Feb 212018
 
Artist Jean Caragonne (1906-1993) was active in Ajijic from the 1960s to the 1980s

Jean McCrum Caragonne was born in Bradford, Pennsylvania, on 21 February 1906 and studied at Allegheny College, Pennsylvania. After taking courses in fashion design at the Cleveland Museum School of Fine Art in Ohio in the mid-1920s she moved to Boston to become a fashion illustrator. Her husband George (1891-1981), born in May 1891 was […]

Feb 152018
 
Ajijic in the Old Days: Zara Alexeyewa, aka La Rusa

Newcomers to the village of Ajijic will not necessarily have heard of Zara Alexeyewa, (known popularly as “La Rusa” – “The Russian”), one of the village’s most distinguished long-term foreign residents, and one still remembered affectionately by the entire community, Mexican and non-Mexican. Everyone who knew her has their favorite anecdote about this iron-willed lady […]

Feb 082018
 
Parmenter: Fishing on Lake Chapala - return trip from Ajijic to Chapala 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 […]

Jan 292018
 
Todd "Rocky" Karns - enterprising Hollywood actor and artist - painted and directed stage shows in Ajijic for close to thirty years

Roscoe (“Rocky”) Karns lived in Ajijic with his wife and family from 1971 until his death on 5 February 2000. Karns had retired from careers in acting and sales and devoted himself in Ajijic to his painting and working as producer and director on shows at the Lakeside Little Theater. Roscoe (“Rocky”) Todd Karns Jr., […]

Jan 222018
 
Robert Snodgrass (1912-1983) retired to Chapala in the 1960s to draw and paint

After retiring in the mid-1960s from a career in the U.S. military, Robert (“Bob”) Snodgrass and his wife Mira (sometimes Myra or Maria) lived at Lake Chapala for almost twenty years. They settled in the residential development of Chula Vista, an area that was known at that time as having more than its fair share […]

Jan 152018
 
Did Somerset Maugham ever visit Lake Chapala?

Did the great British author W. Somerset Maugham ever visit Lake Chapala? A number of writers and websites, extolling the literary connections of Ajijic, have claimed that W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) has connections to the village. Some of these writers add that he lived in Ajijic for several months in the 1930s where he supposedly […]

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Jan 112018
 
Art mystery: Does anyone have a painting by Edythe Wallach Kidd who painted in Ajijic and Chapala in 1944?

Edythe Wallach (1909-2001) lived and painted for most of 1944 in Chapala and Ajijic. Her Lake Chapala paintings were exhibited in both Chapala and in New York. About a year after her return to the U.S. she married a fellow artist, Hari Kidd. Edythe (Edith) Gertrude Wallach (later Wallach Kidd) was born in New Rochelle, […]

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Jan 082018
 
Dorothy Bastien, author of juvenile fiction, wrote at Chapala in the 1970s

Dorothy Bastien, a writer of juvenile fiction, and her husband Clarence Bastien appear to have lived in Chapala for about a decade in the 1970s. A brief note in the Guadalajara Reporter in 1972 says that Dorothy, living in Chapala, has just received an advance for a book accepted by the Teenage Book of the […]

Jan 042018
 
A sampling of Bert Miller's evocative photos of Chapala in the 1970s

More than forty years ago, photographer Bert Miller lived in Chapala and took some fine images of the town and its surroundings. While we are unable to reproduce these images to the high standards of the original negatives and prints, here is a small selection of some of his evocative photos, starting with the lakefront […]

Jan 012018
 
American novelist Norman Mailer and sexual shenanigans in Ajijic

Several Lake Chapala websites boast that the talented and multifaceted American author Norman Kingsley Mailer (1923-2007) is among those writers who found inspiration at the lake. But is their pride in his visits to the area misplaced? Mailer’s biography has been exhaustively documented in dozens of books and there is no doubt he is a […]

Dec 282017
 
Award-winning Californian artist Priscilla Frazer spent a decade in Chapala

Priscilla (“Pris”) Frazer (1907-1973) was active in the Lake Chapala area in the 1960s and early 1970s. She made her home in Chapala Haciendas and spent several months every year at Lake Chapala with summers in Laguna Beach, southern California. Priscilla Jane Frazer was born in Battle Creek, Michigan, on 14 May 1907 and died […]

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Dec 212017
 
A Christmas Potpourri of Lake Chapala Links

A number of artists and authors associated with Lake Chapala have clear links to Christmas. Admittedly, some links are more tenuous than others. Here, in no particular order, are a few of those that come to mind: Regina Tor (deCormier) Shekerjian and her husband, photographer Haig Shekerjian, were frequent visitors to Ajijic from the early […]

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Dec 112017
 
Novelist and playwright Ray Rigby (1916-1995) lived at Lake Chapala in the 1970s

English novelist and playwright Raymond “Ray” Rigby was born in Rochford, England, in 1916 and died in Guadalajara aged 78 on 19 May 1995. In 1972, Rigby turned his back on a successful Hollywood career to move to Mexico. He lived initially in Jocotepec and for a short time in San Antonio Tlayacapan. About two […]

Dec 072017
 
Art Mystery: Whose portraits were painted by Swedish artist Nils Dardel when he visited Chapala in about 1941?

Famous Swedish painter Nils Dardel (1888-1943) visited Chapala towards the end of his life at a time when he was mainly painting fine watercolor portraits. Does anyone have additional knowledge about his visit (or visits) or recognize a friend or family member in any of the following paintings? All of the paintings are believed to […]

Dec 042017
 
Swedish-American visual artist Carlo Wahlbeck worked at Lake Chapala in the mid-1970s

Swedish-American visual artist Carlo Wahlbeck lived in Chapala for two or three years in the mid-1970s. Wahlbeck was born in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1933. At the age of 14, he started classes at the Stockholm School of Fine Art. Among his influences he credits the sixteenth century Italian artist Benvenuto Cellini and Swedish sculptor Carl […]

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Nov 302017
 
Charles Bogert, herpetologist and musicologist, documented mariachi music in Chapala in 1960

Charles Bogert (1908-1992) and his wife Martha (ca 1917-2010?) visited Chapala in 1960 and recorded a mariachi band – the “Mariachi Aguilas de Chapala” – playing several well-known songs. The recordings were released on a Folkways record later that year, and accompanied by explanatory notes written by the couple. One of the curiosities about this […]

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