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Mexico City: Impressions in Words and Photographs

Mexico City: Impressions in Words and Photographs

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Mexico City: Impressions in Words and Photographs

4/5 (1 evaluare)
224 pages
1 hour
Dec 11, 2017


Mexico City amazed and inspired me! From the people to the food to the music to the architecture, I was completely refreshed and energized. Check out my photos and travel journal. I hope the impressions I share will inspire you, too!

Dec 11, 2017

Despre autor

James Hegarty is an improvising pianist, music producer, and filmmaker who writes on creativity and artistic expression. His compositions have been performed in Europe, Asia, and throughout the US. He recently filmed a documentary on the creativity of street musicians in cities across America.Throughout the 1980s he worked as a free-lance commercial music producer confronting the intersection between art and commerce at a time when technology was rapidly changing the recording studio landscape.For twenty years he has been a college professor who teaches composition and jazz students to expand their creativity and discover their personal style. Over the years, he has been chair of the departments of music, mass communication, and communication, the division chair of creative arts and communication, and he now oversees departments that explore the potentials of multidisciplinary and experiential academic experiences.He has written concert reviews and articles on music technology for magazines and music journals. He interviews artists and innovators for his YouTube series, “Creativity Is...” Hegarty lives with his wife in a century-old historic home in St. Louis where he uses the space to record and produce avant-garde jazz and classical music.

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Mexico City - James Hegarty



The sound of voices, the color of the light, the shape of leaves moving in the breeze. The people I meet, even briefly, or friends I make along the way, or just the recognition (once again) that this jam session we call life is completely amazing in its vastness. We live on a planet full of unbelievably amazing goodness.

Growing up in the Midwestern United States, almost everything was far away. Which resulted in a whole hell of a lot of imagination and not very much reality. I recognize that the wanderings that I have finally been able to accomplish lately are the result of pent up curiosities that began a very long time ago.

Travel to new places is the opportunity to begin again. It is to start a new composition from the blank page, to compose an entirely new theme that has the freedom and energy to be completely without reference to anything in the past. To compose music is to manipulate experience, to fabricate the circumstances though which we live differently, if only for a few moments before we return to the real world of ourselves and our past and expected future.

Upon that moment, the composition began, the expectations were thrown away, the past was renounced, and I stepped into a maelstrom of an alternate reality that was without any reference to anything I could have foreseen or predicted. No matter how good Google street view is, it is no substitute for living. It is easy to know what every corner of every city on this planet looks like. But that really doesn’t matter. It is not about the look. It is about the living, about the opportunity to begin again, to take up the clean blank score and to begin to write a melody, a new melody that has just been discovered inside our being, that quite probably existed there all along, actually, but needed to be discovered, magnified, and drawn into the foreground by circumstances of life outside expectation.

I was only dimly aware of the door closing behind me, of stepping out into the flow, the interchange of people as they carried their bags, looked at the computer monitors, made arrangements for a taxi. I was relishing those first few moments of transfiguration between myself of the past and myself as I would be. Walking across the hall, looking, reading the signs, observing, taking it all in through my own person internal slow motion dolly shot. A steadicam onesie through the opening scene.

I just let myself float there, in suspended animation for a few minutes, feeling the sensations and just absorbing the power of the moment.

It was a feeling of excitement, or expectation, of standing on the edge and looking out across the water. It was one of those moments of beginning anew that holds me in awe of the possibilities. I was about to step into the river, to become engulfed with a new experience, to become someone I had never been before, someone that I did not know, someone that I had no way of knowing, to experience something for completely without point of reference and absolutely no way of being prepared for. It was a complete vulnerability except it was entirely of my own doing, my own choice, to be thrown into a new world and to allow myself to be born again.

In the Pathetique piano sonata, Beethoven used the introduction set in a very slow tempos was his way of prepare the audience for the power of his musical ideas. His introduction builds anticipation, draws attention, holds the listener in a plot line that works up to a climax of harmonic tension and rhythmic contrast when suddenly the tempo races and the pent up tension bursts open with a glorious new musical theme. If this first day on the ground in Mexico were a symphony, this would have been the structural model.

And so I was, in the sense of a long slow build, absorbing those initial sensations and fragments of experience to begin to pull together a thought, a starting point for just what this new world would be and to begin to arrive at a notion of just what this new life, this new concept of my identity would look like and sound like, and feel like.

There is not many ways in this world to begin again so abruptly. The sun rises and sets, time moves slowly, days go by, weeks, months. I try to establish new modes of thinking, new frameworks that encourage new chord shapes or the invention of different combinations of rhythm. But at best they are long slow dissolves gradually morphing into something that just may be a little different, a little new, and a very hard won attempt at something unanticipated.

It would have been easy to head directly to the ATM, to withdraw a reasonable amount of local currency, and stop at the first official taxi dispatcher and hit the street. But I savored the moment, elongated it, walked from one end of the hall to the other, just looking, and absorbing the impressions.

Travel is about becoming the unexpected. It is about allowing oneself to become something different as the result of forces that are completely unknown or anticipated. I maintain that I am a free improv experimental musician because I relish the constant newness of sound, melody, texture, and relationships that can happen when all expectation and control is relinquished. I hold to the concept that there is order in abstraction and that even chaos is only a highly complex state of relationships. Listen to a free improv trio and you will hear the street, the subway, the intersection of the streams of mind as they flow together, interconnect and resonate, and come together in a music that is ever new and changing.

Whenever I am on the street, listening, observing, feeling, it is this music that I hear. A music of the spheres that is a synthesis of Philip Glass-like broken chords with the multitonal melodies of perhaps hundreds of individuals blending in consort as they move in orbits and trajectories through space and time.

It is a complex order, a profoundly interconnected matrix of layers and contexts. In a digital age, we can at least fathom such vastness, every time we send an email message or enter a URL.

It is about the selective capture of isolated moments that passed across my experience, a curated collection of impressions and perceptions that seemed

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