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, 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.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Twenty years - Veinte años

That's how many years this gentleman from San Antonino Castillo Velasco has been carrying the heavy load of El Burro every Palm Sunday or Domingo de Ramos.  I recognized him last Sunday from previous years.  Unfortunately, I did not get his name, but he certainly has earned my respect.
Every time I've seen him, he has been in front on the left.
It is an arduous penance as is obvious by his face after finally arriving at the church for mass.
I'll get his name and I'll look for hi again next year.

Monday, April 10, 2017

El Burro - Palm Sunday, Domingo de Ramos in San Antonino Castillo Velasco

There is no better place to be than in San Antonino Castillo Velasco to celebrate Palm Sunday, Domingo de Ramos.  The annual tradition is to bring the statue of Jesus on His burro from the church to the cemetery, where it is festooned with the finest fruits, vegetables and breads the villagers have to offer.  The feet are visible to being with, but as the kilos of things are added, the burro is completely enveloped.
Gradually offerings are placed and roped into place.
When finished, the priest blesses everyone and everything.  It was this particular priest's first time celebrating in this village. He had previously been assigned in the city.
Then it was time to insert these long poles under the platform.
It is a delicate operation.... and then..
About twenty or thirty men carefully lift it and then process about a km to the church where thousands are waiting for its arrival and a mass.  The gentleman on the right's face shows the power of the moment.  I have a series of shots of the man on the left, who has carried El Burro every year for twenty years.  He will get a post all to himself.
It is an act of faith, carrying a very heavy load...
Lots of shots to go through and some nice video to come.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Getting ready for Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday, Domingo de Ramos, is the beginning of Semana Santa, one of the most special weeks of the year in Oaxaca.  There are plenty of visitors and folks are getting ready.  They know how to do it right with the traditional colors of Easter.
These people show up every year to sell their little pieces of art, all made from palms. This woman has been coming into the city from the Mixe, every year for eighteen years.
Just a small portion of the things they create.
I have a cross on my door made with this incredible, complex and delicate work
There' still time to get yours.
Tomorrow, San Antonino!!!!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Something smells fishy....

Here in Oaxaca, the bloqueos, the blockades, are back in force causing traffic chaos. Once again it is the work of Seccion XXII, the teacher's union.  Along with plenty of road construction.  And Mexico is looking for other suppliers of corn other than the U.S., while at the same time, increasing auto production, so when that 20% border tax kicks in... it will really hurt... but not Mexico.  And it is still hot.... and there were 15,460 earthquakes last year in Mexico.  Ay!  So what does El Norte say... Hold my beer.... prompting this bit of street art, back from a time when protests were even more real.
Wow!  Bombing Syria, wag the dog kabuki?, Supreme Court fiasco, China, Russia, North Korea, Javanka, it's a long litany of embarrassments.  Ay!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Work ethic at work

Who works like this in El Norte?... Those are bags of cement.

Oh, maybe some the workers from Mexico who pick the crops, clean the rooms and are the backbone of the real economy.
I will spare you my thoughts on this whole mess.... however, trust me, I am upset. So I will just ponder the neck muscles on these guys.  Could you do this?  Unload the whole truck load?

Monday, April 3, 2017

There is always Hope - More Esperanza

Always worth the drive to Tlacolula, for a taco with incredibly tasty barbecued goat as prepared by the Reina de barbacoa, the always smiling, Esperanza.
Yes, there was meat in there.
Tlacolula is one of the best markets to visit, especially on a Sunday, when one can see and hear many different looks and languages.  However, the market is happening everyday, just not as crazy and crowded as on Sundays.  This was on a Saturday and it was perfect.