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, May 29, 2023

Pilgrimage (It's Chinatown, Jake)

Every trip to Boston, I jump on the T and head to the market in Chinatown. I always get off and walk, taking in the iconic sights. This time it was a gorgeous spring day. And finally, through the Chinatown gate and into the large market filled with all the best food and condiments. For me, it's the best soy sauce and sesame oil. Another successful pilgrimage.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

In plain sight....

Femicide, or the “intentional murder of women because they are women,” is one of the worst problems plaguing Mexico  In Oaxaca, the numbers are staggering.  There are protests, but the horrors continue.  I did not know what I was seeing when I shot this bit of street art, but when I finally recognized what it was conveying, it was chilling. 

So this happened...

Easily one of the scariest and most violent storms I've experienced in Oaxaca happened last evening.  First, came the howling winds which were so strong they toppled trees.  Then came very heavy rains blown by those winds.  Then came the hail, granizo.  It was deafening and I worried, because it was being blown sideways, that it would break the windows.  It didn't, but it actually took the paint off the facing walls, like they were sandblasted, as you can see in the photo.  And the poor plants and trees.... shredded, with tiny pieces fo leaves covering the ground. There was a similar storm on the other side of the city two days ago in Teotitlan and Tlacolula.  They had even more hail and serious flooding.  Strange to have such powerful storms two days in a row.

Friday, April 7, 2023

Palm Sunday - Domingo de Ramos 4/2/2023

Every year on Palm Sunday, Domingo de Ramos, the people of San Antonino Castillo Velasco in Oaxaca, Mexico cover a statue from the church with fruits, vegetables, flowers, bread and much more. Then it is carried on the backs of men of the village. There is a grand procession back to the church, Amazing to see the strain on the men's faces.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Oh, the humanity! - Samaritana....

Today was el Dia de la Samaritana, Good Samaritan's Day, and I have never seen the city so full of happy people.  How crowded was it?
This was on the Alcala, but crowds filled the streets all the way down to the zocalo. Good Samaritans, all! Oaxaca always embraces this celebration, which always falls on the fourth Friday of Lent.  People decorate stands and then offer drinks to any and all.
  Normally, it is aguas de jamaica, chilacayota, horchata and atole.
This year it was BYOC, Bring Your Own Cup, a vestige of the pandemic, but there were plenty of glasses available, too.  And the lines were crazy long.  As I said, Oaxaqueños keep these wonderful traditions going year after year by involving everyone, starting with the young. 
It really felt like after three years, everyone just wanted to share in the joy of the day. 
And maybe think a bit more about be a Good Samaritan, not just today, but every day.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

They work hard for the money....


The Almaeda de Leon, the large walkway in front of the cathedral, leading into the zocalo, is getting a major overhaul.
I watched these workers for a while and marveled at their strength and craftsmanship. Those blocks have to weigh at least a hundred kilos or more. 
I can't imagine even lifting one, let alone doing it time after time, day after day. And this man is no youngster!  Just watching him made my back hurt.
One can see this kind of physical strength every day in many different ways here in Oaxaca.  Ladies carry serious weight balanced atop their heads.  Men unload trucks carrying crazy amounts of stuff on their backs or heads. 
This physical strength and the accompanying artistry are just two of the many different aspects of the wonder of life here.  ¡Viva Oaxaca!

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Carnaval - San Martin Tilcajete - 2023

The eagle had landed.... San Martin Tilcajete was the place to be on Fat Tuesday for Carnaval.  This year even more people showed up to see the incredible costumes in this village, famous for its woodcarving. And they did not disappoint.... 
The day is centered around a "wedding" that takes place in front of the municipal building.  Here's the lucky bride before the ceremony. 
And the groom dancing with a turkey, a tradition here. 
There were all sorts of amazing looks.  "Beakboy" covered with oil. 
A young version of Mr. Death. 
A nice example of the alebrije painting for which the village is renown.
And styles all their own. 
No better place to be any time, but especially for Carnaval.... and always an import village to visit for anyone coming to Oaxaca.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Carnaval Calenda 2023

A little taste of yesterday's calenda in the city as we get ready for Tuesday and the real thing.

Monday, January 23, 2023

We're all in this together...

Yesterday was tequio day here in San Pablo Etla.  I went on an early afternoon walk and the roads were filled with people cleaning the neighborhood.  What is tequio? According to Wikipedia: "the task or collective work that each person owes to their indigenous community is known as tequio. Since it is done for the benefit of the community itself, it is not paid work."
And folks were out in force, working hard.  I walked several kms and saw many different groups. 
Not only do the neighborhoods get cleaned, but it's also social occasion with people having a good time, very Oaxacan.
Shared work and shared happiness, so typical to the indigenous communities here. And yes, I did my part and cleaned the sides of the road near the house, too.

Friday, January 13, 2023

The truth hurts...

I wonder if there is any city in the US where these images could be seen.  States are passing laws banning any discussion of Critical Race Theory(CRT).  Here's a list.  I guess if we can't talk about it, none of it ever happened. 
It's like Mexico passing a law banning any talk of Spain... even though everyone speaks Spanish!  So much of the culture that is "American" comes from, dare I say it?...
Better not.  I wouldn't want to offend anyone with the facts.  I guess it is like Jack Nicholson said, "You can't handle the truth." 
And yet here it is in black and white on the walls in Oaxaca.  These are all shots from a couple of months ago on the street that abuts the north side of the Botanical Garden, seen by tens of thousands of people.  I went by it yesterday... 
Ah yes, work closed, suspended .... perfect. 
The truth hurts...

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Word for the day - Amortiguador

That's right, shock absorber.  Living in the land of tope's, serious speed bumps, my 2004 Jetta was long overdue for some new ones.  I went to the same place that installed the old ones, maybe ten years ago.  It was just past this fine flying VW bug on the Pan-American Highway, a handy landmark.
I had to take a couple of moto-taxis back to the house to get more money and then returned, where I just sat patiently listening to an audiobook for the couple of hours it took them to complete the work. 
I have to say the new shocks, amortiguadores, made quite a difference in handling and feeling the bumps and topes. It was a job well done and long overdue.  A point of interest: no two topes are the same.  They can be easy to get over and then there are the ones that hit the bottom of your car, not to mention the invisible ones.  After a while, one can sense where those are.  You don't want to take them at 40 kph.  So when's the last time you changed your shocks?

Monday, January 9, 2023

You never know.....

What you'll see in the city.  For me, it is always a breath of fresh air, filled with lots of smells, fragrant aromas, like those coming out of Bamby Bakery.  Or the aroma of freshly brewed coffee that fills the air just to the left of this little work of art. 
Ah, yes.... Oaxaca's sights and smells and always some amazing street art. 
That is a pro-choice piece, really thought provoking.  "Here's look'in at you, kid." 
And this beauty should be on the cover of some lit car magazine.
And as always, on display, Oaxaca's wonderful diversity of its folkart and textiles. 
To mangle a famous movie quote, "I love the smell of Oaxaca in the morning.  It smells like...alebrijes?"

Thursday, January 5, 2023


Back to the city...

OK, it's been a while since I posted anything, but baby, I'm back... at least I'm gonna try to do better.  We'll see how long that lasts.  Given all that's happening in the world, my words, thoughts and photos don't really matter... except to me.  Anyway, I ventured into the city for the first time this new year and it felt great.  It was just nice to see the place so vibrant.... and different. 
Here's the NW corner of the zocalo where those huge laurel trees dominated the scene for so many years.  Lots of tourists in town and they present some of my trepidations in going into the city.  In case you hadn't noticed, covid is still out there and actually there's a new surge going on.  Of course, this is Oaxaca and there is not much info out there as to how things are going. 
So half the people are masked and the other not.  Anyway, it did my heart good to see some of the iconic Oaxacan figures like the Maestro of the dogs.  He is so good with them, he normally would have five or six with him.  He must be a trainer or something. 
This shot has so much in it, but please note the rider on the dog's back.  I also ran into a woodcarver whose work I have in Boston, two large and unique mirrors.  It turns out he lives right around the corner from me.  His shop is Tribus Mixes.  I will have to dig in the files to see if I have pics of the mirrors.  So that's for another post.  On my way back I saw this...
"Open paths to love"..... I have not called.... yet.  Oh, and I have a nice video upcoming of the danzantes in Teotitlan del Valle.  Happy New Year!  Feliz Año Neuvo!

Friday, December 2, 2022

Back from Beantown...

Ahhh.. it's so nice and warm here.  And so good to be back at my Friday market with all that good produce. I was just in Boston where it was cold and iconic.
But the cost of fruits and vegetables was crazy.  And the quality?... Well, I know we are spoiled here with all the fresh food, but it was really driven home this time. 
I loaded up with all sorts of good stuff today and plan on eating nothing but fruits and veggies to balance out all that good Thanksgiving food of which there was an abundance. 
Still, there is nothing like a New England autumn.  Always a meaningful time.  Good to see people wearing masks here.  They were not in abundance in Beantown, but I wore mine.  I'm too young to....