May 302019
 
Movie mystery: Did the Vampires invade Ajijic?

La invasión de los vampiros (1963) is a Mexican film in which a doctor and his assistant hunt down a vampire named Count Frankenhausen, who is terrorizing the local populace. Written and directed by Miguel Morayta, it starred Erna Martha Bauman, Rafael del Río and Tito Junco. The film was released two years later in […]

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May 232019
 
John Upton  (1917-2005): translator, educator and Renaissance man

John Elbert Upton was born on 10 September 1917 and died aged 88, in Monterey, California, on 9 October 2005. He was a multi-talented individual who earned his living as a translator and teacher. Upton lived in Ajijic for over a decade, from 1949 to 1959, and then returned to live in the village several […]

May 092019
 
English-born novelist Leonora Baccante lived in Ajijic in the 1950s

Leonora Baccante had published two novels prior to living in Ajijic in the 1950s, at the same time as Eileen and Robert (Bob) Bassing. Baccante’s novels are not set in Ajijic, but Baccante herself was the basis for the character of novelist Victoria Beacon, the central character in Eileen Bassing‘s novel, Where’s Annie? Little is […]

May 022019
 
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art shows Louis Stettner's photos of Lake Chapala

Brooklyn-born photographer Louis Stettner, one of the greatest U.S. photographers of all time, died in 2016 at the age of 93. The largest retrospective of his work to date – entitled “Traveling Light” – opened at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2018 and closes in June this year. It includes three photographs […]

Apr 252019
 
Lake Chapala on the Silver Screen - "El Escándalo" (1920), an early silent movie

The earliest commercial movie to include footage of Lake Chapala was almost certainly the silent movie El Escándalo (1920), based on English writer Cosmo Hamilton’s novel Scandal (1917). El Escándalo was directed and produced by Alfredo B. Cuéllar. Cuéllar had studied law and economics at UNAM before working as a journalist. He owned the ABC […]

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Apr 182019
 
Novelist Joan Van Every Frost (1929-2012) lived in Jocotepec for more than 40 years

Novelist Joan Van Every Frost, born 28 Feb 1929 in Los Angeles, California, lived in Jocotepec from 1966 to 2012. She died at age 83 on 6 June 2012 in Santa Barbara, California. Her father, Dale Van Every, was a famous writer and screenwriter most active in the 1920s and 1930s. Joan gained an undergraduate […]

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, […]

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