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 30, 2019

Fields of Dreams...

This is one of my favorite days of the year, the day when flowers are harvested in preparation fo El Dia de los Muertos.  The fields near my house are overflowing with cempasuchil (marigolds) and terciopelo rojo (celosia or cockscomb). 
It's amazing how they seem to peak, perfectly timed to be picked. 
And somehow, the growers do it every year even through the weather conditions vary widely.  I wasn't the only one enjoying the blossoms.
Bees are loving it, but odds are, they will all be gone tomorrow.
And away they go...
More mañana....

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

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

As always, the street decorations as Muertos approaches are so inventive and inspiring.  People can do the most amazing things using the simplest of materials. 
I watched as one man lowered dried corn to another on a ladder as they slowly assembled this stunning installation.
And above the streets...
A wonderfully subtle and evocative use of marigolds or cempazuchitl, one of the most important flowers used throughout the celebrations.  They go on for blocks;
Of course, not all the decorations are quite so subtle, but still, perfect.
There's always more.....

Thursday, October 24, 2019

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

It seems like there are more muerteadas each year as villages get into the action and excitement.  What's a muerteada?  It's an all night dance party that's an extension of the various celebrations surrounding El Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead.
The costumes, the infectious driving music, the going from house to house, it's blast.  On the north side of the city, in the many Etlas, muerteadas are the thing.  And each village paints a mural to advertise the event.   Here, a beautiful image from the one for Santiago Etla.
I try to go to San Agustin Etla every year, where two neighborhoods, San Jose and El Panteon, come together after twelve hours of dancing at the base of the mountains and yell and scream at each other, but all in good fun...  I think... maybe not.
Each thinks they are the best and the originals. San Jose, la cuna, the birthplace.
El Panteon, The Mother of all muerteadas,
And San Sebastian has one just for women the following week.
Party on Garth.  Be there or be square! Or poof.... you've missed it... again.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

The Lady of the House

I found this beautiful Catrina at a sale from Linda Hanna, the renown folk art expert and collector and La Catrina has taken over the hallway in all her splendor.  She is sculpted tin, the creation of Enrique Badillo from San Miguel Allende.
Here she is with her beautiful fan of feathers,
A work of art in itself.
I look forward to seeing her everyday as I go up and down the stairs.
She looks up to see the incredible Arbol de Vida from Fidel and Maria Luisa Cruz of Casa Cruz in Teotitlan del Valle.
Ah.... the maestr@s of the arts, Mexico's treasure.... and mine, too.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Catch it before it disappears....

Oaxaca always has some of the best graffiti and street artists who present many powerful images.
There is an ever changing art show one can see just by walking the streets.
Or you can just walk on by.
Or bike on by.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch,
The city has an ongoing removal policy, but it varies in terms of what gets taken off or painted over. 
There will be more next week.

Monday, October 7, 2019


It is always such a pleasure to see living traditions, as the danzantes de plumas in Teotitlan del Valle danced in celebration of the Rosario this past weekend.  In this, the first year of their three year promesa, this group is filled with exceptional dancers and wonderful tight choreography.
Such beautiful colors, just dazzling.
The coordination of elements, the weaving on the back.
And the rattle and eagle paddle, all the work of the dancer.
Rene Alaves Lazaro, a happy Monctezuma.
He is a remarkable dancer, so lithe and graceful.
And La Malinche and Doña Marina, Jimena and Yaretzi, are both also excellent dancers, full of life,
And always right and tight with the music.
Next big performance is in December for Guadelupe.  Be there or be square.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Arbol de Vida - Tree of Life

Be still my heart.... I have a thing for tapetes with Arbols de Vida as the subject.  I also have a thing for the incredible work of Fidel y Maria Luisa Cruz of Teotitlan del Valle.  So when I saw this rug weeks ago, I saved my pesos for those many weeks and today!  Boom... it found its way into my life.... and my house.  The gradation of the reds, using cochineal dyes, is absolutely stunning, a masterpiece.  And each individual bird is unique and vibrant.  One can feel the lives within.  Almost three months of work and the design directly from Fidel's brain to the loom.  They are both masters of dyes and natural colors.  And Maria Luisa's macrame work does Fidel's weaving justice, so fine and delicate.
And she is one of the famous Mendoza sisters, so she is also one of the finest cooks anywhere.  They are true Oaxacan treasures.  ¡ Viva Fidel y Maria Luisa!  Muchimas gracias!