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

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Planton - Perspectives

I approach the current situation in Oaxaca pretty much as I approach everything here in Oaxaca.  It's happening and it's interesting and, as in all things Oaxacan, it is multi-leveled, nuanced, complex... and visually interesting.  So I do what I always do, take photos.
So this isn't about the teachers, it's about the place where we live and love.
Obviously, it has a major impact on life here.  This is one of the main streets abutting the zocalo.
A bit hard to navigate, especially if one is tall.
Because this is a part of life here, as are the blockades, sit-ins and marches, life goes on....
So many issues, so many problems and solutions slow in coming.

Monday, May 28, 2018

They're back....

It's May, and like the swallows return to Capistrano, the teachers of the powerful teachers union, Seccion XXII, have returned to the zocalo.... along with every possible vendor and food stall.
It looks they are in it for the long haul, as the vendors hastily construct semi-permanent stalls.
It kinda changes the whole ambiance.
These annual protests have been going on for over forty years.  What they accomplish, I have no idea and I will stay out of the fray for, just like in El Norte, the sides are well-defined and polarized.
Tents and tarps have been set up on all the surrounding streets.  We will have to wait to see how it all works out.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Looking for pearls...

Pearls are the tiny bubbles created when mezcal is poured.  Traditionally, as in this nice piece of street art, the mezcal is drawn into a piece of carrizo (bamboo-like grass) and then released as a thin stream into a cup made from a gourd. 
The more and smaller the bubbles, the better.  Mezcal is becoming more and more popular world-wide, so get out there and try it if you haven't already!  Here, making it is an ancient pre-conquest art and we're lucky to get it directly from a family who has been making it for generations.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Class Act...

¡Felicidades!  Some end-of-year class photos have better backdrops than others.
I was just one of many smiling people taking pictures of these young students, although most of them were mothers.  Here's hoping they all go to university... Class of 2030?

Monday, May 21, 2018

"Get your motor runnin...'

Don't let the smile and the school uniform fool you, "La Asesina Sonriente" (The Smiling Assassin), leader of a local biker gang known as "Los Animales.". Probably one of the ones Trump was talking about....
Obviously, not really, but way too good a shot to pass up.  What a cutie!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

El Muro - The Wall

"We are not as violent as they say, nor are we as non/violent as they would like."
And yes, this is on a wall in Tlacolula, a detail from a brilliant work of street art.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Another school shooting....

I taught kids music almost my whole life.  And because of that, part of me always remained a kid. I guess it was partly because I always listened to what they listened to.  I still do.  So here's my response to the Texas shooting.  Listen to a voice of the young and coming. From Norway's Sigrid.... "Don't Kill My Vibe"
I weep for them, for all that's happening, but know that change will come with the next generations. 

One more reason I love this place - Car guys

I drive a 2004 Jetta, which serves me very well.  It has plenty of dings and scrapes, but is very reliable and has a good sound system.  It should be noted that road conditions here are less than ideal.  Between the rough roads, the ubiquitous topes (speed bumps), the baches (potholes), driving is really hard on cars. However, for every car problem, there is a car guy.

And they are everywhere, tire guys, brake guys, muffler guys, mechanicos.  They may be in a shack by the side of the road, but they can do what has to be done.... and right now, no appointment necessary. 

I went to a place just down the road in Pueblo Nuevo.  It had tire racks out front and I needed tires.  That all it took. 

The place had lots of people working and it was like controlled, efficient chaos.  Taxis, cars, trucks moving in and out, people waiting, ladies carrying food for the workers, music blaring, all in one happy and warm atmosphere.  Lots of fun interactions.  It turned out I knew one of the workers from the last time I had work done.  However, it was at a different place almost directly across the road.  We were laughing, happy, and greeted each other warmly, really a typical Oaxacan moment.

So the tires went on and then one of the young guys pointed out that my shocks were shot... gee, I wonder why.  "How much? $800 MP... Okay.... How about the brakes?  Adjust the calipers for another $600. How long?  Two hours.  Done! 

I walked back to the house, making note of all the little tiny businesses and food places that I miss when I'm driving.  Walked back.  Car was done.  Everyone shook hands and vrooom... I was outta there.  I love this place!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Face it....

"Here's looking at you, kid."
As always, the street art and graffiti, is ever changing. 
Lots of wonderful faces gracing the walls this week.  Powerful images, thought provoking.
I particularly like this one celebrating the Zapatistas and Black Panthers.... No, not the movie, silly.
These colorful visages have popped up all over the place.
They'll be gone in a week or so, replaced by more wonderful Oaxacan street art.  We are blessed to have so many talented artist here.

The rains have arrived....

As a Boston boy I can only think of this as Spring.  Everything is turning green, the countryside has rejuvenated.  And of course, my greens/lettuce are quite spectacular.  This a an overflowing large container.  Time to start more.
And the night blooming Cereus made itself known with lots of fragrant flowers. 
Actually, it was a two night bloom, a few one night and lots the next..... done by morning.
It's crazy, but I just ignore the plant most of the time and miss the flowers at least half the time.  Ahhh... but the fragrance.... sublime.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Don't start the revolution without me... uh, wait a sec....

2018! We're already ready...
Uh, wait a sec....
Our dreams will not fit into urns (They cannot be contained)
Keep hope alive....

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Even more arte from Etla

I was out Etla way again this morning and once again, took the time to stop and check out the pieces of art that have been installed in the median of the highway. 
Our blogger buddy and librarian from Casa Colibri pointed out that these are to be permanent, the installation called la Ruta Escultórica.  Some lovely and evocative pieces. 
And some humorous juxtapositions.
And pieces that really need to be studied closely.
It will be interesting to see how they all hold up under fierce sun and heavy rains.

Monday, May 7, 2018

More arte from Etla...

Here are a few more of the pieces installed in the median on the way to Etla starting with this totem by Alberto Aragon Reyes.
Wonderful work on the face
 In the detail of the inserts.
This tall glazed ceramic tower has wonderful color and texture... a bit hard to see at 70 kph.
I had to stop to get the full depth of each panel.
Some dramatic and provocative pieces.
And some with whimsy.
It is worth the drive and to stop and check out some of the detail.
There's always the market on Wednesday and the Comedor Colon everyday for some of the very best food around.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

It's an art....

Oaxaca offers lots of scenic routes to follow, the Ruta Dominica or the popular Ruta Mezcal are but two.  There is a new one worth checking out.  On the Pan-American highway, heading north, starting a few kms from Etla, there is a series of sculptures in the medium strip.  This is one of the first and they go on from there.  There are some pretty spectacular pieces.
There are about fifteen large pieces over several kms.  I would drive a bit, take a photo of two or three and move on.  It was worth stopping to see each close up.
A gallery with backdrops.
And even some gods...
And this captivating piece.
So powerful..
And it works going back the other way.  This is the top photo from the other side.
I'll post more in a bit.  Don't want to reach the point of diminishing returns. They each deserve to be seen.