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, July 28, 2013

Guelaguetza - Esperanza edition

If you read this blog regularly you will recognize this face.  This is one of our favorite people, Esperanza, the charismatic waitress from the barbacoa place in Tlacolula, who has graced these pages many times in the past. 
I knew she was going to be one of the dancers this year.  The Big Time!  Center stage in the Auditorio tomorrow for the afternoon guelaguetza. 
It was so exciting and fun to see her in the desfile yesterday. 
I can't tell you how it feels to see someone we know well participating in one of the best events in Oaxaca, but suffice it to say, it is a new level of happiness.
Check out her shoes with the cut out toes.  And she can really dance!
So it is all Esperanza this morning.
We laughed because it is the first time in quite a while she will not be working.  I said, "Hey, you got a day off." and she replied, "No, I got two days."

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Hot tamale

Oh, did you miss something.  Well, you do have one more day if you can get it together to go to the 8th annual Feria de Tamale y Tejate in the Plaza de la Danza.  This is Irene Peres and hers were the best I tasted today.
 I wish I had gotten this woman's name, because hers were just as good.
 Rajas!  Mmmmm....
I am so full, but I could still eat another one... or two.... or maybe even three.  They were that good.  All of the ladies were from San Andres Huayapam, a village to the west of the city, the only place one can find "rosita de cacao," the key ingredient in tejate.
Aside from this unique ingredient, tejate can also be made from corn, cinnamon and the seeds and flowers of the fruit called mamey.
The tamales came in about ten different varieties.  I should have taken a pic of the list, but I was too busy having fun and eating.  We sampled, rajas, flor de calabasa, mole, chebil and came home with a additional bagful of the hot steaming treats.
The place was crowded, but we were early.  I am sure it will be packed later.  There was great music, great people and great food.
I ended the day with a wonderful nieve or ice, mandarin y limon, tangerine and lime.
Need a closeup to make your mouth water?
What a feast!

Guelaguetza 2013 - The desfile looking up

Going through the hundreds of shots from just the last couple of days and trying to pick out a few to post has proven to be challenging.  Here are a few from the first desfile or parade of all the delegations last Saturday.  There were so many people there, it was wonderful getting jostled and bounced around.  Here a glimpse of how crazy it was.
I am always trying to find new angles and perspective from which to shoot and I like these from a low vantage point.  I was down on my knees, shooting up, trying to get the sky as a backdrop.  It worked, dontcha think?
So many things happening, it is hard to keep up.  I still have to go through the hundreds of shots from the local guelaguetza in nearby Reyes Etla, but sorry, must go eat tamales at the feria de tamale y tejate at the Plaza de la Danza in the city now.  I know, I know, it's a tough job......

Diosa Centéotl - Dulce Yanet Grijalba Martínez

And the winner is....Dulce Yanet Grijalba Martínez, from the Zapotec village of San Pablo Villa de Mitla.  She was the very first presenter of the competition and I was lucky enough to get some great shots of her, but there is nothing like the real thing.  Here she is leading the desfile last Saturday.
It must be wild to go from a quiet life in the village to becoming the leading figure of the Guelaguetza and being greeted, cheered and photographed by ten of thousands of people.  Dulce... sweet.
I always love the hair and headdress treatments.   Hers is very subtle and subdued.
¡Felicidades, Dulce!  y viva Oaxaca!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Alejandro Santiago 1964-2013

Hard to believe..... one of Mexico's preeminent artists has died suddenly from a heart attack. He was only 49.  I was recently fortunate to photograph him in his studio.  He was an amazing character and incredibly prolific artist working in many areas, including painting, sculpture, metalwork, ceramics and printmaking to name but a few. One of his most important works is "2501 Migrantes" which highlighted the economic and immigration problems his Zapotec village faced along with much of Mexico  What a profound loss.  My condolences to his extended family, which included many around the world.
En paz descante, maestro.

Monday, July 22, 2013

'Shrooms - Cuajimaloyas

Yesterday we went to the feria de hongos in the mountain village of Cuajimaloyas and as you can see they had some serious mushrooms.
There were tamales, empanadas, soups, drinks, candies and many other foods, all made from the most delectable fresh mushrooms.
Wonderful food and wonderful people.  Check out the one that looks like a brain.  She said that it was just a quarter of the whole thing.
Positive proof.
Look at all the varieties they grow and harvest in Cuajimaloyas.
Gotta run... guelaguetza in Reyes Etla this morning...... more in a bit.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

It's on - Guelaguetza 2013

As I said earlier, there is just way too much going on to cover in its entirety, so I will let the pictures speak for themselves.  You should head over to Shannon's post for more.
The day started with the feria de queso and quesillo in nearby Reyes Etla, the world's center for Oaxacan cheese. 
OMG, the cheeses are so good and one never finds them in the markets. 
You have to go to these people's homes to get them. 
And what's more the people are as nice as the cheese is good.
So we watched the queen of the fair get picked by an interesting process.  One was supposed to slip money into an envelope and then drop that in a box in front of each girl. 
Who ever raised the most money was coronated.  Sounds like other elections I know.  Our queen.
Too many cute kids. 
Some of the little dancers, who performed very nicely.
Beautiful hair treatment. 
Meanwhile, the work in the nearby fields continued.
Then is was into the city for the Feria de Mole at the Botanical Garden.  How can you go wrong eating all you want of moles prepared by some of the area's finest restaurants and cooks?
I always love the behind the scenes workers.  They are the ones who make it all possible.
There were only about forty of these, each filled with something delectable. 
Then a quick walk to see the finals of the Diosa contest, but it was way too crowded to even get close.  They need a different venue next year because more and more people are showing up.  The city is teeming with tourist$.  This was the only shot I managed to get and...... she did not win, but still seemed pretty happy.
Then we dodged raindrops as the skies opened up on this side of the city.   We crashed and burned so no concert, but we are more than ready for today's desfile and the feria de mezcal.  More in a bit.