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Mexican Kaleidoscope - Myths, Mysteries & Mystique. A review of Tony Burton's newest book. Reviewed by Rita Pomade

Tony Burton’s recently published Mexican Kaleidoscope is a whirlwind trip through some of the underpinnings of Mexican culture, told with humour, affection and well-documented facts. This readable compendium of little known stories made me want to revisit many places I’d already seen. How much richer my experiences would have been had I been able to take this user-friendly and easily carried tome of gems with me when I was in Mexico. read more

Myth and History as described in the Mexican Codices Ronald A. Barnett ©

Aztec calendar stone
One of the problems encountered by historians and Mesoamerican scholars is the inextricable intermingling of myths and legends alongside what appear to be sober historical facts in many Mexican codices or painted books from the Valley of Mexico, Yucatan, and the Oaxaca area of southern Mexico. read more

On the trail of lost art works in Chihuahua Joseph A. Serbaroli, Jr.

Several years ago, I traveled to Chihuahua to find artworks that were painted by my grandfather, the artist Ettore Serbaroli (1881 - 1951). We brought along some old photographs of ceiling murals that we were looking to find. Instead, what we discovered was an entire chapel that Serbaroli decorated in 1910. On the other hand, the ceiling murals in our old brown photographs had eluded us.... read more

Architecture of Mexico: the hacienda Tim Street-Porter

The haciendas were the landed estates of Mexico, some with territories as big as Belgium. For visitors to Mexico, they conjure up surreal images of ruined palaces; still possessing a faded grandeur, dominating a desolate landscape of cactus and agave. Before the revolution of 1910, when their lands were confiscated, the haciendas' collective power was enormous. Each one was a rural, autonomous social unit with its own history, and for each, myths accumulate over the centuries. read more

Paradise Valley Reviewed by James Tipton

"Paradise Valley — five thousand acres of prime, flat, fertile farmland nestled in the Sierra Madre of northeastern Mexico, only a hundred miles from the American border."
Inspired by actual events, several Amish families — finding new state laws impossible to live under because they undermined their faith and way of life — set off in 1922 to begin a new life in Mexico. read more

Revolutionary Days: A Chronology of the Mexican Revolution Reviewed by James Tipton

Revolutionary Days: A Chronology of the Mexican Revolution
Ray Acosta is a second generation Mexican-American His grandparents came from four different parts of Mexico… having fled during the height of the Mexican Revolution. After watching Ken Burns' TV epic on the U.S. Civil War, Acosta was struck by Burns' concluding with "something to the effect that the Civil War still has a profound impact on our lives." read more

Uncovering Tonala's history at the National Ceramic Museum Erin Cassin

Dating back to pre-Hispanic times, the nahual is a shape shifter who switches between human and animal forms and is often characterized as a shaman. read more

Homer and the Aztec muse in Mexican literature Ronald A. Barnett ©

Tribute Page from the Codex Mendoza
Much controversy has recently arisen over several collections of poems in Nahuatl, in particular the Cantares Mexicanos, a manuscript in the National Library of Mexico. These poems are of particular importance because they appear to support a much different picture of the ancient Aztecs than we get from the tzompantli (skull rack) in the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán or the horrendous accounts of Aztec human sacrifice left to us by the early Spanish soldiers and missionaries. read more

Discovering Clues to the Legacy of a Mexican Poet: Manuel Rocha y Chabre Joseph A. Serbaroli, Jr.

Several years ago, I was rummaging through a box of family photos with my dad, when he showed me an old, yellowing image of his mother from 1908. He told me it was taken in Mexico at the wedding of her cousin, the poet and playwright Manuel Rocha y Chabre. read more

Gods, Gachupines and Gringos: A People's History of Mexico by Richard Grabman Reviewed by James Tipton

Gods, Gachupines and Gringos no more resembles the typical "history of Mexico" book than a rushing river resembles a dried-up arroyo. I was reading the book at the Lake Chapala Society in Ajijic this morning when a couple of buddies joined me. I told them about the book, and read them a few of the passages above as a little sampler. When I finished I looked up. They responded in unison, "Where can I buy a copy?" read more

The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire by C. M. Mayo Reviewed by James Tipton

 
In 1864 the Archduke Maximilian von Habsburg, accompanied by his ambitious and beautiful wife Charlotte, arrives in Mexico City. Louis Napoleon had previously sent thousands of French troops to the financially and politically unstable country. Even though Mexico is ruled by a democratically elected president, Benito Juárez, Maximilian is installed as Emperor of Mexico. Juárez must go into hiding. read more

Lake Chapala through the ages, an anthology of travellers' tales Reviewed by James Tipton

There is something for everybody in Tony Burton's, Lake Chapala through the ages. Whether you are fascinated by the early history of the place where you now live or visit (or would like to visit), or whether you are interested in early accounts of the natural history of the region, or of the lake itself.

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Diego Rivera's monumental stairway mural in Mexico's National Palace, Mexico City, D.F. (1) Joe Cummings

The center arch of the wall contains the Mexican eagle holding a serpent that showed the end of the Aztecs' migration. Included on the current Mexican flag, the eagle also represents a resurgent Mexico... read more

Did You Know? Popular children's chorus features cockroaches and pot smoking Tony Burton

La Cucaracha (The Cockroach), one of Mexico's best known corridos, is a comic, satirical song, with infinite possibilities for creative verses. Versions of La Cucaracha have been performed by countless bands and musicians, including Louis Armstrong, Bill Haley & His Comets, Doug Sahm read more

Did You Know? Quetzal Dancers in Puebla, Mexico Tony Burton

    The Quetzal Dance is one of the most colorful folkloric dances anywhere in the country. It is also thought to be one of the most ancient. Both the dance and the spectacular headdresses worn b... read more

Did you know? Mexico's Nobel Prize nominee and music revolutionary Tony Burton

A Mexican who tried to revolutionize the world of classical music was once nominated for the Nobel Prize in Physics. In 1950, Julián Carrillo was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Physics. The nominat... read more

Did You Know? Famous artists pioneer art community in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Tony Burton

A young couple who became famous artists pioneered the San Miguel de Allende foreign community. San Miguel de Allende's vibrant art and music scene is deservedly famous. Among the early pioneers respo... read more

Did You Know? Artists in Mexico with disabilities Tony Burton

Several famous Mexican artists had serious physical disabilities. Three Mexican artists, whose very different works are admired annually by thousands, and who were born in successive decades of the ni... read more

Did You Know? Some national symbols in Mexico are not what they seem Tony Burton

  This month, Mexico celebrates her birthday, the anniversary of her independence from Spain. On the evening of September 15, the annual El Grito ceremony is held in town plazas all across the cou... read more

The best records in the world: aids for genealogical research in Mexico John P. Schmal

painting in Casa Cuervo, Tequila, Jalisco
From one end of Mexico to another, countless church books and civil registries have chronicled the life events of ordinary laborers and slaves, alongside those of wealthy landowners. Millions of baptisms, marriages and confirmations were performed and it appears that a great number of these church records have survived to the present day. read more

Famous Mexicans on their stamps - Jesus Garcia Peter Laux

There are all kinds of heroes, from the international arena to the local, and in one's own neighborhood or family. Most heroes are defined by courageous or exemplary behavior while facing extreme adver... read more

Mexican muralists: the big three - Orozco, Rivera, Siqueiros. Rita Pomade

Mexico in 1910 was a country in despair. Foreign domination had been replaced by the tyranny of President Porfirio Diaz. Two-thirds of the people lived in abject poverty and slavery was growing at a fa... read more

Modern Mexican Sculpture (A Blending of Old World and New World Sensibility) Rita Pomade

Between 1920 and 1940 Mexico went through a period of radical transformation. The revolution had ended and in its wake an energy for transformation was unleashed that was unparalleled anywhere. For the... read more

Francisco Goitia - A Product Of His Times Rita Pomade

When we talk of Mexico's great painters, Francisco Goitia isn't the first name that comes to mind. Yet, without a doubt, he is one of last century's great painters. He the spirit of his times and refle... read more

Maria Izquierdo - Monumento Artistico De La Nación Rita Pomade

On October 25, 2002, one hundred years after her birth , the Mexican painter Maria Izquierdo was declared a Monumento Artistico de la Nación by Mexico City's National Commission for Arts and Culture. ... read more
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