Dec 062018
 
The Fiesta de Arte in Ajijic in 1971

There was a wave of positive energy for the arts in Ajijic either side of the 1968 Mexico City Olympics and its related cultural activities in Mexico City and Guadalajara. Perhaps the largest single art fair held in Ajijic during these years was the Fiesta de Arte held at Calle 16 de Septiembre #33, the […]

Nov 292018
 
Best-selling novelist Dorothy Garlock used Lake Chapala as a setting

Dorothy Garlock (1919-2018), the best-selling American author of romantic novels, used Lake Chapala as a setting for parts of Amber-eyed Man, first published in 1982. Garlock, who also used the pen names Johanna Phillips, Dorothy Phillips and Dorothy Glenn, wrote more than 50 novels in total. She was born in Grand Saline, Texas, on 22 […]

Nov 222018
 
Ajijic art mystery: Who was Lillian Bruner?

Ajijic author (or as she preferred “authoress”) Neill James included several paragraphs about artists in her article “I Live in Ajijic”, first published in October 1945. These names were a useful starting point for me when I began researching the artists and authors associated with Lake Chapala. Over the past decade, I have looked into […]

Nov 152018
 
Writer and sculptor Mort Carl lived in Ajijic in the 1940s and 1950s

The charismatic writer and artist Mort Carl, no doubt wearing his accustomed bandana tied in front of his neck, first arrived in Ajijic in the mid-1940s. Not long afterwards he married Helen Kirtland Goodridge; together they established the first weaving business in Ajijic, an enterprise that became known as Telares Ajijic. Mortimer R. Carl was […]

Nov 082018
 
Garland Clifton, author of "Wooden Leg John", lived at Lake Chapala in the 1960s

Garland Franklin Clifton was an American author who lived in the Chapala area in the 1960s. He wrote Wooden Leg John. Satire on Americans living in Mexico (apparently privately printed in Washington D.C., 1971). While the book is not set at Lake Chapala, it is highly probable that parts, or all of it, were written […]

Nov 012018
 
Josefa, the "mother of Mexican fashion design"

Josefa, the fashion designer credited with showcasing Mexican styles on the world haute couture stage, lived and worked for many years at Lake Chapala. She successfully melded indigenous Mexican colors and elements with functional design to produce elegant and original dresses and blouses. Josefa designs were never mass-produced but made by local women in small […]

Oct 252018
 
Mildred Boyd (1921-2010): author and supporter of the arts in Ajijic

Mildred Boyd, author of several young adult non-fiction books, lived at Lake Chapala for almost 30 years, from 1983 to 2010. While living in Ajijic she contributed numerous non-fiction pieces to local newspapers and magazines. Boyd’s numerous contributions to the local arts scene included valuable long-term support for the Lake Chapala Society’s Children’s Art Program. […]

Oct 182018
 
Lake Chapala on the silver screen: El ametralladora (The Machine Gun) , 1943.

The full-length Mexican movie El ametralladora (“The Machine Gun”)  was released in September 1943. The film, written and directed by Aurelio Robles Castillo, was shot at several locations in Jalisco, including Lake Chapala. The all-star cast of El ametralladora included the legendary actor and singer Pedro Infante, Margarita Mora, Ángel Garasa and Víctor Manuel Mendoza. The […]

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Oct 112018
 
Poet José Juan Tablada believed Chapala was already ruined by 1914

José Juan Tablada (1871-1945) did not mince words when lamenting the ruination of Chapala in an opinion piece published more than a century ago in 1914. Tablada was writing in El Mundo Ilustrado, a very popular weekly that ran for twenty years before closing later that year in the throes of the Mexican Revolution. Acknowledging […]

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Sep 272018
 
Lady Twysden, Ernest Hemingway's Chapala connection

Despite claims to the contrary, Ernest Hemingway never visited or wrote at Lake Chapala. (see Did Ernest Hemingway ever visit Lake Chapala?) However, there is at least one vicarious Ernest Hemingway connection to Lake Chapala via Mary Duff Stirling (Lady Twysden) who lived in Chapala with her husband, the American artist Clinton King (1901-1979), for […]

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Sep 132018
 
Did Ernest Hemingway ever visit Lake Chapala?

Everyone knows that Lake Chapala has attracted hosts of famous writers over the years – after all, without them, this blog would have been a bit pointless! However, as I suggested in “Did Somerset Maugham ever visit Lake Chapala?“, some famous writers have been associated with the lake despite never visiting it. Is this also […]

Aug 302018
 
Virginia Downs Miller, non-fiction writer, moved to Lake Chapala in the 1980s

Mexican-born Virginia Downs (1914-2005) was the third wife of William (“Bill”) Colfax Miller. After their marriage in November 1969, the Millers lived in Cuernavaca, where they co-owned an art gallery, before moving first to the U.S. for a year and then, in about 1982, to Lake Chapala, where Virginia Miller was a prolific writer of […]

Aug 232018
 
Ignacio Arzapalo photographed Chapala in the 1890s

In the early 1990s, a small number of photos signed “Arzapalo” were included in J. Jesús González Gallo’s book Aquellos tiempos en Chapala. Judging by their subject matter, the Arzapalo who took these photographs was almost certainly Ignacio Arzapalo Palacios (1837-1909), though there is a small possibility that they were the work of his son, […]

Aug 162018
 
Cinematographer William Colfax Miller lived at Lake Chapala in the 1980s

Writer, actor and cinematographer William Colfax Miller (1911-1995) had worked in the film industry in Hollywood and Mexico, before he moved to Lake Chapala with his third wife, Virginia Downs Miller (1914-2005), in the early 1980s. Miller was born on 29 May 1911 in South Dakota. He moved to Chicago after graduating from high school […]

Aug 092018
 
Chapala-born artist Jorge Seimandi painted for pleasure not profit

Chapala-born Jorge Seimandi Ramírez was a highly-respected art educator at the University of Guadalajara for more than 40 years. He was not interested in the commercial side of art and his own work was rarely sold or exhibited. Seimandi was born in Chapala on 2 February 1929, the son of Italian-born businessman Juan Seimandi and […]

Aug 022018
 
Dane Chandos, part three: Anthony Stansfeld and the Mexican detective Don Pancho

Anthony Ralph Wolryche Stansfeld was born in Winchester, Hampshire, on 4 March 1913. It is unclear how he and Peter Lilley first met, though they were very close in age. Continuing the pen name Dane Chandos, the duo wrote two travelogues: Journey in the Sun (a trip from Mexico to Spain) and The Trade Wind […]

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