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Have a Little Faith in “Kumaré”

Have a Little Faith in “Kumaré” (photo)

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It’s a provocative question: what gives a spiritual leader any more holy than the rest of us? It was that question that prompted Vikram Gandhi to create his film “Kumaré” in which Gandhi plays a fictional religious guru named, yes, Kumaré. Disturbed by the commercialization of yoga in America and the proliferation of charlatans posing as holy men, Gandhi conceived a “Borat”-style performance art piece. He grew his hair and beard, threw on a fake Indian accent, and became Sri Kumaré, the leader of an imagined spiritual movement that preaches the same philosophy that Gandhi set out to prove with the film: that all of us are equally spiritual and don’t need a guru to tell us what to do. Gandhi and company decamped to Phoenix and installed themselves in the local yoga scene; before long, Kumaré was acquiring followers who were coming to him for guidance and advice.

“Kumaré” is a fascinating film. Sometimes it’s very funny; other times it’s downright troubling. Gandhi and his crew are perpetrating an enormous hoax on everyone and unlike the people Sacha Baron Cohen was punking in “Borat,” these aren’t racist bigots: they’re sweet-natured, emotionally damaged people who are just looking to improve their lives. That uncomfortable tension is very much present in the film, though. As Gandhi grows closer and closer to his disciples, he struggles with his secret and how to reveal it. In the end, Gandhi may end up proving the very beliefs he initially set out to debunk.

It’s a conversation starter, for sure. So we had lots to talk about when Gandhi and producer Bryan Carmel stopped by the Crossroads House for a chat. We dove into these issues, as well as some of the technical challenges of maintaining the Kumaré facade. And then at the end, they slapped a temporary tattoo on me which still hasn’t washed off. Maybe the guy has spiritual powers after all.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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