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, October 31, 2018

Muerteada Time!

Every year there are more and more muerteadas, but the best and the cuna, the birth of the muerteada, is in San Agustin Etla.  What's a muerteada?  It's a combination of an all-nighter parade with live music, dancing, food, costumes and perhaps, some beer and mezcal.  Starts tomorrow night and goes until mid-morning.
The one in San Agustin Etla is filled with all of the above and the traditional outfits are covered with bells and/or mirrors.  It ends with kinda of a mosh pit as two groups come together at the base of a hill and the bands and dancers go at each other... separated by two lines of security just to keep things in some sort of control.  It's insane, but fun.  Here's last year's.
This one's basically for men, but kids and women participate. However, there's one for the women in two weeks.
Party On!!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Harvest time for Muertos

What spectacular vistas.
More marigolds and cockscomb, cempasuchil and terciopelo rojo.
These fields are about ten km from Mitla.  We're so ready for Muertos!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Pan del Muerto - Mitla Style

The village of Mitla is famous for many things besides its 10,000 years of history and its archaeological site, one of which is its treatment of pan del muerto.  They know how to do it right!
Yesterday, I posted some of the colorful decorated breads from Zaachila.  Today it was off to the market in Mitla on the Sunday before Muertos, one of the best days to go there.  Why? This!  I got this one for my neighbors.
They were carrying in long planks with today freshly baked and decorated bread. 
Every family has a different style and many have been baking for many years.
Unlike Zaachila, most all of the decoration is done using white icing... with a few sprinkles.
And Mitla has never looked better.  Last year all of this was under construction, wet and muddy.  Today!
There's still time to get your pan del muerto, but time's a wastin'.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Feria in Zaachila

Today was the opening day of the 1st Annual Feria de Pan del Muerto Adornado, Mole, Chocolate y Espuma, the frothy chocolate drink, in Zaachila and wow, it was fantastic.  There were people there from many of the surrounding villages and the bread, mole, etc and all the things for sale... wow, just wow. 
In Zaachila the bread for the altars is decorated with colorful designs.  The decorations are not sweet, made from flour and food coloring.
Every village is different and tomorrow ,we'll check out the pan del muerto in Mitla and Diaz Ordaz where most everything is done with white icing. 
However, today, the bakers of Zaachila showed their stuff and it was spectacular.
People were so warm and friendly, open for conversation and handing out little taste treats of various things.  And lots of good things to eat, too.  My lunch...
It's going on for two more days so.... Be There or Be Square.  We'll be going back again next year.  This is just the beginning of one of the best times of the year in glorious Oaxaca.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Flowers for los Muertos... and the living

This is one of my favorite days of the year, when I go and see if the fields nearby are, once again, filled with marigolds and cockscomb, cempasuchil and terciopelo rojo. 
And they were, glorious, as always.
I'm a plant person, always growing things, so I always meditate on the many aspects of these fields.
From each of the individual flowers forming that ocean of color, to the tens of thousands of people who will use them as a part of their celebrations, all the altars, all the graves that will soon be graced with these flowers. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Keepin' it clean...

It's a big cleaning job, but someone's got to do it,  Maybe getting ready for Muertos and the hordes of welcome visitors or just a normal cleaning day, but these workers were doing an excellent job.  It actually looked like fun as others joined in.
And the proof is obvious...
A job well done.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Laughng With the Loons

Yes, those are real loons, the birds... and the people, too.  Feel good and love the break...

What is this?

Plant, animal or mineral?
Nature is amazing.
This a voracious insect is eating the huge leaves of the bananas. I'm sure it will turn into some magnificent winged beauty, but for now I am removing them and placing them in a different area.  They've been going after the misperos or nisperos and I must remain vigilant.  Anyone know what it is or what it turns into?

Update:  Trusty readers have all the answers and check out that video!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Going solar....

Following a couple of Oaxaca's exhaust belching buses, a seed was planted and driven home.  Thus...
And it has been unusually cloudy ever since the system went in, of course,  The water is warm, but not super hot.  However, it's good for the house and the planet.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Dance the night away - Teotitlan del Valle

The danza de la pluma in Teotitlan del Valle can last as long as eight hours. There may be as many as forty four parts to the dance,a very long and physically and mentally rigorous ordeal. 
And yet the danzantes just keep on dancin' with Picacho watching from above.
Only one more chance to see this amazing group of dancers on Dec. 12. Be there or be square!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Convite in Teotitlan del Valle - Getting ready.

Whew, what a time!  I'm just trying to catch up from last week's festivities in Teotitlan del Valle.  It is always fun watching the young girls and women arrive for the convite or procession that occurs several times each year for the religious festivals. 
Seeing as though I am always at least an hour early every time, I get to watch the patio in front of the church go from empty to full as the arrivals proceed. 
No matter what, it is always a visual treat, a happy and meaningful time and a real mood elevator.
It is a tradition that draws not only from the village, but many return from the States and other parts of Mexico to participate.  We're almost ready to go and she's all set to lead the procession
But first, I love the look on these girls' faces. "C'mon, buddy, take the picture already."
Much more in a bit, los danzantes and a wonderful party.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Fashion Plate.... Textile Tlahui

Another mini-fiesta near the zocalo, filled with music, food, dance and things for sale from various places like one of my favorites, Santa Maria Tlahuitoltepec.  I have been looking for a shirt with their embroidery and, que milagro, there is was from Textile Tlahui.
I had just talked with some of the dancers from the village before buying the shirt and had to go back and show them.  Lookin' and feelin' good  ¡Viva Tlahui!

Saturday, October 6, 2018

How ironic... or iconic.

While those old white bastards vote, HBO chooses to show "Mujer Marvilla... uh, "Wonder Woman"  Coincidence?