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

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Look through any window....

One of the first things that captured me about Oaxaca was the color palette and the architecture with its doors and windows.  I was gonna do a book... but I didn't.
I don't think we are in Kansas anymore.
How about the old shot of the Salon del Fama, "The Hall of Fame."   I used it as a cover photo on one of my CD's.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Time flies..... sigh

"Would you like to see a church entirely made from wood?"  Those were the first words I heard from Yolanda from La Union Tejalapam, the carving village north of the city.  Her husband, Maximino Santiago García, is one of the most famous carvers in the village.  The above shot is from 1999 and this one from the following year during the dry season.
In fact, the extended Santiago family comprises most of the the artesanos in the village.  It is a large and very talented family.  There was a time when I was obsessed with Oaxacan carving and ended up having several thousand pieces, many from La Union.  I have a couple of these churches "made entirely from wood."
I love the colors and the details.
They are still making wonderful pieces and it well worth the trip to the village which is about 30-45 minutes from the city.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Gotta little work to do....

Sometimes, I feel like I am a maintenance man bouncing between two houses.  However, I do enjoy it.  Last week it was a water leak in Oaxaca and now, in El Norte, it's gutters and painting.  At least, it's not frozen pipes like last time.  It will give me time to catch up on all the Oaxacan photos and take advantage of fast upload speeds.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Six fireflies beeping randomly in a jar......

From the "illustrious" David Brooks no less.....
"We’ve got this perverse situation in which the vast analytic powers of the entire world are being spent trying to understand a guy whose thoughts are often just six fireflies beeping randomly in a jar."

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Tabla rasa....

A clean slate.... this from the little park, the home of the statue of Alvaro Carillo, at the top of the pedestrian walkway, the Alcala, which has recently been completely restored.  This wall is normally the site of street art and graffiti tags.  It was so nice to see the newly cleaned fountain in front of a freshly painted wall.  How long will it last?  Probably not that long.
In a different part of town, at the base of El Cerrro, the ubiquitous hand-painted concert announcements which come and go every week. Now that's a band name.... The Night of the Witches.
Party on, Garth.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Lime time....

There has been a little rain, so things are starting to wake up from the long dry season.  Trees and shrubs that had no leaves just a few weeks ago are now filling out.  And this little lime tree is covered with flowers which, in turn, draw the bees, who do their thing.
And as a result....
Nothing better than fresh limes right off the tree, their taste and fragrance, sublime.  It won't be long

Friday, May 5, 2017

Flor de Mayo for Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is big in El Norte.  Not so much here, except in Puebla.  So here are some flor de Mayo to celebrate the day.  I remember buying this plant as a fresh cutting from some very young girls at the market in Tlacolula.  It was obvious that they had just whacked them off with machetes to bring to the market.  Now the cuttings are turning into little trees.... and their fragrance is wonderful.
Sad to see that the orange man in the White House cancelled Cinco de Mayo celebration, but hardly surprising.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Water, water... not everywhere

It is the end of the dry season and there have been decent rains recently, however, they are very localized.  Often, I can see the rains off in the distance, but they don't make it here.  I live to the north of the city and this side has more water than most anywhere around.  Still, it is a scarce commodity and the prices of water trucks, pipas, have gone up $150 pesos from $500 to $650 ($26 US to $34).  These trucks hold ten thousand liters.  This house has a rain collection system which gets me through most of the year, but I ended up needing three pipas just to keep the gardens and me alive.  My supply is very close and when they delivered yesterday, the driver said they only had enough for two pipas a day.  That's very little and means the aquifers are low.  The rains will help alleviate this in a month or so. So water is very precious and I had big problems of my own as I was losing lots.
The reason I needed the third pipa was that I had a leak in the system and was losing water from the tank on the roof.  It took me a couple of days to notice the problem.  Then a day or two to figure out where the leak was.  I had to dig up the concrete to get to the pipe and then had to figure out a temporary fix until I can cap off the problem pipe.  But hey, this is Mexico and there is always a solution, which normally uses duct tape or a paper clip, but in this case it was a whittled down piece of broom handle and half a plastic clothes pin.  I like the four leaf clover on the pin.
The plumber is coming on Monday, but this is working for now.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The future

One of my favorite shots from the recent fiesta in Teotitlan del Valle. 
The future looks happy and bright. ¡Viva Teotitlan de Valle!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Danza de los Viejitos - Dance of the Little Old Men

Danza de los Viejitos, Dance of the Little Old Men on the last day of Carnaval in Teotitlan del Valle.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

More food, fabulous food....

Of course, I had to go back to the Plaza de la Danza for the second day of first ever Festival of Regional Cocineras.  It was just too good to not return.... I would go every day if the event was a week long.  There were so many taste treats to try, like the torta pictured above, with homemade sausage and all the fixins'.  A perfect sandwich!  And then this wonderful tamale stuffed with cheese and beef.
It was such a pleasure to see so many people enjoying all the different foods from all over the state.  Every region was represented.  It was impossible to try everything. 
But everything sure was tempting, like these memelitas....
A nieve with the flavors lime and the very traditional leche quemada (burnt milk)... mmmm... so good.
This is the traditional shot of a politician eating something for all the cameras.  In this case she is Ivette Morán de Murat, the governor's wife.
I love the look on the face of the cocinera as she takes a bite. That's a look lots of chefs know... "It's good, isn't it?... Isn't it??""
¡Viva Oaxaca! on its 485th Anniversary.... let's keep eating!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Food, fabulous food.

I know I say this all the time, but it doesn't get any better than this.  In celebration of Oaxaca's 485th birthday, cooks from all over the state, brought their wonderful offerings to the Plaza de la Danza for the first ever Festival of Regional Cocineras and it was simply out of this world spectacular.
One had to purchase coupons of various denominations to then give to the cooks, but the system worked well... except I had to go back and get more because the food was so good.  Prices were very reasonable and the place was packed and for good reason.  This chile pasilla relleno with a wonderful sauce with raisins, pineapple, bananas, olives, squash seeds was exceptional.
This event was just perfect in my opinion, just what we have been waiting for.  All the regional dishes by many of the best local cooks and all at prices that everyone could afford.  This pork with potatoes was so good, I got two helpings.
Hard to beat...
So many taste treats.... sweets for the sweet.
And many, many different moles.
I still have coupons... so I am definitely back tomorrow, the last day of this incredible event.  Be there or be square.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Little Old Men of Teotitlan del Valle - Los Viejitos

Let's hear it for little old men, Los Viejitos!
Teotitlan del Valle celebrates carnaval after Semana Santa unlike most other places, where it happens before Lent begins.
It is a five day affair with a different section of the village hosting a celebration each day, ending with a big celebration in front of the Municipal building on Friday.
The main characters are the wonderful little old men, the Viejitos and their partners, who all happen to be younger men.... I think... you never get to see their faces.
They dance and cackle and keep a banter going that keeps everyone in stitches.
There are lots of different traditional aspects and it is always so nice to see very young kids participating insuring that the traditions will continue.
As always, men and women sit apart for the most part.  I love this shot of some of the the real backbones of the village... a powerful group of women.
Some of the men are a little more laid back.
I'll have some video up in a while... In the meantime, ¡ Viva Teotitlan del Valle!  One of the Oaxaca's treasures.

Friday, April 21, 2017

They work hard for the money...

I am always amazed as to how much work is still done by hand.  Machines are hardly ever used for detail or finish work.  These workers are replacing curbs and sidewalk stones on the pedestrian walk.  I always pay my respects and marvel at the diligence they bring to the job. 

This could probably be done in minutes with a machine grinder, but here, they use elbow grease instead.... and it shows in the finished product.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Works for me...

This has been another entry in "Do you know what your shirt says?"

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter

Happy Easter
From the Procession of Silence

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Procession of Silence

The crowds were large, but quiet, as the procession made its way up and down the streets of the city. 
The light faded, but just enough to get some nice shots of this powerful event.  You can see it on the people's faces
So many beautiful moments and lots of nice shots.  More in a bit.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday - Getting ready

Lots of folks are in the city getting ready for one of the most special days of the year.
Shooting the Procession of Silence should be nice this year as daylight savings time has kicked in and the sun will set later than previous years.
Decorations abound and they know how to do it right.