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, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year - ¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

Adios y bienvenido...
Whew! What a year! Nuf' said

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Last Dance - El Ultimo Baile - Teotitlan del Valle

It has been an honor and privilege to have followed these amazing dancers for the past three years... and so much fun!  I have so much respect for each of them, their families and the entire village of Teotitlan del Valle, a magical place.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Tis the season....

You can always tell what's in season by the copious amounts in the markets at fantastic prices. 
That's 50 (Fifty!) mandarins, tangerines, for about $1.75 US.  Heaven!

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

The faces behind Rabanos

The 2018 incarnation of La Noche de los Rabanos, The Night of the Radishes, is history.  Radish art has a one day shelf life. So by now there have been lots of shots of the finished works.  I thought it would be interesting to show some of the people behind those amazing pieces.
It should be noted that those who work with dried corn husks, totomoxtle, and “flor inmortal”may have many months of work behind their finished pieces.
Many times, it's a family affair with all ages participating.
As they say, "Every picture equals a thousand words," so I'll let each shot tell its own story....

Monday, December 24, 2018

¿Porque no? - More piñatas

It's an art!  What a glorious sight
These are the ceramic pots that serve as foundations for the decorations.  It would take a pretty good whack to break them.  Trump piñatas were big a while ago, but I guess they are passe.
Party on, Garth!

It's beginning to look like... Piñatas!

Look at the size of the big one.  I know some of the smaller ones have ceramic pots holding the goodies, but the big one... I dunno.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Noche de Los Rabanos - Early Edition

For over a century, on December 23rd, Oaxaca has celebrated La Noche de Los Rabanos, the Night of the Radishes.  Each year it's different and this year was no exception.  Unlike previous years, early viewing was available and the place was packed by late morning.  I always go early because the crowds later are well, way too crowded, bigger every year.  I am always amazed and impressed with the entrants' creativity and ingenuity.  And it's fun to take shots of the creations, but I always try to get shots of the creators, the people who make all these works of art. 
Some have participated for decades and there are always new entrants, so there is always a healthy mix of traditional images and the unexpected.
On a grand scale, the eagle with snake on a cactus, the symbol of Mexico....
In addition to radishes, corn husks and dried flowers are also used in different categories in the competition.  A detail....
And its creator.
Always so many interesting shots.
I was not alone...
As I said, the city is very crowded, but the vibe is perfect.
More in a bit...

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Feria de Chocolate - Tlacolula

Today was the last day of the 2nd Annual Feria de Chocolate in Tlacolula and it was filled with lots of people sampling the many offerings.  I was there early and it was relatively quiet... for a feria in Tlacolula!
Always popular, chocolate with espuma, or whipped foam.
Not only chocolate, but lots of tamales, barbacoa and various taste treats.
And of course, music!

Friday, December 21, 2018

It's beginning to look like.... Rabanos!

Dec. 23, La noche de Rabanos in the zocalo!
Be there or be square.... and be early if you want to avoid the crowds.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Nuestra Señora de la Soledad - Our patron saint

La Señora de la Soledad is the patron saint of Oaxaca and even though I was a day late and a peso short, I felt obligated to pay my respects along with many others.
Yesterday, December 18, was her official celebratory day and the cathedral and surrounding environs are filled with stalls and vendors.
¡Viva Oaxaca! - Always something special happening

Sunday, December 16, 2018

The Last Dance... Teotitlan del Valle

It's over.  The three year commitment or promesa, for each of the remarkable danzantes de pluma from Teotitlan del Valle.  For the last time, they danced, basking in the light of a beautiful sunset,  a perfect touch to illuminate their finale. 
This was an exceptional group.  Their dancing, choreography and appearance earned them two(!) performances in the official guelaguetza. 
We all changed over the last three years.  It was fun to watch La Machine and Doña Marina, Quetzali Del Rayo Santiago Ruiz...
 And Elizabeth Hernandez Gutierrez as they grew and matured, both as dancers and young girls.
There were many standouts among the dancers.  Easily, one of the best Monctezumas I've ever seen, Sergio Gutierrez Bautista, always with his amazing and precise footwork.
Something to keep in mind, as to the level of commitment this takes, is that all the dancers lead normal multi-faceted lives. They have families. They have jobs or are in school. They are husbands, daughters and sons.  And for sure, life in Teotitlan comes with many responsibilities and obligations. They are weavers, artists, musicians, students, carpenters, campesinos.... and, now, former danzantes.
Now they can return full time to those lives.... but, ahhh, the memories.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Pride and tears - Los Danzantes de la Pluma de Teotitlan del Valle

And so ends the three year promesa or commitment of this wonderfully talented group of dancers from Teotitlan de Valle.  Blogger buddy, Shannon, and I were there from the very beginning until the very end.  And yes, I, like many others, had tears in my eyes and a heart filled with pride as we watched them dance for the last time as the village celebrated el Dia de Gaudalupe.  And there were so many people involved with these dancers, a real group effort. 
Wives,  parents, extended families and the committee in charge of organizing the entire cycle.  A special shout out to Javier Gutiérrez Hernández, whose choreography was so beautiful and creative.  
A former dancer himself and father of Sergio, this group's Monctezuma, here with two other stars of the show, the subalternos, Juan Bautista Ruiz and Florentino Martinez Ruiz.
It was an amazing finale as almost two thousand people, mostly family and friends, came together to share the moment with the dancers.  Much more to come....