Aug 152016
 

Francisco Cabrera was beginning his career as a film writer and producer when he visited Ajijic in about 1944 with fellow producer Alfredo Bolongaro-Crevenna. Their visit was noted by Neill James in her 1945 account of the village.

Poster for Doña perfecta (1950)

Poster for Doña perfecta (1950)

Cabrera, whose birth name was Francisco P. de la Cabrera, had an acting role in the 1932 movie Carceleras, directed by José Buchs, which was the first Spanish film with direct sound recording.

In 1938, Cabrera began working in the then nascent Mexican movie industry. His first title as producer was Refugiados de Madrid (1938), followed by Noche de los mayas (1939), Ni sangre ni arena (1941) and Santa (1943), which he wrote.

In 1944, at about the time he visited Ajijic, Cabrera wrote and produced Adán, Eva y el diablo, which was directed by Alfredo Bolongaro-Crevenna.

In 1946 Cabrera was one of the founding members of Mexico’s film academy: the Academia Mexicana de Ciencias y Artes Cinematográficas, founded on 3 July of that year. The following year, the academy launched its Ariel awards, Mexico’s equivalent of the Oscars. This was the golden age of Mexican movies, with as many as 85 movies being made each year. The Ariel awards were held annually until 1958 and, after a lapse of 14 years, were re-initiated in 1972.

Other Cabrera productions included La malquerida (1949), Un día de vida (1950); Doña Perfecta (1950), which won three Ariel awards in 1952, He matado a un hombre (1963) and Amor de adolescente (1965). He also both wrote and produced the movies ¿A dónde van nuestros hijos? (1956) and Los hijos que yo soñé (1964).

Cabrera died in Mexico City on 3 July 1965, coincidentally, the 19th anniversary of the founding of the Mexican film academy.

Among Cabrera’s many claims to fame in the history of cinema in Mexicoy is the fact that he introduced the artist Gunther Gerzso to movie-making, when he contracted him to work on Santa (1943). The film was directed by U.S. actor Norman Foster and starred Esther Fernández and Ricardo Montalbán. Gerzso was initially reluctant to try his hand at set designing, but the success of Santa was the start of a lengthy and highly successful career in cinema. Gerzso, who was a good friend of Otto Butterlin (a German-Mexican artist with strong ties to Ajijic),  went on to work in more than 150 movies between 1941 and 1963. Octavio Paz considered Gerzso to be one of Latin America’s greatest ever painters, on account of the fact that he, Carlos Mérida and Rufino Tamayo had opposed the “ideologist aesthetic movement into which muralism had degenerated.”

Sombrero Books welcomes comments, corrections or additional material related to any of the writers and artists featured in our series of mini-bios. Please use the comments feature at the bottom of individual posts, or email us.

Jun 232016
 

Artist Daphne Aluta moved to Ajijic with her then husband Mario Aluta in the late 1960s, and lived there for about twenty years. In September 1985, she was the first female artist to ever have her work featured in the Chapala area monthly El Ojo del Lago; all previous art profiles had highlighted male artists.

Daphne Aluta. Portrait. Courtesy of Ricardo Santana.

Daphne Aluta. Portrait. Date unknown. Courtesy of Ricardo Santana.

In Ajijic in 1974, Daphne Aluta married Colin MacDougall in a small ceremony at the home of Sherm and Adele Harris, who were then managing the Posada Ajijic. Despite this remarriage, Aluta continued to sign her artwork Daphne Aluta.

Born Daphne Greer on 24 June 1919 in Detroit, Michigan, she attended Cranbrook School for Girls and then the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Detroit. She married and moved to Santa Barbara, where the first of her four children was born.

Her marriage to Turkish painter and architect Mario Aluta, who was 15 years her senior, is recorded as taking place in 1960.

Daphne Aluta. Ajijic. Reproduced by kind permission of Ricardo Santana.

Daphne Aluta. Ajijic. Date unknown. Reproduced by kind permission of Ricardo Santana.

During her time in Ajijic, in addition to her painting and sculpture, Aluta designed and built several homes in the village.

As an artist, her group exhibitions in Mexico included the Casa de la Cultura in Guadalajara (1970); the “Fiesta de Arte” held at a private home in Ajijic (15 May 1971); the ex-Convento del Carmen in Guadalajara (1980); the Club Campestre La Hacienda (1985) on the main Guadalajara-Chapala highway; and the “Help Save Lake Chapala” exhibit in Mexico City (1988).

Other artists showing in these group exhibits included Mario Aluta, Peter Huf and his wife Eunice Hunt, John Frost, Bruce Sherratt, William Hartung, Antonio Cardenas, Tom Faloon, Lona Isoard, Gail Michael, Robert Neathery, John Peterson, Eleanor Smart, Shaw, Hudson Rose, Agustín Velarde, Georg Rauch; Betty Warren; Gustel Faust; Laura Goeglein; Carla Manger; Jo Kreig; Donald Demerest; B.R. Kline; Hubert Harmon; De Nyse Turner Pinkerton; Eugenia Bolduc; Emily Meeker; Jean Caragonne; Tiu Pessa; Sydney Moehlman; Xavier Pérez, Nancy Bollembach, Luisa Julian, Conrado Contreras, Rick Ledwon and Enrique Velazquez.

Sombrero Books welcomes comments, corrections or additional material related to any of the writers and artists featured in our series of mini-bios. Please email us or use the comments feature at the bottom of individual posts.

Jun 092016
 

Photographer and illustrator Haig Witwer Shekerjian was born 3 November 1922 in Chicago, Illinois, and finally laid his camera to rest on 21 August 2002 in Schenectady, New York. He and his wife Regina were regular visitors to Ajijic from 1950 on, and spent several months each year in the village during the 1970s and 1980s.

Haig’s parents were Haig Rupen Shekerjian, a rug salesman originally from Constantinople, Turkey, and Frances Louise Witwer, from Chicago.

Haig Shekerjian. ca 1970. By kind permission of Michael Eager.

Haig Shekerjian. ca 1970. By kind permission of Michael Eager.

Haig attended Oak Park and River Forest Township High School in Oak Park, Illinois. His interest in photography started at an early age, and, as a teenager, he was an avid member of the school’s Camera Club.

After high school, he studied at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. A 1943 yearbook entry shows that he was not only handsome, but also an accomplished actor, and member of the University Dramatic Club.

During the Second World War, Haig served with the U.S. Navy in the Pacific and a poignant local newspaper entry in December 1945 says that Haig, by then married to his lifelong love Regina, “was one of 11,382 High Point Navy veterans returning from Guam on the U.S.S. Cowpens.” Regina DeCormier Shekerjian (1923-2000) was a well-known author, translator and illustrator of children’s books. The couple lived for many years in New Paltz, New York, where Haig was Art Director of the Media Services Center at the State University College.

Taking a sabbatical break over the winter of 1950-51, Haig and Regina spent several months living in Ajijic. They returned several times in the late 1970s and early 1980s, staying a few months each time.

Haig was apparently never interested in the commercial aspects of photography and his work was rarely exhibited or sold, though he gave a few away as treasured gifts. His peers recognized the quality of his photographs and in 1977, one of his photos was included in the inaugural exhibition of the Catskill Center for Photography in Woodstock, New York.

shekerjian-haig-photo-ca-1970-2

Haig Shekerjian. ca 1970. By kind permission of Michael Eager.

Haig and Regina wrote and/or contributed artwork to numerous illustrated children’s books, including The Adventures of Tom Thumb (1950); Getting to know Canada (1956); Life in the Middle Ages (1966); How Many Donkeys? A Turkish Folk Tale (1971); Getting to know the Philippines (1971); The Chinese Story Teller (1973); King Midas and the Golden Touch (1973); All on a May Morning (1975); and The Well-Mannered Balloon (1991). They also co-wrote A Book of Christmas Carols (1963); and A Book of Ballads, Songs and Snatches (1965).

Michael Eager, owner of La Nueva Posada hotel in Ajijic, remembers the couple well: “Haig had short gray hair with a goatee and was rarely without his Greek sailor’s cap. Both he and Regina dressed casually, Haig with jeans, checkered shirt, and somewhat “beatnik” looking. He was never without his camera.” Both Haig and Regina loved the local people, music and traditions.

The dining room of La Nueva Posada in Ajijic has a permanent exhibition of Haig’s evocative photographs of what the Lake Chapala area was like years ago—clear evidence, if any were needed, of the couple’s immense enthusiasm for the area and its people.

Other photographers associated with Lake Chapala:

Sombrero Books welcomes comments, corrections or additional material related to any of the writers and artists featured in our series of mini-bios. Please email us or use the comments feature at the bottom of individual posts.

May 162016
 

Award-winning novelist Glendon Swarthout (1918-1992) wrote 16 novels, many turned into films, and numerous short stories. His short story entitled “Ixion”, set at Lake Chapala, was later turned into a screenplay by his son Miles Swarthout as Convictions of the Heart.

Glendon Fred Swarthout was born 8 April 1918 in Pinckney, Michigan, and died on 23 September 1992 in Scottsdale, Arizona. He attended the University of Michigan, where he majored in English and played the accordion for a four-piece band he formed. He married his childhood sweetheart Kathryn Vaughn on 28 December 1940, shortly after they both graduated.

After a year writing ad copy for Cadillac and Dow Chemical at the MacManus, John & Adams advertising agency in Detroit, Swarthout traveled with his wife to South America aboard a small freighter, sending a weekly column back home to various newspapers. After Pearl Harbor, they returned to the U.S. When Swarthout was denied entry to officer’s training for being underweight, the young couple both took jobs at Willow Run bomber plant near Ann Arbor. Within six months, and despite working long hours as a riveter on B-24s, Swarthout had written his his first novel Willow Run, a story about people working in a bomber factory.

In the latter stages of the war, Swarthout served briefly in the U.S. infantry in Europe, but ruptured a disc in his spine and was shipped home. He would be plagued by back problems for the rest of his life.

Glendon Swarthout. Credit: http://www.glendonswarthout.com

Glendon Swarthout. Credit: http://www.glendonswarthout.com

After the war, Swarthout earned a Master’s degree from the University of Michigan and began teaching college. His teaching career included spells at the University of Maryland, at Michigan State University, and at the University of Arizona.

In 1951, Swarthout spent six months in Ajijic with his wife and their young son, Miles, born in 1946. During this time, he worked on another novel, Doyle Dorado, which, in Miles’ words, later “ended up in the stove, making hot water for Dad’s shower.” Swarthout also wrote a short story set at Lake Chapala. Though not published until several years later, “Ixion” was the “semi-autobiographical story of a young advertising man attempting to write his first novel in the little artist’s colony of Ajijic.”

New World Writing #13

New World Writing #13

“Ixion” was first published in New World Writing #13 in The New American Library (Mentor, 1958). A contemporary reviewer praised “Ixion” as being a “much worthier” work than Swarthout’s second novel, They Came to Cordura, which had been published a few weeks previously. “Ixion” was later reprinted in Easterns and Westerns (Michigan State University Press, 2001), a collection of short stories, edited by son Miles, who later turned it into a screenplay, Convictions of the Heart.

According to Miles, the family might have remained much longer in Mexico in 1951 (despite his father’s failed attempt at writing Doyle Dorado) if the lake had been clean. “The real reason my parents left Mexico in a hurry was to seek emergency medical treatment in Brownsville, Texas, for five-year-old me, after I’d contracted para-typhoid fever from swallowing sewage water in Lake Chapala.”

Back in the U.S., in 1955 Glendon Swarthout gained his doctorate in English Literature (based on a study of Somerset Maugham, Ernest Hemingway, Joyce Cary and Charles Portis) and began to sell short stories to magazines such as Cosmopolitan and The Saturday Evening Post. One of the first stories he sold (for $2500), “A Horse for Mrs. Custer”, became the Columbia Pictures low-budget western 7th Cavalry, released in 1956.

Swarthout’s next novel established him as a professional writer. They Came To Cordura was published by Random House in 1958 and became a New York Times bestseller. The film rights were sold to Columbia Pictures, whose major movie, starring Gary Cooper and Rita Hayworth, entertained cinema audiences the following year. The book is set in 1916 Mexico during the Pershing Expedition to capture Pancho Villa.

Swarthout’s career took off. His next novel, Where The Boys Are (1960), the first lighthearted novel about the annual “spring break” invasion of southern Florida beaches by college students, was transformed by MGM into a low budget, high grossing movie.

In the early 1960s, Swarthout retired from teaching to become a full-time writer. His other novels, many of them optioned for movies, include: Welcome to Thebes (1962); The Cadillac Cowboys (1964); The Eagle and the Iron Cross (1966); Loveland (1968); Bless the Beasts and Children (1970); The Tin Lizzie Troop (1972); Luck and Pluck (1973); The Shootist (1975); A Christmas Gift (also known as The Melodeon) (1977); Skeletons (1979); The Old Colts (1985); The Homesman (1988); And Pinch Me, I Must Be Dreaming (published posthumously in 1994).

Swarthout was twice nominated by his publishers for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (for They Came To Cordura by Random House and Bless The Beasts & Children by Doubleday) and received numerous awards for his work.

He and his wife Kathryn Vaughn Swarthout (1919-2015) co-wrote six young adult novels, several of which were also published overseas. In 1962, the couple established the Swarthout Writing Prizes at Arizona State University, for poetry and fiction, which are among the highest annual financial awards given for undergraduate and graduate writing programs.

Glendon Swarthout died at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona, on 23 September 1992.

Acknowledgement

This piece is dedicated to the memory of Miles Swarthout (1946-2016) who graciously corresponded with me about his father, via e-mail at an early stage of this project.

Sombrero Books welcomes comments, corrections or additional material related to any of the writers and artists featured in our series of mini-bios. Please email us or use the comments feature at the bottom of individual posts.

May 122016
 

Sculptor Carl Mose (1903-1973) visited Lake Chapala several times in the 1960s, though it is unlikely that he was artistically creative during his visits. Mose in described in the Guadalajara Reporter (6 March 1971) as a “many time visitor to lakeside.” Thomas Parham Jr.’s book, “An Affirmation of Faith” (Xulon Press, 2011), suggests that Mose also lived for a time in Mexico City, though the precise details and dates are unclear. Certainly he visited Mexico City on several occasions since he had many of his bronze sculptures cast there.

mose-carl-univ-of-iowa-brochure-photo-sCarl Christian Mose was born in Copenhagen, Denmark on 17 February 1903, became a naturalized U.S. citizen, served in the U.S. Army Air Force during the second world war, and died in New Windsor, Maryland on 21 March 1973.

The family emigrated to Chicago in the U.S. when Mose was seven years old. Carl Mose went on to study sculpture at the Chicago Art Institute, the Student’s Art League and Beaux Arts Academy in New York City. Interviewed in his studio in the farmland outside Westminster, Maryland, only a year before his death, Mose recalled that his teacher in fourth grade had urged the sculptor Lorado Taft to let him attend specialist classes. (Morning Herald, 18 September 1972). Mose subsequently worked with Taft for the next 15 years, but was also taught by Albin Polasek and Leo Lentelli.

In his early twenties, Mose and his wife Ruth Helming traveled to Europe on the proceeds of a Goddess of Speed radiator ornament that he had designed on short notice for the Studebaker Corporation. On their return, Mose began teaching at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington D.C. During the next few years, he undertook numerous commissions in the capital, including statues and keystone carvings in the Washington Cathedral and more than a dozen seven-foot low reliefs on the Potomac Electric Power Co. building.

Carl Mose, "Family Group" (1942). Maplewood, Missouri. Photo: Charles

Carl Mose, “Family Group” (1942). Maplewood, Missouri. Photo: Charles Swaney, Creative Commons.

In addition to three years at the Corcoran School of Art, Mose also taught at the Minneapolis Art Institute, Carleton College, and Washington University, St. Louis, where he was the head of the sculpture department for many years. Mose was an acclaimed lecturer. One University of Iowa publicity brochure (date unknown) proclaimed an “Outstanding American Sculptor in a Brilliant Demonstration Program that is Full of Wit and Humor.”

During his 25 years in St. Louis, Mose continued to undertake numerous commissions, including one of General John Pershing for the Capitol grounds at Jefferson City. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch for 19 August 1962 says that Mose is leaving St. Louis, after 25 years, to take up a post at the U.S. Army’s Institute of Heraldry in Washington D.C., where he will become responsible for designing military and other Government badges, decorations and medals. Prior to taking up his new appointment, Mose is spending several weeks in Mexico City “to supervise the casting of several recently completed works.”

Mose’s newest work in St. Louis is “a 12-foot bronze of St. Francis of Assisi” in Forest Park, in close proximity to another of his sculptures, “Figure of a Young Boy,” a bronze drinking fountain.

Mose’s sculptures can be seen in the Smithsonian Institute, and in federal and state buildings in Minnesota, Kansas, Missouri, Maryland and Washington D.C. They include that of Stan Musial outside Busch Stadium in St. Louis and a 21-foot bronze and granite piece, installed in 1958 for the Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs. This particular 21-foot bronze and granite piece, “Eagle and Fledglings”, was cast in Mexico, and accidentally dropped from a crane during installation. The minor damage that resulted had to be covered up during its unveiling. Other works by Mose include the carved stone sculptures, “Land” and “Communication” (1940), either side of the entry to the (former) Salina Post Office, and “Family Group” (1942), a wood bas relief in the Post Office of Maplewood, Missouri.

Sources:

  • Ronald Irwin Bruner. 1979. “New Deal Art Workers in Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska”. Thesis. University of Denver.
  • Susan V. Craig. 2009. Biographical Dictionary of Kansas Artists (active before 1945) (Online resource)
  • Marlene Park and Gerald E. Markowitz. 1984. Democratic Vistas, Post Offices and Public Art in the New Deal. Temple University Press.
  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis, Missouri, August 19, 1962, p 19
  • The Morning Herald, Hagerstown, Maryland, September 18, 1972, Page 18

Sombrero Books welcomes comments, corrections or additional material related to any of the writers and artists featured in our series of mini-bios. Please email us or use the comments feature at the bottom of individual posts.

Oct 222015
 

Sylvia Fein, one of America’s foremost surrealist painters, lived and worked in Ajijic from 1943 to 1946. She would love to learn the present whereabouts of one of her favorite paintings from that time.

Sylvia Fein: Three Ladies. ca 1945.

Sylvia Fein: Three Ladies. ca 1945.

Painted in Ajijic in about 1945, the painting shows three ladies chasing idols (see image). The model for all three ladies was the daughter of one of Fein’s close friends in the village. Fein lost touch with the painting years ago, but has always wondered what became of it.

It is probable that the painting was included in her first solo show in 1946, at Perls Galleries in New York, and it may have been sold at that time.

If anyone has any knowledge of where this painting is now, Fein would love to know! Please contact us!

Sombrero Books welcomes comments, corrections or additional material related to any of the writers and artists featured in our series of mini-bios. Please email us or use the comments feature at the bottom of individual posts.

 Posted by at 6:00 am  Tagged with:
Jul 132015
 

Sombrero Books is delighted to announce the publication of  Mexico by Motorcycle: An Adventure Story and Guide.

Author William B. Kaliher is widely published and a regular contributor to Mexico Today. He has been traveling Mexico’s highways and byways since 1964. A born storyteller, he holds a BA in Cultural Anthropology from the University of South Carolina.

kalliher-motorcycle

Mexico by Motorcycle: An Adventure Story and Guide includes numerous photographs and describes Bill Kaliher’s travels off the beaten track in Mexico by motorcycle in 1971 and again in 1993. With travel tips and sound advice gained since his first trip in 1964, this is a book for the armchair traveler, the bike aficionado, and Mexico fans. Read it before you cross the border, then tuck it in your backpack or purse as a reference on the road.

Join the author as he chats about changes in Mexico over the years, cultural differences between the USA and Mexico, Mexican motorcyclists and Bike Clubs, and shares driving tips, historical facts about Mexico, the best cities, regions and sites you might want to visit, and his invaluable insights gleaned from six decades of visiting Mexico. This 272-page book also includes a handy fold-out map showing the routes described in the text.

Milford Burris (a retired businessman and South Carolina legislator) writes, “I am a Harley rider who has toured Mexico twice by auto with Bill Kaliher. On our first trip, Bill patted a thick book resting on the console and said, ‘If anything happens to me, call the people in here. They will help you.’ We lunched with multi-millionaires one day and squatted to talk with peasants in a shack the next, all Bill’s friends…. Everyone knew him in small towns like Catemaco, Puerto Escondido and Tapalpa.”

Mexico by Motorcycle: An Adventure Story and Guide is currently available as a regular softcover book (272 pages); an e-book version will be released shortly.

Initial reviews on Amazon.com are highly favorable. Buy your copy today!

Jun 182014
 

José López Portillo y Rojas (1850-1923) was born in Guadalajara. He graduated as a lawyer in Guadalajara in 1871, before spending three years traveling in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East. On his return, he published his first book: Egypt and Palestine. Notes from a trip (1874).

portillo-y-rojas-jose-lopezHe began an illustrious political career as deputy for Jalisco to the national Congress from 1875-1877. Shortly after that first experience of national politics, he returned to Guadalajara and became a journalist, teacher of law, and member of that city’s literary circle.

The group included other young Jalisco writers such as Antonio Zaragoza and Manuel Álvarez del Castillo, one of whose sons, Jesús, would later start the El Informador newspaper in Guadalajara, which remains one of the city’s most important dailies.

In 1880, López Portillo y Rojas returned to Mexico City as a deputy. In 1882, he became a state senator. In 1886, he joined with Manuel Álvarez del Castillo and Esther Tapia de Castellanos to start a new publication in Guadalajara. La República Literaria, a magazine of science, art and literature quickly became nationally famous, but only lasted until 1890.

In 1891, López Portillo published the first transcription, albeit partial, of Father Antonio Tello’s invaluable 17th century account relating to Lake Chapala. In 1892, he published his only book of verse Transitory harmonies. By 1902, López Portillo was living in Mexico City and had joined the Partido Científico (Scientific Party). After the fall of Díaz, he held various federal government posts before becoming Governor of the State of Jalisco (1912-1914). For a brief period in 1914, he was appointed as Foreign Relations Secretary in the government of Victoriano Huerta, during the time when the U.S. invaded the port of Veracruz.

He left politics shortly afterwards and dedicated himself to teaching and writing. He left a vast body of work, ranging from travel accounts, poems, and literary criticism to historical and legal essays, short stories and novels. His best known collection of short stories is Stories, tales and short stories (1918). His best known novel, The parcel (1898), relates the fight between two hacienda owners for a worthless parcel of land.

At the time of his death in Mexico City on 22 of May, 1923, he was director of the Academia Mexicana de la Lengua (Mexican Academy of Language). One of López Portillo’s grandsons, José López Portillo y Pacheco (1920-2004), served as President of Mexico between 1976 and 1982. In Guadalajara, the Casa-Museo López Portillo, a museum and exhibition space honoring the family, can be visited at Calle Liceo #177.

A short story about Lake Chapala, entitled “José la garza morena” (“José the Great Blue Heron”) was published in Cosmos (a monthly magazine published in Mexico City) , in June 1912, pp. 401-405. It is a tale about someone finding a heron that has been shot and wounded, and trying in vain to cure it.

The story starts by remembering the times before Lake Chapala’s shores has been altered by civilization:

When I visited the lakeside hamlet of Chapala for the first time, now many years ago, I found everything in an almost primitive state, better than now from some points of view, but worse from others.

The author compares the Chapala of earlier times with the situation during the Porfiriato (when he was active in politics as a supporter of President Díaz):

Not a sign back then of the picturesque villas that today adorn and decorate these shores from the town to the Manglar, which is the house where Don Porfirio Díaz used to stay during the time, happy for him, of his all-embracing command; but everywhere was thick scrub, cheerful orchards with severe rocky places, which were in harmony with that rustic and unspoiled landscape.

The scene is set; the action begins with an evening trip in a rowboat on the lake. The beauty of the lake, as depicted by the author, creates an impression of decadence and morbidity, because there are no signs of life out on the water:

But that scene of glorification seemed dead and desolate, without any bird to make it cheerful; not a stork, nor a crane, nor a duck stained the burnished horizon with its graceful silhouette.

Further on, the author continues:

The lake appeared magnificent and solitary under that divine show, as if it were another asphalt lake, a new Dead Sea. But it was not always thus; and the recollections of better times engraved in my memory transformed this most unhappy spectacle, because before the rising tide of civilization invaded these places with platoons of armed hunters with shining rifles, flocks of ducks would rise suddenly into the air from the marshes as the boat approached.

The second part of the short story is about someone finding a heron that has been shot and wounded, and trying in vain to cure it.

Credit and reference:

My sincere thanks to Dr. Wolfgang Vogt of the University of Guadalajara for bringing this short story (and his analysis of it) to my attention. The extracts above are translations by Tony Burton.

Vogt, Wolfgang (1989) “El lago de Chapala en la literatura” in Estudios sociales: revista cuatrimestral del Instituto de Estudios Sociales. Universidad de Guadalajara: Year 2, Number 5: 1989, 37-47. Republished in 1994 as pp 163-176 of Vogt (1994) La cultura jalisciense desde la colonia hasta la Revolución (Guadalajara: H. Ayuntamiento).

Jun 082014
 

Ramón Martínez Ocaranza was born in Jiquilpan, Michoacán, 15 April, 1915, and died in Morelia 21 September 1982.

He was a poet, essayist, social fighter and teacher, who used to joke that only a wall had stopped him from becoming President of Mexico–this was because Lázaro Cárdenas (President of Mexico 1934-1940) had been born in the house next door!

ocaranza-ramonMartínez christened his native city of Jiquilpan as the “city of jacarandas”, a name that is still widely used today on account of the city’s many blue-flowering jacaranda trees.

He published numerous volumes of poetry, including:

Al pan, pan y al vino, vino, 1943; Ávido Amor, 1944; Preludio de la muerte enemiga, 1946; Muros de soledad, first part 1952, second part 1992; De la vida encantada, 1952; Río de llanto, 1955; Alegoría de México, 1959; Otoño encarcelado, 1968; Elegía de los triángulos, 1974; Elegías en la Muerte de Pablo Neruda, 1977; Patología del Ser, 1981.  Works published after his death include the poetry volumes La Edad del tiempo, 1985; and Vocación de Job, 1992, which formed part of El libro de los días (1997).

He also wrote an autobiography, finally published twenty years after his death in 2002. He studied (and later taught) at Colegio de San Nicolás de Hidalgo (Morelia) and studied at UNAM. His poems contain many pre-Columbian element and he researched and wrote about Tarascan literature.

Sadly, a campaign in 2010-2011 to turn his former house (Río Mayo #367, colonia Ventura Puente, Morelia)  into a small museum and exhibition space has apparently failed, owing to lack of funds.

Sombrero Books welcomes comments, corrections or additional material related to any of the writers and artists featured in our series of mini-bios. Please email us or use the comments feature at the bottom of individual posts.

 Posted by at 6:56 am  Tagged with:
Jan 072014
 

San Sebastián del Oeste (Editorial Agata, Fotoglobo, 2001).

san-sebastian-del-oesteFotografias del pueblo de San Sebastián del Oeste, con textos cortos. Muy interesante.

Photographs of this magical town in the state of Jalisco, which is one of the most atmospheric mountain towns you could ever wish to see. Short texts (in Spanish) accompany the photos. A fine tribute to a wonderful place.

Softcover, 72 pages. Dimensions (in inches): 8.75 x 8.75 x 0.4. ISBN: 970-657-083-7 Price: US$20.00 (plus shipping, contact us for details)

Want to learn more about San Sebastián del Oeste?

 Posted by at 5:48 pm
Jan 072014
 

Tapalpa (Editorial Agata/Fotoglobo, 2001)

tapalpa-foto-globoShort articles on the locations set the scene for dozens of vintage sepia photographs of this historic village which has become a prime tourist destination (and is one of the “Magic Towns”) in Jalisco, Mexico. The book includes photos of Tapalpa, La Constancia, las Piedrotas, Los Frailes, Ferrería de Tula, Ojo Zarco, Arroyos, Buenavista, El Tacamo and Cascada el Saltito and Cascada de las Palomas.

Softcover, 64 pages. Dimensions (in inches): 10.6 x 7.8 x 0.2; ISBN: 970-657-102-7 Price: US $15.00  (plus shipping, contact us for details)

Related books:

 

 

 

 Posted by at 5:31 pm
Jan 072014
 

La Fiesta de San Andrés – Historia Visual (Editorial Agata/SCJ/Conaculta, 2003). Visual history, with Spanish-language text, of the Huichol Fiesta de San Andrés, related and photographed by anthropologist Kal Muller.

Famous photographer Kal (Kalman) Muller, who grew up in this Huichol Indian village in the sierras of Western Mexico, documents the relatively new tradition of celebrating the  fiesta of San Andrés. A highly unusual book, which could only have been produced by a great anthropologist-photographer.

fiesta-san-andresLa Fiesta de San Andrés nos muestra un rostro diferente del pueblo Wixarika (Huichol). La nación Wixarika famosa en todo el mundo por sus peculiares y arraigadas tradiciones, ritos, fiestas y cosmovisión, lo que ellos mismos llaman El Costumbre, se nos muestra inovadora, dinámica y adaptable. El antropólogo Kalman Muller, quien se crió en esta misma comunidad de San Andrós, y quien ha tenido contacto permanente con la misma durante toda su vida es el encargado de traernos estos vivencias. Mismas que nacieron por iniciativa de la propia comunidad, bajo la invitación de Rosalío Rivera Sánchez “Chalío”, para el legado histórico de las futuras generaciones Wixarikas y del mundo entero.

Language: Spanish. Softcover, 78 pages. Dimensions (in inches): 10.7 x 8.0 x 0.25 ISBN: 970-657-122-1 Price: US$20.00 plus shipping (contact us for details)

Want to learn more about the Huichol Indians?

 

 Posted by at 4:47 pm
Jan 072014
 

Jalisco en el progreso de México – aportación a la obra de gobierno del Lic. J. Jesús Gónzalez Gallo. 6. Estudios Fundamentales. Published in Guadalajara, Jalisco, 1947.

gonzalez-gallo-jalisco-en-el-progreso-de-mexicoPaper bound. Papel cultural. 287 pp. Some minor stains and marks, but no annotations, notes or signatures.

Includes chapters:

  • Cronología Jalisciense by Prof. Ramón García Ruiz
  • Estudio Demográfico by Srta . Aurora P. Magallon
  • Estudio Económico de la Industria by Juan Victor Verges
  • Economía Agrícola y Ganadera Forestal de Caza y Pesca by Lic. Francisco Arguellos Castañeda
  • Comercio y Transportes by Lic. Augusto Avalos Lemus
  • Politica Hacendaria by Srts. Lic. María Steimpress Esponda.

(1947)

RARE. Price US$20.00 plus shipping. Please contact us for rates.

 Posted by at 10:18 am
Jan 072014
 

A visit to Don Otavio, A Mexican journey, by Sybille Bedford  (Eland, 1982).

bedford-don-otavio-red319 pages. Price: US$8.00 plus shipping. Please contact us for rates.

This is the classic travel account based on a prolonged visit to Mexico (principally the area around Lake Chapala) in the early 1950s by the fine British travel writer Sybille Bedford. Slight crease to top right of front cover; tiny stain on frontispiece; otherwise a clean, tight copy with no apparent markings.

 Posted by at 10:14 am
Jan 072014
 

A visit to Don Otavio, A Mexican odyssey, by Sybille Bedford  (Eland, 2002).

bedford-don-otavio-grey312 pages. Price: US$8.00 plus shipping. Please contact us for rates.

This is the classic travel account based on a prolonged visit to Mexico (principally the area around Lake Chapala) in the early 1950s by the fine British travel writer Sybille Bedford. Former owner’s signature on frontispiece; otherwise a clean, tight copy with no apparent markings.

 Posted by at 10:06 am
Jan 072014
 

Manual de Ecología by Jonathan Franco López y coautores – SOLD

franco-lopez-manuel-ecologia2a. edición. Trillas 1989. 266 pp including index.

Spanish language text.

Guide to fieldwork techniques and quantitative methods in ecology, including a variety of statistical tests, written especially for entry-level college students. Some wear to upper section of front cover; otherwise a clean and tight copy (has no inscriptions and appears to have zero annotations).

SOLD

 Posted by at 9:54 am
Jan 042014
 

Tapalpa – Pueblo mágico (“Tapalpa – Magic Town”), was published by Editorial Agata/Fotoglobo in 2001.

tapalpaThis photo book with captions in Spanish has beautiful full-color photos of this magical mountain town. (Fotografias del pueblo mágico de Tapalpa con textos cortos).

Softcover, 143 pages. Dimensions (in inches): 11.0 x 8.5 x 0.4.

ISBN: 970-657-088-8 Price: US$35.00 (plus shipping, contact us for details)

Related books:

Tapalpa  (Editorial Agata, Fotoglobo, 2001) -64 pp; sepia photos

 

 Posted by at 6:12 pm
Jan 042014
 

The Line – La Linea, by Beldon Butterfield (Ediciones de la Noche, 2007).

butterfieldSoftcover, 444 pages. Dimensions (in inches): 8.25 x 5.5 x 1.0. ISBN: 978-1-60461-176-2 Price: US$20.00 (plus shipping, contact us for details)

This novel is set in the nether world of the Mexican drug trade, where men and women on both sides of the border wage an ill-fated “war on drugs” against a formidable enemy in command of an army of ruthless killers with endless resources.

Amid this amoral world of violence, a three way romance is forged between the striking and athletic DEA agent Fernanda Deering, the dashing but conniving Jaime Nuñez, a sub comandante in the PGR – Mexico’s elite law enforcement agency – and George Redfield, a bon vivant bi-cultured Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.

Born and raised in Argentina, Beldon Butterfield is a U.S.-educated author who came to Mexico with Time Inc. and now divides his time between Mexico City and San Miguel de Allende.

 

 Posted by at 6:08 pm