One Night Only / Cancun

One Night Only / Cancun

They came for the Spring Break. They stayed for the pool party at Tequila Sam’s. One night only. One. Night. Only. It has often been said that a pool party is not a pool party without a hot tub. And a hot tub is not a hot tub without fluorescent black lights. And a fluorescent black light kills the bacteria that the chlorine misses. Fortunately, hot tubs and black lights were not in short supply tonight. This was indeed a pool party. Outlawed malt liquor-based energy drinks in hand (and in many cases, hands), they came to get down. Many by the side of the pool, bumping and grinding with a gleeful abandon. But even more chose to revel in the hot tubs themselves, ankle deep in the chlorine-filled water and brow deep in jauntily perched trucker caps (and yet...

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Monkey Business / Lake Havasu

Monkey Business / Lake Havasu

In the middle of the Arizona desert there lies a remote speck of water – an oasis of life in the midst of a dry, barren land. And so they come – by speedboat, by party boat and by houseboat – to celebrate life in all of its beautiful brevity – for one brief, shining moment.   Just as Melville used the ocean as a metaphor for life, Lake Havasu’s revelers use water in much the same way. However, replace the ocean with a bikini contest and you get a far more accurate celebration of life. Or at least how this crowd chooses to celebrate it. As the contestants stepped onto the deck of a yacht (the Monkey Business II), I pushed forward from the crowd to get some appropriate photo documentation of this hierarchal social event. My senses must have been...

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Walk Towards The Light / Daytona Beach

Walk Towards The Light / Daytona Beach

I know not from where this magic elixir hails, but one thing is for sure – the mere poetry of man cannot possibly do it justice. For that would entail just words and after all how accurately can words describe the complexities of a first kiss, the feeling of grass between the toes on a warm day or the first eye contact between a newborn baby embraced within one’s arms. No, there is nothing within the English language that can describe the sensorial wonders of light American lager. But allow me to try. Cradled in a silver and blue vessel, I began to spot this special beverage almost everywhere along my journey to document the Spring Break of 2011. Revelers purchase it by the caseload, and is it any wonder? The magic contained within just a single can is...

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The Red-Billed Streamertail / Montego Bay

The Red-Billed Streamertail / Montego Bay

The sirens lined up, in single file, covered in day-glo body paint like plumage of the world’s most exotic birds. As the Club Kaos DJ raised his hand over each one, the crowd roared their approval for the most exotic of all. As the winner was announced and took to the front of the stage for her victory trot, the foam began to descend from the ceiling in wave after wave. The crowd retreated to the middle of the dance floor, celebrating in ecstasy as the foam spewed white from the ceiling to perform variously elaborate courtship displays. (And much like the Red-Billed Streamertail that also inhabits this bay, their courtship displays also involved bikinis and re-mixed Top 40 songs). The throngs take the opportunity to engage in any sort of debauched behavior –...

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The Wings of Icarus / Panama City

The Wings of Icarus / Panama City

The art of courtship. It is an event as interesting in the complexity of its nature as it is predictable in the simplicity of its inevitable result. In Panama City this event has taken on a life of its own, precipitated by the presence of a powerful device: the beer bong.   There are many other courtship routines (most involving lap dance contests and bikinis), but no other carry the social significance of the beer bong – a life-giving funnel designed to both sustain individuals and to connect a group as one. As they pass the bong back and forth, many kneeling in prayer to suck from the polyurethane teat and sharing in the sustenance provided from above as though it were summer rain watering a barren land, some begin to create bonds that will last later...

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Festival of Motherhood / South Padre

Festival of Motherhood / South Padre

Like the rhythmic chants of the famed Golden Temple of Punjab, I could hear their cries from half a mile away. The endless drone of “Jugs, Jugs, Jugs,” piquing my curiosity. As I grew closer, I could feel the beat of the music seismically course through the sand and into my feet. This was Spring Break. And this was (I could only assume), the Festival of Motherhood. Once far more common, this rite of Spring Break has become elusive in recent years – I was lucky to have stumbled upon such a rare event. A dozen nameless contestants, all identified by the numbered badges hanging from their respective bikini bottoms stepped forward in virginal white ribbed cotton t-shirts, an obvious symbol of purity. Water (from whence we all came) was sprayed forth across...

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