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

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Posted w/o comment

Who is that guy with a jicara on his head? 

h/t Henry Wangeman


Meanwhile, just down the road, there was a huge and very disruptive blockade of the roads yesterday.  The people making the blockade are from villages that have been promised changes and repairs from last year's rains.  They say they are tired of empty promises.  That is their side of the argument.

On another side are thousands of people who cannot get to work or to their destinations.  On another side are businesses that are severely hurt by not having workers or customers.

In essence, there are a lot of very pissed off people. 

There has to be a better way.

full story from Noticiasnet
another story from El Imparcial

Spain Chosen to Replace Mexico as Guest of Honor at French Fair

This story from The LAHT has so many threads.  What a sad mess.
Spain is replacing Mexico as the guest of honor at the 79th European Fair in Strasbourg because of the tensions between Paris and Mexico City over the Cassez case, organizers said Tuesday.

Mexico’s participation ended because of “the events,” Strasbourg Evenements, which is organizing the fair, said in a statement.

The long-running fair features food, tourism, crafts and other exhibits.

The statement was referring to the diplomatic dispute between France and Mexico over the case of Florence Cassez, a Frenchwoman convicted of kidnapping and sentenced to 60 years in prison in Mexico, company officials told Efe.

Numerous activities planned as part of the “Year of Mexico,” a series of more than 350 art, cultural and business events scheduled to be held in France throughout the course of 2011, have been cancelled since February, when Mexico suspended its institutional participation in the program......
Cassez was arrested on Dec. 8, 2005, on the Mexico City-Cuernavaca highway along with her boyfriend, Israel Vallarta, the suspected leader of the Los Zodiaco kidnapping gang.

A day later, agents from the now-defunct AFI, Mexico’s equivalent of the FBI, staged a mock raid so TV cameras could film the arrest of the gang members in a wooded area near Mexico City.

Cassez’s defense team said witnesses changed their testimony and implicated the Frenchwoman in the abductions after it emerged that the raid shown on television was a re-enactment of the original police operation.

The Frenchwoman has proclaimed her innocence from the beginning, denying that she participated in kidnappings.....

Monday, March 28, 2011

Casa Roja

Remember this shot from a month or so ago?  I wondered what color scheme they would go with.
Well, here it is. 

Would it work on your street?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Walking Tour

The city is hoppin' these days, more tourists then in many moons.  I am not sure why, but it is fun to see.  Oh, and it is hot!  May is usually the hottest month, so this heat is early.  I hope it brings the rains soon.  I am acting tour guide for a friend and covering lots of territory and just checking out the scene.
One of my favorite windows.

As always, protests in the zocalo.  The violinist was quite good.
The funniest thing about this shot of a shop on the main pedestrian walkway, Macedonia Alcala, was the laughter coming from the woman working in the store.  I got to use a phrase I just learned, "No tiene verguenza?" "Have you no shame?"  She broke out in contagious laughter.

This new place is on the south side of the zocalo, the side that is strictly oaxaqueño, not for tourists.  Who knew Boston was famous for coffee.  What's next?  A Dunkin' Donuts?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Things are looking up.... Teposcolula

A shot of the interior dome of the newly restored church in Teposcolula.  There is a chandelier hanging below it which adds to the mandala effect.

The restoration work has been going on for months, maybe years, but it is gorgeous....not quite finished, but gorgeous.  I don't know if this one is finished, but it sure looks fine,

It is the same in Yanhuitlan, one of my all time favorites, but the church was closed when I was last there.

I have been shooting these interior domes whenever I get a chance.  There is one is San Jose del Progreso that is supposed to be one of the nicest ones in all of Oaxaca.  I have gone there five times, but never made it into the church for various reasons... like it was closed or there was a ceremony going on or they were having political altercations, you know, normal life.... Next time for sure.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The view from my window....almost

Things aew looking good.

The view from Casa Cultura in San Agustin Etla.  You can almost see my house waaayyy off in the distance.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

You've got to be carefully taught....

I love John Pizzarelli's version of this song.  It is such a powerful yet, subtle song.  Listen to it and tell me you are not changed for the better. 

What a nice tight chorus, singing right on the money.  Gorgeous! .... and an added last verse as well.


Yesterday, there were blockades throughout the city and state in support of an investigation into the March 14th disappearance of professor Carlos René Román Salazar.  The teachers and education workers hit all the key intersections and routes.  Normal chaos ensued.

Full story in Spanish.

Fashion shots you never see

From my on-going series of "do they know what their T-shirts says?"

Of course, FUBU (for us, by us) is one of the the hippest clothing lines as I am sure this caballero knows.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Friday, March 18, 2011


I have several favorite spots to watch graffiti come and go.  You will recall this shot from a couple of weeks ago after they scraped and painted this wall.  They even gave it a nice frame.

There have been quite a few changes in the last week.
It is different every time I pass by it.


I love it, but what is it?  Oh, of course, a skateboard.

Finally, it is covered with a poster for Oaxaca's #1 compilation of Trash Metal bands, Steel Jaguar.

Wind energy

With more wars (or threats of them) for oil -  let's face it that is what Libya is all about.  If it were about saving people, we would be helping on the Ivory Coast, but we don't know nothin' about that place - it is interesting to note that the US gets most of its oil from Canada and Mexico.  So it is even more interesting that the largest wind energy project in Lain America is being built not far from here.

from The Sun Herald
Macquarie Mexican Infrastructure Fund (“MMIF”) today announced its participation in an equity consortium (the “Consortium”) that has acquired Energía Alterna Istmeña, S. de R.L. de C.V. and Energía Eólica Mareña, S.A. de C.V. (the “Project Companies”) from subsidiaries of Preneal, S.A. (“Preneal”) for a transaction enterprise value of MXN$1.06 billion (approximately US$89.0 million).
The Project Companies are the owners of a 396 MW late-stage wind energy project in the south-eastern region of the State of Oaxaca (the “Project”). The Project is located along the Isthmus of Tehuantepec where average regional wind speeds exceed 8.5 meters per second. The area is regarded as the best wind resource in Mexico and one of the windiest regions in the world.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Whaddya lookin' at?

"Let me whisper in your ear."

This shot has so much happening, her Winnie the Pooh shirt, his Nikes, the doll, URO on the ass.  I think she was taking a pic of me while I was shooting them.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

LLuvia - Rain

Water falling from the sky!!!  Que milagro!  What a miracle!  There were a few drops yesterday and today, the Ides of March, there was a wonderful, long, gentle rain.  This is so early.  It is hard to describe what it is like to have rain after maybe, five or six months without a drop.  It fills one will wonderment.

Of course, through the dry months, one adapts..... and waits.....and waits... for just this.
The plants and I are freakin'

Tejarones dancers from San Juan Colorado

Uploading video is almost impossible due to slow connection, but here is a rough clip of the the musicos and tejarones dancers from San Juan Colorado.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Haunting.  That is the best way to describe the music that we heard in the various villages. 

There were some traditional saxes, trumpets and brass, but mostly there were duos with guitar and violin. 

The guitar was often almost inaudible, playing one or two chords, while the violin, often scratchy and out of tune, played the same melody over and over. 

However, this sound coupled with the steady beat kept by the sonajas was almost trance inducing. 
I think I played with this guy....  or maybe it was his cousin. Corona, of course.

From Pinotepa Don Luis, one of the Lord of the Flies guys.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Reinas de Carnaval - Queens of Carnival

There are queens and then there are queens.

While working on these photos I flashed back on the whole queen thing on St. Thomas in the USVI where it was HUGE.  Of course, Carnival there is almost a month long and one of the biggest events of the year.

And maybe there is some comparison to the reinas in the villages near Pinotepa Nacional.  I am still wondering why there were two queens in Pinotepa Don Luis, a "real" queen and an "indigenous" queen.  

I am sure there is some not-so-subtle shot at the Spanish, but both women were treated well, although the "real" one seemed to get preferential treatment.  
At least the "indigenous" queen rode in the shade and believe me, it was hot in the sun.  I love her beautiful basket with her name carved into the gourd.

They were both radiant, obviously happy with wonderful smiles for the crowds.

While in San Juan Colorado, I snuck up onto the reviewing stand where the queen and other notables were watching the dances.  Hey, it was in the shade and I have learned that a camera can get you almost anywhere.  If you want the shot, you have to do what you have to do to get it.  She was in her element.

Her gown from the back. Hey, it is Fashion Week somewhere. 

And she even got on a tee shirt.

The queen from Santa Maria Huazolotitlan.

And the gay queen from the Pinotepa Nacional parade.

However, the real queen was Soyla from Pinotepa Don Luis.  She sells textiles and art.... and lots of alcohol, which, I believe, is made from sugar cane and flavored with fruit.  It packed a real punch judging from the patrons in front of her place.  She is a real pistol, kinda like a high energy Miss Kitty with an edge.  She has a wonderful sense of humor and a rapier sharp wit.  And back in the day....

Long live the queen!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Faces of Pinotepa Carnaval.....cont

The masks seemed as if they were alive, moving.

Tejarones dancers from Santa Maria Huazolotitlan.

Animalitos from San Pedro Jicayan.

Headress made from rooster feathers and a sonaja.

One of the respected elders.

Dancers that seemed like they were from Lord of the Flies.

They ran through Pinotepa Don Luis uttering only one sound, "bloot, bloot, bloot."

The classic look of a white rebozo and pozahuanco.