Baby Balls befriends some local leathermen.
Baby Balls ventures into the sewer system of Bogota, Colombia, where the city's crack-addicted children seek shelter from the paramilitary death squads prowling the streets.
Mixed Martial Arts’ rising star prepares for his next match.
While Nigeria's 401 scammers may have written the book on West African internet fraud, their shtick looks like Compuserve compared to what's going on in Ghana. Unsatisfied with the meager winnings from emailing thousands of random Westerners in hopes of convincing one poor sap they're the treasurer of the Ivory Coast, Ghana's scammers decided to stack the odds in their favor the old-fashioned way—witchcraft. Taking a page from cyberpunk, traditional West African Juju priests adapted their services to the needs of the information age and started leading down-on-their-luck internet scammers through strange and costly rituals designed to increase their powers of persuasion and make their emails irresistible to greedy Americans. And so "Sakawa" was born. Now not only is Sakawa Ghana's most popular youth activity and one of its biggest underground economies, it's a full-blown national phenomenon. Sakawa has its own tunes, clothing brands, Sakawasploitation flicks, and even a metastatic backlash from Christian preachers and the press. When we were in Accra over the summer it was impossible to walk more than 10 feet without seeing the word Sakawa in blood-red Misfits letters on a poster or tabloid, often accompanied by bone-chilling horrors of the photoshopped variety. The government is freaked out because Sakawa is threatening Ghana's business reputation, the Christians are freaked out because they're losing money to the Juju priests, the press is freaked out because being freaked out is what sells papers, and the public is freaked out because their government, preacher, and media are all telling them they should be. All the while the Sakawa boys are living the high life and racking up debts to the spirit world, just waiting for the axe to fall.
Christmas festivities vary widely around the world and are widely a steaming crock of boring shit. Oh, Swedish girls wear a crown of candles the night before Chistmas? Please tell me more about this scintillating national cust-snzzzZZZZZZZZZ. In the Peruvian Andes, folks know how to celebrate the season right. What they do is, they put on a colorful ski mask, dress up like Mad Max mountain bikers, tie a dead eagle to their heads, and get drunk and dance for about a week straight. Then, come Christmas morning, they all gather together in the middle of town and beat the baby bejesus out of each other. Now we're talking, right? The festival is called Takanakuy, and it's equal parts sporting event, indigenous display of hypermasculine defiance in the face of all the lily-white metropolitan sissies in Lima, and makeshift judicial system. The province of Chumbivilcas, where Takanakuy takes place, has about three cops total and is a stomach-wrecking 10-hour drive through the mountains to the nearest courthouse. So if you've got a beef with a neighbor or someone's taken your girl or your sheep, you don't go crying about it to some judge. You bury it away until Christmas, then get yourself all beered up and exact some Andean justice with your fists and feet. Guys, girls, little kids, old drunk men in high-waisted pants; everybody in town fights at Takanakuy. This year we decided to forego the annual family snooze fest and head into the mountains of Peru to test our mettle against some of the hardiest people from one of the harshest environments in the Americas. We hope you like it, since it broke our mothers' hearts.
From Boudica of the British Celts to Corporal Klinger, few things unsettle the male mind like a lady in arms. The Kurds of Northern Iraq have long recognized this principle and incorporated it into their quest to build a Kurdish homeland in the overlap between Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Syria. Fighting alongside their male comrades in a region not exactly known for its progressive stance on women's rights, the female Peshmerga guerillas of the Kurdish Liberation Movement built a reputation for themselves in the 70s and 80s as demure diaboliques with the deadly poise of Leila Khaled or Tania-era Patty Hearst. Having secured the northern third of Iraq for themselves in the aftermath of the first Gulf War, the Kurds have spent the last two decades divesting themselves of their guerilla jamjams, building up a stable and booming economy in their semi-autonomous little hamlet, and generally enjoying not being in the middle of the current Iraq War. Up in the hills abutting Iran and Turkey, however, the struggle for a Greater Kurdistan continues for boy and girl alike. The successors to Iraqi Kurdistan's old rebel militias are a milk-besodden Alphabits bowl of various Maoist, quasi-Maoist, and won't-say-they're-Maoist-but-come-on guerilla armies. You've got the PKK, the PJAK, the KCK—all of whom have slightly different tactics, territories, and ideologies but the same ultimate goal and, secretly, a lot of the same personnel. More importantly, they are all completely gender-equal, just like Mao wanted it. From the highest command to the lowest potato peeler to the ghillie-suited sniper on the front lines, dudes and dames do it the same. We picked the youngest of these new Kurdish guerilla groups, PJAK, the Free Life for Kurdistan party, and drove up to their outpost on the Iranian border to see how their female fighters are helping their people draft a definitive answer to the Kurdish Question that's vexed Middle-Eastern politics for the last century. And hopefully find an answer to our own Kurdish Question. Which is, What the fuck is the Kurdish Question?
Thomas goes to a revival in Arkansas to see how the holy spirit stacks up against secular temptations like drugs, movies, and sleeping in on Sunday.
Thomas tries not to lose his fingers working as a deckhand on a NYC tugboat.
Thomas joins a Muslim family in Michigan to fast for the holy month of Ramadan.
Bear Week is where all the heaviest, hairiest homos come to celebrate their heft.
Eskimos and Inuit of Alaska live in some of the harshest environments on Earth.
Thomas joins an enclave of new age seekers in So Cal in an effort to put his finger on the pulse of femininity.
The senior class of two Gary, Indiana high schools get ready to graduate. SENIORS!
The retirees of Hallandale, Florida's Lake Point Tower keep their golden years nice and busy. SENIORS!
Thomas meets Ralph Case, Trump's top volunteer in southern Ohio, and the band of Trump supporters he's mustered to get out the Trump vote.
Sheep and Cattleman Hank Voegler protects his flocks from the Nevada desert's two greatest predators: Coyotes and the Federal Government.
Two transwomen from the Bronx navigate the difficulties, rushes, and drag balls of transitioning in 2016, with the support of their newly assembled gay families.
The freshperson class of 2020 begins their first week of school at Beloit College.
Thomas attends an autopsy performed by a private Forensic Pathologist in Phoenix to find out what happens to your body when you bite the big one (death).
Thomas descends into the goth scene of suburban LA to see what's changed since he left it, many lugubrious teenage moons ago.
Thomas follows Zen Buddhist Tracey Ryan as he floats through the moneyed world of the New York art scene and builds a human rhizome of creativity, entrepreneurial largesse, and fun.
First Lady Michelle Obama recruits Thomas to join the interagency effort to end veteran homelessness, and bring one newly-homed vet to the White House. THE White House.