprofits with programs that span the range of philanthropic giving. Over the past 12 years, it has distributed more than $1 billion to thousands of nonprofits across a diverse spectrum.

Mental via 360 Magazine for use by 360 Magazine

Interview with Radhia Gleis

By: Skyler Johnson

From Jonestown to the Manson Family, we as a society have been obsessed with the inner workings of cults. Every few years a new documentary explores the secret lives of a society of people much different than ours. But it’s not very often that you meet someone that doesn’t just explore what crimes a cult committed, but how a cult is formed. This is what Radhia Gleis, an ex-member of the Buddhafield Cult, attempted to do in her most recent book: The Followers, Holy Hell and the Disciples of Narcissistic Leaders. I got the privilege to interview Gleis about the book and her experiences. 

Can you tell us a little about the Buddhafield cult and how you became involved with them?

That is a complicated story, and although the documentary Holy Hell shows the frightening transformation of a beautiful little spiritual community into an abusive cult, the details of this thirty-year journey cannot be told in a hundred minutes, like I can in the book. Like the frog in warm water that slowly comes to a boil, it took twenty years for the teacher to develop into the narcissistic sociopath he eventually became.

My journey started back when I was in Catholic school. I was inspired by the stories of the Catholic saints and their transcendental experiences of the Divine. I took a comparative religions class in ninth grade. We were studying Hinduism when we came across a word in italics: Nirvana! I asked the teacher what this word meant. He said, “Some yogis in India, through a certain practice of meditation, experience God directly.” “Is that true?” I asked. “Apparently!” he replied. And from that time on I spent another twelve to fourteen years looking for Nirvana.

I never came across anyone who said that they experienced God directly until I met the leader, Jaime, and the group, who were practicing these kinds of meditation techniques, referred to as “The Knowledge.” The name Buddha-field has little or nothing to do with Buddha or Buddhism. It was just a nickname we called ourselves. We were closer to Hinduism, although we studied Buddhism, Hinduism, Sufism, and Christian Mysticism. Originally that was what the Buddha-field was about—practicing and staying devoted to that meditation practice and a simple life of service and devotion.

In the beginning Jaime’s sharing was always about the “Knowledge.” This ancient technique was introduced to the West by Prem Pal Rawat ji, AKA Maharaji. Jaime was never a disciple of Maharajji; he lied and conned a Premi (one of Maharajji’s followers) into giving him the techniques. Later, when it looked like his guru gig was taking off, Jaime changed the name from the “Knowledge” to the “Knowing” to claim it as his own.  Originally, he used to say, “Connect to God’s love,” but it did not take long before our sycophantic adoration of him fed his narcissism to the point of creating a malignant narcissist, and suddenly the narrative became “Connect to MY love.” 

What do you believe separates a religious movement from a cult?

Chapter 16 of The Followers, entitled “What is a Cult? It’s Complicated,” analyses the definition of a cult. It’s one of my favorite chapters. Certainly one of the more irreverent and humorous. My conclusion is, I’m not sure there is a separation. Or at least they have a great deal in common. One characteristic both share is the opposition to a Socratic method of teaching—a form of cooperative argumentative dialogue between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to draw out ideas and underlying presuppositions, to come to your own conclusions. Most religions regardless of their size are the opposite—non-Socratic. They’re more authoritarian and didactic or patronizing. Whether the group’s origin is based on a historical archetype such as Jesus of Nazareth, Buddha, Mohammed, or L. Ron Hubbard for that matter, the ideology is used in many cases as a form of control and to establish order over a society (large or small). The ideology and its history of origin is usually interlaced with fantastic stories and myths applied to abstract notions of God that enlarge the premise, making it difficult to dispute.

If it’s a newly established philosophy from an individual, such as L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, or Keith Allen Raniere, founder of NXIVM, a multi-level marketing company and cult, the leader develops an exclusive and unique doctrine or dogma that suits the followers’ needs or desires at that place and time. The leader—usually male, usually white—creates, polishes, and purveys the doctrine to use as a tool for their own narcissistic supply. Some leaders rely on an established theme or a variation on a traditional theme, such as Christianity and the Bible. Jaime adapted his creed from mostly Hindu teachings, practices, and texts, then twisted it to make it his own to elevate his status. All social, political, or religious societies can be vulnerable to corruption. Power corrupts, and when we give anyone—a religious teacher, a boss, a CEO of a corporation, a political leader—too much power, it perverts the soul and feeds the narcissistic tendency in all of us.

Do you blame the government for not being able to prosecute leader Jaime Gomez, also known as The Teacher?

I never thought of blaming anyone, other than myself for not following my instincts and the other members of the group for not having the courage to come forward with the truth about what was happening behind closed doors. And I still don’t blame them; I understand why.  It’s complicated, and that is what the book is about. Why do we do the things we do? What makes people give up their will, their sense of right and wrong—give up their moral compass and family ties for a person or an ideal?

 As I said throughout the book, it was a collective deception. If one were to expect the government to step in, where does that stop? Step into what? Most of us had no idea the abuse was happening, and we had no proof or witnesses coming forward. We were all adults. The old saying, “One man’s religion is another man’s cult” applies. And we must be careful of using words like brainwashed.

The definition of brainwashing is the process of pressuring someone into adopting radically different beliefs by using systematic and often forcible means. By that strict definition we weren’t brainwashed. We didn’t adopt radically different beliefs. Most of us were already on the path of beliefs Jaime “taught” before we even met him. And we were not physically forced, like prisoners of war. This is the common mistake when we say that someone is “brainwashed,” that takes the responsibility away from them as enablers.

I heard someone on a podcast discussing Holy Hell. She said, “…and what’s with that Radhia woman? She seems like she wouldn’t take shit from anyone.” We were following the Eastern religious practice of master-disciple relationship. And I signed on to that at the time. The “shit” that I was taking from Jaime was part of the discipline. The ego is the identity of self, and I believed you could not be one with God if there was a “you.” If there is a “you” and God, by the very nature of that duality, there is a separation. That’s why I never believed I was being coerced. I was a conscious and willing participant. I was eager to let someone challenge my ego in order to overcome that ego. Willing to override my instincts and insert myself into the practice whole-heartedly as part of the discipline. What a perfect scenario for a malignant narcissist to take advantage of! But I was exercising my beliefs at the time and would have been very pissed off if the “government” came in, having no understanding of my choices, and tried to take that away.

Do you believe there should be more restrictions on cult activity in the United States and abroad?

Everything is relative and should be handled on a case-by-case basis. We have laws to deal with child abuse, sexual abuse, kidnapping, and so on—whether committed in the context of a cult, a family, a traditional religion, or among strangers. Groups we may identify as cults are not by definition abusive or criminal. The general tenet of the Buddha-field was to live a healthy, virtuous life, practicing meditation techniques, exercising unconditional love and selfless service. We were a cult of love, and we weren’t harming anyone or imposing our beliefs on anyone outside our community. And had it not been for a narcissistic leader taking advantage of our innocence, we would still be living that life in that idealistic community. But if you’re a cult of hate and division, advocate violence or show potential to do harm, or attempt to force your beliefs on others, then yes; restrictions would be appropriate.

What types of people tend to get involved in cults?

In the third section of my book, I talk about several types of people who join cults. Except for sociopaths, I believe most human beings have a conscience that dictates a line in the sand that they will not cross. A place in their soul where their moral compass finally takes the wheel and says, Stop—no more. But that line is usually preceded by little gray lines that we step over before we reach that point. From my observations, I’ve identified three basic types of people who join a cult: the hummingbirds, soldiers on a mission, and the kamikazes.

Hummingbirds are browsers. They are like looky-loos, fluttering through the fanciful world of spiritual communities. They circle around the perimeter, not ready to commit fully, but if it looks interesting, they will hang around for a time. They don’t know what they want, exactly, but they are not satisfied with what they have. They are searching for a place to belong. They will hop over a few gray lines, but when the going gets tough—they’re out.

The second category of people who join cults, after hummingbirds, is a little more complex. I call these people “soldiers on a mission.” I admit I fit more into this box than the others. This group is for those who know what they’re looking for and they are willing to step over a lot of gray lines to get it. For fourteen years prior to meeting the leader and members of the group, I was on a mission to experience God Realization, Nirvana. And when I found someone who claimed he experienced that and could show me the way—I was all in. I was willing to do the hard work and jump over a lot more gray lines to reach my goal of enlightenment.

The third type of people who join cults are the kamikazes. They don’t seem to have a final line in the sand. They come to the abyss of reality and jump off. They can range from benign people who will follow their leader to the bitter end, regardless of facts or morals, to dangerous, destructive, blindly obedient devotees who will kill or die for the leader. Examples of the latter include the followers of Charles Manson; Timothy McVeigh and other domestic terrorists; or those willing to commit suicide at the behest of the leader, such as followers of Jim Jones or the Heaven’s Gate UFO cult; ISIS suicide bombers; or Japanese kamikazes.  

What types of people tend to create cults?

It would seem to me that one would have to be pretty impressed with themself to deliberately create a cult. That type of person would be your quintessential narcissist. It’s one thing to have a prayer or meditation group, a club or gathering of people who share ideas in a Socratic format.  And sometimes it requires a board or organizers or even instructors or teachers. But when one person takes on a leadership role and is allowed to adopt a non-Socratic influence over a group, that has all the makings of a dangerous escalation of corruption and abuse.

It’s important to understand that the narcissist and the followers have a feedback loop. Together they operate on a constantly reinforced message of perceived “specialness.” Narcissism demands to be fed; and when fed it grows, eventually subsuming followers in a toxic tidal wave that forces them to sink or swim for freedom.  It is up to us to recognize and protect ourselves by avoiding the narcissist wherever possible; withdrawing our fealty; or starving their insatiable appetite for self-aggrandizement. We must not expect or wait for them to change. They never will; and the more we feed them and let them get away with it, the more dangerous and powerful they become. 

Do you believe there are cults that don’t get the media attention they deserve?

I don’t know offhand which cults should get more or less attention because I’m not a part of them, so I don’t know their story. When you say “media,” what type are you referring to? The media landscape today is not the same as the media of yesteryear. Much of media business models are about sponsors and ratings, rather than straight journalism that presents factual news or in-depth investigations. They wrap information in partisan pundit opinions and shovel a mixture of selected facts, lies, and biased appraisals into a mini horror series in order to scare the bejesus out of us, because—that’s what sells.

And then there’s the Frankenstein of the internet. The amount of traffic to mainstream social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and YouTube has exploded since 2017. We find comfort in echo chambers provided by media and in social viewpoints that reflect what we already have been indoctrinated to think because it’s easier and more comfortable than taking in new information, especially if it conflicts with our preconceived notions.

In many cases social media is a rogue thought machine, with little or no filters, editors, or fact checkers. There are hardly any rules or decorum in this mock-journalism today. It’s a free-for-all. And social network platforms do not judge your beliefs. There is limited personal discernment, just algorithms designed to target your interests; so, if you’re posting or commenting on a topic, the platform’s algorithm will gladly send you more and connect you to other like-minded users to interject their latest toxins. Social media can have its advantages when trying to bring awareness, but it can also have a dark side—a recipe for abuse and exploitation.

Very often the complexities of a person or a group of people’s lives can end up as sound bites—fodder for the public’s entertainment and media profit. That’s why I wrote this book. As good as the documentary Holy Hell was, it was snippets out of thirty years of the lives of 150 individuals, each having their own experience. Don’t get me wrong, Will Allen, the filmmaker, did an amazing job telling the story. And the film opened up this important conversation. But when you put a person’s life in soundbites and leave the rest up to the viewer—strangers looking for entertainment at the expense of that person’s very personal, painful trauma—that’s the price you pay when it is put in the hands of the media. So to answer your question, I think it all depends on what media is telling the story and how thorough and sensitive the journalist or pundit is to the situation.

 Do you think the media tends to help or hurt cult activities?

I got a call from a friend one day who said she was driving in her car and heard two people talking on a podcast about me! It’s the weirdest experience to have perfect strangers talk about you on a public forum. I heard another podcast talking about Holy Hell. These two commentators saw the film and they were enthralled, giddy, like two mean girls in high school gossiping and judging about something they knew nothing about. I had to laugh because I get it. All they had was the snippets to make their conclusions and present their case to the court of public opinion. One woman on a podcast opened her episode with a caution to her listeners that Holy Hell was a “disturbing horror story and the leader was literally a hideous monster, and we were all stupid, brainwashed, sex slaves.” Whaaaat?

I will say, those podcasters inspired me to clarify what they thought they saw in the film. But if you don’t happen to have two and a half years and a lot of money to publish a book, the subjects in question are left with an indelible, distorted, and obscure impression of who they are talking about. Whether it hurts or helps—that’s a complicated proposition. Because it’s such a wild, wild West on the internet, and anyone can produce a podcast, YouTube channel, or social network—so we shouldn’t be surprised there are a lot of unprofessional “media” personalities out there, voicing their unqualified opinion. Cults are complicated, dangerous, and traumatizing—no one needs their kind of help. And it takes courage and confidence to tangle with the media.

What can we expect in your new book: The Followers: “Holy Hell” and the Disciples of Narcissistic Leaders: How My Years in a Notorious Cult Parallel Today’s Cultural Mania?

Expect a wild ride. I see so many people in a state of dis-ease, confused, frightened, and overwhelmed by what is happening in America and around the world today. And because of my twenty-five years’ experience in a cult, under the influence of a narcissistic leader, I get it on such a deep level. And like I do in my wellness practice, I conducted extensive research for The Followers from a myriad of scholastic books, articles, journals, and periodicals, but unless you’re a researcher or have a vested interest in this subject, who has time to slog through the academic material? Nobody! Except me. That’s sort of my schtick. I read, studied, digested all that material for you. But I knew if I were going to shine some light on the complexities of our present situation, I had to make it personal, humorous, raw, and entertaining as well as provocative. 

I definitely open the kimono, so to speak, in this book. I knew if I wasn’t real and honest, the reader wouldn’t trust me. Although the archival footage in the documentary Holy Hell on Amazon gives you real footage of the inside of the cult, the story is so much bigger than a 100-minute documentary could tell. I invite the reader to take a journey with me down the road of my life in the safety and comfort of their home, in hopes that they will learn from my experience and not have to take the same road. I have lived an extraordinary life. I’ve done things that most people can’t even imagine. On this journey you might laugh, you might cry, you might get angry, or you might find relief that you’re not alone. I invite you to go all the way to the end with me, even if you find some discomfort along the way. In my life I chose the road less traveled. I spent sixty-plus years in contemplative practice, and at the end of this book I promise I won’t leave you without some pearls from my experience to help you navigate this crazy world. The book The Followers, Holy Hell and the Disciples of Narcissistic Leaders is not a story about me per se, or some broken, gullible individuals, or the past; it’s a story about what’s happening todayto all of us. 

The book is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble but if you don’t like or have time to read, it’s also on Audible in my voice.

LGBT flag illustration by Symara Wilson for 360 Magazine

Netflix’s Pray Away Reveals Horrors of Conversion Therapy

By: Skyler Johnson

Edited By: Andrew Shibuya

Conversion therapy, or the pseudoscientific practice of changing someone’s sexual orientation, has been considered and practiced for over a century now. Dubious to many of its’ creators’ contemporaries, conversion therapy’s capacity for change has long been contested and considered futile. The practice itself is scientifically baseless and detrimental, and what is essentially man’s foolish and ineffectual attempt to change human nature. In recent Netflix documentary Pray Away, the effects and harms of this “therapy” are explored and uncovered throughout investigation of its century-long practice.

Pray Away follows ex-leaders and survivors of the “pray the gay away” movement, focusing on Exodus International, a conversion therapy organization that only ended eight years ago in 2013. The film follows several people as they detail their horrific experiences and the consequences of their both voluntary and involuntary participation in the practice.

Conversion therapy was publicly started in the 1890s, when Albert von Schrenck-Notzing stated in a conference that he was able to turn a gay man straight through hypnosis. Decades later, Eugen Steinach would later transplant the testicles of a straight man onto a gay man to “cure” homosexuality. Lobotomies, chemical castration, and aversion therapies became popular as “therapeutic” techniques. This lasted throughout the earlier half of the 20th century into the 1960s and 1970s, during the rise of the LGBT Rights Movement, when psychiatrists began to shy away from the practice. In 1973 the APA removed homosexuality from the DSM. Unfortunately, conversion therapy did not stop but was instead utilized by faith-based groups, including Exodus International.    

Talk therapy now makes up the bulk of all current conversion therapy procedures. While this may seem a lot less intimidating, the effects of this talk therapy can be powerful, especially when utilized by the wrong people. The film exposed how many ex-gay leaders weren’t licensed professionals, and how, if they believed someone were gay, it was because they had a poor relationship with their parents. And if not, they must have been sexually abused even if they were unable to recall any abuse. To a lot of young people, this thought process made sense, as many were too young to truly understand its flaws.

The film also displayed how the people involved in this movement were dishonest about the “progress” they were making. They included the story of John Paulk, once claiming to have become a straight man through the therapy. John later admits that the entire time he was consumed with gay thoughts and was mendacious about his reformation.

The documentary exhibited that there are a lot of people that still hold their beliefs. Organizations still exist that enforce conversion therapy. It’s not a thing of the past. This was highlighted by the film’s portrayal of the leader of the Freedom March, Jeffrey McCall, an ex-transgender woman living as a man with the belief that being trans is a sin. The organization’s Facebook page now has 10,000 followers and is still growing.

While the film primarily covers people that were able to escape the movement and live better lives, there remains great struggle that many people experience. The film’s director, Kristine Stolakis, decided to make Pray Away when her uncle, who had gone through conversion therapy, committed suicide. Julie Rodgers talked about self-harm, which is something that’s incredibly common, most notably in people who have undergone conversion therapy. Participants have been 8.4x more likely to commit suicide and 5.9x more likely to undergo severe depression. It’s also been connected deeply to an overall sense of hopelessness and an increase in self-hatred.

Conversion therapy is a practice that causes pain for the many people that were subjected to it. But the film did also evince that there is, at least somewhat, a way out. Many of the film’s subjects were able to enter into healthy homosexual relationships. On the film’s website, they list a variety of resources for those anguished by conversion therapy. These can be found HERE.

Tara Reid Image provided by Jennifer Gulley and Full Scale Media for use by 360 MAGAZINE.

Tara Reid Opens Up

Tara Reid burst onto the scene as the flawless blue-eyed babe of the iconic 1999 camp comedy American Pie, a Fast Times at Ridgemont High for twenty-something Gen-Xers and precocious Millennials. Her flawless all-American looks led to films from cult favorite The Big Lebowski, to Urban Legend, Van Wilder, Josie and the Pussycats, Dr. T & the Women and My Boss’s Daughter. She starred and held her own alongside Ryan Reynolds, Ashton Kutcher, Rosario Dawson, Kate Hudson, Richard Gere and other movie heavyweights.

And then… something happened. Reid was young, stunning and famous; and the media began taking more of an interest in her after-hours role as Hollywood’s resident party girl.

A painful public breakup with then-fiancé Carson Daly and a bout with botched plastic surgery further spun Reid’s public narrative out of control. She recently told E! news, “They almost make a cartoon character out of you, and they keep going with it,” referring to the rampant tabloid journalism of the 2000s.

The experience sent Reid reeling, and into a self-imposed exile where she learned to reflect, regroup, and re-emerge focused on her craft, and with a healthy sense of humor as she displays in her willingness to embrace the camp genre with the Sharknado film series. In addition to working in front of the camera, she’s added film producer to her resume, with an upcoming slate of releases under her production banner, Hi Happy Films.

The following are excerpts from internationally syndicated columnist Allison Kugel’s latest interview, featuring Tara Reid. The interview is available for re-publication in its entirety, or in select quotable excerpts.

On working with the late DMX on his last film:
“It’s a movie called Doggmen. It’s his last film and it was really interesting, because he didn’t get to finish the whole film. They had to do what they did with Paul Walker (in his last Fast & Furious role). They make these facial sculptures and they put it on a face, and it looks exactly like him. It’s crazy. The last couple of scenes that he has to film, that will be what they are doing. It’s incredible and it looks so real. So, that is how they are going to film his last scenes, and I’ll be in those scenes with him. I think everyone was absolutely broken by DMX’s [death].  He wasn’t just a great rapper, but he was a poet. I think he was one of the best rappers of our time, and this movie explains that. The last person that really did that was Tupac. I think it will be a great film. He’s a great actor, he’s a voice, and that mattered a lot to him. I think he will be really happy about how this movie comes out and looks. It’s DMX, and just to be a part of that history with him is pretty much incredible.”

On forgiving the tabloid media for how they treated her in the past:
“I didn’t [for a long time], and I was upset about it when I was younger. But I realized the only way I was going to grow and get out of that situation was to grow as a woman. So therefore, I do forgive them now. I have moved on, and my press has changed. I’m not angry about it anymore. When you finally let something go, it goes. It’s like taking a balloon and putting it up in the air, and it’s gone. I’m 45 years old and I’m not a child anymore. I’m not the little girl from American Pie.”

On one historical event she would love to witness if she could time travel:
“I wouldn’t want to change anything, but if I were to go back in time to a historical event that was fun, I would have loved to have been Marilyn Monroe singing “Happy Birthday” to the president [John F. Kennedy] (laugh). It was such a legendary moment.”

On freezing her eggs for a maybe baby:
“Will I have kids?  Let’s see what is in store for me. It’s not a no, and it’s not a yes. I have gotten my eggs frozen so there is definitely the potential of that. If it is meant to be, it will happen. If not, I’m very comfortable where I’m at.”

How prayer and listening to Deepak Chopra changed her life:
“I do pray, and who I pray to depends on what situation I am in. I pray to Jesus, but I also pray to my parents all the time. They are probably my number one. And I pray to my guardian angels; I pray to St. Jude, St. John, or St. Christopher. They have different meanings depending upon what you are in need of. I also listen to tapes by Deepak Chopra which has helped me tremendously. His tapes help you break down, ‘Who am I close to? Who am I? What do I want? What do I not want?’ And you really have to write it out in a diary form. My life started changing. A lot of us don’t know how to direct that positive energy, and I think that he is someone that really knows how to give that to you.”

Art by Mina Tocalini for use by 360 Magazine

YouTube’s Most Popular Rabbi

World-Renowned Author Manis Friedman Turns to Technology to Help People Rediscover Balance, Becomes YouTube’s Favorite Rabbi

Way before anyone has even thought about the concept of social media, Rabbi Manis Friedman was already helping people rediscover balance, purpose and spirituality. A well-loved author, philosopher, counselor and lecturer, he is best known for his ability to clearly explain and combine age-old Torah wisdom with modern wit to captivate audiences around the world.

For those unfamiliar with him, Rabbi Friedman received his rabbinical ordination from Rabbinical College of Canada in 1969, he also a Biblical scholar and the author behind the acclaimed books “Doesn’t Anyone Blush Anymore?” and “The Joy of Intimacy”.  He founded Bais Chana Institute of Jewish Studies in Minnesota, the world’s first yeshiva exclusively for women back in 1971, and continues to serve the institution as its dean.

As times changed, he recognized that he also needed to change the way he reaches people. His first foray into the world wide web happened in 2005 when he created his website, It’s Good to Know,  which provides sound solutions to everyday problems stemming from relationships, marriage, intimacy, and grief among many others. As social media gained popularity and became more central in people’s lives, he saw the potential that YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin and podcasts hold in helping him bring everyone the wealth of wisdom that he has acquired from years of studying the scriptures.

Today, Rabbi Manis Friedman is known as “YouTube’s Most Popular Rabbi.” His channel, which has already surpassed 100,000 subscribers, allows him to bring the wisdom of Kabbalah closer to people and counsel them regardless of their religious affiliation.

“Ultimately, the goal is to reach the billions of people on the web and bring them closer to God; to bring healing and help people rediscover morality and balance,” he shares. “With everything that is happening in the world right now, it’s easy to find yourself feeling loss and losing balance, and along with it, losing your cherished relationships. You have the power to fix that, but you need to be open to learning.

Rabbi Friedman has made it his mission to help people improve their relationships and deepen their connection with God. He thanks technology for allowing him to do this despite the pandemic and even giving him a bigger platform to reach a wider audience.

To know more about Rabbi Friedman, you may visit the It’s Good to Know website or follow him on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin.

Victoria Selbach for UNRAVELED Confronting The Fabric of Fiber Art. For use by 360 Magazine

UNRAVELED: Confronting The Fabric of Fiber Art

A Group Show Curated by Indira Cesarine

OPENING RECEPTION: April 17, 2021

VIP Preview 1pm – 3pm // Opening Reception 3pm – 8pm

EXHIBITION ON VIEW: April 17 – May 28, 2021

45 Lispenard Street, NYC 10013

The Untitled Space is pleased to present “UNRAVELED: Confronting The Fabric of Fiber Art” group show opening on April 17 and on view through May 28, 2021. Curated by Indira Cesarine, the exhibition will feature textile and fiber-based artworks by 40 contemporary women artists. “UNRAVELED: Confronting The Fabric of Fiber Art” explores in depth the themes and techniques of the medium through the works of female-identifying artists working with natural and synthetic fiber, fabric, and yarn. The exhibition presents figurative and abstract works that address our lived experience and history through the lens of women weaving, knotting, twining, plaiting, coiling, pleating, lashing, and interlacing. Narratives of self-identification, race, religion, gen­­der, sexuality, our shared experience, as well as protest and the patriarchy are literally “unraveled” through embroidery, felt, woven and hooked rugs, braided and sewn hair, sewn fabrics, discarded clothing, cross-stitching, repurposed materials and more.

Exhibiting Artists: Amber Doe, Carol Scavotto, Caroline Wayne, Christy O’Connor, Daniela Puliti, Delaney Conner, Dominique Vitali, Elise Drake, Elizabeth Miller, Hera Haesoo Kim, Indira Cesarine, Jamia Weir, Jody MacDonald, Julia Brandão, Kathy Sirico, Katie Cercone, Katie Commodore, Katrina Majkut, Katy Itter, Kelly Boehmer, Linda Friedman Schmidt, Lisa Federici, Marianne Fairbanks, Mary Tooley Parker, Melanie Fischer, Melissa Zexter, Mychaelyn Michalec, Mz Icar, Orly Cogan, Robin Kang, Rosemary Meza-DesPlas, Ruta Naujalyte, Sally Hewett, Sarah Blanchette, Sooo-z Mastopietro, Sophie Boggis-Rolfe, Stacy Isenbarger, Stephanie Eche, Victoria Selbach, and Winnie van der Rijn.

Curatorial Statement:

unravel [ uhn-rav-uhl ] to separate or disentangle the threads of (a woven or knitted fabric, a rope, etc.). to free from complication or difficulty; make plain or clear; solve: to unravel a situation; to unravel a mystery.

“UNRAVELED: Confronting the Fabric of Fiber Art” investigates the narratives of contemporary fiber artists. The exhibition brings together a diverse group of artists who each address through their own personal vision, materials, and methods, works that are deeply rooted in the history of feminism, in the intersection of art and craft, addressing our living experiences and personal languages. We live in a world of extremes – on one hand, the pandemic has brought forth an intensity on digital and online programming peaking with the emergence of NFT art, and on the opposite end of the spectrum we are seeing a return to the comforts of the home and along with it a renaissance of organic and handmade artworks that embody that spirit. The laborious and repetitive methods required to create one work of fiber art can take hundreds of hours, yet equally the creation process is often referred to as a mediative act of healing, allowing for an expressive personal and cultural interrogation.

Fibers have been an integral part of human civilization for thousands of years. Textile art is one of the oldest art forms, dating back to prehistoric times. Despite early works of textiles such as embroideries and tapestries having been made by both men and women, the tradition of textiles and needlework evolved into that of “women’s work” and was not only dismissed as not “important” but was literally banned from the high art world by the Royal Academy in the 18th century (circa 1769). With the rise of the women’s movement as well as technological advances, women reclaimed the medium, subverted its history as a lesser art form, and transformed it into a tool of expression, of protest, of personality. From early suffrage movement embroidered banners to the groundbreaking exhibitions and works of female pioneers such as Bauhaus weaver Anni Alber’s momentous solo show at the Museum of Modern Art in 1949, Lenore Tawney’s exhibition at the Staten Island Museum in 1961 to Judy Chicago’s groundbreaking 1979 work “The Dinner Party”, we have seen the medium evolve and inspire new generations of fiber artists.

“UNRAVELED: Confronting the Fabric of Fiber Art” explores this new wave of female-identifying artists who are using materials ranging from thread and yarn to human hair, fabrics, and discarded clothing, among a range of other components to unravel the “language of thread” with works that provoke and interrogate. Whether drawn from a deeply personal narrative, or rooted in political motivation, each artist weaves, spins, sews, and hooks the viewer with their detailed and intricate textures that communicate and empower. The exhibition presents two and three-dimensional pieces that explore with gravity and humor our contemporary culture, its beauty, flaws, and idiosyncrasies through murals, assemblages, fragile and gestural threads, meditative, and metaphorical fibers. “UNRAVELED: Confronting the Fabric of Fiber Art” pushes the boundaries, investigates ancient as well as new materials and techniques, and presents a contemporary universe of the language of women and their interwoven, progressive vocabulary.”– Curator Indira Cesarine

“To know the history of embroidery is to know the history of women.” – Rozsika Parker author of “The Subversive Stitch” (1984)

“I am a multimedia artist who uses sculpture and performance to bear witness to the experiences of black women even as American society aims to render us and our lives as invisible and meaningless. Despite the prevalent “urban black” narrative, my experience is tied to the natural world, and I use materials that reference my desert environment and my lived experience as a black woman with Indigenous roots.” – Artist Amber Doe

“I mix subversion with flirtation, humor with power, and intimacy with frivolity. My subject matter is frank and provocative, dealing with issues of fertility, sexuality, self-image, isolation, vulnerability, indulgence, and beauty in the mundane, which are designed to challenge social stereotypes embedded within childhood fairytales. My work explores the many flavors of feminism.” – Artist Orly Cogan

“I pull from my autobiography to illustrate stories of trauma, sexuality, intimacy, and growth. Detailed beading and cyclical patterning emphasize the consistent labor in the repetitive motion of handsewing, that which mirrors the emotional and psychic labor expended in order to manage the suffering a body can accumulate over time. My sculptures translate the life experience of a survivor of complex trauma through the lens of glittering beadwork in order to recount deeply traumatic stories for the same cultural collective that due to repression, denial, censorship and deliberate silencing…” –Artist Caroline Wayne

“This body of work scrutinizes the amalgamation of victim shaming tropes that men and women are taught throughout their lives, both passively and actively, through social norms, pop culture, our educational and legal systems, religious establishments, and familial influences and upbringing.” – Artist Christy O’Connor

“My work focuses on my personal experience living within the confines of a female body, exploring sexuality, religion, and body image. The shared narratives of childbirth, menstruation, dysmorphia, sexual violation, and societal scrutiny all come into play and find connections with the viewers in their shared commonality.” – Artist Dominique Vitali

“My textile works are hand-sewn, fabric based sculptural pieces made from recycled materials that have multiple uses as ritual talismans, wearables, ecstatic birth blankets, dreamcatchers and traveling altars”. – Artist Katie Cercone

“Discarded clothing is my paint. I give second chances to the worn, the damaged, the mistreated, the abandoned, the unwanted, and to myself. My emotional narrative portraits and figurative artworks examine the human condition through my own lived experience. The violence of cutting and deconstruction make way for the reconstruction and refashioning of a broken past.” – Artist Linda Friedman Schmidt

“We are drawn to the grand gesture, the loud assured voice, the bold move, the aggressive brush stroke. I celebrate the opposite: the small moments in our lives – the unremarkable… as Covid-19 took over, some of the things I was celebrating became even more pertinent; toilet paper, soap, hand sanitizer. These objects became signs of hope, of safety, of comfort.” – Artist Melanie Fischer

ABOUT THE UNTITLED SPACE

The Untitled Space is an art gallery located in Tribeca, New York in a landmark building on Lispenard Street. Founded in 2015 by artist Indira Cesarine, the gallery features an ongoing curation of exhibits of emerging and established contemporary artists exploring conceptual framework and boundary-pushing ideology through mediums of painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, video and performance art. The gallery is committing to exploring new ideas vis-à-vis traditional and new mediums and highlights a program of women in art. Since launching The Untitled Space gallery, Cesarine has curated over 40 exhibitions and has exhibited artwork by more than 450 artists. Her curatorial for The Untitled Space includes solo shows for artists Sarah Maple, Rebecca Leveille, Alison Jackson, Fahren Feingold, Jessica Lichtenstein, Tom Smith, Loren Erdrich, Kat Toronto aka Miss Meatface, Katie Commodore, and Jeanette Hayes among many others. Notable group shows include “Art4Equality x Life, Liberty & The Pursuit of Happiness” public art exhibition and group show presented in collaboration with Save Art Space, “IRL: Investigating Reality,” “BODY BEAUTIFUL,” “SHE INSPIRES,” Special Projects “EDEN” and “(HOTEL) XX” at SPRING/BREAK Art Show, and internationally celebrated group shows “UPRISE/ANGRY WOMEN,” and “ONE YEAR OF RESISTANCE” responding to the political climate in America, as well as numerous other critically-acclaimed exhibitions. Recent press on Indira Cesarine & The Untitled Space includes Vogue (US), Vogue Italia, CNN, Forbes, Newsweek, W Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Teen Vogue, New York Magazine, i-D Magazine, Dazed and Confused, and The New York Times among many others.

*Featured image artwork by Victoria Selbach for UNRAVELED: Confronting The Fabric of Fiber Art. 

artwork by  Elise Drake, UNRAVELED Confronting The Fabric of Fiber Art. For use by 360 Magazine

Artwork by Elise Drake, UNRAVELED Confronting The Fabric of Fiber Art.

artwork by Indira Cesarine, for UNRAVELED Confronting The Fabric of Fiber Art. For use by 360 Magazine

Artwork by Mary Tooley Parker, UNRAVELED Confronting The Fabric of Fiber Art.

democrat, politics, tie, suit, blue, business

UMC Dismantling Racism

United Methodist Church leaders will launch a plan of action to galvanize church members and others to actively stand against racism in the wake of the death of George Floyd and protests across the U.S.

The “Dismantling Racism: Pressing on to Freedom” initiative is a multi-level effort throughout the church to initiate a sustained and coordinated effort to dismantle racism and promote collective action to work toward racial justice. The church-wide effort will kick off on June 19, 2020, to coincide with Juneteenth, the commemoration of the end of slavery in the U.S. An announcement from members of the United Methodist Council of Bishops will be broadcast at 11:00 am CT on UMC.org/EndRacism and Facebook.

Participating in the event will be Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey of the Louisiana Episcopal Area, president of the Council of Bishops and the first Hispanic woman to hold that post, Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi of the Pittsburgh Episcopal Area, Bishop Bruce Ough of the Dakotas-Minnesota Episcopal Area, Bishop Gregory Palmer of the Ohio West Episcopal Area, and Bishop Thomas Bickerton of the New York Episcopal Area.

“Words are great, words are important – but action is really important,” said Bishop Harvey. “Pick up your pen, pick up your voice, pick up your feet, and do something.”

A day of prayer and worship will follow on June 24, 2020, with an online service to be broadcast at noon CT on UMC.org/EndRacism and Facebook. There will also be a denominational virtual town hall event on July 1.

Regional and local worship events and town hall meetings involving community partners will subsequently take place, either online or in keeping with social distancing protocols.

United Methodist Communications has launched a national advertising campaign on social media and news websites across the U.S., as well as digital billboards in Atlanta, Minneapolis, Houston, and Louisville. The ads direct viewers to a website, UMC.org/EndRacism, where they can find resources to help them learn more and take action.

The United Methodist Council of Bishops has asked all United Methodists to join in prayer at 8:46 a.m. and p.m. for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the time the officer held his knee on George Floyd’s neck, for at least the next 30 days.

Advocacy and worship resources will seek to equip leaders, members, and the public to join in this important racial relations work. To encourage wide participation, a variety of materials will be made available in English, Korean, Spanish, French, and Portuguese translations.

The denomination has a long-standing history of advocating for justice. The Social Principlesof The United Methodist Church recognize racism as a sin and commit to challenging unjust systems of power and access. Additional information and resources are available online at UMC.org/EndRacism.

About The United Methodist Church

The United Methodist Church has more than 13 million members globally in 45,000+ local churches and is in mission in more than 136 countries. Our mission is making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Our tagline “Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors.” embraces who we are and how we seek to put our faith in action. Learn more at UMC.org.

360 Magazine, Justice, Protest

Poor People’s Campaign Digital Assembly

On June 20th Poor People’s Campaign digital mass assembly, people from more than 40 states suffering from poverty, COVID-19 & police brutality to tell their stories & demand moral agenda.

Poor and low-income people of every race, creed, color and sexuality from more than 40 states will demand change as they share stories of struggling through poverty and protests for racial justice at a historic digital assembly and march sponsored by The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.

Hundreds of mobilizing partners — including 14 national unions, 16 national religious denominations and dozens civil rights organizations — will join the campaign for the Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington.

The assembly and march will be aired at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, June 20, and at 6 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, June 21. It can be viewed at june2020.org, and MSNBC will livestream the entire event, as will other local and national media.

“When we began organizing the poor people’s assembly and march two years ago, we knew 140 million people — 43% of the nation were poor or low-income and that 700 people died each day — or 250,000 a year — from poverty,” said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of Repairers of the Breach and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign.

“We knew racist voter suppression was blocking voters from casting their ballot and blocking progressive policy decisions. We knew over 80 million people were uninsured or underinsured and millions were homeless and without clean water. And we knew that we had a war economy with a gross and unnecessary budget. We knew all of these realities are morally indefensible, constitutionally inconsistent and economically insane, undermining our national health. And then a pandemic hit and exposed the wounds of racism and poverty, and a lynching by police of a black man on camera poured salt in the wound, which makes our call for a moral fusion coalition of all people to address five interlocking injustices even the more relevant,” said Rev. Barber, a bishop and pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, North Carolina.

Former Vice President Al Gore and other young climate activists will introduce those testifying about the effect of ecological devastation on their lives.

Actors and activists such as Erika Alexander, Danny Glover, David Oyelowo, Jane Fonda, Wanda Sykes and Debra Messing will introduce testifiers and invite Americans and people around the world to tune in.

“The numbers of people suffering in this the richest nation in the world is already increasing and deepening as the effects of the pandemic, recession and racist and anti-poor policies continue to hurt poor and low-income people the hardest,” said Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, director of the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign.

“On June 20th, poor and impacted people will come together to tell the nation what it means to not have enough food to eat, to wonder how to keep a roof over your family’s head, and to have to choose between risking your life by going to work or staying at home and not getting paid. We will share the bold and visionary demands people are putting forth that can solve these grave injustices and the powerful and creative resistance of people organizing across the country. History shows that when those most impacted by injustice come together in a powerful movement, that this country can indeed change for the better. Those whose backs are against the wall are pushing this whole nation towards justice today.”

The campaign notes that the day’s focus will be on poor and low-income people who demand that their voices be heard. These people from 43 states — white farmers and coal miners standing with black women Latino meat packers, First Nation Apaches and Asian people — will tell the pain of their stories and demand a specific policy, moral budget and political agenda. That agenda includes a demand that the nation address the five interlocking injustices of systemic racism, systemic poverty, ecological devastation, the war economy and militarism and a distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism.

Among the impacted people who will speak are service workers from the Midwest who have worked through the pandemic without PP; families hurt by police brutality; a coal miner from Appalachia; mothers who have lost children due to lack of health care, residents of Cancer Alley in Louisiana, and an Apache elder who is petitioning the federal government to stop a corporation from destroying a sacred site in Arizona.

The assembly and march are being held in the wake of protests spurred by the death of George Floyd, who died on Memorial Day as a Minneapolis police officer held his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. His cry of “I can’t breathe” echoed that of Eric Garner, who died in 2014 when a New York City police officer put him in a chokehold. It followed those of Breonna Taylor, who was shot eight times by officers who invaded her apartment in Kentucky with a battering ram, and Ahmaud Arbery, who was killed by two white joggers who weren’t charged until a video emerged.

The campaign’s leaders decided at the end of March to hold a digital assembly and march because of the pandemic rather than gathering in person in Washington, D.C. Amidst protests that are happening in every state, this digital mass assembly presents an opportunity for all Americans to join together in a united call for justice from wherever they are.

FPWA × Poor People’s Campaign

FPWA’s chief executive officer and executive director, Jennifer Jones Austin, and Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, president of Repairers of the Breach and national co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, will hold a virtual rally on June 9 to bring attention to the campaign’s Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington, to be held online on June 20.

Rev. Barber and Ms. Austin will lead a conversation about why every American should participate in the assembly and march, which will be the largest digital and social media gathering of poor and low-wealth people, moral and religious leaders, advocates, and people of conscience in United States history. This gathering will bring together and raise the voices of the 140 million poor and low-income Americans.

Ms. Austin leads FPWA, whose mission it is to advocate for just public policies that promote the social and economic well-being of all New Yorkers. She is one of eight members on Mayor de Blasio’s Fair Policy Task Force to rebuild a fairer New York as the city restarts its economy by confronting the deep inequities that reach into every neighborhood.

FPWA is linking arms with the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival to ensure that as we emerge from the global pandemic, which is exposing even more of the already existing crisis of systemic racism and poverty, we rebuild with the aim of no longer managing poverty but instead, ending poverty across the nation. They will also address the current state of social unrest and political disenfranchisement in the wake of incidents across the country impacting the most vulnerable.

Who:

Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO and ED of FPWA Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of Repairers of the Breach and national co-chair of Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival

What:

Virtual rally and conversation in support of the Mass Poor People’s Assembly & Moral March on Washington

When:

11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. June 9