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

Friday, September 29, 2017

Arcoiris - Rainbow

The sun is trying to break through, but hasn't quite made it.  If it did that rainbow would be more visible and vivid, but I am happy to see even a faint one - rays of hope.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

¡Ya basta! - Enough already with the rain!

This is the wettest rainy season I have experienced in Oaxaca.  It just keeps raining, often coming down in buckets, even some hail, which did an serious number on the gardens. Ah well....
Roads and homes are flooded in low lying areas and bridges are being damaged by swollen rivers. I'm lucky to be up in the foothills, but all that water that falls on those mountains behind me has to go somewhere, so I have running water, little rushing rills, passing through on its way to the river about five km. down the way.  Its sound is very nice at times, but when it is really pouring, it is actually too loud, like it going to wash the house away.  On the positive side, this house has a rain collection system and the cistern is full.  I only wish it was much, much bigger,  This would be enough water to last a year, as it is it will last until Jan. or Feb.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Hey, El Norte - Help Puerto Rico Now!

These are American citizens.  Are we just going to let people die?

"Without gold, you live. Without water, you die."

Help Puerto Rico and the Caribbean islands, too!

From a distance...

See if you can find the famous film location in this shot.
This should help.  What movie?  "Bueller?... Bueller?... anyone?."

Saturday, September 23, 2017


That's how many earthquakes we had this morning.... These shots snagged from FB.
And last night, just down the road from me after a very intense rain/hail storm.
Resulting in this....
I, like so many, am fine, but am shell-shocked.  I am continually amazed by the Mexican people and how they respond to these horrible events.  And I am saddened that the official US response to all the hurricanes and now, these earthquakes, has been almost non existent.  Puerto Rico, the islands of the Caribbean, Houston, Florida..... I think I'll take a knee and I hope many others will as well.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Let music brighten your day...

Oaxaca is blessed with lots of street musicians.  Sometimes, there is one every couple of blocks and often they are quite good, fun to hear. 
However, obviously, there is another side to their stories.  It is a tough life.  This boy could be in school and maybe he is.  It is not for me to know.  All I can do is support him and his fellow street musicians with the coins I always try to have in my pockets.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Blue skies.... and walls...

It's close to the same blue as the skies....

It's a selfie world...

It's a part of life.....
 Billions of shots all over the world
Of course, some people can rock it better than others.
I confess, I'm not good at ii.... or maybe it's just... "Do I really look like that?!?!"

Saturday, September 16, 2017


Why seismologists didn’t see Mexico’s deadly earthquake coming

A very interesting read from The Conversation
Mexico has a long seismic history, so any given earthquake here does not necessarily come as a surprise. In the pre-Hispanic epoch, inhabitants of the country’s central zone reported on earthquakes in their “códices,” or indigenous records, attributing the shaking to the wrath of their gods.

But the quake that convulsed the southeastern states of Oaxaca and Chiapas on Sept. 7, 2017, was a shock nonetheless.
First, there was its magnitude: at 8.2, it ties as Mexico’s strongest earthquake since the invention of modern seismic-measurement tools, surpassing even the great Mexico City quake of Sept. 19, 1985, which registered 8.1. This recent quake killed nearly 100 people, most of them in Oaxaca, and the death toll is rising as locals continue to dig out from the rubble.
Beyond the devastation, it was the earthquake’s location that took scientists by surprise. Until last week, seismologists believed that its epicentral area – near the old Zapotec city of Juchitán, Oaxaca, in Mexico’s poor southeastern region – was an “aseismic gap.” In other words, we thought this zone, the Tehuantepec gap, was unlikely to cause an earthquake.

Independence Day

Getting ready for the celebration in San Agustin Etla
The dias before the speakers...

The heroes of the revolution...
¡Viva Mexico!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

House in the country

Another gray day, but the sky sure makes the pink pop.  "The sun'll come out..."

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Words fail....

From the LA Times....
At least 95 people died in Thursday’s magnitude 8.1 earthquake, according to the Foreign Ministry, most of them in the southern Mexican states of Oaxaca and Chiapas. While aid has arrived in many of the hardest-hit regions, where thousands of homes were reduced to rubble, local media have reported that in some places, survivors are still waiting for help.
While authorities scrambled to dig victims from rubble and provide shelter to the homeless on Mexico’s southwestern coast, a Category 1 hurricane struck Mexico’s Gulf Coast on Saturday. At least two people were killed by Hurricane Katia, which was downgraded to a tropical storm shortly after making landfall, officials said.
Trump did not offer condolences to Mexico after either disaster, as is common when tragedies befall U.S. allies, even as multiple American mayors and governors offered their sympathies and help. Nor did Trump offer U.S. aid to Mexico.

*&#$@ Traffic!

Sometimes the traffic really gets to me.....see what I have to deal with on my afternoon walks?  Well, many years of Boston commuting taught me to always pass on the left....
It was a real horse race...
 And finally, a successful pass..
Really a wonderful guy, a fellow campesino.
Actually, this is one of my neighbors I see all the time.  We became friends when I WD40'ed one of his squeaky axles.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Oaxaca shines....

The sun was out today with clear skies for the first time in what seems like weeks.  Obviously, it brightens one's perspective.  Even after all the rains, the hurricanes, the earthquakes, remember this is Oaxaca we are talking about.  People are organized and resilient.  There are many stations set up to receive goods to be sent to the hardest hit area.  Tens of thousands of oaxaquenos are volunteering in various ways.  Cleanup and rebuilding is underway.  More importantly, life continues.  The strength, the sense of community, people pulling and working together... well, I'm sure that's the case in the many places undergoing horrible natural disasters... all of these qualities are so strong and prevalent in Oaxaca.  So not to worry.  Come for the culture or the beaches or the fiestas or the food or for the magic this place has in abundance.  And while you're here, make yourself some nice sopa de guias because soup is always good for the soul....
 Made with everything you see here.
So tasty and healthy!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Music to feed the soul

Here's some wonderful music, both videos showing the amazing virtuosity of these musicians.  The first, global chamber jazz trio, Elements performs "To the Light" composed by Kala Ramnath and George Brooks. With Gwyneth Wentink, harp; Kala Ramnath, violin and George Brooks soprano saxophone.

I used to play with George in various bands back in the day.  We had so much fun together playing funk, R&B, soul and jazz. A few years after the bands split up, we ended up at New England Conservatory at the same time.  We used to play Earth Wind and Fire tunes and had a genuine Ferris Bueller moment playing in a small town in Upstate New York.  We were the featured act for their Firemen's Field Days, a big deal, and when we started playing in front of a large crowd, all the town cheerleaders came out and danced their routine to our EW&F.  We all looked at each other... minds blown... we just laughed.

And we were both asked to play at our graduation.... and it turned out to be an EL&F tune.  Minds blown...we just laughed.

Anyhow, George has gone far and is world renown for his playing with a specialty in Indian music.

And just to blow your mind... Leo Pelligrino, from New York's subway to Royal Albert Hall

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Behind the mask....

We are so used to see the subalternos, Florentino Martinez Ruiz and Juan Bautista Ruiz, from Teotitlan del Valle in full regalia and masks.  They offer comic relief but more importantly they take care of the dancers giving them water and aid as needed.  And they can dance, too.  They always look good, even in traditional rain gear.  I'm pretty sure this is Florentino.....
But finally, last Friday, I managed to catch them on a break without their masks. That's Juan on the left and Florentino on the left.
They add so much to the whole experience keeping the audience involved and laughing.   Florentino also makes some of the pinachos or feather headdresses.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Earthquakes, hurricanes and floods, oh my....

Well, I do not recommend anyone experiencing an 8.2 earthquake in the middle of the night... or at any time.  It was long and strong and scary.  There is lots of damage in various area and Juchitan really got hit badly with terrible destruction.  The death count is rising.  Luckily, I'm fine and so is the house I'm renting, but wow.... please, ya basta... enough already.  The earthquake comes after lots of rain and flooding.  Lots of areas have been completely inundated.  It is going to take a while to recover from all of this.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Street art

As always, the ever-changing street art is some of the best and most intriguing.
And it speaks many languages.

I'm digusted...

By the complete lack of any positive human attribute coming from the Trump administration.  I could rant, but what good would it do?  However, this guy asked me to pass on this message...

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

I'm ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille......

We live in a world where most everyone has a camera, even if it is just a cell and so, we are all taking pictures... all the time.  I'm no different and I love how it makes me look at the world.  Oaxaca is filled with so many photo opportunities, with its photogenic places and even more, photogenic people.  I wonder how their shots came out.  Here's mine.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Septiembre - Mes de la Patria

Lots of people may think that Cinco de Mayo is Mexican Independence Day, but really it occurs in September, on the 16th, a week from Saturday.  So the zocalo is already decked out for the occasion. This is a copy of the mural in the Governor's Palace on this tent.
And from the other side...
And, as always, people are ready to celebrate and show their pride.
However, speaking of the the Governor's Palace, the Triquis from San Juan Copala are still there, after being being displaced by the government.
"Here, my house, my work, my life, since being forcibly displaced by the state para-military 2010-2017."

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Atzompa in the sun...

We have had so much rain here, I wanted to get a shot of the sun when it made a rare appearance.  Luckily, the archaeological site of Atzompa was just in sight.
Really, the rains have been like nothing I have seen before.  Sure, it's the rainy season and we have regular torrential downpours, but they are generally short-lived.  However, lately, the skies open up in late afternoon and then it pours all night. The streets are rivers and the rivers are overflowing.  How bad is it?  Well, I snagged this shot from FB and it should give you a pretty good idea.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

In flight....

Oh, to be a kid again...
Chasing dreams.... well, in that respect, I still am.