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

Friday, May 30, 2008

You missed it!

And so did I.
Who knew they were in town?

In the Eye of the Beholder

The protests continue.
Some posters from the walls.
Is it Art or Politics?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

La Lucha - The Struggle

The zocalo remains filled with teachers, protesters and vendors. I am not sure of what to think. The place has gone from a beautiful and vibrant center of the city to a fairly dirty and seedy scene in a short time. There are articles in the online papers as to whether or not the city can handle another two weeks of this. It is normally at 21 day event.Rough translation - We will not stop until they are found.

On the one side there are the Disappeared and on the other disappearing patrons for businesses. A normally packed cate at the SW corner of the zocalo.It may be an effective protest, but to what end?
Still they were shooting a promotional tourism video at Santo Domingo...Women in traditional outfits take the traditional pizza break The Truth will set you free

What a little rain can do

After returning from driving to Teotitlan del Vaille to visit some weavers, I walked up to the Casa de Cultura in San Agustin Etla, which is in a spectacular setting of a large, old, colonial textile mill.

I could not help but notice how much the landscapes have changed in just two weeks. One can feel the electricity as things come alive and the greening continues. In two months, everything will be lush and green as if the dry season did not exist.

Monday, May 19, 2008


We have had the most wonderful rain. I remember Henry describing it. The first few rains, the land does not entirely believe it. Should it give in and rejoice? Actually turn green? Well, after the last two rains, one very heavy and last night's long and gentle, the campo is giving in and accepting that water will indeed fall from the sky. Things are waking up and enjoying the dust being washed off. The change is wonderful. Much like the first day of spring in New England. The land is waking up and it is contagious.

So bursting with energy, I set off to the 11 AM "Ironman" showing. The theaters here are so fine, I thought it would be an excellent way to spend a drizzling morning. I had already seen the movie once and obviously, I thought it was good enough to see again.

I know my way around the city with all the detours and the daily traffic flow but I was stymied by a political march that shut down certain streets.
The teachers or maestros are exercising their power and general disapproval with the governor.

I wonder if my former colleagues at prep school realize just how much power they could exercise if they actually woke up. Sorry, go back to sleep. I am making it up.

I don't know how many marchers there were. The marches here range from a few thousand to hundreds of thousands.

And the problems are complex.
The Poor exist here and deserve better. The corruption, repression, oppression, the class system, the narcos, all of them make quite a stew.

I know it is hard on businesses and nobody can handle any more economic hardships. If I look at it personally, I did not spend the money I planned. No movie, no popcorn. No dinero.

And the traffic was a bitch.

I am sympathetic to the problems here - with both businesses and more importantly, with all my friends and mentors in the villages, where I have been working, The solutions are tough, but obvious... and ain't gonna happen. The government, the teachers and business community, APPO, all of them must start acting ethically and working for the general good. As I say, it ain't gonna happening.
But at least they are marching and protesting. What say you America? What will it take for you to do the same? Torture? War? Corruption? Gas prices? Food prices? Miley Cyrus?
Well, after not being able to do what I intended. I listened to the speeches and watched the action. Then I figured I should get while the getting was good in terms of traffic. Which turned out to be smart. This was the only traffic obstruction I met and I was almost home by then.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Man - Isidoro Cruz

Isidoro is The Man.
Some people just exude brilliance, humor and wisdom. Isidoro Cruz, the famous carver from San Martin Tilcajete, is one of them and has long been a mentor for me.
His carvings are simply some of the best as you can see from the photos, but it really his genius and spirit that I find inspirational. I want to be that smart, productive, energetic, happy and crazy when I am his age - which is fast approaching.Here are shots of him over the years, but he has a very long history.The villagers refer to him more as a sculptor than a carver, a sign of their respect.He is one of Mexico's master craftsmen.Come and visit him and support Oaxacan artists.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Not to be believed

There is a wonderful cool breeze blowing down from the mountains this morning, but that was not the case yesterday afternoon. May is normally the hottest month of the year here and the last two days were well into the 30's or 90's.

At around three, I heard thunder, but there is plenty of thunder around here, so thought nothing of it. Three hours later, it was pouring with high winds and then it started to hail...
It was as intense a weather moment as I have been in in quite a while. Lot of damage to the plants and some major flooding.
We will have to see what today brings. At least I don't need to water.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Xuanas of San Martin Tilcajete

I am having a great time working on the directory of artesanos in the woodcarving village of San Martin Tilcajete. I get to go into all the hidden places around the village and see the carving families in their homes. I am working with Rogelio Sosa Ortega, who is one of famous carver, Jesus Sosa Calvo's sons.

Here is a nice portrait of the family of Abad Xuana Luis under a flamboyan tree. Abad and his children carve wonderful pieces. His daughter Ana, is one of the very few artesanos who does the whole process. She carves, sands and paints her own pieces.

Clowns - Payasos

2 Cute and the CathederalURO -the governor in graffiti - still not cute at all.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


May is protest month, but thus far things have been fairly quiet. The students at the University had a brief traffic stoppage,
This is a major intersection right near the zocalo.
but then things were back to normal.
Word to the wise: If you are going to climb a building and hang a sign, make sure that it can be read.Pink? I mean, pink? And what font is that?

Cinco de Mayo ain't no big thing here. In Puebla, yes, but for the rest of Mexico, it's a day like any other.

Of course, in the States, it's huge. Just a further indication of just how little the US really knows about it neighbors.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Market Day in Etla

A colorful poster I saw in the city for the wonderful market I go to every Wednesday in Etla.