Yanhuitlan, Second Verse with Ceramics

I had only been to Yanhuitlán (yahn-wheat-lahn’) three years ago on a Good Friday expedition, so when a friend told me about a fantastic field trip to the home studio of famous ceramic artists, I put it on my “to do” list. Wanting to do something special on the Fourth of July – not only U.S. Independence Day but the day my dad died in 2000 — I vowed to make it finally happen.

IMG_5738.jpg

Continue reading

All That Jazz in San Augustin Etla

All things conspired for the good: a free Sunday, no highway blockades, three available girlfriends and an afternoon jazz concert in San Augustin Etla, a beautiful little town up in the mountains about 20 miles out of the city. I’d been there a few times before to see art exhibits at the CASA (el Centro de las Artes San Augustin), even my first week in Oaxaca when it seemed an exotic field trip made so mostly by lack of language and the complete mystery of where we were going.

IMG_3918

Continue reading

Rodeo, Mexican Style

Let me just say that having grown up in Texas, I’m a big fan of rodeos. I grew up on small town rodeos in west Texas – mostly Weatherford – and always loved the gaudy western wear, calf roping and barrel racing (not so much the bull riding) and especially rodeo clowns.

hat

Rodeo clowns aside (theirs is actually one of the more dangerous jobs, as they’re distracting bucking bulls and broncos away from fallen competitors), the Charros de Ex-Hacienda de la Soledad, just southwest of Oaxaca City, offered all that and more on Sunday, plus chicas in full skirts galloping sidesaddle, traditional dancing (OK, one couple) and a mounted crooner in full charro suit. A charro event isn’t exactly a Texas rodeo, but close enough: it’s a little rough and rowdy and a whole lot of spectacle in fancy western wear with cowboy boots.

Continue reading

Activist Gratitude

I can think of some politicians who might have learned a few things from the meal I shared with friends this past Thanksgiving Thursday. It was a celebration across race, nationality and language, religious affiliation, gender preference and probably a lot of other mixed labels that no one thought to ask.

And it’s why, more than ever, it’s important to give thanks for what we do have because it reminds us of what we need to fight for. It’s quite possible that I’m going to become an activist at this stage of my life and I’m OK with that. A gratitude activist maybe.

img_2576

Continue reading

Dead Reckoning

November 9 felt like the Day of the Dead, although the real Día de los Muertos had happened the week before. All I’ll say about Election Day is that since I had gone out to a neighboring village to be with my friend Michelle in case I needed moral support, the internet streaming was non-existent and we ended up listening to election coverage on Sirius radio in her parked car. I did need the moral support plus a whole lot of Snickers and some mezcal to make it through the night, but that’s another story for another time.

So through Election Day trauma and even though Mexican Revolution Day and American Thanksgiving have both come and gone, I never had gotten around to really processing this year’s Day of the Dead.

img_1633 Continue reading

Santos for President

I don’t usually get political in this blog, but I know who I want to win the U.S. election tomorrow: Matt Santos. Yeah, he was a fictional character in The West Wing – which I’ve been binge-watching on Netflix during this election period. But he’s the kind of president that we need: kind, honest, compassionate and smart. And yes, he would be the first Latino president.

enhanced-22690-1403620373-13

Continue reading