Chela Campos and Luis Aguilar. Courtesy of D A Huse.

Our Aunt Chela: international singer Chela Campos, aka The Lady with the Crystal Cane

My husband’s Aunt Chela was a famous singer, who performed internationally. Fifteen years ago, I decided to write a book about Aunt Chela’s life for our family. I searched the internet for information on her appearances in Los Angeles, Mexico, Venezuela, Cuba, etc. but found nothing. Wikipedia had only one paragraph of the most basic, […]

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Holy Friday evening, Los Varones carry the coffin through the village. The procession walks on tapetes de aserrín. © Joseph Sorrentino, 2023

Holy Week in San Gregorio Atlapulco, Xochimilco, Mexico City

Like virtually every pueblo in Mexico, residents of San Gregorio Atlapulco (in Xochimilco, Mexico City) celebrate Semana Santa (Holy Week) with processions, extra masses and a depiction of Christ’s crucifixion. But one thing sets San Gregorio apart from other pueblos: Holy Week is run by fourteen young men known as Los Varones. There’s no group […]

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Ivonne Kennedy.

Ivonne Kennedy: Oaxacan painter with international sensibility

Don’t let the name fool you, Ivonne Kennedy is a genuine Oaxacan painter—but on her own terms. Kennedy was born in 1971 in the city of Oaxaca. While ‘foreign’ last names are not terribly uncommon in Mexico, they are pretty rare in Oaxaca, and ‘foreign’ first names even more so. So, quickly, before we get […]

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Cover, Foreign Footprints in Ajijic

Foreign Footprints in Ajijic: Decades of Change in a Mexican Village (review)

Tony Burton’s most recent book, Foreign Footprints in Ajijic, captures a period of time in Ajijic’s history from the 1940s to the 1980s that is both intriguing and eye-opening. It is hard to imagine the comings and goings that took place in this seemingly quiet fishing village nestled beside Lake Chapala, a stone’s throw from […]

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New Worlds for the Deaf cover

New Worlds for the Deaf: the story of the pioneering Lakeside School for the Deaf in rural Mexico by Gwen Chan Burton

New Worlds for the Deaf: the story of the pioneering Lakeside School for the Deaf in rural Mexico by Gwen Chan Burton (Sombrero Books, 2020) In 1982, Gwen Chan Burton, who had previously taught in government secondary schools in Australia and Canada for 12 years, was faced with a big career decision. Burton (whose name […]

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La Anunciación a María, clay and polychrome figurine, artist unknown, Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, 1982 © Anthony Wright, 2012

Christmas in Mexico: Navidad en Mexico, a Mexican holiday resource page

Few North Americans recognize that the roots of these treasured “Christmas” traditions were active long before the birth of Christ. In fact, most evolved from pagan winter solstice rituals of the Celts, Druids, Scandinavians and indigenous groups, and the much older Jewish Festival of Lights. While the most beloved Mexican Christmas traditions are firmly based […]

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Robert Richter - cover of Sayulita

Sayulita – a memoir by Robert Richter (Aakenbaaken & Kent, 2020)

Sayulita by Robert Richter Pull up a comfortable chair and allow yourself to be transported back to another Mexico, to a small seaside village before the arrival of condominiums, time share vendors, polluters and exploiters, and the all-inclusive resorts with herds of tourists spilling into downtown areas where they shop for trinkets and souvenirs of […]

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Minseok Chi. 2016. Buddha. © Leigh Thelmadatter 2020

Foreign artists influence Mexican culture and vice versa

You are reading part 2 of Foreign artists in Mexico from the Revolution to the present. Part 1 – Mexico attracts artists from all over the globe Mexico’s art history and foreign artists Mexico’s art history of the past 100 years has basically been a shift to internationalism, with some hiccups during times of national […]

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Burton-If Walls Could Talk

If Walls Could Talk: Chapala’s historic buildings and their former occupants

Tony Burton’s thoroughly researched and utterly fascinating book If Walls Could Talk, published by Sombrero Books, takes us through the surprising and richly textured history of Chapala’s past from the mid-eighteen hundreds onwards. I had no idea that this laid back, seemingly staid resort town on the shores of Jalisco’s Lake Chapala could have had […]

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