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, December 31, 2016

Zappa New Year!

I have to be Frank....
And yes, the moth was really there.  No doubt, drawn to the light.
From this poster.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Nectar - Tangerine juice

It's mandarina season and the markets are full of them.... so.... it's time for freshly squeezed tangerine juice.... ahhhh... there's nothing like it!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Ribs! - Costillas!

The cuisine here in Oaxaca is famous and one has the opportunity to sample all sorts of foods and recipes.  Vegetables, fruit, cheeses, plants, drinks, meats, insects, you name it, we eat it.  Normally, I eat salads with either rice or potatoes with some cheese thrown in, but recently, I have been trying out recipes, slow cooking ribs in cazuelas, large ceramic dishes, that impart a wonderful taste.  So that means off to the nearby market in Etla.  So many stalls to choose from by I eneded up buying a couple of kilos of wonderful pork ribs.  The best part, besides the eating, was watching this woman work.  A thing of beauty.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Plumas in Slo Mo

Once again, the danzantes from Teotitlan del Valle, but this time, in a slightly different form. I  had some slow motion video clips and had to figure how to use them and then, somehow, add a soundtrack.  Integrating multiple programs was a fun challenge. 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Noche Buena

Noche Buena, Christmas Eve, is always so much fun, a event with nothing but joy and happiness throughout. 
Parishioners from churches from various parts of the city process to the zocalo led by fireworks, a band and float on a flatbed truck. 
The floats all have kids on them dressed as angels and there always seems to be a Mary in one form or another, maybe with Joseph and the Magi, but sometimes the cuteness just takes over.
And of course, riding on a donkey, Mary holding her Child,  is hailed by the many onlookers.
And the Magi are there on horseback.
As the hours go by, more and more bands, floats, fireworks and people enter the zocalo and keep going around until it is one crazy happy cacophony.  I have some video that I will post later.

Friday, December 23, 2016

La Noche de Rabanos

La Noche is easily one of the best days of the year in Oaxaca.  I try to get there early to watch the setup and to avoid the massive crowds that descend on the zocalo as the day progresses.  Well, that was the plan and it sorta worked out, but the crowds came early as well.  Still, wow, what a time.
For me, having shot this for event for so many years, I love seeing the faces of the competitors I recognize.  I have made some good friends through Rabanos.
And it is much more than rabanos, radishes.  There are flor imortal (dried flowers) and works using only corn husks.
People work for months to create some large works, but the radish art is strictly a one day thing.  La Catrina and her daughter, Frida.
The detailed work can be remarkable.  This from a large panoramic.... all in radishes.
Really, it is way too much to take in in a single post.  I could never do justice to the incredible vision, artistry and talents of the many contestants.
Fortunately, I have lots of shots to go through.... so more mañana

Thursday, December 22, 2016

La Noche de Rabanos

One of the best days of the year!! Mañana!!
Be there or be square.....

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


I couldn't pass up the chance to get the traditional shot of a politician eating something.  This from the opening of Saber del Sabor last week.  Not quite as good as one eating a corn dog on a stick, but still......
In this case, it is Alejandro Ismael Murat Hinojosa, the new governor and his wife.  Murat is the son of one of Oaxaca's previous governors, José Murat Casab and the scion of this powerful family, one with Lebanese roots.  And just like with his father, not altogether beloved.... yet.
El periodismo necesita inversión. Comparte este artículo utilizando los íconos que aparecen en la página. La reproducción de este contenido sin autorización previa está prohibida.
El periodismo necesita inversión. Comparte este artículo utilizando los íconos que aparecen en la página. La reproducción de este contenido sin autorización previa está prohibida.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

It's beginning to look like....

Oaxaca always knows how to do celebratory things right...
I'll catch it at night later this week, but it looks great in the daylight.
I love how kids from area schools made some of the decorations.
There's even an ice skating rink just opposite the cathedral.

Saturday, December 17, 2016


I don't mean semi-art like sorta art....
No, I mean art on the back of a semi-truck parked on the street in nearby Etla.
This painting depicts the legend of Donaji, one of the most import Oaxacan characters and whose story is reenacted each year at the Guelaguetza festival.

Her story from Oaxacan Times
A popular legend tells us that Princess Donají was the daughter of King Cosijoeza, the last King of the Zapotec civilization. During that time there were endless battles between Mixtecs and Zapotecs. Donaji is said to have mended the wounds of enemy prisoners, even releasing them once they had healed. In one of these battles, the Princess was taken as a pledge of peace and in case the Zapotecs didn´t keep their word, she would die in the hands of the Mixtecs.
One night after the peace offering was made, Zapotec warriors burst in the Mixtec territory, and when the Mixtecs realized they had been betrayed, they killed Donají immediately. The Zapotecs bitterly grieved the loss of their admired princess.
Many years had passed when a humble shepherd who was walking close to Atoyac River saw a beautiful lily flower. He did not hesitate to make it his own, and decided to take it from its roots. As he dug, he made an astonishing discovery: the lily flower was attached to an ear of a fresh and beautiful face - the face of Princess Donají´s. Nowadays, her innocent and pretty face is represented on the coat of arms of Oaxaca City.
 Update:  Lani corrects me : I own a painting very similar to this. As far as all the Mexicans I know, they associate it with the two volcanos in Mexico City and an Aztec legend. Google images regarding The Legend of Popocatepetl & Iztaccíhuatl.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

With a light from above....

More from Teotitlan del Valle. .The Subalternos, Juan Bautista Ruiz and Florentino Martinez Ruiz carry the Virgen de Gaudalupe.
 Juan Antonio Lopez blessed by the sun

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


As I said in the previous post, it feels wonderful to be of moral, spiritual and financial support for one of the danzantes in Teotitlan del Valle.  Well, in this case blogger buddy, Shannon and I are doubly blessed as we are not only helping out Edgar Daniel, but also one of his fellow dancers, Marcos Vincente Gutierrez, who acts as one of the capitanos in the group of danzantes.
I have known his father, Efrain, a local weaver, for quite a few years and, just as with Edgar and his family, it is an honor and a privilege to do whatever we can to help Marcos throughout his three year commitment.   It's like being one of the dancers vicariously... or something like that.
Here is Marcos with his wife along side as they approach the church for the danza.
Their smiles are more than enough of a reward and we still have two years to go.  It is only gonna get better.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A very special Dia de Virgen de Guadalupe

Yesterday, we spent the entire day with the danzantes from Teotitlan del Valle.  My good friend, Mario Ruiz Bautista and his wife Victoria hosted a large celebration for all the dancers and their families, well over one hundred people.
I have known Mario for many years, getting to know him as the official photographer for the village.  As we shot many different events and celebrations, he was always accompanied by a little kid, his son Edgar Daniel.  I gave Edgar lots of my old cameras and soon, he was shooting professionally along with his father.  Now, he is a fine young man and one of the danzantes for la danza de la pluma.  Here he is with his mother as they processed to the church.
I feel quite a little bit of his family's pride and along with blogger buddy, Shannon, am honored to help him and his family as patrones... and oh, does it feel great.  It was a remarkable day and there is much more to come.  Here's Shannon's post about the day.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Make your own music......

One of the reasons I am the way I am is that very early in my life I spent four years alone with a large Moog synthesizer. 
I suppose that explains quite a bit.... then for a graduation gift my parents gave me an EMS Synthi, the same machine used by Pink Floyd and Brian Eno.
What's more, I'm probably the only person in the world with two of these amazing machines.  So needless to say, I love me some weird sounds.  Oh, and I played with a theremin with its classic outer space movie sounds...... and now, so can you.  Go crazy.

Friday, December 9, 2016

The Tao of Oaxaca

No dance for you...

This is so sad, but this is where we are.  I have friends that attend and teach at this school.  It is one of Oaxaca's more prestigious schools with an upper middle class clientele.
 From Huffington
A group of Mexican children won’t be making a planned trip to dance in the United States next year due to concerns over visiting the country during the presidency of Donald Trump.
Grupo Folklorico, comprised of middle- and high-school students from Instituto Blaise Pascale in Oaxaca, was planning to visit the sister city of Palo Alto, California, in April.
However, after Trump’s election, parents started to cancel, according to Neighbors Abroad of Palo Alto, a volunteer group that coordinates sister city activities.
“They are parents like... parents anywhere,” said Bob Wenzlau, the organization’s president. “When they are sending their children without their being there, there’s a heightened sensitivity, like any of us have.”
Palo Alto is an affluent city in the progressive San Francisco Bay area, but that distinction may not mean much to parents in a faraway part of Mexico, a country that was often targeted by Trump during the presidential election.
“We know we can tell them things are safe here,” Wenzlau said. But in their view, sending the kids to anywhere in the U.S. in this climate could still be risky.
“These are parents that are afraid to send their children into a little bit of harm’s way up here,” he said. “They’re a long way away.”
I just returned from El Norte and well, the atmosphere, which was pretty ugly before, has only worsened.  There is hate in the air, everywhere.  It is palpable.  And the rest of the world is watching and reacting accordingly, even though people in the US seem blind to it.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

System error

Well, I'm back and everything is cool... except the CFE (electricity) cut the power to this house while I was gone.  Really only half the power because for some reason this place has two meters. so at least I can run extension cords all over the place and get by. 
However, here's the thing.  I am a bit neurotic and always pay ahead of time for most things, especially electricity, because I don't want them to cut the power, doh.  So I am way ahead, like I have enough credit to last three years!!! and still.... they cut the power and have not reconnected it.  They said it was some error in the system.  I am searching for the right words.....

Friday, December 2, 2016

Say cheese - Eataly Boston

Eataly in Boston just opened (Check out these pics and story) and it was so crowded that all I got were these amazing shots of cheese.
These wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano were so big and beautiful.  Each one weighed about 39 kilos (86 lbs).  If I could have lifted a couple of them I would have brought them home.  I tried, but my head swam and I started see blue... cheese.
Oh, what a sight.  I love those blues, but $25 to $46 a pound was a bit pricey.  Luckily, the lines were so long, the place so crowded, that all we could do was beat a hasty retreat.  Maybe after the opening few weeks it will calm down.  Next time, for sure.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Red Grasses at Sunset

Always so hard to capture the magic, as these red plumed grasses, which can be found everywhere in Oaxaca, as they catch the light.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Preparing the turkey - Teotitlan del Valle style

I was a participant, with most of the males at a wedding, in the killing, cleaning and preparing of eighty turkeys for a wedding feast.  It gave me a whole new perspective.  It was actually quite a fun experience, because for these men, it was a happy social occasion. 
Old school techniques.  I had no idea cleaning a bird was such hard work.  Those feathers and the feet were tough.  The guys laughed as they watched and then taught me how to do it.  I think I cleaned one bird in the time they could do four or five.
Many hands make light (and messy) work.  Nothing goes to waste.
 All done and ready to roll.
 Time for the ladies to take over.
Soon to be smothered with mole negro.
Zapotec turkey preparation in all its glory.

A Thanksgiving Prayer

Something to ponder

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Shadow knows...

It's all about the light.  Every place seems to have its own light qualities and New England's cool, crisp autumn air compliments them.
This is 3:30 in the afternoon light along the Charles.
Nice long legs...
"This was your grandmother before you were born....."
I resemble that blockhead...