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

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Here we go.... Muertos

The city is absolutely hoppin', filled with people ready to celebrate.  Of course, with all those people comes some hella traffic.  I was in the longest wait to make it out of the city last night.... evah.  So I stayed on the north side of the city and visited the Etlas and Atzompa.  It seemed as if everyone was selling or buying flowers.  There are signs of the times were everywhere.  These nice tapetes de arena, sand paintings, were right in the middle of the street in Etla.
You can see the cobblestones beneath them... right in the middle of the street, but everyone respected the work and just admired them.
A block away, these gates welcoming the spirits.
 What a treat.
And all the murals for the various comparsas are down and looking virant.
I wish I could go to them all.
 And the signs were everywhere, if you looked closely.
And now it all really gets into gear... and I am outta here.... off to Atzompa for the beginning of the festivities.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Pan de muerte in Mitla

As far as I can figure, Mitla is the place to go for pan de muerte.
They do it like no one else and it is a high art, as you can see from this post about last year's exhibition/competition.  These are just the normal ones for folks to buy for Muertos.  Still, so beautiful.
We were a week early just checking out the scene and figuring out when best to return, but the market was filled with ladies decorating the pan.  A baggie with a corner snipped off was the tool of choice and the results....
 We will be going back this weekend to see the new exhibition.  Be there or be square.

A rare day....

A rainy afternoon in late October.
Every drop of rain is a blessing.... until it comes down in buckets.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

People get ready...

These last few days before Muertos are some of my favorites as people rush around getting ready for one of the best best and most important times of the year here in Oaxaca.  And the flowers used in altars and to decorate graves are in full bloom.  And here they are... cempasúchil, marigolds and Terciopelo Rojo, cockscomb or celosia
Folks know how to do it right. 
This field is just down the road from me and I always love walking through the rows of flowers a couple of days before they are harvested.
These growers always get the timing right as the flowers are peaking right at the right moment.
Now, off to Mitla to look for pan de muertos... back in a flash.

Monday, October 26, 2015

It's beginning to look like... cont.

Muertos.... and in driving around, I am noticing more muerteada murals this year.  There are tens of villages, all Etlas, and they all seem like they are having one.  We always hit the one in San Agustin Etla, but they really are all around me.
What is a muerteada?  People dress up in all sorts of outfits and then, starting at sundown on Nov.1, they go from house to house and dance like total maniacs, often with six tubas pumping out the bass!  I mean, you gotta dance.
The bands play the most infectious music imaginable and it goes on until 10 AM the next morning when, in San Agustin, it ends in sort of a most pit, but more on that later.  For now it is the art of the murals.
This one, just down the road from me, appears to be in process.  It must be for San Pablo Etla.
 The fiddler plays.... later on, the Piper's paid.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

It's beginning to look like...

Daylight savings time??? 
Guess who missed it coming?

Friday, October 23, 2015

El Dia del Señor del Rayo

October 23rd is special day of celebration for oaxaqueños for today is the day the legendary and miraculous statue of Christ is presented front and center at the Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción right next to the zocalo.  Normally, the statue is behind glass in a side chapel, but for these few days, it is out for all to see.
The archbishop of Oaxaca celebrating the noontime mass.
Color abounds and the fragrances.... copal and flowers, a heady mix
Why Rayo, lightening?  In the 16th century, this statue survived a lightening strike that destroyed the church surrounding it.
The numerous columns are covered with fragrant flowers
They reach to the heavens.
It touches all the senses.
All the faithful are there.... and welcome.
It's a day unique to Oaxaca.  Shannon has a post over at Casa Colibri.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Out and about...

Just running some errands in the city and walking west from the zocalo and once again, the streets were filled with surprises.  As always, good graffiti.
Youth, love life
This one for my New England folks.  Needham is close to Boston and they surely love their baseball there.  I asked this gentleman if he knew where Needham was and he said he had no idea.
 He still showed some of the classic Needham pride;-)
A Tweety classic!  And just exactly how so many people feel about things these days
 Deal with it!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Open any door.....

Days are noticeably shorter and the angle of the sun and its light changes, warmer and more inviting. 
What's behind the blue door?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

It's beginning to look like....

One of the best times of the year...
Muertos!  Always a powerful experience.
What do you notice about the zocalo? 
No tents!!  No protesters!  For how long?  The zocalo is such a beautiful and special place and it has been for hundreds of years.  It is nice to see it like this.  What should be normal seems like a special treat.  At any rate, the city is ready...
And, of course, that means..... tourists, mother's milk to the economy. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

When it rains...

It pours....... but that sure ain't now.  It would appear as if the dry season has arrived with a vengeance, not a drop in the last couple of weeks.  I guess it is like fall in my other sphere of existence, New England.  One senses the change  It feels different and the whole energy changes. 
It takes a while to adjust and sometimes you just have to sit and contemplate... well, everything and nothing.
And here's a good place to sit and figure things out.
Normally, this woman is the one sitting there, but she was taking her goats to graze just below.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Abigail Mendoza Ruiz - El Saber del Sabor

I'm recovering from all the good food at the opening of this year's El Saber del Sabor.  One of the cooks who was recognized and celebrated for all her accomplishments was Abigail Mendoza Ruiz from Teotitlan del Valle.  I've eaten her and her families cooking for many years now and well, she deserves every accolade.
More the the evening in a bit.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Let there be light....

It poured in September when we were last in Teotitlan del Valle for the danza de la pluma and all the festivities.  However, last weekend, the sun was out in all its glorious splendor and all the colors really popped.  Everything that could glitter and shine, did so.
 Sun and wind made of a wonderful and rare dynamic.
The light added such energy to the dancers
These dancers are so good after three years of dancing, but they seemed particularly inspired.  Maybe it was the light.
 Doña Marina, Ailani Ruiz Ruiz, almost glowed.
You can see the little camera attached to her outfit.
Lots of shots to go through, so more in a bit.