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, April 30, 2014

Now that's a tattoo.

Here's the shot from the art show that the lady from Casa Colibri missed.
A gorgeous tat on the mother of one of the little artists.

State of the art.

I gave my sister blogger, spixl, a ride out to San Bartolo Coyotepec to attend the opening of a children's art exhibition last week.  She has a nice post up about the event, so check it out.
It is always fun to see kids and their art, here or anywhere, but this was a special event and there was much joy and excitement in the air.  As one who use to be involved in these sorts of things regularly, I particularly liked this display that had hundreds of pictures in it and swam through the color spectrum.
 And while everyone was getting this shot.
I was getting this one.
Great art, but I was checking out the food.  They had the traditional.
Some healthy things.
And some not so healthy things.
Why on sticks?
Well, I don't know whose idea it was, but it sure looks like they intended to use this little fountain and have the kids deep things into the red liquids.  Hmmmm.... I not sure how well that worked out.  What could go wrong?  Unfortunately, we will never know as we left before the eating commenced.
But we were there for the art, right?

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Carnival in Teotitlan del Valle - 2014 - Danza de los Viejitos

Unlike many other places, where they party hearty long before Easter, Teotitlan del Valle celebrates carnival after Easter.  And like most celebrations in Teotitlan, carnival is filled with traditions and never gets to the full blown craziness that accompanies many other carnivals and Mardi Gras.  Although, for me, it got a tiny bit crazy.  That's me behind the mask.  I have the old man thing down solid.
(h/t spixl)
Each day of the week, there is a meal and celebration in a different part of the village.  This was the second year that we visited the same home in Section 5.   We learned that the meal/celebration was a three year cargo, or commitment, so I hope to be back next year.

There was an excellent band, a wonderful meal of barbacoa (beef) and lots of dancing.  Notice no eating utensiles, only tlayudas and fingers.  Also, notice the traditional white shirts.  I managed to eat my entire bowlful with not one single stain on my shirt.  A first!!
Dance here is somber yet energetic.  No one ever cracks a smile.  Of course, that is not the case with the highlight of carnival in Teotitlan, the danza de los viejitos, the dance of the old men.
They appear to be happy, cantankerous and able to give flack to anyone and everyone.  Their partners are men dressed as women, who have the most wonderful high cackling laugh.
After much food, drink and dance, the group leaves the house and parades down the street to the municipal center, where the entire village awaits for more presentations and dancing.
They interact with the many folks who stand in their doorways to enjoy the spectacle.
 Everyone has a phone/camera.
 It was a ten minute walk to the municipo.
The procession is led by two characters (this year, three), the chihuahuas, who virtually never, ever stop moving.  They jog in place the entire time.... they must go into some sort of a trance.
The little guy was the son of one of the dancers and he ended leading the entire parade into the packed plaza.  Some folks got there early to get primo seats and to enjoy nieves, ices.
By the time the viejitos arrived, at 6 PM, the place was packed, with people still streaming in.
Not a tourist in sight.  They really missed out.
 This woman had the perfect spot in a little elevated area leaning back against a tree. She drank in the scene and so did we.  Ahhhh... Teotitlan del Valle.
This year I actually concentrated on getting decent video of the dance and the whole event and will post those results when I can.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Shirt shots

I am always checking out people's shirts and have gotten much better at just asking if I can take a quick shot.  They run the gamut and each one tells a unique story, which I have to imagine as I look at the shots.
¿ Habla Ingles?  Of course, the answer was, "no."
 Jajajajaja... illegal alien.......
Who knows?  Kid with a slingshot and a camera must mean something....
As I say, I am always on the look for good shirt and I like the juxtaposition in these shots.
I like how the statue's lace cuff looks like a shawl on the woman in the background and how the rosary beads seem to be hanging from her hands although she was really just checking her phone.
However, the message is what matters..... the message is the medium? 
Shirts are the medium and the messages....... get delivered.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Mmmm, mmmm, good...

This was one of the best soups I have had in quite a while, sope de lentejas, a rich lentil from El Chef in Tlacolula.  It was the first course of a meal with entree (costillas), dessert and drink, all for $35 MP ($2.67 US)  Hard to beat that!
Looks good, doesn't it?  It tasted twice as good.   And as long as I am posting food shots, check out this piña confection.  I don't know if the red sprinkle is sugar or chile of some combination of the two.
Or how about this roasted corn?  Perfectly mouth-watering.
Aahhh.... street food..

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Monday, April 21, 2014

Procession of Silence - Procesión del Silencio

Because it is a celebration that is so ingrained in the social fabric of Oaxaca, it is hard to believe that the first Procession of Silence was only 28 years ago, in 1986.  For the 2014 version, the city was absolutely packed with locals and tourists from around the world.  I had a carefully laid out plan as to how to shoot it this year, but the best laid plans and all that.... they changed the route.  Instead of heading up the pedestrian walkway, they headed south, down Macedonia Alcala to the heart of the city, where they turned around and returned up Garcia Vigil.  The change came about because there is a fantastic artisans' market set up on the normal route.  Oh well, the shots just weren't there for me.  There were way too many people and uh, it got dark before we saw much of anything.
 Some of the classic looks.  You can see how amazing the flowering trees are this year.

 And going.... what a beautiful cloak!
There were just so many people and everyone had a camera, phone or tablet, all taking pictures.  The crowds were much bigger down towards the zocalo, but too much for us.
Then it got dark with great opportunities with colored lights on the trees in the background, but, dammit, those people just would not stand still.
Well, they did stop when they needed to rest.
Always one of the most dramatic moments as the sound of the crosses being dragged along the cobblestones. 
And that was 2014.... now on to ????

Friday, April 18, 2014

"Chunks of snow"

We had a nice rain here last night, the first real rain of the season, but probably just an outlier. 
However outside of Mexico City....
from the LAHT
Thousands of vehicles were stranded for more than 12 hours overnight on a highway west of Mexico City when a hailstorm hit the mountain area that divides the capital from the Valley of Toluca, federal officials said Thursday.....
“While it is true that the road is open, it’s also true that chunks of snow, the hail, is there and we have to remove it,” Murrieta said.

The state road and the federal highway that link Mexico City to Toluca are more than 60 kilometers (37 miles) long, with the majority of the road winding through a mountain area.

Thousands of people spent the night on the highway in their vehicles, arriving at their destinations hours later.

Blankets, food, coffee and bottled water were distributed to some of the people stranded on the highway, officials said.

The worst stretch of the road was between the toll booths and Marquesa Park, where the accumulated hail reached up to 40 centimeters (16 inches).

“It was awful, we were more than 12 hours late in reaching Toluca on a trip that normally takes no more than an hour,”

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Covergirls and hipsters

From Sunday in San Antonino.
 The future is now.
.... and bright.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Palm Sunday in San Antonino - Domingo de Ramos

San Antonino is one of those special villages that has so many rich traditions and so many highly accomplished artesanos, that it is always a privilege and a blessing to share in the celebrations there.  The palm fronds for everyone.
Palm Sunday is no exception as the village gathers at the panteon to adorn and bedeck the statue of Christ from the church with all manner of fruits, vegetables, breads.
People also bring all sorts of food, animals, items for the home, as offerings to be sold after mass as a fund raiser.
This was a long assembly process and the whole thing ends up a work of art and obviously, a very weighty one at that.  Look at how glorious the produce looks.
Then long poles were inserted under the platform and the whole thing was carried a kilometer or so to the church where a huge crowd awaited.
Led by the priest, flower pedals strewn along the path, with the smoke from copal filling the air, the procession made its way down the street.
The strain was obvious as the men struggled to carry the load.
People followed carrying the offerings that had been brought through out morning.
Or used a wheelbarrow if necessary.
Finally, they ducked under the arch and arrived at the church.  Hundreds of people were waiting in the plaza in front of the church for the statue's arrival.  Mass soon followed.
No better way to start Semana Santa.