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

Saturday, January 18, 2020

A feast for the eyes... street art

How nice it is to be inspired just by walking down the street.  The ever-changing street art scene is just that... ever-changing and ever-inspiring.  People are so skilled, brave and committed, that they take to the streets and create works of art for all to see. 
I spoke to this young man and he was so open and happy, it was contagious.  I'll check back to see the finished work next week.  And just a few steps down the street.
All of these were within one block! 
Simply put, the Arts, in its many forms, are an integral part of the social fabric, of life here in Oaxaca.
And the graphics can be graphic.
And two blocks further down, this new work...
Ever-changing and ever inspirational.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Every little bit helps...

There are lots of ways and opportunities to recycle cans and bottles.  And there is art and creativity in designing containers. This heart greets visitors at the entrance to the zocalo.  My favorite recycling container is this huge dog, a perro grande,  right next to the market in Etla.
Every little bit helps...

Friday, January 10, 2020

Home away from home... trouble

Liverpool, the city's best pool hall.  I spend much time there, continuing an ill-spent youth, hanging out in pool halls.  The place offers such a wonderful slice of Mexican life.  Lots of young people, along with the prerequisite sharks.   There are old (and young) guys playing dominos in the front.  They play aggressively, slamming their pieces down.  And the pool is always competitive.  Some of these guys can really shoot.  Lots of pool tables on the second floor and billiard tables on the third floor.  What a place!
I had the best time watching these dons playing 3-cushion billiards upstairs.  What a life... and of course, you are aware....

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

It figures..... time passes

OK, it may be a little strange, but I've saved all my little figuras from my Tres Reyes roscas (cakes) over the years.  So it's like a little timeline of my time here in Oaxaca, twelve years.  And if you get it, you are supposed to supply tamales for everyone on Candelaria.  

Monday, January 6, 2020

Tres Reyes! - For Real!

No better place to be on El Dia de los Tres Reyes, Three Kings Day, than in nearby Tres Reyes Etla, where they always do it right. 
And there they were, live and in person, los Tres Reyes.
It is a small village, but there were lots of people. who looked to be all locals.  And lots of music, food, fireworks and confetti.  I guess I could have gotten a photo on one of the horses with the kings, but this little guy made me rethink it.
The church was beautifully decorated with the village's namesakes prominently displayed.
No place I rather be...

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Did you get yours?

It's the day before Tres Reyes and the best day to get roscas.  They are all so nice and fresh.  I tried to get mine in Tres Reyes Etla, but had to settle for the nearby Sunday market in Etla.
 I had a choice of twenty different vendors.  Will I get the little figure again this year?

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Changing of the guard...

New year, new agave in front of Santo Domingo, like this beautiful tobala... and they do make good guard plants.
I stopped, watched and talked to these workers as they wrestled the plants in, tough work. 
I said I'd lost most of my agaves to el toro, the agave beetle, so I always ask about solutions.  Sadly, they said that there was a chemical, which I knew about, but I can't use it in the garden.
Uh, and note that this guy isn't wearing gloves.  I said I always bled when I work with agave and we laughed saying, "No blood! Maybe he wasn't really working."  But really, these guys were doing great work.  And we shared a love for the plants.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Rabanos... It's the people...

Even though I've not been at all 122 incarnations of La Noche del Rabanos, I've seen the last 25 or so, and gotten to know many of the participants over the years.  It is like seeing old friends.  The doña above is the daughter of one of my favorite aubelas ever, one who introduced me to her work almost thirty years ago.  She was my own version of Coco. What a joy it is to see these people every year.
I believe this homage to Toledo won one of the prizes.  There's a photo of it in the previous post.
I think I take as many photos of the people as I do of their creations.  Each has a story.  For some, it's the first time.  The kracken won big time!
For others, like this gentleman, it's an annual part of their lives.  He has participated in each of the last 45 competitions.
And they come in all ages.
With smiles on their faces...
This woman won the best in the traditional radish category... I think.
Sometime life imitates art... or is it the other way around?
Talk about embracing ones work.
And still, my favorite...
More mañana....

Monday, December 23, 2019

Rabanos .... get there early...

Each year, La Noche del Rabanos, or the Night of the Radishes, get bigger, better and attracts more participants and viewers.  And this year kept that record going.  There was even a massive rendition of the dreaded Kracken!
There were many absolutely spectacular entries in the competition.  It will take some time to go through all the photos, but I pulled a few favorites.  I absolutely loved this piece and I hope she wins.
There were several homages to Maestro Toledo and this one captured his spirit perfectly with his kites and CASA behind him.
And there were some sweet and delicate pieces that could have gotten as they were small parts of large displays.
Just perfection...
All from radishes (and dried corn husks).  Much more to come.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

My neighborhood piñata shop.....

It is always so much fun to watch them being assembled... and imagining just how many goodies it would take to fill the huge one.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Baby, it's cold outside....

Yes, it gets cold here.  It was in the forties last night and with no heat in the house, it felt really cold.  Houses made of cement hold the chill and none of them are air tight, so the wind adds to the fun.  My bedroom and bath were in the mid fifties!  Brrrr....
I'm not sure what indigenous language the top is, but the Spanish translates, "The only thing I ask for at Christmas is not to be cold."  Amen to that.
Time to set up my flower pot space heaters powered by votive candles, which actually work.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Bach pun goes here....

This poster was on the wall of the new state music school at the top of Crespo .  It made me think of P.D.Q. Bach, with whom I did a concert many years ago.  I'm not sure if there will be any humorous moments in the upcoming concert, but the setting is spectacular.
And the price is right, too.  Be There or be Square!

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Anchors away.....

Did you know that Cortes sank ten of the eleven ships on which he and his crew arrived?  There was no way back....

From the LAHT
Mexican researchers have discovered two iron anchors in the waters off the coast of the city of Veracruz, both of them presumably lost when Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes scuttled his ships 500 years ago, Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) announced on Monday.
The larger of the two newly-found anchors measures 3.68 meters long by 1.55 meters wide, while the smaller is 2.6 meters long by 1.43 meters wide.
The Conquest of Mexico was a key event in human history, and these ships, if we can find them, will be symbols of the cultural collision that led to what today is the West, geopolitically and socially speaking,”
Cortes arrived at the coast of Villa Rica with a fleet of 11 ships, of which 10 were sunk on his orders to make clear to his men that there was no way for them to back out of the expedition to conquer the Aztec civilization and return home.

Monday, December 16, 2019

A closer look... Teotitlan del Valle

As in most things, there are many layers to the danza de pluma in Teotitlan del Valle.  It is easy to miss details while the action is hot and heavy.  Dance is hard to capture because it is all about constant motion.  There is the overall picture and then there are the details, like the penacho pictured above.  Think of all the work that went into it.  And then there is, the footwork, the outfits, the music, the grace of the dancers, as exemplified by La Malinche, Yaretzi Bazan Ruiz.
Her counterpart, alter ego, Doña Marina, Jimena Vicente Lazaro, also a wonderful dancer. 
Both add so much to the performances.
Not only excellent dancers, but crowds favorites as well.... and quite photogenic.
They aren't the only photogenic ones out there.
One of the real powers behind the throne....