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, July 31, 2017

The guelaguetza in wood

The Jesus Sosa Calvo family of San Martin Tilcajete made 26 music stands as a part of the ten year project. Twenty six!  And each one is unique and exceptional. Here's one that celebrates the dancers of the guelaguetza.  They covered every inch with so many different elements.  It really embodies so much of Oaxaca in a single piece.
Every side of the base is filled.
The top holds music perfectly and look at all the different traditional trajes on the vertical part.... Wow! So much detailed work.

There are  twenty eight (28!) dancers carved into this stand.  The Sosa family and I had so much fun over the years and they produced some of the finest piece in the collection.  Of course, you can always visit him and his wife, Juana and his sister, Francesca Calvo who is also an amazing artist and carver, In San Martin Tilcajete.  They have a shop, Matlacihua Arte, right on the corner just to the left of the church. You can find them on Facebook.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Mexico Announces Completion Of Transparent Border Wall

Hot on the heels of President Trump’s innovation to make his wall transparent – so people will not be struck without warning by bags of drugs thrown from the other side – Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has proudly announced that he has not only stolen Trump’s brilliant idea for an invisible border wall but has already constructed one.
“I am proud to announce the completion of our border wall stretching from Tijuana on the Pacific coast all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.”
Peña Nieto said he decided to build a border wall to keep out U.S. militia like the Oath Keepers and made it transparent so his fellow Mexicans could continue to enjoy the spectacle of hard-bellied middle-aged Americans playing dress-up to mask their personal inadequacies.
“It is most entertaining and we would hate to lose it.”
Construction of the wall was completed in record time and Mexican architects give full credit to Trump for his crucial insight.
“After he came up with the idea to make it invisible everything fell into place and we thought if he wants to make us pay for it anyway why not just build it ourselves.”

Once the design was presented to the Mexican President, he was happy to pay all the material and labor costs involved to prove Mexico could do something Trump has so far only managed to talk about.
“We invite all Americans to come to the border and not see this modern engineering marvel for themselves.
 If only, but thanks Breaking Burgh

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Oaxaca in Wood....

For about ten years, I had lots of fun as I commissioned pieces from some of the carvers from the carving villages, Arrazola, San Martin Tilcajete and La Union.  I was a bit obsessed with all the carvers and had a fairly large, make that insanely large, collection and figured that, as a musician, music stands made perfect sense... at least to me.  However, the carvers took some convincing, mainly because it was something totally new to them, and a bit challenging.  However, all I ever said was, "Have fun and do whatever you want."  So over sixty (60) stands or atriles later, I ended up with some of the finest pieces of Oaxacan carving I've ever seen.  Like this amazing piece from Melchor Melchor of San Martin Tilcajete.  It's Oaxaca in wood
The top is cedar and the vertical is all one piece, the layers, the dancers..... all one piece!
And it's all there, the Seven Regions of Oaxaca, the pottery, the designs from Mitla.
All the traditional trajes....
One piece!!  The carving and all of the detail is simply sublime..... the work of a true genius and artist, Melchor Melchor.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Jarabe Mixteco - Etla Guelaguetza

The dances of the guelaguetza are regional traditional dances and most have been performed for many, many years by many, many people.  They are learned in schools, in village and there are hundreds of grupos fockloricos that perform them regularly.  Lots of them are pretty much in a form fixe, with very little variation.  So it is fun to see how different groups or, in the case of the jarabe mexteco, how different couples perform the steps.  These two brought the house down in Etla last Monday.
The men are always super high-stepping..
And the woman.... well, I always shoot lots of shots hoping to get that magical one..... like the one looking like a butterfly
Or the one where she is catching serious air...
Or the one where she is almost completely hidden.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The second desfile - Dancin' in the streets...

This week, the rain stayed away and the delegations from all over Oaxaca got to strut their stuff... and yes, that is a woman dancing while holding a large turkey overhead.  Just think about that.... imagine dancing for hours with a large basket on your head or twirling a huge marmota (globe on a pole)... or carrying a large bird.
These annual desfiles are such visual treats with so many photo ops.  And they give the dancers, bands and spectators a chance to express extreme pride and happiness.
Infectious music fills the air....
So many looks and styles... and lots of smiles.
Every fifty meters, there was another group dancing.
And so many different traditional outfits, each one unique.
 All of this was before the actual procession began and went on for a couple of hours.
I love this amazing look from Santa Maria Zacatepec... wow, just wow.
 They are from the Sierra Sur Region.
The whole thing was exhilarating and there are lots of shots to come.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Still hungry? The annual Feria de Moles!

What a week!  It is almost impossible to keep up.  Looking back on some of the photos, there were these mouth-watering shots from the feria de moles.
 Mole amarillo with rabbit and mushrooms
Mole verde with mushrooms.
 Just one of over twenty different offerings
And, of course, mole negro with chicken and blackberries
 Note:  the colors are reflections from the papeles overhead.
Way too many to sample, but I did figure out that it made sense to just get spoonfuls of the sauce and a little rice and no meat.... but I still barely put a dent in the whole affair.... I felt stuffed like a relleno afterwards, but fortunately, walked it off.  Now I'm hungry for more mole!  Where are these guys when you need them?