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

Monday, December 29, 2014


La Noche de Rabanos was so much fun this year.  Maybe it was the last minute go-ahead and the re-taking and cleaning of the zocalo, but there was a palpable sense of excitement and happiness. Watching the competitors set up and assemble their pieces is always so interesting.  It is the best time to see them in their elements and often they are happy to talk and share their experiences.  While going through all the shots I noticed these where people are framed by their work.  Note the photos of some of the 43 missing students in the background of the above photo.
 In between the steeples.
Framed on both sides of the pieces.
"You lookin' at me?"
 Stay there!
This is really a gorgeous miniature of one of the pennants that are carried in processions.  Hmmm... I dunno, but radishes and cauliflower on a hot day can develop a certain fragrance.
A gardeners' dream.
What a wonderful day.  Next year?

Sunday, December 28, 2014

A day in the life

Who was the woman I saw you with?
That was no woman, just some angel I met last night.
We seem to be getting some fun looks.  The kid in the Santa hat's shadow looks like the Devil...coincidence????
 No, We're not going to Santo Domingo, but very close by.... something very special, no doubt.
She says, "This is it??  Oh well,.... here I be, for all to see."
 "Hmm... oblivious tourists..... sigh... what a gig."
"Finally, at last, I get to sing some duets with OMPSM (Oaxaca's most photographed street musician)"
"Life is good"

Saturday, December 27, 2014


The archaeological site of Atzompa is just a few minutes away and I was curious to see if it was drawing visitors.  There were more people than I had ever seen... less than twenty.  I can't believe people don't go there, but they flock to Monte Alban directly across the valley. That's it over there.
Admittedly, Monte Alban is much more spectacular, but Atzompa is still pretty amazing,  just for the views, as well as the restoration, which is quite well along.  I love it there.  It gives one a much better perspective on how things might have been 500 to 1000 years ago.  And again, no one goes there so it is like being alone with all that history and basking in the beauty of the natural setting.
Plus, it is great exercise, only half of it uphill.  Invigorating!

Post Navidad post

The day after Christmas and Christmas, itself, are very quiet here.  Things will pick up for New Year's Eve and then Tres Reyes, when children will receive gifts.... this year, a pony, for sure!  However, for now, the streets are relatively free of traffic, although there are lots of tourists around making all the restaurants and local businesses very happy.  The zocalo cafes are packed.... finally, after six months of sit-ins.  So the season continues and no better sign of it then all the piñatas one sees everywhere.
I love to watch folks make them.  Such a simple process, using  everyday materials, but like everything, it's an art.  This is just down the road from me.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Feliz Navidad?

Anonymous commenter sends this important video with which I heartily concur.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Noche de Rabanos is much more than just radishes

There are lots of different parts to La Noche de Rabanos.  There are the major groups, rabanos, flor inmortal and totomoxtle figures (radishes, dried flowers and corn husk figures) and they get broken down into sub groups, like traditional or unique, natural or colored and sub groups for kids.

All-in-all, a beautiful and surreal scene.  Needless to say, it is a photographer's dream, well, really anyone's dream.  Where were you??
Flor inmortal figure doing embroidery... no doubt from San Antonino.
Back strap loom in dried flowers.
 And of course, Frida...
 and Diego.
There were some amazing pieces in the totomoxtle, natural corn husk, competition
 Cathedrals are always a popular subject.  These pieces can take many months to make.
 Wow... just... wow.
 Look at the detail.
And so much fun to see some of the same artists each year.  This woman has been competing for six years in the colored totomoxtle group.
 Flor de piña dancers.  So many, 34 of them, and each one unique.
 And the Virgins appearing in many renditions.
 Gorgeous and delicate work.... all in corn husks.
More in a bit....

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

La Noche de Rabanos

Everything came together in the end and the 117th annual Noche de Rabanos was simply wonderful this year. I got there mid-morning, picked up my official press pass and made my way down to the zocalo.  The artists were setting up, assembling their pieces, and that's always the best part.  Because it was early, the crowds were light and there was easy access to everything.  Once again, the work is amazing on so many fronts.
 Front and back.
Wonderful detailed work.
 And new techniques this year - stencils
And of course, Benito Juarez appeared in several displays.

And from the the boy's look as he gazed up at Oaxaca's most important historical figure.
More in a bit... the dried flowers and corn husk pieces were every bit as spectacular or as they are more properly called, flor inmortal and totomoxtle figures.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Rabanos - It's gonna happen

Yes, la Noche del Rabanos is on and back in the zocalo much to everyone's approval.  I went into the city repeatedly today, checked out the zocalo and they were getting ready.  Looking south.
A fresh coat of paint.
 Looking north.  Canopies going up.
They're ready

I really went in to pick up an official press pass, but will have to go back tomorrow as they had not received them yet(?)  Third time's a charm?

It is so nice to see the zocalo getting cleaned up and returning to some semblance of normalcy.  However, there are still protestors' tents set up in the center and all that bare dirt is usually filled with poinsettias.  It is sad to see this little boy playing in the dry and dusty dirt.  My gut says that the planton will return as soon as the teacher's normal school vacation ends 
So check in tomorrow for shots from one of the best days of the year in Oaxaca.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Pretty fair day

Yes, it was a pretty fair day in that there were two wonderful fairs or ferias to visit.  What a good reason to hit the road and sample some of Oaxaca's finest taste treats.  First, it was off to Tlacolula and a fiesta that featured pan y chocolate.  There were large crowds, great music and folkloric dancers, too.  But, today, it was all about bread and chocolate.
Uh oh..... I'll never make it.... must try to not eat....everything
 Everything looks so good. 
 "Chris, I think you need a few of these."
 "And some of mine, too."  How could I resits?
My mission in Tlacolula accomplished, it was then off to the second fiesta, the feria de maiz in Teotitlan del Valle.
Lots of exhibits and lectures on maiz.  There is 10,000 years of corn history here.  Their ancestors helped develop domestic corn,
 Looks good.
Tastes better.