Apr 042019
 
Canadian poet Al Purdy (1918-2000) mused about Lawrence's time at Lake Chapala

Canadian poet Al Purdy was at the peak of his creative powers when he followed in the footsteps of his idol D. H. Lawrence and visited Lake Chapala in the late 1970s. Since 1923, many Lawrence fans had made their own pilgrimage to Chapala to see first-hand what inspired their great hero. However, Purdy is […]

Mar 282019
 
The 1967 movie "Ven a Cantar Conmigo" includes footage taken at Lake Chapala

Ven a cantar conmigo was filmed in Jalisco two years after the making of Verano en Guadalajara (1965). Both movies are musical romances that incorporate lots of tourist-alluring footage of markets, ancient buildings and cultural events in Guadalajara and at Lake Chapala. The two movies also share the same lead actor – Robert Conrad – […]

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Mar 072019
 
Writer and illustrator Ellis Credle Townsend lived in Ajijic for more than a decade

Writer and illustrator Ellis Credle Townsend moved from Guadalajara to Ajijic in about 1974 and lived and worked at Lake Chapala for more than a decade. She was the author and illustrator of more than twenty children’s books over a long career. Ellis Credle (she used her maiden name on all her books) was born […]

Feb 282019
 
Chapala on the Silver Screen: Guadalajara en Verano (1965)

For a sense of what Guadalajara and Lake Chapala were like in the early 1960s, the movie Guadalajara en verano is a great starting point. To watch the 95-minute film, released in 1965, via Youtube, click the link. Guadalajara en verano is an enjoyable mix of a simple, cross-cultural romantic storyline in the city of […]

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Feb 212019
 
Jan Dunlap, aka "Big Mama", and her novel Dilemma

Alice Janice (“Jan”) Dunlap, who lived in Ajijic from 1967-1998, was born on 15 June 1927 in Addison, Texas, and died in Los Angeles, California, on 19 October 2018. Jan was one of eleven children born to Clinton Adolphus Dunlap and his wife Janice Blackburn and was suitably thrilled later in life when she discovered […]

Feb 072019
 
Neill James and "Dust on my Heart"

Neill James’ book Dust on my Heart is many visitors’ first introduction to the extensive English-language literature related to Lake Chapala. In the book, the self-styled “Petticoat Vagabond” tells of her adventures in Mexico and of two terrible accidents she suffered, the first on Popocatepetl Volcano and the second at Paricutín Volcano. After two lengthy […]

Jan 312019
 
The Ajijic Children's Art Program (1954-present)

From way back when, visiting artists such as surrealist painter Sylvia Fein in the 1940s offered students in Ajijic art materials and encouragement. In 1954, authoress Neill James, almost a decade after she had moved to Ajijic to recuperate from a serious climbing accident, started a tutoring program for local youngsters. Children who worked hard […]

Jan 242019
 
Wendell Phillips Jr. co-wrote the screenplay "Ringer" at Lake Chapala in the 1970s

While living in Ajijic in the early 1970s, Wendell Phillips Jr. and his good friend Ray Rigby co-wrote a screenplay, Ringer, that they subsequently sold to Hollywood. Richard Wendell Phillips Jr., the son of a New York stage actor, Wendell K. Phillips (1907-1991), and his first wife, Odielein Pearce, was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in […]

Jan 172019
 
Peter Smithers, real-life James Bond, photographed Ajijic in the 1940s

Sir Peter Smithers (1913-2006), a real-life James Bond, was the British Acting naval attache for Mexico, Central America and Panama from 1942 to 1946. He spent much of this time in Mexico. An avid amateur photographer (among many other things) he took thousands of transparencies (slides) of Mexico. In 1999, several years before he died, […]

Jan 102019
 
Sybille Bedford and her elegant prose about Lake Chapala

The most elegant prose related to Lake Chapala ever written is almost certainly that by Sybille Bedford (1911-2006) in her first published work, A Sudden View, a book that New Yorker journalist Joan Acocella quite rightly thought should be read by everyone, whether or not they planned to visit Mexico. Sybille (she disliked being called […]

Jan 032019
 
Art Mystery - Who took this evocative 1935 photo of Lake Chapala?

This post features one of the more evocative photographic images of Lake Chapala taken in the 1930s. Depicting a “dug-out canoe” and fisherman against an evening sky, this carefully staged photo was used to illustrate an article about central Mexico that reached a worldwide audience because it appeared in the The American Foreign Service Journal. […]

Dec 272018
 
Novelist Christopher Veiel lived at Lake Chapala in the early 1950s

According to American writer Oakley Hall, the novelist Christopher Veiel (born in 1925) was living at Lake Chapala at the same time he was in 1952. A New York Times reviewer described Veiel as looking “a little like a British F. Scott Fitzgerald.” It is not known what Veiel was working on, if anything, during […]

Dec 132018
 
American travel writer Harry Franck hiked to Chapala in 1912

When American travel writer Harry Franck hiked from Atequiza station to Chapala in 1912, he finally arrived just as night was falling. The Mexican Revolution was underway and some of the local hotels had been closed for several months; others had already shuttered their doors. Franck discovered that: “once in the cobble-paved village I must […]

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 the […]

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