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Mind Blowing Movies: Inserts (1974)

[Video Link] Inserts could never be made today. It's too politically incorrect, and it would be difficult to find talented actors and actresses to essay its mentally and (in a sense) physically demanding roles. However, I've just finished watching Inserts for what must be the 30th time, and I'm as big a fan of this movie today as I was when I first discovered it in 1979. I'm only hoping that this review inspires you to go out and rent this R-rated classic so you can form your own opinions, rather than relying on either mine… or Leonard Maltin's ("Pretentious, unending nonsense… Dreadful") or Mick Martin's ("Dreary").

Inserts is the story of two afternoon hours in the life of The Boy Wonder (hereafter "The BW") (Dreyfuss), a former mainstream silent film director who's lost his nerve, and who, as the film opens (in the early 1930s), is reduced to making porno movies in his mansion. The Boy Wonder's "set" is in the corner of his spacious living room … but it may not be there for long. His neighborhood is undergoing urban renewal, as Los Angeles begins to build the first of its maze of freeways, and the roar of giant earth-moving machines can be heard continually from outside. It's obvious from his constant swigging of cognac that The BW has completely lost respect for himself, but his porn career provides a manageable balance between his fear of working in "the real movies" and his need to be behind the camera, directing something

His star is Harlene (Cartwright), an ex-mainstream actress who used to "pork [Von Stroheim] plenty when he was straight." Now, she's a waitress by day and a cocaine addict in her off-hours… and The BW's sort-of girlfriend, even though, we soon find out, he's psychically impotent.

The Boy Wonder's backer is Big Mac (Hoskins), an obvious parody of the Louis B. Mayer/Jack Warner cliché. Mac is a stereotypical Hollywood producer with fingers in many pies. He already has plans to build a series of identical gas stations and hamburger joints along the new "fastways," expecting motorists to be so confused, they'll just drive up and throw their money out, not knowing whether they'll receive food or fuel. (Yes, I know you're groaning at the obvious McDonald's reference, but the characters themselves are oblivious to it. The milieu is the early '30s, and "fast food" is not yet a cultural icon.)

Next to arrive is Steven Davies as Rex "The Wonder Dog," a gravedigger by profession who picks up a few extra bucks as a porn stud once the digging's done. He's the lowbrow type who never quite understands what's asked of him, either on or off camera. For instance, when The Boy Wonder tries to set up a scene using Rex's ascot as a murder weapon, he instructs, "Why deliver a crude blow to her face when the means are at hand for you to render your vengeance through the very instrument of your anguish … the very vehicle of her ridicule?" -- and he’s met with Rex's blank expression, till The BW finally explodes with, "The ascot, Rex; strangle her with the fucking ascot, you orangutan." 

In the midst of filming Big Mac shows up with his girlfriend, Cathy Cake (Harper) -- and the problems begin. For one thing, Mac's the paymaster, so he gives Rex his salary -- and Harlene a good-sized bag of cocaine, which she hurries upstairs to use. (As she's leaving, after failing to find her "lucky necktie," The Boy Wonder says, "You know, Harlene, you don't need that stuff." "You don't need it," she replies. "I do. I ain't got your 'magination.")

Almost needless to say, Harlene dies of an overdose -- this isn't a comedy -- but after a short pause (BW: "Will you let me think!"), The Boy Wonder decides he can use her anyway. Rex refuses (Rex: "You want me to do it with a stiff?!"), and Mac talks Rex into helping him bury the body in an unmarked grave. Mac's a little hesitant about leaving The Boy Wonder and Cathy alone, but then he laughs and tells Rex, "Don't you know about this guy? He couldn't get his rope to rise with a magic flute." 

Exit Mac, Rex and the corpse, leaving The Boy Wonder noodling at the piano, and Cathy looking not-exactly-innocent on the couch. She looks at him, he looks at her … and here's where the story really begins; a sort of drama which has been played out in the entertainment industry (and not just the adult part) since its beginnings. Their dialogue goes as follows:

Cathy: What did he mean by 'getting your rope to rise'? Do you do magic tricks?

BW: All but that one, Miss Cake.…

Cathy: Did you really want that boy Rex to do it with her when she was dead?

BW: Listen, Miss Cake…

Cathy: I think you meant it, all right. I bet you're not afraid of anything. Like what you were doing when we came in here. I never saw anything so intense in all my life. You didn't even know we were here. I bet you didn't even know what time it was. I bet you never think about things like that. I remember once when I was in college, I stayed up all night to write an essay. I didn't worry about what time it was once.

BW: Miss Cake, I'm going to have to ask you for silence now.…

Cathy: You're upset. She was a good friend of yours, wasn't she?

BW: Miss Cake…

Cathy: Why don't you call me Cathy?

Look, I know she was a good friend of yours and that you're upset. But I think maybe what's really bothering you is that you've got half a movie done and your leading lady is in the trunk of Big Mac's car. Isn't that really it? I mean, look, you can tell me, because I for one don't think you're out of your noodle particularly.

BW: That's a very kind thing for you to say.

Cathy: I don't know so much about your rope not rising and such either, because I've seen you work. I saw you when we came in. You may still be just a ghost story to this Clark Gable [who, though never seen, is periodically heard knocking on the mansion’s door], but I've seen you work. And while I was watching you, I thought about what he said about 'being good, but you could make him great.' Because, you know, I'm going to be in the movies. Big Mac's gonna put me in the movies.

BW: That's what he said.

Cathy: So he said. And he's going to, too; don't you worry about that.

BW: Do I look worried to you, Miss Cake?

Cathy: Don't get mad. I'm just trying to tell you, I think you're a genius. I've seen every movie you've ever made... like everybody else. And I want to be in the movies... like everybody else. Only I'm really going to be, because Big Mac thinks I'd be pretty hot stuff up there.

BW: So he said.

Cathy: So he said. Yeah, but the guy's a hamburger; you know it and I know it, so why should we kid ourselves?

BW: Why indeed?

Cathy: But he's not so dumb that he didn't offer you a six-picture contract when everybody else thought you were a ghost story. And you're not so dumb that you didn't take it — and I'm not so dumb as you think. So let's talk freely like two mature adults.

BW: By all means, let's. What's on your mind, toots?

Cathy: Well, I want you to make me great. I want you to teach me what are inserts…

BW: Watch your step, Miss Cake.

Cathy: Why?

BW: Because you're making me like you a little bit too fast.

Cathy: Why don't you call me Cathy?

BW: Why don't you take off your blouse?

[She does.]

BW: Okay. Okay, Miss Cake. Let's see exactly how far down into it we can get.

Cathy: Into what?

BW: Into the valley of indecency.

Cathy: Well, that's a pretty crummy way of looking at it.

BW: The trick, Miss Cake, is not to look at it at all, but simply limp to the edge of patience and watch yourself fall.

Look up here, please. [He adjusts some lights.] Hot, Miss Cake. Hot work.

Cathy: I can take it.

BW: I'm sure you can. But the day will come, Miss Cake, when you can't.

Cathy: Not for me.

BW: Perhaps not. But if you're any good, it will. And then, Miss Cake, you will be faced with the penultimate decision: Do you do the intelligent thing and bow out gracefully, or do you continue, against all that is holy, and make up your mind to vanish once and for all into the mists of self?

Cathy: I'll go on, no matter what. I want to be in the movies. I want to be a star.

BW: Oh -- you mean, you want to be both? Well, then, you'll be faced with the ultimate choice, won't you? You're going to have to pick someone to abuse. The person closest to you generally fits the bill, which, by then, Miss Cake, will be you…

Cathy: Do you mind my asking, what happened to you? I mean, what made you like this? You had a brilliant future.

BW: I fulfilled it, Miss Cake, at an early age. I'm The Boy Wonder; that's all that happened to me…

No, no, no -- unwrap the meat.

Cathy: "The meat"?

 [The BW tilts the camera down to her chest.]

Cathy: You're trying to offend me.

BW: On the contrary, Miss Cake, I never have to try this early in the game. Now, come on -- get the goods out; declassé les décolleté.

Cathy: Well, first, tell me what are inserts?

BW: Inserts, Miss Cake, are close-ups; garish interludes in the progress of the whole. Now, unwrap the meat.

Cathy: If these inserts are so garish, why do you bother?

BW: Because keeping the whole in perspective is quite a taxing little horror, Miss Cake. Unwrap the meat.

Cathy: You unwrap it.

BW: Let's not play games, Miss Cake; what do you say?

Cathy: I say you ought to take some pictures of my face first. After all, that's what they'll be photographing in the real movies.

BW: Perhaps so. Perhaps so -- but it's your meat they're going to be thinking about.…

Now, Miss Cake, here's the scene: You are being raped -- raped and strangled with a silken ascot. I'd like you to think about that; think about that, and act accordingly. It's that simple.

Cathy: What do you mean, 'act'? The camera isn't even on my face.

BW: Miss Cake, anybody could do this part with the camera on their face; anybody. That's where the challenge comes in, you see. You are being asked to express yourself through your tits, you see.

The above dialogue is merely a taste of some of the fine interaction between Dreyfuss and Harper as she alternates coy innocence with seduction, and he finds himself drawn deeper into her game -- and his "rope" regains the ability to "rise." Tough. Tender. Cynical. Insightful. Gritty. Inserts is all of these, plus it has a heavy undercurrent of social commentary, plus it gets further inside at least one unexplored corner of Hollywood -- the early porn "industry" -- than anyone has ever dared, before or since. How many actors and actresses, no matter what the genre, have already "picked someone to abuse"? And how many have made it obvious in the media that that person is themselves? Robert Downey, Jr. comes immediately to mind, as does John Belushi. How many actresses in the "real movies" must know, deep down inside, that what the audience is really interested in is their "meat"? Couldn't you name a dozen off the top of your head? 

And speaking of acting, consider this later exchange, which occurs after The Boy Wonder has shot some insert footage of Cathy with her blouse off, but she balks at going further:

BW: Oh, look; you said you want to be brilliant.

Cathy: You said I hadn't reached my peak.

BW: You hadn't.

Cathy: I was good. I was damn good and you know it.

BW: But you said you wanted to be great.

Cathy: They would have said I was great in the real movies.

BW: But you and I know that you aren't, don't we? Don't we?

Cathy: Yes.

BW: And you and I know you didn't even know what tits were till I told you what they were, don't we?

Cathy: Yes.

BW: And we know it's not a very mature, adult way, for you to go all resentful now, before we know what else you've got, don't we?

Cathy: Yes.

BW: Sure. Now lay back down on the bed. [pause] And you'll know when to go resentful on me, because it will be the first idea that you get that I don't give you -- and then you're going to hog it all for yourself.

Do you mind if I ask you a question, Miss Cake? This essay you stayed up all night to write, was it your own work?

Cathy: What are you talking about? Of course it was.

BW: You, Miss Cake, spent all night slaving over a composition of your own device? [laughs] Come on, Miss Cake --

Cathy: You don't believe me.

BW: Spending all of anything, Miss Cake, requires a bit of self-confidence.

Cathy: Okay; so maybe I did copy it out of a book. You think that makes me stupid or something?

BW: Not at all; merely a thief. Hey, look, the ability to steal from the thoughts of others is merely an indication of industry, Miss Cake. What passes for genius is when you have the ability to steal from your own.

Cathy: So --

BW: So if you want to reach your peak, you better be prepared to rob yourself blind…

Now, are you ready?

Cathy: Yup.

BW: Really? What are you going to do?

Cathy: Lie back on the bed.

BW: And do what?

Cathy: What I did before.

BW: Why?

Cathy: Because the [camera] wind ran out.

BW: No.

Cathy: Because I did it well?

BW: No.

Cathy: Why then?

BW: Because I would have told you if I wanted you to do something different -- and women, contrary to popular opinion, never know when to open their mouths, even to ask.

Inserts, despite its brushes with misogyny, is about filmmaking, about fear, about porn, about love, about art -- and there are so many life lessons to be learned from this film that it should be required viewing in any college media course... and maybe a few Human Sexuality courses as well. True, in some ways, the film is too realistic for some tender psyches, and there are short stretches where the only purpose is mood-setting, that some would call "boring." Few movies, however, have engendered such strong emotions in their viewers; they either love it or hate it -- but I have to wonder how much of the disparagement and defamation from which this film has suffered is due to its having succeeded in mirroring the real world… which, as most of us know, can be quite a taxing little horror.

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The Sacramento Electronic Music Festival is looking to be the best yet with a great lineup this year including ISO50 favorite and Ghostly label-mate Mux Mool and my good friend and collaborator Dusty Brown. If you’re anywhere near Sacto you owe it to yourself to make it out. This is always a really fun event and it’s being held for the first time at Harlow’s, my favorite venue out there. Details follow.

The 3rd Annual Sacramento Electronic Music Festival – May 3rd, 4th and 5th
Harlow’s & Momo Lounge in midtown Sacramento. 21 and over – Tickets

2012 Lineup:

Shlohmo, Mux Mool, Dusty Brown, Death Grips, Light Year, Lorn, Salva, B.Bravo, Starship Connection, Jantsen, Raleigh Montcrief, DJ Nobody, Dibiase, D.A.M.B, Giraffage, DJ Whores, Yalls, iNi, CrookOne, Doombird, Satellites, Favors, Melee Beats, Little Foxes, Tha Fruitbat, El Conductor, James & Evander, Dolor, Bad Looks, adoptahighway, Chachi Jones, Young Aundee, Paper Pistols, Ryan Lindow, Eames, thriftcar

More Info

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Photograph by _anna_ via Behance
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John Maus is a religion, you believe in it wholeheartedly or not at all. I think its the most honest pop out there thats pushing true boundaries.

I found this Cinnamon Chasers song on the ISO50 Blog room a few days ago, had the whole room full of animated characters dancing. A very simple song but bursting with drive and melody, I think i’ll keep this on my ipod if I ever need a pick me up.

This Jai Paul track has been everywhere, right away I love the whats happening with the fusion of high quality low end marrying a simple guitar line, its hard to make that sound right. Still not sold on Lenny Kravitz at times style vocals but the rest of the song overall makes up for it immensely.

Watching the end of the Silver & Light post that Charles did earlier had searching for the closing credit song, really wrapped the end up tightly without taking over. You can find the song on Vimeo’s new Music Store which i’m looking into and posting on later this week.

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The video for Get Got, from Sacramento hip hop crew Death Grips, does all it can to make you think that the we’ve come very close to the end of our tenure here on Earth. By matching lo-fi digital production with their apocalyptic soundscapes, they show that craftsmanship matters more than gloss.

“With video concepts, we generally discuss a certain feel and aesthetic/location that we are catching and start there,” says Death Grips drummer, Zach Hill. “There’s always heavy improvisation involved in the filming process and the videos really takes shape in the edit.”

Hill teams up with band members Andy Morin and Stefan Burnett to concept, direct and edit all the group’s videos. For Get Got the crew shot on location in San Francisco’s Chinatown and on the capitol steps in Sacramento.

“We liked the idea of symbolically holding the authorities (red and blue lights) in our own hands on their own front door,” says Hill. “We fully expected to ‘get got’ by the police on the capitol grounds while filming this one. They definitely saw us filming. We felt the surveillance, but majestically, they acted like they didn’t see it happening and turned a blind eye.”

Even though it was probably last year’s tape, Exmilitary, that got them a two-record deal with Epic, it’s got to be the constant stream of videos that shot their work all over the web.

They always shoot on cheap Canon video cameras and they’ve never made a video that costs more than $20. It works, and they even manage to throw in a few Bad Brains references with a lighting strike to the capitol building’s dome.

The work feels heavily influenced by GIF culture and equally glitchy internet visuals. The production is so far away from what we see every day from the plastic-looking DSLR video that Canon and Nikon has made so ubiquitous. Catching a new video from Death Grips becomes a refreshing reminder that motion and music can be represented together and still innovate without having to invest in a hi-def, cookie-cutter capture format.

Death Grips are certainly not the only music act working in this manner, but for the last year they’ve been consistently sticking with it. They’ve inspired us at Raw File to think a little differently about visual aesthetics, so we thought we’d share the love.

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As 2011 draws to a close, Framework looks back on an eventful, tumultuous year, documented by the photojournalists of the Los Angeles Times.

It was a year marked by the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan; the Arab Spring in North Africa and the Middle East, with rebel uprisings and hard-fought battles resulting in the fall of Egypt’s president, Hosni Mubarak, and the capture and death of Libya’s Moammar Kadafi; and the humanitarian crisis of continued famine in Africa.

2011 also saw the somber 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks of 2001; the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement; the royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in London and their subsequent Southland visit; and the involuntary manslaughter trial, conviction and sentencing of Michael Jackson’s personal physician.

Carmageddon in Los Angeles, anticipated with dire predictions of monumental gridlock, turned out to be not so disruptive after all.

Almost nine years after the invasion of Iraq, the war was declared officially over with the withdrawal of all U.S. combat troops and their return home — in time for the holidays, no less.

As always, the worlds of entertainment, sports and celebrity are part of the gallery, adding a light, colorful touch to a memorable year.

Enjoy the look back with us, and have a wonderful 2012.

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The night before the tenth anniversary of September 11, I flew out to San Antonio to begin a three-week road trip across America with TIME columnist Joe Klein, from Laredo, Texas up to Des Moines, Iowa.

In the seat next to me, a beautiful woman sat caring for her quadriplegic son, who was sitting in the adjacent row with her daughter. Susan Bradley and her daughter were tender and attentive with Matt in a way that made me think his injuries were new. I, shooting my first assignment in the U.S. after 11 years of covering conflict in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Congo, Darfur, Lebanon, Somalia and Libya, assumed he was injured at war. Matt was 24, the age of so many young, American men I have spent years with on military embeds in Afghanistan, documenting the war unfolding over the years and witnessing heavy combat and brutal injuries.

As it turns out, Matt had nothing to do with Afghanistan. Like almost everyone Joe and I would meet on the road trip, the war rested on the periphery of their lives, and their primary concerns were here at home. Matt, a football player in college, and the son of a professional football player, had been rafting in Sacramento, California, when he stepped in to rescue a woman being abused by her boyfriend. As Matt walked away, the man allegedly followed him with a mag-light, and beat him on the back of the neck with the heavy flashlight, causing spinal cord injuries that left him paralyzed.

I don’t know why that moment stuck with me. I just immediately connect everything to the wars I have been covering overseas, and that’s not the case back home. I wrongly assumed all Americans at home were as consumed with our troops in Afghanistan as I was abroad.

Over the last decade, I have come to know details about most Afghan warlords, the infinite humanitarian crises across Africa, statistics of maternal mortality rates of women around the world, but I’ve become a stranger in my own country, unfamiliar with the pertinent issues at home and with what Americans are thinking the year before another presidential election. I generally don’t follow domestic news that much aside from how it relates to the stories I’m covering abroad, like what Americans think of the War in Afghanistan.

In three weeks of extensive interviews and casual conversations, I don’t remember a single person, except for veteran Anthony Smith, who was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in Iraq, bringing up the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, without being prompted by a pointed question. Almost everyone spoke about the economy, healthcare and unemployment. People are polarized. Some are angry, and many say they are disillusioned with President Obama.

Working with Joe was quite an honor—for me, it was like a free education of politics in America. I sat in a lot of his interviews and asked him a lot of questions. Of course, I felt incredibly ignorant, because so often they were questions I should known the answers to—about politics in the States, who was running, what their platforms were. But I honestly hadn’t been following them that closely because I’ve been gone.

In fact, I’ve been gone so long that it took a while to familiarize myself with what the scenes were of the story in each city, and what the reoccurring topics of discussion were. Once I did that, I felt like I needed more time to go back and actually shoot because we moved so quickly. The pace of traveling to one city a day made it difficult for me to figure out what there was to shoot. It’s not like there was a specific protest or news event going on. It was just the city, or a gas station, or a diner, so I had to really talk to people and find out where I need to be as a photographer.

Overall though, it was really nice to be home. It was nice to be in my own country, where I didn’t need a translator or a driver. Where I didn’t need to figure out cultural references or what hijab I needed to wear to cover my hair. Americans are really lovely people—friendly, kind and willing to help you out. For me, it was incredibly humbling to come back and spend three weeks just talking to Americans all across the country and listening to what they had to stay.

Lynsey Addario is a regular contributor to TIME. See more of her work here

Read Joe Klein’s cover story from the Oct. 24, 2011 issue of TIME [available to subscribers] here.

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Tribal elders say the Taliban are far from defeated.  The Taliban continue to wage a brutal war, taking a toll on Afghan citizens and American forces.  The Department of Defense has identified 1,761 American service members who have died in the Afghan war and related operations as of Sept. 21, about 10 years since the start of the war. In visiting Afghanistan monthly in The Big Picture, we try to reflect our troops presence in the country as well as their interaction with the Afghan people.  -- Paula Nelson (54 photos total)
US soldiers from the 27th Infantry Regiment fire 120-mm mortar rounds toward insurgent positions at Outpost Monti in Kunar province on Sept. 17. After a decade of fighting in Afghanistan, 130,000 troops from dozens of countries continue to battle resilient Taliban, who use homemade bombs and guerrilla tactics in a bid to undermine the Afghan government and the NATO mission. (Tauseef Mustafa/AFP/Getty Images)

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Kufow Ali Abdi, 51, holds the body of his three-year-old daughter, Kadija, in a hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia, July 28, 2011. Kadija had died of starvation. The al-Shabab Islamist insurgent group, which controls much of southern Somalia, is blocking starving people from fleeing the country and setting up a cantonment camp where it is imprisoning displaced people who were trying to escape al-Shabab territory.

South Korean army soldiers remove muddy water after a landslide, caused by heavy rains, hit the area around an apartment complex in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, July 29, 2011. Tens of thousands of South Korean firefighters, soldiers, police officers and other workers Friday continued to clean up walls of mud and search for possible survivors in hard-hit areas, according to the National Emergency Management Agency.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., appeared on the floor of the House of Representatives Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, in Washington. Giffords was on the floor for the first time since her shooting earlier this year, attending a vote on the debt standoff compromise.

 August 5, 2011


Kufow Ali Abdi, 51, holds the body of his three-year-old daughter, Kadija, in a hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia, July 28, 2011. Kadija had died of starvation. The al-Shabab Islamist insurgent group, which controls much of southern Somalia, is blocking starving people from fleeing the country and setting up a cantonment camp where it is imprisoning displaced people who were trying to escape al-Shabab territory. (Tyler Hicks/The New York Times) #

 August 5, 2011


A man gets a haircut in Central Havana, July 26, 2011. The area is one of the most heavily populated of the Cuban capital since many of these old buildings have been subdivided to house multiple families. Experts say that even with some state controls, property sales, announced recently by the government that some would be permitted, could transform Cuba more than any other economic reform announced by President Raul Castro's government. (The New York Times) #

 August 5, 2011


South Korean army soldiers remove muddy water after a landslide, caused by heavy rains, hit the area around an apartment complex in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, July 29, 2011. Tens of thousands of South Korean firefighters, soldiers, police officers and other workers Friday continued to clean up walls of mud and search for possible survivors in hard-hit areas, according to the National Emergency Management Agency. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon) #

 August 5, 2011


Women prepare a meal on the site of their home, destroyed by last year's floods, next to their temporary accomodation one year on, on July 29, 2011 in the village of Basti Jagwala Shoki, near Muzaffargarh, Pakistan. A year ago, monsoon rains caused flooding which ravaged Pakistan causing the worst natural disaster since its inception in 1947. Flood waters submerged a fifth of the countryside, equivalent to the size of England, affecting over 20 million people, displacing over 4 million and killing 2000. Millions lost their homes, farms and livelihoods. But the crisis still continues, as hundreds of thousands of people still remain homeless. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images) #

 August 5, 2011


A malnourished child in a hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia, July 27, 2011. The al-Qaida-linked militant group al-Shabab, which controls much of southern Somalia, is blocking starving people from fleeing the country and setting up a cantonment camp where it is imprisoning displaced people who were trying to escape Shabab territory. (Tyler Hicks/The New York Times) #

 August 5, 2011


Kieren Fallon riding Hoof It win the Blue Square Stewards' Cup at Goodwood racecourse on July 30, 2011 in Chichester, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images) #

 August 5, 2011


A stunt rider of Red Bull X-Fighters performs during a show in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Saturday, July 30, 2011. The Red Bull X-Fighters is one of the biggest Freestyle Motocross Championship riders in the world. (AP Photo/ Eranga Jayawardena) #

 August 5, 2011


A Filipino Muslim woman enters a mosque to pray during the first day of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in suburban Paranaque, south of Manila, Philippines on Monday, Aug. 1, 2011. During Ramadan, the holiest month in Islamic calendar, Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex from dawn to dusk. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila) #

 August 5, 2011


In this picture taken Thursday, July 28, 2011, Hindu pilgrims are carried on palanquins by Muslim bearers over a glacier near Amarnath Cave,150 kilometers (93 miles) from Srinagar, India. At least half a million devotees make the pilgrimage to the icy cave which lies 13,500 feet (4,115 meters) above sea level in Indian-controlled Kashmir amid tight security. Hindus worship a stalagmite inside the cave as an incarnation of the Lord Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction and regeneration. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri) #

 August 5, 2011


Gwynne Chapin, foreground right, hands an ice cream cone to Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Bryan Hall (68) from her truck as his teammates wait in line for their orders following NFL football training camp Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011, in Owings Mills, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) #

 August 5, 2011


A Nepalese Muslim prays on the second day of the holy fasting month Ramadan at a mosque in Katmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011. Muslims are a minority in this predominantly Hindu nation. Official data indicates only 4.3 percent of the country's 27 million people are Muslim. (AP Photo/ Niranjan Shrestha) #

 August 5, 2011


The Malecon, Havana's seaside bouleveard, July 28, 2011. Cuba as a country has been seemingly locked in time since its revolution. But through a labyrinth of rations, regulations, two currencies and four markets (peso, hard currency, agro and black), people make their way, though the going is hard. The world economic crisis plunged Cuba into an abyss not seen since the years after the Soviet Union collapsed. Before that, the island of 11 million people suffered decades of economic deterioration.(The New York Times) #

 August 5, 2011


Peninah Pechenik (C), from Buffalo, New York, leans around to take a closer look of wax figures of (L-R) U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, President Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey while visiting Madame Tussauds Wax Museum on Obama's 50th birthday August 4, 2011 in Washington, DC. On Obama's 50th birthday, the replica Oval Office at Madame Tussauds was decorated with party balloons, streamers and presents, while the figures the Obamas, Bill and Hillary Clinton and Oprah Winfrey were outfitted with party hats and noisemakers. . (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) #

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An electronic board displays trading activity on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011 in New York. The Dow plunged nearly 513 points Thursday, its biggest point decline since Oct. 22, 2008. (AP Photo/Jin Lee) #

 August 5, 2011


An old house that has been subdivided and is in use by several families, known as a "solar," in central Havana, July 29, 2011. Experts say that even with some state controls, property sales, announced recently by the government that some would be permitted, could transform Cuba more than any other economic reform announced by President Raul Castro's government. (The New York Times) #

 August 5, 2011


An Afghan carries his belongings as he passes burning fuel tankers in the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011. Police said around five fuel tankers carrying fuel for NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan caught fire inside a depot in Kabul. No casualties were reported, and it was not immediately clear what caused the fire.( AP Photo/Dar Yasin) #

 August 5, 2011


An Indonesian woman reads a copy of the Koran on the fourth day of Ramadan at the Istiqlal mosque in Jakarta on August 4, 2011. Like millions of Muslim around the world, Indonesians celebrated the month of Ramadan by abstaining from eating, drinking, and smoking as well as sexual activities from dawn to dusk. AFP PHOTO / ADEK BERRY #

 August 5, 2011


This video image taken from Egyptian State Television shows 83-year-old Hosni Mubarak laying on a hospital bed inside a cage of mesh and iron bars in a Cairo courtroom Wednesday Aug. 3, 2011 as his historic trial began on charges of corruption and ordering the killing of protesters during the uprising that ousted him. The scene, shown live on Egypt's state TV, was Egyptians' first look at their former president since Feb. 10, the day before his fall when he gave a defiant speech refusing to resign. (AP Photo/Egyptian State TV) #

 August 5, 2011


Cristina Alfaro Mejia, whose husband and daughter were killed by soldiers during a massacre in the community of Dos Erres in 1982, holds a rose while waiting to the sentence in Guatemala City, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011. The court sentenced three former special forces soldiers to 6,060 years in prison each for the massacre of more than 200 men, women and children, one of hundreds that occurred during Guatemala's 36-year civil war, which ended in 1996. Some 240,000 people, mostly Mayan Indians, vanished or died.(AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd) #

 August 5, 2011


In this image from House Television, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., appears on the floor of the House of Representatives Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, in Washington. Giffords was on the floor for the first time since her shooting earlier this year, attending a vote on the debt standoff compromise. (AP Photo/House Television) #

 August 5, 2011


Malaysian jellyfish swim in a tank at the Sunshine Aquarium in Tokyo on August 1, 2011. The aquarium loacted on the top of a building, will be reopened on August 4 following a one year renovation. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO #

 August 5, 2011


A man performs the traditional "El Torito" dance at the Rabin Ajau National Folkloric Festival and Indian beauty contest in Coban, Guatemala, Saturday July 30, 2011. Unlike traditional beauty contests, the panel of judges not only value the participants' leadership skills, but their commitment to the rescue and maintenance of Mayan values. The Rabin Ajau, or Queen Daughter, contestants, whose ages range from 14-26 years, go through numerous rounds of competition, including a speech that must be given in their native dialect and Spanish. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd) #

 August 5, 2011


U.S. Marine Sgt. Myron Ellis, 26, of Sacramento, Calif., with the 2nd Battalion 12th Marines based in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, looks out from under a tent at a mountain top outpost called The Shrine Saturday, July 30, 2011 in Kajaki, Helmand province, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/David Goldman) #

 August 5, 2011


An Indian bicycle rickshaw puller sleeps after stopping in a water-logged underpass during monsoon rain in New Delhi, India, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011. India receives the annual monsoon rains from June to September. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) #

 August 5, 2011


U.S. Marine Cpl. Abraham Willis, 22, of Beech Bottom, W. Va., with the 2nd Battalion 12th Marines based in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, and his IED detection dog Preacher ride in the back of a wagon as they are shuttled over a bridge for a foot patrol at sunrise in Kajaki, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Friday, July 29, 2011. (AP Photo/David Goldman) #

 August 5, 2011


Romanian brides pose for pictures at the Triumph Arch in Bucharest, Romania, early Sunday, July 31, 2011. The arch, a replica of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, the French capital, is a rendezvous place for brides after midnight on the wedding night during the stealing of the bride ritual. The ritual, of ancient origin, is performed by wedding guests who take the bride away from the party and then demand a ransom from the groom, usually money or alcoholic drinks, to return her.(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda) #

 August 5, 2011


An Indian farmer works in a rice paddy field near Saputara Hill Station some 400 kms from Ahmedabad on July 30, 2011. The strength of the annual June-September downpour is vital to hundreds of millions of farmers and to economic growth in Asia's third-largest economy which gets 80 percent of its annual rainfall during the monsoon season. TOPSHOTS / AFP PHOTO / Sam PANTHAKY #

 August 5, 2011


A boy sleeps on a wall at a bus station during 'Iftar', when Muslims break their fast, on the third day of the holy month of Ramadan on August 4, 2011 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Ramadan, the month in which the holy Quran was revealed to the prophet Mohammad, is observed by devout Muslims who abstain from food, drink and sex from dawn until sunset, when they break the fast with the meal known as Iftar. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images) #

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Dasha wants to see California. Los Angeles specifically. She knows L.A. from the movies. New York  police car chases a la television shows she wants to see as well. In the meantime, she and a few hundred other Ukrainians are biding their time on the Carolina coast filling in all sorts of jobs. Dasha and her friend Katya work at a miniature golf course. Galaxy Golf. A golf course where you might immediately look around to see if Martin Parr is indeed doing a book on it. Has crossed my mind too. Classic kitsch.

I have spent the last three days photographing the Ukrainian community that paradoxically lives here side by side  in the land of rednecks and tourists and fishermen and construction workers and surfers. Most return to the Ukraine after a three month summer stint, but some have married and raised families with the local crowd. However, Dasha and Katya see themselves raising their families in Kiev.

The Carolina shore and L.A. and New York are simply passing fancies. A growing up adventure and a first time, maybe last time, flirtation with America. My best pictures of these women and men mixing in the local environment must be saved for my upcoming essay on this coast for NatGeo and book following, yet I can never resist simple portraiture just because, well, I just like to do it.

Summer jobs. The best of times, and maybe the worst of times. How about you…Ever now fantasize your best summer job?

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