Dec 022016
 
Where to buy "Mexican Kaleidoscope: myths, mysteries and mystique"

Mexican Kaleidoscope: myths, mysteries and mystique, by Tony Burton, with thirty original pen and ink illustrations by Enrique Velázquez, is available in both print and e-book editions from all major online retailers (prices in US$): Print edition from CreateSpace (our preference) – $19.99 Print edition on Amazon.com – $19.99 E-book edition for Kindle – $7.42 […]

Jun 222017
 
Musician and painter George Abend visited Ajijic in the mid-1950s

George Abend (1922-1976), a jazz musician and prominent figure in the San Francisco Bay Area abstract expressionism movement, studied in Guadalajara in the mid-1950s, at which time he was a frequent visitor to Ajijic. Born in New York City in 1922, Abend studied at the University of California, Berkeley (1946-47); the 1948–1950 California School of […]

Jun 192017
 
Salvador Escudero and his 1910 poem about Lake Chapala

Poet and politician Salvador Escudero was born in the south of Jalisco, at San Gabriel, on 22 April 1883 and died in Mexico City in January 1946. Escudero was a much-published poet and prime mover in the Jalisco intellectual circles of his time. As a young man, Escudero was the boyfriend of Jalisco-born model and […]

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Jun 122017
 
Rubén M. Campos: Lake Chapala in 1899

As we saw in previous posts, Rubén M. Campos, though now largely forgotten, was one of the major figures in Mexican literature in the first half of the twentieth century. Campos spent several vacations at Lake Chapala and made good use of his knowledge of the area’s history and geography in his acclaimed novel Claudio […]

Jun 082017
 
Painter Arthur Monroe honed his creativity at Lake Chapala in the early 1960s

The Black American artist Arthur Monroe, born in Brooklyn in 1935, grew up in New York and traveled in Mexico, before settling in California and becoming an integral part of the abstract expressionist movement of West Coast painters and poets. Monroe studied art and first encountered abstract impressionism (and its links to jazz) in New […]

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Jun 052017
 
Gordon Gammack (1909-1974) and trouble in "Shangri-La" (Chapala)

Gordon Gammack was an Iowa newspaper reporter and columnist. During his 40-plus years working for The Des Moines Register and Tribune he covered three major wars – World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War – as a war correspondent. Late in life in the early 1970s, he visited Chapala and wrote a couple of […]

Jun 012017
 
François de Brouillette knew Chapala from the 1920s to the 1960s...

François de Brouillette was an artist and poet who was born in Vermont on 22 April 1906 and died in Santa Barbara, California, on 12 February 1972. It has so far proved impossible to reconstruct a reliable time line for various significant events in his life, but de Brouillette is known to have visited Lake […]

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May 292017
 
Irrigating the fields on Lake Chapala's shoreline in 1946

In a previous post, we offered an outline biography of Canadian writer Ross Parmenter, who first visited Mexico in 1946 and subsequently wrote several books related to Mexico. One of these book, Stages in a Journey (1983), includes accounts of two trips from Chapala to Ajijic – the first by car, the second by boat […]

May 252017
 
Adela Breton (1849-1923) visited Chapala in 1896

Stories about underdogs who rise to the top of their chosen field or profession are always fascinating. So how did Adela Breton, an amateur artist, come to produce some of the finest ever copies of ancient Mexican murals and friezes? In several cases, the originals no longer exist or have become badly corroded, and her […]

May 222017
 
Claudio Oronoz , the protagonist in Ruben Campos's novel, heads for Lake Chapala

Rubén M. Campos‘s novel Claudio Oronoz includes dozens of pages relating to Lake Chapala. The lake is not only described (in all its glory) but also provides the setting for some memorable discussions between the main characters. Campos utilizes Lake Chapala as a kind of antidote for, or counterbalance to, life in Mexico City. This […]

May 182017
 
Clara Schafer Thorward (1887-1969) painted landscape of Lake Chapala

Mrs. Clara Lena Thorward (née Schafer) was born in South Bend, Indiana, on 14 June 1887, and lived and worked mainly in New York and Arizona. She died on 16 March 1969 in Phoenix, Arizona. Both her parents were German immigrants and she was one of seven children. Her father died in 1900. Clara Thorward […]

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May 152017
 
Poet and novelist Ruben M. Campos (1871-1945) enjoyed vacations at Lake Chapala

Rubén Marcos Campos, though now largely forgotten, was one of the major figures in Mexican literature in the first half of the twentieth century. Campos, a poet, intellectual, novelist and folklorist, was born on 25 April 1871 in Ciudad Manuel Doblado, Guanajuato, and died in Mexico City on 7 June 1945. His first novel, entitled […]

May 112017
 
Bert Miller's outstanding photographs of Chapala and environs in the 1970s and 1980s.

Bertram (“Bert”) Miller was a supremely talented amateur photographer who retired to Chapala and spent several years documenting the town and its inhabitants in the 1970s and 1980s. After his passing, a significant number of his photographs were donated by his youngest daughter, Norma, to the Chapala archives. The archives, open to the public, are […]

May 082017
 
Lake Chapala and the work of Bob Somerlott (1928-2001)

Bob Somerlott was a well-respected writer of both fiction and non-fiction who lived in Ajijic for several years in the early 1960s before moving to San Miguel de Allende, where he resided for almost forty years. Robert (“Bob”) Somerlott was born 17 September 1928 in Huntington, Indiana, and died, following surgery, on 22 July 2001 […]

May 042017
 
Paul Hachten painted in Ajijic in the late 1960s

American artists Paul Charles Hachten (born 1934) and his then wife Cynthia “Casey” Siddons Jones lived in Ajijic from 1968 to 1969, following their marriage on Valentine’s Day 1968. However, Hachten was still listed in a  local newspaper in April 1971 as having a studio in Ajijic, at Independencia #28. Peter Huf, who was living […]

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May 012017
 
Octavio Paz's grandfather set one of his novels at Lake Chapala

Ireneo Paz, the paternal grandfather of Nobel Prize-winning author Octavio Paz, was a respected writer, journalist and intellectual. One of his novels, Guadalupe, first published in 1874, is an illustrated romance novel (in Spanish) with several descriptive passages relating to Lake Chapala. The story is set in an unnamed lakeshore village. The text includes several […]

Apr 272017
 
Mexican-American artist Eugenio Quesada lived in Ajijic in the 1960s

The renowned Mexican American artist Eugenio Quesada (1927-2011) lived in Ajijic in the early 1960s. Quesada had a distinguished artistic career and is considered an important figure in the history of Mexican American art. Eugenio Reynaldo Quesada, usually known simply as “Gene”, was born in Wickenburg, Arizona, on 24 May 1927. He was born into […]

Apr 242017
 
Journalist and author Jack McDonald lived and wrote at Lake Chapala from 1967 to 1978

Veteran sports journalist Jack McDonald was already in his late sixties when he and his wife retired to Chapala in 1967. His retirement did nothing to diminish his productivity. McDonald (born John McDonald, but always called Jack) spent the next decade traipsing across Mexico, always in search of the next story. From his home in […]

Apr 202017
 
The extraordinary talents of Anne McKeever: model, poet, painter, photographer and teacher

Anne McKeever (1928-2002) was an artist, model, photographer and Beat poet who spent some time in Ajijic during the 1950s and was a close friend of the painter Don Martin and folksinger Lori Fair. Another of McKeever’s closest friends was Jeonora Bartlet, who lived in Ajijic in 1956-7 and later became the partner of American […]

Apr 182017
 
George Ballou and a lost 500-page book about the artist-tourist colony at Lake Chapala

George Adin Ballou was born in Madrid, Spain, on 21 November 1927, and died in May 1986. By the age of 21, according to an article in the Amarillo Daily News, Ballou had already completed several books, including, “a 500-page work on the artist-tourist colony at Lake Chapala”, with the working title of Ajijic. Sadly, […]

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