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

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Things are looking up

I love these shots of the interior cupolas or domes of the churches here.  One has to find dead center and half the time I have to get down on my knees  to get the whole dome, which gives the appearance that I am penitent..... like I have anything to atone for ;-)  The trick is to get the chandelier or whatever is hanging down right in the middle and voila, they become mandalas.
From Tlacolula.
Santa Ana Zegache
The cathedral in the city
Each church is so different.... and for something completely different, looking up at thisgorgeous paper lantern at the Camino Real.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Laundry Day

If you have ever had your clothes washed here in one of the many lavanderias, you will have marveled at how perfectly they are folded when you get them back.  They are miraculously packed into plastic bags, so tighlty that you need a crowbar to get them out.  I often wonder how they do it and now I know.  It is done by space aliens.
What this guy/gal is doing with these pants is beyond me.  It looks like they have been turned into some sort of piano keyboard, which sure works for me.  I want one.
These from shots are from beautiful downtown Etla on a bright sunny Sunday.  It has been surprisingly cool here, 70's during the day and 40's at night, so that sun has felt great.  The above were right next to this spectacular piece of street art.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Navidad - Oaxacan style

Christmas is very different here, a very quiet day.  The market in Etla, which is normally packed on Wednesday, was almost empty.  The same for our favorite restaurant, Comedor Colon, which was ours alone for our delicious Christmas meal of mole, both negro y verde, which was out of this world.
Enjoying the tranquility, we headed over to the church in Reyes, the one in Jack Black's "Nacho Libre" just to drink in the warm sun and spectacular views. 
On the way back we noticed there was lots of action at the church in Tres Reyes so we stopped to watch the kids reenact the manger scene. 
It was a joyous event filled with very happy children, proud parents and of course, a band and tons of very loud cohetes, firecrackers.  Not too cute, eh?
I have lots of lots of shots from Noche Buena, but this one was a standout.  She asked the same question I ask every Christmas, "Where's my pony?"
It wasn't a pony, but this abuleo rode by on his trusty burro, checking out the action in Tres Reyes.  I will be back there for Three Kings Day next week for the real deal.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

There you go

Noche del Rabanos - 116 years and still going strong

It may have been taking place for over a century, but change is a part of La Noche del Rabanos.  Each year, it seems the crowds are bigger and the barriers push the crowds further back.  There used to be no barriers and one could get up close and personal with the artesanos as they assembled their remarkable pieces.  Now, even with a press pass it is hard to get near the action.... but of course, I did.
There is a very narrow pocket of time in the morning to get one's shots even though the crowds were already large.  Still, the creativity is amazing and the people displaying theirs are the best part of the event.
It was very nice to see people I see every year and to have them recognize me.
My favorite abuela from San Anonino was not there as she had hurt her leg.  I bet she has not missed this in over fifty years.  She sent greetings to me through this woman from her village.  I have my annual gift for her, a nice rebozo, that I will have to get to her somehow.  Meanwhile, on with the show.
This magnificent piece by Adrián Flores Peña won first place in the free rabanos competition.
I am pretty sure this won first place in the natural totomoxtle (corn husk) contest.  A magnificent vision of a municipal center.
Looks like Benito Juarz giving a speech from a decorated podium.
The details are always a blast.  "Wanna buy my turkey?"
Or some chapulines?
Look at the delicate details on this tiny part of a larger work.
Again, such fine attention to detail.
These pieces often take from three to six months to make.  You can see why.
Christ and Zapata together once again.
An amazing radish face.
Another in colored corn husks.
There was a wonderful depiction of the tree in El Tule that deserves a post of its own and I will do that shortly.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Who you callin' gordita?

If it is Sunday, it must be the market in Tlacolula and a visit to the best taco and gordita place I have found thus far.  I go there so often that they know me.  It's a family operation and everyone works, including the kids and they start young.  Here is Aurelia tending the gorditas.  She was shy to begin with, but now I always get a big smile.
And nothing could beat this beautiful shot of mother and daughter.

Friday, December 20, 2013


Only three more days.  I am psyched, as always.
Here's why.

Here's the proof

This could be my Pulitzer.  It could be big... very BIG!!!!!11!!
Santa is white?  ¡Ja!  Here is proof positive.  He is a oaxaqueño and you know what that means.
And there is this, too.

It's beginning to look like...

Monday, December 16, 2013

Not only that...

So Santa is white?  I bet they did not know he was also a.....

Life stories

Each one of these shots speaks volumes.... if you'll let them.
Visions of Sugarplums?  A dog dreams and it comes trues.
Just in case there was any question....

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Virgen de Guadalupe - Teotitlan del Valle style

We celebrated el Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe with the dancers in Teotitlan del Valle.  For this particular danza de las plumas, many of the danzantes had made special capes of the Virgin to wear.    But first, the setting, a late afternoon on a rare cool afternoon with clouds and showers.
The full outfits
Each cape was a special work of art and I will let them speak for themselves.
It really is mind blowing how much time, effort, imagination, artistry and skill go into their work and is one of the reasons why Teotitlan del Valle is such a magical and special place.