The here and now... and what and why

Complacency is a trap. At least that’s what I was thinking when I up and left the comfort of a Yankee prep school gig, where I taught music, amongst other things, for 28 years. There was also that life long career as a composer, musician and artist.

First, it was a year in St. Thomas, USVI, working as a reporter and shooting photography and then, a year in San Agustin Etla, Oaxaca, Mexico.
Time passed.
More time passed and a year back in the Athens of America followed by a hasty return to Oaxaca where it is all happening.
A couple of years in San Sebastian Etla and now, just down the road in San Pablo Etla. Life is good.

Click on an image to see it larger.
For additional photography please visit my flickr page.
You can find my music on Jango (World & latin - Worldbeat) and at iTunes and most online stores.
¡Soy consciente de todas las tradiciones del Internet!
If you are coming to Oaxaca, please contact me for tours or advice.

Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo
The view from Corazon del Pueblo

The hereafter re me

My photo
Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico
Musician, photographer, videographer, reporter, ex-officio teacher, now attempting to be a world traveler

Monday, October 24, 2016

El Demagogo

I have words to describe Lila Downs.  The best words ever. They're YUUUGE!
Nothing but love and respect for this amazing woman.  She is getting out the vote.  Bigly
Here's a story from one of the progressive blogs.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

It's starting to look a bit like....

Getting ready...
There ain't nothing like the real thing.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Alone again - Atzompa

The archeological site in nearby Atzompa is one of the hidden treasures of Oaxaca.  Well, it is not really hidden, but for some reason, no one ever goes there.  It is still under a multi-year renovation, but a great deal of the site is done and simply breathtaking.  And I do mean breathtaking, as the hike up to the top always leaves one panting... or maybe that's just me.  Anyway, it is way up there and provides some beautiful views of the area.  It was an contemporary of Monte Alban and from its highest point, one can see very far in all directions.  No doubt, that was one of its advantages.  That's Monte Alban over there.
The place is one of my meditations.  I can see it from my house and always feel so lucky to be so close.  Whenever I want a good workout, I pop over and huff and puff my way up.  I can dream about playing on the largest ballpark in the area.
As you can see, the weather remains spectacular.

Monday, October 17, 2016

More signs of the times... Muerteada in San Agustin

Now, this is the real deal, the muerteada in San Agustin Etla, one of the craziest and most fun things one can see during Muertos.  It is an all night event filled with mirrors and bells and music.... and a little beer and mezcal.... that ends the next morning at the base of the hill, when the dancers and bands from San Jose...
 And San Agustin.....
Engage in a sort of scrum or mosh pit.  Maybe it is just a this time of year, but they really do not appear to appreciate the others very existence.  This from 2013

It's wild.  I plan on being there again this year and I know exactly where I want to stand... again... right in the middle of it.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sign of things to come....

I wonder what this one is like.  It is a bit remote, a few kilometers up the mountains.

Oh, what a beautiful day....

Same view, different day.  The weather is just glorious.
 And dramatic.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The place is going to the ....

New neighbors... what pun?
They seems so happy, just eating and enjoying the breezes and perfect temperatures.
It is a very nice time of year, the end of the rainy season.
Incidentally, those trees are quite special.  Sorry I don't know the name, but if you strip the leaves off and rub them on your forehead, temples and face, they relieve stress.  And they smell wonderful.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

All about the bass... and China

As a musician, I love this.... nuf sed.

The writing on the wall

It is still there no matter how many times they try to cover it up.
 And always powerful, even if it is in tatters.
Words to ponder.

(Rough translation)
To serve not to be served
To represent, not supplant
To build, not destroy
To comply, not demand
To propose and not to impose
To convince, not vanquish
To not lower, but raise up.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Keep on dancin' - Teotitlan del Valle

A quiet week after the fun and spectacle of last weekend's Danza de la Pluma in Teotitlan del Valle as the village held its annual celebration of la Virgen del Rosario.  The dancers were fresh off a performance the previous day in nearby San Miguel del Valle, where they were met with much success and appreciation.
This is such an excellent group of dancers, in particular Sergio Gutierrez, Moctezuma, who dances with such crisp, light steps, he is really exceptional and unique.
One of my goals is to get a shot of him at the apex of one of his leaps.
All the dancers are very good.  Their synchronicity is very tight and crisp, as they work their way through some challenging choreography by Sergio father, dance master, Javier Gutierrez.
And of course, Watching DonĂ£ Marina and La Malinche, Elizabet Hernandez Gutierrez and Quetzali del Rayo Santiago Ruiz, grow into their roles is lots of fun.
They both have grown and improved since their first performances in July.
One more performance this year, in December.  Be there or be square.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Convite in Teotitlan del Valle

It never gets old, even though it is a tradition that occurs several times each year, year after year  And even though it is always the same, it is always different for various reasons.  The cast of characters is always the unmarried women and girls of Teotitlan del Valle, dressed in their traditions outfits,
And the danzantes with a couple of bands. 
They always follow the same course, processing through the streets, starting and ending at the church.  Still, it is always new, always different, always a wonderful sight to behold and experience.  And always, a treat to photograph with so many beautiful shots, everywhere one looks.
I always get there early.... hey, I'm a gringo... but it gives me a chance to watch all the early action.
Classic looks...
 Perfect for a selfie or two.
And for trying to capture the beauty and importance of the moment.
I love how each blouse is different and beautiful in its own way.
 As are each of the participants, beautiful in her own way.
 Last one of the year is in December... be there or be square.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Father and son

Nothing like unabashed joy and happiness..... with a little bit of pride thrown in, as father, Mario Ruiz Ruiz, and his son, Edgar Daniel, in yesterday's convite in Teotitlan del Valle.
Those smiles!!!!!  I think they might be related ;-)
Back tomorrow for la danza de la pluma.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Feelin' blue

Not really, but after seeing red, the previous post, why not go with the flow.  For some reason, they were passing out blue balloons in front of Santo Domingo and even the statues were into it.
I have no idea why or what it was all about, maybe something political or a social club, but they all looked pretty happy.  If you look closely they cracked a smile. 
A blue balloon as a fashion accessory.
And finally today, beautiful blue skies! 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Head in the clouds

It has been a strange week of weather with lots of clouds, cool temperatures and very heavy rains, depending on location.  Here, there have been some nice steady rains into the late evening and my cistern is full, this house having a decent rain collection system that works well.  This is one of the views out the back of the house and this patchwork of fields reaching into the mountains is one of my favorites.
I forget how rugged the country is up in and beyond those peaks.  With all the blockades and construction, I thought I would try a road I've always wanted to, the Libramiento Norte, the old free road that goes through the mountains and ends up coming into the city from the north.  I drive by it everyday, but it is in such bad shape, dirt and potholes, I only go to the stores at its beginning.  Here's what it looks like on the map.  Those mountains would be in the top left and the city, the bottom right.
Anyway, Viguera had a blockade, so I thought I would see, once and for all, if it was the long scenic back way into the city.  The dirt and rough conditions continued and after driving just a couple of km. I came across this sign, a real first for me.
Needless to say, I turned around and headed back to the house.  My mama didn't raise no total fools....

Monday, September 26, 2016

Seeing red....

This is Fidel Cruz of Casa Cruz in Teotitlan del Valle as he works his magic.
He and his wife, Maria Louisa, are true masters and those are words not lightly uttered.  They are constantly experimenting with colors and new ways of producing them.  And, like many others in Teotitlan, their work is simply amazing.  You will just have to go visit them.   I was there as Fidel, working to produce the vivid red of cochineal, turned this....
 and this...
Into this.....
After sitting in this.
And this is just one of many colors, all natural, which everyone says theirs are, but theirs really are.

All of which go into their work.
And... here's one of theirs which now blesses mi casa.
 The rug, not the boy.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

I'l be zinnia....

OK, a terrible play on words, but if there is one thing I can grow it is zinnias.  This is one plant that has been having flowers clipped off it for weeks.
The zinnias are on their way out at the end of what has been a nice rainy season.  Many of them are almost two meters tall.  Unfortunately, they look pretty bad below the flowering tops.  Plus, they are prone to powdery mildew, so they are being harvested and onto the compost pile.  meanwhile, the colors are vibrant.
The zinnias will reseed like crazy next year, along with the cleome, cosmos and marigolds, all of which draw lots of birds and butterflies.
This appeared to being some sort of mating dance.  It is so nice to have so many visitors.  They will be back next year, too... ojala.