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

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Street Art cont....

I suppose it is the same everywhere, but Oaxaca is filled with such interesting sights. I never fail to be drawn in by the art and graffiti. These two really made me think. This virgin is so beautifully and tastefully done, fits with the house so well. It had to be planned. I hope it remains untagged.

Visual hallucinogenic or a piece intended to make one look and perceive it as art? In the eye of the beholder, as always.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Guelaguetza - Etla

I was lucky to go to the local guelaguetza in nearby Etla. What difference! It was so more intimate and I guess, real, than the huge event in the city. The dancers and audience had great interactions and there was a powerful feeling of joy. Yes, that was it, joy.
Flor de piña again.More later, but I wanted to post a couple of shots.
Yes, the dancer above had a partner.My everyday market! I think I was the only gringo there. What a blast!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Teotitlan del Valle

A dogs life.Over the church entryway.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Getting around

These three modes of transportation were parked outside the market in Etla. In thinking about it, these are really the way people get around. Horses and burros are regular sights. Yes, people have cars, but the collectivos or cabs are the way lots of people get from place to places. Buses, too. And motos or motorcycles in various sizes are everywhere. I would love to get one, but I would kill or maim myself in no short order and I don't need that aggravation.And the police have a new way of getting around.
Put the two shots together and it makes quite a statement.
Lojack? No need. People have their own effective security devices.

Friday, July 23, 2010

"Killer Governor Falls"

Here is the story that should be told:
from John Ross at Counterpunch

As the preliminary election results began to flow this past July 4th, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz (URO), Oaxaca's outgoing governor whose police state tactics have been dissed on every strata of Mexican society from the nation's Supreme Court to the Zapotec market vendors in his state capital, was not a happy camper. Early returns overwhelmingly favored Gabino Cue, the candidate of a bizarre left-right alliance over URO's chosen successor Eviel Perez for governor of this impoverished southern state and Ulises began to drink heavily.

Soon, according to eye-witnesses as reported by Proceso magazine, Ruiz got on his cell phone to trash former aides, accusing them of betraying him and threatening great bodily harm. Indeed, his ex-Secretary of Government Jorge Franco took the threats to heart and reportedly fled Mexico.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tres amigos

The family of our favorite local restaurant in Etla, Comedor Colon, recently had a wedding. One of the daughters, Lulu, met her husband to be, Victor Hugo at the restaurant. We gave them a killer boombox as a gift. And they presented us with party favors, gifts and a free meal. So here are the three amigos, Henry Wangeman of Amate Books, his son Zack (a recent graduate - felicidades!) and some guy. Do we look happy enough???? I wear my V y L hat all the time while driving and you have to admit, very cool bandannas.

Mezcal Festival - Feria de Mezcal

Right in the center of Llano Park, one can sample a wide variety of mezcal from Oaxaca and throughout Mexico at the annual Feria de Mezcal. Not being a big drinker and being alone, I did not go in. I heard from friends that the mezcal was not the best, but still quite tasty and potent. You can see from the price of entry it seems like a good deal. That just over a buck to get in and I have no idea what insem stands for. Anyone? Anyone?
I used to collect the posters for this event because they were always so beautifully done, real works of art. This year, not so much. I mean the guy looks like the Fonz.
Si toma, no maneje.
If you drink, don't drive.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Street Art cont....

Every day, something new. Seeing this one everywhere.On a doily? Ingenious.Remember this one from a couple weeks ago? Now with an addition.Bad day? Hare today, gone tomorrow.Oaxaca's most famous artist and patron, Francisco Toledo turns 70. Celebrations abound.


It is all in the eyes of the beholder. This couple from Great Britain joined in with the thousands of tourists roaming the streets.

I am sure that this is how this caballero has dressed for years, a classic look, but what a look!
I wonder if I could pull it off... make it all the rage in NYC.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Guelaguetza -Oaxaca 2010

Oaxaca at its very best. The guelaguetza is one of major events of the year and this year is the bicentennial so the energy and emotion were overflowing, a joyous start to this two weeks celebration. Yes, it is a big tourist attraction and Oaxaca sure needs those tourist's pesos, but oaxaqueños are really doing it to share the dances and customs with each other, not really for the tourists. Oaxaca is a favorite destination for many Mexican tourists because of these traditions. And all is presented with such wonderful spirit and pride. It is a time when the various regions of the state come together to share traditions, most evident in dress and dance. Each group struts their stuff with accompanying band and marchers from the region. For more information and the whole history, click here. The desfile or calenda or parade on Saturday afternoon was simply spectacular as the groups walked a three kilometer route that ended up in front of Santo Domingo. Here are the dancers with marmotas, the large globes. Think about dancing and carrying that for almost two miles. Yes, they take turns and they wear a belt, like a flog pole holder. Aside from the beauty and the music, I was stuck by just how happy people were, both the participants and the huge crowds that lined the parade route. There are times in Oaxaca, when I feel so caught up in the sheer exuberance and joy of the moment, I forget everything else, swept away by the here and now. I think this is the way life is supposed to be. Oaxaqueños sure know how to do it.

The flor de piña dancers from San Juan Bautista Tuxtepec, always crowd favorites. Easy to see why. And that's the thing. Normally, oaxaqueños are not all that happy to be photographed and lots of times, they ask that you not do it. However, for the guelaguetza, it is, "Here I am. Shoot me already." And to be fair to the one blocked out in the shot. There is a reason why oaxaqueñas are renown for their beauty.
These outfits, all the rags, are so similar to ones I shot in the Caribbean. Same with these guys on stilts.One can get pretty tired dancing on stilts for a couple of hours.And it all happens again next Saturday. The whole two weeks are packed with events. Still time to come.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

It is all about Bea(triz)

I am still working on photos and video from last week's wonderful fiesta in Teotitlan del Valle. Also, too, I have been without internet for a few days, but finally have gotten things back up with the help of folks from telcel.
One of the best things about shooting these fiestas a few times is that one learns how the events unfold or, in the case of la calenda, the path they walk throughout the village. Knowing this. I was able to shoot at one location and then run to the next and be waiting to shoot it all over again.There were perhaps two hundred young women and girls marching this year. It was spectacular.

One of the the best moments for me was seeing Beatriz, the daughter of Antonio and Claudia Ruiz, my zapotec friends, marching in her first calenda. I have watched her grow up and her smile lit up the world. It doesn't get any better than this. Her proud family. With Antonio a couple of years ago.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Teotitlan del Valle - Fiesta - Un sueño, a dream

What a week! Really a photographer's dream, but even without a camera it would have been a powerful experience. I am still working on photos and video and there is still one day to go. Mmmm, tomorrow is Emilia Ruiz's mole negro, which I maintain is the the best EVAH. Oh, there is more dancing and celebration, too.

The people of Teotitlan have been so friendly, this event so special, that once I get it together and find some time to write up the experience, I hope I can do them and it justice. But for now, some early shots of la calenda and la danza.Doña Marina and Malinche, two halves of the same coin.With MotezumaHigh flyin'