February was one helluva big month with major attractions that left the entire community exhausted. First, we faced Ground Hog Day. Cute little fellar with a cold attitude who decided to give us six more weeks of tepid weather so we could boast of a 65+ winter. The Chili Cook-off really livened up the area. We found out in a hurry that in the beginning there was chili. Almost everyone who attended this three-day extravaganza claims it was the best one of its 30-year history. Based at the new location in La Floresta’s Tobalandia, with more booths than ever of arts and crafts, more food stalls, the parade of cars, entertainment by the Do Wops plus people all in a buying mood.
Loren Reynolds, the old mastermind of organization and getting it done, steered the 2008 Chili Cook-off in the right direction. Standing by him with her own 30th Anniversary, Ann Whiting, queen of "pulling off the big events with enthusiasm" gave a golden touch to this one once again. Ann Whiting was there on that first day in 1978 as part of an enthusiastic group of people who saw a need to help financially sponsor some 11 struggling charities desperately in need of funds for survival. Three 2008 judges: Tony, Joyce Vath, and Federico! Happy 30th Anniver-sary!
Tony, Joyce Vath, and Federico
Abe Lincoln’s Birthday: February 12, 1809. Happy 199th Birthday!
Abe, George, and St. Valentine weren’t the only birthdays in February worthy of note. On February 6th, Joyce Vath came back to Ajijic to do a bit of celebrating. Some people celebrate all year long even if we have to get down and filthy over who is the top senior citizen of the area. At this event it was decided that Tod Jonson headed the list. When he started crying over finally winning something, it touched off another round of drinks.
A new history in the making—the 21st Anniversary of the Culinary Art Society of Ajijic (CASA). Food, in all of it’s glory, has been served through the guiding lights of 13 presidents, 246 contests, 44 Bing Awards*, hundreds of first-second-third place competition wins, publishing of two recipe books, and all-in-all adding taste within this valley of cooks. Without ever turning off the stove, CASA has created and presented more fantastic recipes than most gourmet restaurants in Mexico. *Bing Award was created by Mrs. Bing Horn (Bing Ice Cream fame) a CASA member who felt it necessary to award a special trophy to anyone who could create 3-first place wins during a calendar year. Newest top notch Bing winners were: Mary Ann Waite and Pat Carroll. Happy 21st anniversary!
Mary Ann Waite and Pat Carroll
NORTHERN LIGHTS MUSIC FESTIVAL opened on February 20 with more enthusiasm by fine art’s music lovers than ever before, while the concert swept you away. What a splendid evening of music. Master pianist Angela Park played Shostakovich with such brilliant clarity it took your breath away.
The first of this 5-day series of the most talented of artists was the entire ensemble with piano specialty by Angela Park. The Trio Accord took another set of praise and top honors sharing first position with the Cecilia String Quartet. Hot Jazz String Quartet, for 5 years an audience favorite, also reached new heights with mascot Drew Jurecka and his powerful musical friends. World famous performer Sue Hoeppner with her 18-carat golden flute left an audience wanting more. The closing Gala concert left the audience truly sad that Festival Six had to return to their Canadian headquarters.
George Washington’s Birthday: February 22, 1732. Happy 276th Birthday!
The Music Appreciation Society (MAS) is offering the concert of the season: the fire and passion of flamenco, performed by Mercedes Amaya and Company (4 dancers, 2 guitarists, a singer and percussionist), a spine-tingling show of dance, song and instrumental guitar. Mercedes Amaya, was born to the world of flamenco being the niece of world renown flamenco dancer, Carmen Amaya.
Mercedes has toured Mexico, Latin America, Japan, Spain and the U.S. This is a first for Ajijic—a renowned Flamenco group performing in the Auditorio de la Ribera. March 11, 7:30 PM. Announced only two weeks ago, tickets at $300 pesos are selling fast at the Lake Chapala Society Ticket Booth, etc. Monday - Saturday: 10 - 12 or Charter Club Tours, Plaza Montaña.
The Aztec Studio in West Ajijic is climbing fast. Janice Kimball (currently exhibiting at the Centro Cultural de Ajijic Museum on the Ajijic Plaza) teaches as well as produces whimsical paintings. If you love the theme of "children playing growing up into old men" dressed in make-up and costume, you will love the chance to work with Janice Kimball. If you love the out of the ordinary, you will love this exhibit which closes very soon...but can be seen at her studio which is open Thursday and Fridays at 232 Carr. Pte in Rancho del Oro, close to Restaurante Rivoli. You can call her at 766-3543 or email: email@example.com
Food for Thought, Character and Soul – Recipes and Blessings Included is one of the best recipe books to reach the marketplace. Contact Rabbi Posner at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The 2008 Oscars are over and some of the predictable happened. Winner Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood) was an ace to win; however the Best Picture went to No Country for Old Men. Julie Christie and Cate Blanchett lost at the gate, but beloved Edith Piaf has come alive again through best actress, Marion Cotillard. There really were some good movies produced during 2007 and some terrific acting.....however, not necessarily in the same pictures as nominated by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, home of the Oscar. The wins for The Bourne Ultimatum was a thrill. Go to bed, Oscar, and leave us alone for another year when you will repeat some of the same errors again. Oh, well, see you at the movies!
LCS Video Department should get a copy of The Bucket List, one of the most charming films of the year. How this film missed Oscar nominations is beyond those of us who go to the movies a lot. Not only one of the best scripts of the year, the acting is top of the line and even the tiniest kid could see it and their parents would not be offended. Following close thereafter is Miss Potter with Renée Zellweger as the famous Beatrice Potter of Peter Rabbit fame right from most of our childhood memories. These two movies give you faith that films are actually getting better. There wasn’t a bomb, a car crash, cuss words, no CIA and no drugs, a miracle! I was afraid that the film industry had forgotten about us older folks who just want to be entertained with crisp dialogue and relationships we can identify with.
Tucked away in the evergreens of what feels like a country estate is the gallery extraordinaire of Cathy Chalvignac. During her February reception, the garden was filled with people in magnificent African clothes and jewelry. Every painting by the end of the reception had a SOLD sign on it. The current exhibit will be over by the time this March issue reaches the public, but it is worth asking Cathy to show you her work.
LET’S DO LUNCH is the newest and latest idea of Lakeside’s funny lady Shirley Haverland. La Nueva Posada is preparing this event as a LADY’S ONLY function with Shirley for four days in March: March 17, 18, 26, and 27 with seating on all four days at noon for cocktails/ drinks and show time at 1:00 pm each day. Lunch is optional, ordered from the menu. No reserved seating. Show tickets are $100 pesos per person available at the Hotel Posada front desk or call 766-1853 to hold tickets at the door. Shirley has arranged for a 10% discount on show tickets if you have a table of six or more.
A day in the life of the City of Tequila can be had for the mere price of $550 pesos, and the City picks you up at our auditorium in an air conditioned luxury bus at 8:00 am (boarding at 7:45 am) and brings you home by 5:00 pm all in the same day of March 13, 2008. There will be an English-language guide on this tour. Fee includes: Transportation, Lunch, Tequila Red-eye-opener on board, Tequila tasting at the famous Cofradia Distillery Museum, and a bus-raffle of one bottle of Cofradia’s finest tequila to the lucky ticket holder. You can also purchase tequila at the distillery with special discount prices. Tickets have been available at the LCS Ticket Booth, etc. since February 27th. Only the first 41 people can apply which is the capacity of the bus. See Louis Regalado (English spoken fluently) at the Ticket Booth, etc....10 - 1 pm daily.
Carol Ann Owers is another extraordinary artist who makes her watercolor images absolute sing. Carolina has currently on display a number of her paintings in the Galeria de las Flores on Morelos just north of Ajijic T-Shirts and Hotel Estancia. What a brilliant display of art by a lady with an equally great personality. She and her art are worth knowing!
Have you ever had breakfast in the Gazebo of the Lake Chapala Society on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays (9 to noon) of the month. If you can find a better breakfast, let me know. Not sure what they put in the batter of the pancakes, but keep doing it!
There is something wonderful happening at Mision San Pablo. For the first time there is a vocational workshop to teach the kids a large variety of skilled trades. In approximately three years many of these children will start leaving the Mision and supporters feel it’s urgent to begin this program now. In the vocational work-place, every student has an individual instructor. Three more volunteers are needed, besides the twelve currently helping to instruct the boys. Tools are needed—any tools, all tools. If anyone has tools no longer in use, the Mission could put them to use in building those careers needed to face the working world. If you have the time and are looking for a project in which to work that will give lasting results, consider helping the financing of individual workshop projects which are badly needed.
As we help enrich the lives of our young people introducing them to the wonders of the world in which they live and must produce, we also have to say goodbye to beloved members of our society. We bid farewell to Anya Flesh (stage director, dancer, choreographer, hostess and friend to all) and also Jack Weatherington (photographer extraordinaire). We have loved sharing time with you both and hopefully will be able to once again on distant shores.
John Herbert Jones is a veteran of Broadway Musicals and the operatic stage. He will be singing what promises to be a special event with his "A Concert of Song." John, a baritone, will sing on March 12 at 6:00 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church in Riberas del Pilar. John performed major roles in the operas, Carmen, Madame Butterfly, La Cenorentola and Susannah with the Metropolitan Opera National Company. He recently moved to Lakeside from San Miguel de Allende. John is a member of Los Cantantes del Lago and St. Andrews Church choir. Tickets to "A Concert of Song" are only $150 pesos and are available from LCS Tickets Etc. which started February 25 and will sell through March 12, 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon, Monday to Saturday. This concert is a fund raiser to build risers for Los Cantantes del Lago. (Photo of Mr. Jones by photographer Robert Kelley)
John Herbert Jones
This is Ajijic Station 101 signing off until next issue!