LACMA is currently hosting "In Wonderland", a retrospective of Surrealist art by female artists from Mexico and the United States. This is a great chance to check out some under-appreciated artists, who were often overshadowed by their male counterparts. [more inside]
A helicopter crashed this morning near Mexico City, killing all eight aboard, including Mexican Secretary of the Interior, Francisco Blake Mora. This has happened almost exactly three years to the day a plane crashed in Mexico City, killing a previous mexican Secretary of the Interior, Juan Camilo Mouriño (Blake Mora even tweeted about remembering Mouriño last week, in his last tweet [link in Spanish]). [more inside]
On October 6th, a video claiming to be by Anonymous Veracruz was posted on YouTube, requesting the release of one of their members. A member of Anonymous was kidnapped during a public demonstration, by Los Zetas Cartel (or simply Zetas) of Mexico. The video included threats of exposing those who collaborate with Zeta, from corrupt police to taxi drivers and journalists. This, in light of internet snitches hung from an overpass (warning: graphic image) and a beheaded blogger from Laredo. On Sunday, one arm of Anonymous called off their threat to Zeta via a series of Twitter posts, citing concern for those not involved. Several Twitter accounts went silent, showing signs that Operation Cartel, or #OpCartel, was over. But there are still members involved, posting on their Facebook page that those not directly involved with the efforts should not try to participate, even going as far as to recommend people do not buy or wear Guy Fawkes masks, or use such images in their online.
Genki Sudo's group World Order have released a new music video set in Mexico with their trademark choreography. [more inside]
A reanalysis of historical astronomical observations suggests that Earth narrowly avoided an extinction event just over a hundred years ago in 1883. [more inside]
Following a months-long investigation, the Department of Justice has announced the existence of a well-funded plot "conceived, sponsored and directed" by "high-ranking members of the Iranian government" to assassinate Saudi Arabian ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir on U.S. soil in conjunction with informants in Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas. The "Hollywood" plot, revealed in an afternoon press conference and described in a detailed 21-page complaint [PDF], is alleged to have involved an attack on the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington, D.C. One suspect, naturalized American citizen Arbab Arbabsiar, has been arrested, while co-conspirator and Quds Force member Gholam Shakuri remains at large. Iranian officials were quick to label the charges a "fabrication" intended to distract from America's economic troubles.
A year ago this August, 72 migrant workers -- 58 men and 14 women -- 'were on their way to the US border when they were murdered by a drug gang at a ranch in northern Mexico, in circumstances that remain unexplained. Since then, a group of Mexican journalists and writers have created' a "Day of the Dead-style Virtual Altar" Spanish-language website, 72migrantes.com, to commemorate each of the victims, some of whom have never been identified. The New York Review of Books has English translations of five of their profiles. [more inside]
A Mexican government official confirmed that Mexican military helicopters have permission to use Texas as a staging ground for missions into Mexico to fight drug traffickers.
About one person is murdered every 35 minutes in Mexico. Statistics are bland, so the WSJ decided to track down the 25 murders on July 29th, an ordinary day of death.
Panic inside a Mexican soccer stadium. In live footage that could be seen all over Mexico and some other parts of the world, audiences who were peacefully enjoying a soccer match between Torreón's "Santos" and Morelia's "Monarcas" watched as the sound of gunshots made players run out of the field and into the cover of their locker rooms, while spectators crouched in their seats and later, panicked, ran toward the exits. (SLYT, comments in spanish, but images are self explanatory.) [more inside]
Simon is a deeply religious man in the 4th century, who wants to be nearer to God, so he climbs a column. The devil wants him to get down on earth an is trying to seduce him. But Simon recognizes him every time. So the devil takes him to a nightclub in New York of the 1960s (1965, 43 minutes, with English subtitles). [more inside]
A Mexican anti-technology terrorist organization called Individuals Tending to Savagery/Wildness (ITS) has claimed responsibility for two bombing attacks on researchers in Mexico.
Copa América is streamed live on YouTube. Copa América is the oldest international football competition, having been held first in 1916. This is a contest between the 10 South American nations and two invitational teams, this time Costa Rica and Mexico, who both sent young squads (Japan was slated to take part but withdrew due to the earthquake). The tournament started yesterday with Bolivia unexpectedly managing to hold Argentina to a draw. Colombia are currently beating a 10-man Costa Rica 1-0. Brazil start their campaign tomorrow, against Venezuela. One of the world's premier football writers, Jonathan Wilson, wrote previews of the three groups, A, B and C. The Independent has more light-hearted team previews.
The town of Los Alamos, NM (home of LANL and the atomic bomb) is under a mandatory evacuation due to the Las Conchas wildfire. [more inside]
Did you see this goal? It's the last goal of this year's Gold Cup, and it's one of the very best I've ever seen. I thought I'd share it. [SLYT] [more inside]
Archaeologists from Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History have used a remote-controlled microcamera to explore a 1500-year-old sealed Mayan burial chamber at the Palenque archaeological site in Chiapas, Mexico. Story in English from the Guardian but be sure to click on "Fotos" at the first link.
Special report: If Monterrey falls, Mexico falls. 'In just four years, Monterrey, a manufacturing city of 4 million people 140 miles from the Texan border, has gone from being a model for developing economies to a symbol of Mexico's drug war chaos, sucked down into a dark spiral of gangland killings, violent crime and growing lawlessness.' [more inside]
A kindergarten teacher in La Estanzuela, a neighborhood in Monterrey Mexico, sings with her students as gunfire can be heard outside. [more inside]
The town on the wrong side of America's drug war. An article on the Brownsville, Texas neighborhood cut off by the border fence. Via Crooked Timber
Born in the border city of Tijuana, Nortec is an audio and visual style that digitally alters the local music and images to make something unique. The sound of Nortec takes the acoustic sounds of norteño (sample) and banda (sample), cut up and re-arranged into something new, with influences from electronic music broadcast by San Diego radio stations. Before too long, the Nortec sound would leak back north, and create divergent paths. More sounds and stories below the break. [more inside]
Wijnanda Deroo: Inside New York Eateries "Continuing her long-term exploration of the architectural interior as a genre of photographic investigation, artist Wijnanda Deroo has scoured New York's five boroughs documenting the full spectrum of the city's culinary institutions. From Café des Artistes to Papaya Dog, the Russian Tea Room to Yonah Schimmel's Knishes, Deroo's viewfinder alights on diverse sites (and sights) where we New Yorkers sit (or stand) to consume our daily bread." More interiors at the artist's website -- Indonesia :: Curacao :: Mexico :: Berlin
Enrique Metinides: In the Place of Coincidence "On Feburary 2011, Enrique Metinides will turn seventy-seven. Fifty of those years have been dedicated to what is called in Mexico “red note” photography. Sensational images of the tabloid press, images of accidents, deaths, disasters. Metinides’ images capture exquisite and compelling moments from such tragic events. His photographs a complex dynamic which both attract and repel; photographs which become engraved in our imagination through the power of the aesthetic experience." [graphic content]
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives deliberately allowed assault rifles to be smuggled into Mexico, so they could be tracked. The weapons were then used in a spree of murders, including that of US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. The operation was called "Fast and Furious". The Mexican government was apparently unaware of the operation, and is investigating. The ATF is going to have a review of whether their strategy supports "the goals of ATF to stem the illegal flow of firearms to Mexico".
Robin Schwartz has photographs in The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art, and The National Museum of Art among many other institutions. She depicts our relationships with animals as exhibited by her galleries: Primate Portraits, demonstrating the animals' unique personalities, The Presence of Animals in People's Lives in Rural Mexico, Amelie's World: Animal Affinity, drawn from real journeys taken with her daughter. See also Amelie's World: Dreams and Amelie's World: Imaginary Tales. [more inside]
The lemurs are hungry, a new food blog "in search of deliciousness from Malaysia to Mexico", features some great writing and photography, but more shockingly manages to obtain good Mexican food in the UK, something that has been previously hard to find or outright horrible, despite attempts to claim 'the Julia Child of Mexican Cuisine' as a Brit.
Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond call the Mexican sportscar Mastretta the "tortilla car" and say that since cars reflect national characteristics, a mexican car will probably be "a lazy, feckless, flatulent oaf with a moustache, leaning against a fence asleep, looking at a cactus with a blanket with a hole in the middle on as a coat". The Mexican ambassador in London complained to the BBC about the comments and demanded a public apology from the presenters. Meanwhile, [person who is pretty clearly not] James May continues to attack Mexicans over on his Twitter page.
The International Center of Photography is exhibiting photographs online from the Mexican Suitcase, a cache of photographs taken during the Spanish Civil War, hidden, and rediscovered in 2008.
Slaves of the moment: "The Mexican Agustín Víctor Casasola, with the intermittent help of his brother Miguel, began to set up around 1900 one of the most important photographic archives for the history of a country. However, the international recognition of these almost 500,000 photos has not matched its importance. Born in 1874 and raised in the years of the Porfirio Díaz government, Agustín Casasola was a direct witness to all the adversities that led to modern Mexico, and breathed as nobody else the air of a country and a city that developed during the first third of the 20th century at a runaway pace."
Cocaine - how it's made, how it moves, and who might be cutting it with a deadly cattle-deworming drug, a follow up to the mystery of the tainted cocaine.
We are princesses in a land of machos. "They drink beer, they are part of local governement and they are symbol of good luck for their family: they are Muxes, homosexuals of the “pueblo oaxacaqueno de Juchitan”, more than 3000 homosexuals who enjoy respect and admiration in all the country... they walk proudly in the streets, dressed as women with huipiles and enaguas, typical dress of the Tehuantepec Isthmus." Photo essay by Nicola Okin Frioli. More at Flickr. [more inside]
No one asks or answers this question: How does such an escalation benefit the drug smuggling business which has not been diminished at all during the past three years of hyper-violence in Mexico? Each year, the death toll rises, each year there is no evidence of any disruption in the delivery of drugs to American consumers, each year the United States asserts its renewed support for this war. And each year, the basic claims about the war go unquestioned. Who Is Behind the 25,000 Deaths In Mexico?
"The Day That Color Didn't Exist: What Hurricane Alex Left Behind" — Photos by Diego Huerta. Via PetaPixel
The history of lucha libre in Mexico is hard to pin down, some citing the French invasion of 1863 as a origin of modern wrestling in Mexico, with two Italian business men making it commercial in the 1930s, while others take it back to the ancient Mayan and Aztec cultures and credit the modern rebirth with a retired revolutionary army colonel from the United States. But no matter who gets credit as the father of the Mexican sport, El Santo was it's hero for decades, in the ring, in comics, in the movies, and in life. [more inside]
Rodolfo Torre Cantu, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) candidate for the governorship of the border state of Tamaulipas, was assassinated in an ambush yesterday. He was presumed to be the virtual winner of next sundays election (no opposition candidate has ever governed the state).
Feds under pressure to open US skies to drones. Last week, the FAA released a fact sheet, which states in part that "one of the most promising potential uses for small UASs is in law enforcement." They've already allowed the Border Patrol to use Predator drones as a "key force multiplier" along the Mexican border. Local law enforcement wants in on the game. Britons, you're next - or first? [more inside]
Bigtime expedition caving in 1980s Mexico A very high-quality 35-minute video about long-term, multi-expedition efforts to connect several large cave systems in southeastern Mexico. Lots of diving and climbing, and some very nice formations. No bats or insanity (unless you think cave diving is crazy). [more inside]
¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo! In honor of the hottest, wildest and trippiest section of América del Norte, how about some classic los ACIDA ROCKA? Starting with clips from the 1971 movie "Bikinis y Rock!" El Ritual! Peace And Love!! Bandido!!! ... Now how about some live footage from the Mexican Woodstock: Festival Rock y Ruedas de Avándaro-- Part 1 Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 [more inside]
A Saint for Lost Souls. "The barrio of Tepito, where it's said that everything is for sale except dignity, has been one of Mexico City's roughest neighborhoods since Aztec times. Famous for its black market and its boxing champions, Tepito is a place where residents learn to fight early and fight hard. These days it has also become the epicenter of Mexico's fastest-growing faith: Santa Muerte, or Holy Death, a hybrid religion that merges Catholic symbolism with pre-Hispanic worship of the skeletal Mictlantecuhtli and Mictlancihuatl, Lord and Lady of the Dead."
English-speaking fans of lucha libre may have gotten hooked through MST3K's take on "Samson" versus the Vampire Women (prev), or seen the Incredibly Strange Film Show's el Santo episode. [more inside]
"Fabulas Panicas" (Panic Fables). Filmmaker and frequent Moebius collaborator Alexandro Jodorwsky, had his own trippy newspaper comic in the 60s .(previous Jodorwsky and Moebius).
Two-part video of interviews with residents of a home for elderly prostitutes in Mexico's senior-citizen sex-worker capital. (via)
Remember the many news stories about the femicides in Ciudad Juarez? Since 1993, hundreds of mutilated female bodies had turned up in the deserts surrounding this border city, and these horrific crimes have never been solved. Several books have been written on the subject; you might also recall that Jennifer Lopez made a movie about it. But now, with the (gender-neutral) bloodbath that Ciudad Juarez has turned into, it is shocking, indeed offensive, yet true, that we can look back at the decade of femicides as being relatively peaceful when compared to current events. The annual murder rate is now in the thousands (compared to just a few hundred per decade for the femicides), making CJ the most dangerous city in the world, more so than Baghdad, Caracas, or Port-au-Prince. [more inside]