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

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Tapetes de arena - Sand Paintings

These beautiful sand paintings, tapetes de arena (carpets of sand) had a short life in the Plaza de la Danza.  I've seen lots of them over the years. They are sometimes huge, often are filled with images associated with Muertos, but this year, they were much smaller and all religious in nature.
I caught them with a brilliant sun overhead the afternoon before they were swept up.  They are full of sparkles.
They are quite beautiful, detailed work and more examples of how so many things here are artistic in nature.
I used a little Photoshop magic to put them in perspective, as they might appear from above.
So much work and yet they were only there for a couple of days, swept away, temporary, as are all things.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Feria de Pan de Muerto - Villa Diaz Ordaz

We did a nice swing through a few markets this past Sunday, the last one before Muertos.  Tlacolula was so crowded, but nonetheless exhilarating with sights and smells. Then it was off to Mitla, above, where some of the finest examples of pan de muerto can be found.  It is an art there, but they no longer have an exhibition of the finest breads. However, there were nice examples in the market.
After Mitla, it was off to Villa Diaz Ordaz where they were having a feria, a fair, del Pan del Muerto.
We were there last year and thought maybe more people would be there this year.   However, it turned out we were most of the crowd.  It was very tranquil and serene scene.  People were selling bread, but most of the action was with the kids who were kneading dough and shaping bread, keeping the traditions going.
This guy is destined to be a baker.
Their energy and exuberance were the best parts of the day.
The bread for El Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, is a very important element of the altars and one can find it everywhere in the days leading up to the beginnings of the celebrations.
After seeing all the food in the markets, we were starved so we took advantage of some excellent tamales and the best higaditos I've ever tasted from this woman.
Eggs, chicken and a perfect broth, a simple but elegant traditional dish and unique to the central valleys of Oaxaca.
Higaditos, elsewhere, is a very different dish.  We also got a rare treat, one hardly ever seen for sale, some estafado mole from this excellent cook.  It was so nice to be almost the only people there as folks were so friendly and happy.  However, you see where it is... there's always next year.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Muertos begins... comparsa faces

Oaxaca knows how to celebrate Muertos and so it was last evening as tens of thousands of people participated in the comparsa or parade that starts the annual festivities.  They danced, sang, went crazy or just watched.... and it was a photographer dream.  The makeup and costumes were, once again, just spectacular.  Here are just a few of the many looks....
 Gotta run... off to various festivities... it never stops.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Colibri- Hummingbird

While making morning coffee I looked out the window and saw this tiny hummingbird going from flower to flower, first the lavender and then the basil.  I watched for a while and then, doh, grabbed a camera, shot these through a dirty window and got lucky.
These birds are so small, it's crazy I got even these shots. The basil flowers look big compared to them.... oh, and they move quite quickly... the birds, not the flowers, silly.

It's getting close.... mas muerteadas

Every dog must have its day.  Muertos is right around the corner and the city is crowded with hotel occupancy at about 70%.  Of course, the teachers, moto-taxistas and transportation workers have been blocking the roads and Seccion XXII has taken over the zocalo... oh, and there's been a trash pickup strike, but other than that... it's muerteada time and they are occurring all over the place. This one is in San Agustin Etla for the mother of all muerteadas.
Just down the hill, San Sebastian Etla,
And there is this one in nearby Santiago Etla
It's in the details.....
The Etlas all seem like they are having one and so it only makes sense that there is one in the hub, la Villa de Etla
I plan to try and hit a few of them, but they are too many. They're everywhere....Party on, Garth.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

More muerteada arte - Pueblo Nuevo

This mural is from nearby Pueblo Nuevo is one of my favorites, but it is from last year.  I've searched for this year's but no luck... yet.  However, this can stay up forever, that'd be fine with me.
Each figure could stand alone, like this one, music, dance and mezcal.
Bells, masks and whips, very typical.
A little context..
And it just doesn't get any better than this.
¡Via Pueblo Nuevo!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Muerteada art... Barrio San Jose

This corner in San Agustin Etla always has a great mural announcing the upcoming muerteada which starts on Nov. 1st and ends on the 2nd.  I'm not sure why it was partially covered, but a guy's gotta do what a guy's gotta do to get the shot... sorta.  So I lifted the canvas... and this shot has it all, the bells and mirrors, the masks and costumes and the result of dancing for hours and a little mezcal.
And tubas!  Lots of tubas!
It will be fantastic... as always
I'll post the mural later from arch rival, San Agustin, which is right up the hill.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Muerteada arte...

Just gorgeous...
¡Viva Oaxaca... much more coming.....

Monday, October 16, 2017

Muerteada - It's a thing... San Pablo Etla...

Muerteadas seem to be getting more popular as the years go by or maybe I just never noticed how many there are in the barrios and villages near me.  I drove around today to see the new murals enticing people to come and celebrate.  So what's a muerteada?  Kinda hard to describe... more or less it's people dressing up and dancing to insanely infectious music, going from house to house, for many hours, many times starting in early evening and ending the next morning.  There might be mezcal and beer involved... it's a nice little bit of insanity.  Each village has a different look, but the bands are always killer!  I always end up at the San Augustin/San Jose melee.... but more about that later.

I walked around the corner to shoot this mural. ¡Viva San Pablo Etla Seccion 3!  I saw it a week ago when a bunch of young guys were out starting it.  This is what it looked like then.
And today..
And this...
 What a great addition....
I went to find murals  and found them in six different villages..... more to come..

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Quinceañeras - Always special

There are quinceañeras every day, mainly because girls turn fifteen every day of the year, and it is always such a treat to see them dressed in all their finery.
It's a pretty regular thing to see them out on the streets.  Many times they have young men as escorts. but not today.  I think these were the photo shoots before the big event.  Her mother asked me to wait a week until today to post this one.  I love the younger girl's sash.  So nice to see a traditional element on both dresses.