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

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Classic Olla - Oaxacan Pottery

I loved watching this guy making ollas while carrying on a conversation. He was in the zocalo just cranking them out, all so effortlessly. Such a simple setup, but what magnificent results.

This is a classic shape and size olla and can be found everywhere. Oaxacans have been making pottery for hundreds of years. This artesano was working in the zocalo and carrying on a conversation while working. Pottery and ceramic figures are produced in many villages, each with a different style or color. In San Bartolo Coyotepec they create the classic black pottery. Atzompa is known for using tan clay w/green glaze, Ocotlan de Morelos for sculptural pieces, Santa Maria Tavehua for orange clay and San Marcos Tlapazola for red clay with silica flecks.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Bruñuelos - A Christmas Tradition

There are many different forms of bruñuelos throughout Mexico and Latin American. Actually, they exist in some form in almost every culture - fritters, funnel cakes, etc. In Oaxaca, at Navidad, they are sold in stands near the cathedral and are often served with a thick syrup of piloncillo, Mexican raw sugar. Nothing like some good Oaxacan chocolate and some of these big, sweet treats. After finishing, one is supposed to break the ceramic dish they are served in by throwing it back over one's head. This will bring good luck. Some also think it has to do with letting go of material things, something one is supposed to do every 52 years in keeping with the early calendar cycle. Everyone's got a theory. Better to just shut up and eat!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Amate's Best Seller List

Gee, right in there with the adults...... wheee!

1 Oaxaca Moon Handbook Whipperman
2 The People Decide: Oaxaca's Popular Assembly Davies N
3 Oaxaca Journal, Oliver Sacks Sacks
4 Viva Oaxaca: An Insider's Guide Viva Oaxaca
5 Seasons of My Heart: A Culinary Journey Through Oaxaca Trilling
6 Mexican Folk Art: From Oaxacan Artist Families Rothstein
7 Short Stories in Spanish (Bilingual) King
8 Carvers of San Martin Tilcajete Stowens, Christopher
9 Mexican Dream Clezio
10 Mexico Style Taschen
11 One Hudred Years of Solitude Garcia Mar
12 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus Mann C
13 Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein Klein, Naomi
14 Compact History of Mexico Villegas
15 Exploring Colonial Oaxaca Perry R
16 Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Diaz, Junot
17 2012:Return of Quetzalcoatl Pinchbeck, Daniel
18 Other Game: Lessons from How Life Is Played in Mexican Villages Dahl-Bredine, Phillip
19 Escape To Mexico Nickles
20 Zapotec: Weavers of Teotitlan Stanton
21 The Secret History of the American Empire Perkins, John
22 Aura Fuentes C
23 First Spanish Reader Flores, Angel
24 Perfect Red Greenfield
25 Mexico ( Traveler's Literary Companions ) Mayo
26 Labyrinth of Solitude Paz

What a great list. Kinda makes me want to read all the ones I haven't read yet. The Diaz is next for me after I finish 2666 by Roberto Bolaño - what a wonderful book and a lot of it takes place in Mexico. Can't wait to read it every day, a real page-turner - all 800+ pages.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Last year I posted a thing about dogs in Mexico that rambled on as to the importance of dogs in my life. I have always had dogs, but not now. It is a very different life without them. (Pssst.... life is better with dogs than without them.) Last year I had Lucky to care for and learn from. This year I am pretty much on my own - just occasional random canine encounters. I'll probably get a dog when I know better where I will be for a while, because, Lord knows, they are a commitment.

Maybe by now you have seen this video. If not, it is sad, but powerful.

Humans tend not to realize that all living things have feelings and thoughts. We like to think that plants and animals are incapable of "higher thought," that none could possibly feel as we feel. As soon as one realizes that all sentient things are just that "sentient" - feeling, the richer life gets.

Man, I love dogs.... and most sentient and non-sentient things as well. Yeah, I 'm lookin' at you...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


and painting walls and ceilings, but towards a goal of getting back to Oaxaca ASAP. In the meantime, in between time, here is a video to enjoy and ponder. i will try to get some Rabanos video up soon.