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, December 24, 2019

Rabanos... It's the people...

Even though I've not been at all 122 incarnations of La Noche del Rabanos, I've seen the last 25 or so, and gotten to know many of the participants over the years.  It is like seeing old friends.  The doña above is the daughter of one of my favorite aubelas ever, one who introduced me to her work almost thirty years ago.  She was my own version of Coco. What a joy it is to see these people every year.
I believe this homage to Toledo won one of the prizes.  There's a photo of it in the previous post.
I think I take as many photos of the people as I do of their creations.  Each has a story.  For some, it's the first time.  The kracken won big time!
For others, like this gentleman, it's an annual part of their lives.  He has participated in each of the last 45 competitions.
And they come in all ages.
With smiles on their faces...
This woman won the best in the traditional radish category... I think.
Sometime life imitates art... or is it the other way around?
Talk about embracing ones work.
And still, my favorite...
More mañana....

Monday, December 23, 2019

Rabanos .... get there early...

Each year, La Noche del Rabanos, or the Night of the Radishes, get bigger, better and attracts more participants and viewers.  And this year kept that record going.  There was even a massive rendition of the dreaded Kracken!
There were many absolutely spectacular entries in the competition.  It will take some time to go through all the photos, but I pulled a few favorites.  I absolutely loved this piece and I hope she wins.
There were several homages to Maestro Toledo and this one captured his spirit perfectly with his kites and CASA behind him.
And there were some sweet and delicate pieces that could have gotten as they were small parts of large displays.
Just perfection...
All from radishes (and dried corn husks).  Much more to come.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

My neighborhood piñata shop.....

It is always so much fun to watch them being assembled... and imagining just how many goodies it would take to fill the huge one.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Baby, it's cold outside....

Yes, it gets cold here.  It was in the forties last night and with no heat in the house, it felt really cold.  Houses made of cement hold the chill and none of them are air tight, so the wind adds to the fun.  My bedroom and bath were in the mid fifties!  Brrrr....
I'm not sure what indigenous language the top is, but the Spanish translates, "The only thing I ask for at Christmas is not to be cold."  Amen to that.
Time to set up my flower pot space heaters powered by votive candles, which actually work.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Bach pun goes here....

This poster was on the wall of the new state music school at the top of Crespo .  It made me think of P.D.Q. Bach, with whom I did a concert many years ago.  I'm not sure if there will be any humorous moments in the upcoming concert, but the setting is spectacular.
And the price is right, too.  Be There or be Square!

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Anchors away.....

Did you know that Cortes sank ten of the eleven ships on which he and his crew arrived?  There was no way back....

From the LAHT
Mexican researchers have discovered two iron anchors in the waters off the coast of the city of Veracruz, both of them presumably lost when Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes scuttled his ships 500 years ago, Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) announced on Monday.
The larger of the two newly-found anchors measures 3.68 meters long by 1.55 meters wide, while the smaller is 2.6 meters long by 1.43 meters wide.
The Conquest of Mexico was a key event in human history, and these ships, if we can find them, will be symbols of the cultural collision that led to what today is the West, geopolitically and socially speaking,”
Cortes arrived at the coast of Villa Rica with a fleet of 11 ships, of which 10 were sunk on his orders to make clear to his men that there was no way for them to back out of the expedition to conquer the Aztec civilization and return home.

Monday, December 16, 2019

A closer look... Teotitlan del Valle

As in most things, there are many layers to the danza de pluma in Teotitlan del Valle.  It is easy to miss details while the action is hot and heavy.  Dance is hard to capture because it is all about constant motion.  There is the overall picture and then there are the details, like the penacho pictured above.  Think of all the work that went into it.  And then there is, the footwork, the outfits, the music, the grace of the dancers, as exemplified by La Malinche, Yaretzi Bazan Ruiz.
Her counterpart, alter ego, Doña Marina, Jimena Vicente Lazaro, also a wonderful dancer. 
Both add so much to the performances.
Not only excellent dancers, but crowds favorites as well.... and quite photogenic.
They aren't the only photogenic ones out there.
One of the real powers behind the throne....

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Plumas for Guadalupe...

The Danzantes de Pluma in Teotitlan del Valle celebrated El Dia de Virgen de Gaudalupe with another wonderful series of dances.  This is such a fine group of dancers, very tight and well-choreographed.  Their next appearance, as they begin their second of a three year commitment, will be in July.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Let us have lettuce....

This is a great time of year for lettuce.  The sun is low and it is cooler.  I've finally figured out to keep a steady supply.  I normally sow seeds very lightly in large low round pots, but they always get too crowded.  This time I went even lighter on the seeds and still, they were too crowded.  So I transplanted as many as I felt like, along with transplanting carrots... and everything worked.  Lots of these greens reseed themselves, especially the arugula and the red leaf lettuce.
They are so healthy, they glow.... and those little caterpillars love them, too.

Visions of Guadalupe.....

No better way to celebrate el Dia de la Virgen de Guadalupe than with the danzantes in Teotitlan del Valle.  This was their final dance for the year, the next coming in July.  They wore their devotion.
These beautiful renditions are all hand-made and the work of the dancers and their families.
It is important to note, that for many of the dancers, theirs is a three year commitment with deep religious underpinnings. 
For these dancers and their families, as for many faithful Mexicans, the Virgen de Guadalupe is one of the most venerated figures and one can see their devotion in their capes.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Get it where you can...

After posting the fresh food I can get here locally yesterday.  It is only fair to post the things I could only get in Boston's Chinatown where there is a wonderful, huge supermarket unlike any other in the city.  That soy sauce is simply delicious.  And the prices are really, really good.  Those are big bottles.
One of those knives cost all of $2 US and is razor sharp as are the others.  The most expensive item was the large chopping blade which was $13 US.  They make prepping for stir frying really easy.  They are almost too sharp... for now.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Celebrating Gaudalupe...

Tomorrow is The Virgin of Guadalupe's official day, but every year, the day before, the boys come as Juan Diego and the girls wear traditional trajes or outfits, and come to the church at the top of Llano Park..... and overall cuteness abounds.
There are many elaborate backdrops set up and the competition between photographers is lively.
This one had a water feature and was in a primo spot right at the entrance.  It did a brisk business and I was early.
Really, it was about young parents showing their love and pride with the kids mostly oblivious.
It's a thriving business and very competitive, with instant gratification, photos printed on the spot.
Not everyone thought it was fun at all, but I sure did.... I left when the power went out of some of the setups.
Mañana, it's off to Teotitlan del Valle to keep the celebration going.

Culture Shock - The Good Kind

Just back from the little Wednesday market down the road from me and what a treat it was to be back. All of this wonderful, fresh food: Four tomatoes, four avocados, carrots, cheese, garlic, mushrooms, poblanos, broccoli, peas and some lean pork for stir fry... All for $140 MP or $7.32 US!  After shopping in the US for the last few weeks, I'm sure it would have cost close to $40.  These kinds of shocks are mighty easy to handle.

What culture shock?

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Not in Kansas anymore, Toto...

You can't return if you don't ever leave.... and bouncing between cultures always comes with shocks to the system.  I don't recall seeing anything like this in Boston. 
Ahhhh... so good to be back.

It's all relative...

I'm back in the saddle again, back in Oaxaca.  When I left Boston Sunday morning, it was 11 F.  It had been unusually cold and snowy almost my entire stay.  Of course, at soon as I left the temps soared to near 60.  When I woke up in the foothills of the mountains behind my house here in Oaxaca, it was 52 F.  I had been cold in Boston and now I'm cold here.  Houses in New England all have some sort of heating, but here, no one does and the cement construction really holds the cold.
There will be lows in the 40's later this week. But this morning, both are the same temp and I'm sure I would feel warm in Boston, but it feels cold here. (That's Boston on top.)