Volume 12, No. 15: December 14, 2007

Don’t be fooled:

While the national media and the candidates whip up ever more hysteria about the (very real) “immigration problem”, proclaiming it to be your number one preocupation, and the issue on which the election will be decided, others are reporting that according to recent surveys, only 15% of Americans would agree. The economy, particularly the mortgage crisis; the endless war; education; and of course el numero uno, the health care crisis, are far closer to our hearts. Those issues just don’t lend themselves to sound bites of “talk tough” the way the Brown Peril does. Continue reading “Volume 12, No. 15: December 14, 2007”

Volume 12, No. 13: November 4, 2007

Lila Downs brings it all back home:

Oaxaca’s own Lila Downs brought down the house last weekend with a brilliant concert that brought years of experimentation and synthesis to a new level. Performing on stage at the Alvaro Carillo Theater (recently re-converted from its temporary existence as the hall of the State Senate) for the benefit of the scholarship fund of the Casa Mujer, Lila sang, danced, and pranced around the stage in a sort of “Operatic Folk Singer Meets MTV” fusion that would have been impossible for someone with a lesser gift. Continue reading “Volume 12, No. 13: November 4, 2007”

Volume 12, No. 12: October 10, 2007

The battle of the titans:

[Much of what makes Oaxaca so attractive to visitors – and the more affluent Mexicans – would not have happened without the generosity of wealthy artists and culture mavens, whose donations have helped restore many colonial buildings and fill them with art, classrooms, performance spaces, and other social amenities. Some of the donations also aid the less affluent, such as Rodolfo Morales’ computer classroom in Ocotlán, where local kids get a crack at learning new skills. Here’s a little tongue-in-cheek tale…] Continue reading “Volume 12, No. 12: October 10, 2007”

Volume 12, No. 11: September 9, 2007

More Music, Music, Music:

A couple of weeks ago, we attended a concert by the Chamber Orchestra of the Music School of Benito Juarez University. School faculty members performed in the “Capilla” (chapel) of the ex-convent-turned-fancy-hotel Camino Reál. It was free, and pretty darn good. The next performance is on the 13th of September at 7:30, for those of you who might be in town then. Continue reading “Volume 12, No. 11: September 9, 2007”

Volume 12, No. 9: July 25, 2007

Plan Puebla-Panama alive and kicking:

In the midst of the usual political shenanigans, drug gang killings, soccer fever, anti-privatization struggles (and here I agree with Ralph Nader, that “privatizing” is a misnomer for “trans-national-corporation-izing” [I’m taking very small literary license, he actually said “corporatizing”]), a quiet but not un-noticed phenomenon is occurring: the Plan Puebla Panama is moving forward; and as it slithers along, it will leave billions of dollars in its wake for the enterprising members of Mexico’s elite political and economic classes, meanwhile sticking the poor and middle classes – of this and future generations – with the bill. Continue reading “Volume 12, No. 9: July 25, 2007”

Volume 12, No. 7: May 25, 2007

Big changes at the Ethnobotanical Garden:

Word reaches us that the director imposed upon the Garden by the governor has resigned, and that the staff he imposed has gone with him; and that the old director, demoted as punishment for refusing to employ an otherwise unqualified family member of a politician close to the governor, has been reinstated in his old position. Apparently, all the old staff have their old jobs back. How this came about, and what, in the arcane and Byzantine relationships of power, these changes signify, is yet to be revealed. Continue reading “Volume 12, No. 7: May 25, 2007”

Volume 12, No. 6: May 12, 2007

Need a room?

Five years ago, only a handful of hostelries in my adopted city of Oaxaca had an internet presence. Now, you just don’t count unless you have your own url (universal resource locator: web address). The internet is awash with information – far more than anyone can digest in a lifetime. Every kind of business in the world – from hotels to hardware stores – has the same problem: “placement”. Continue reading “Volume 12, No. 6: May 12, 2007”