Gone With A Trace (pop-up audio warning): a 20-min. audio documentary about photographer Richard Misrach (previously) and the objects he finds along the US/Mexico border, which are then turned into musical instruments by Guillermo Galindo. There's an accompanying photo slide on cbc's The Current site.
The Mexican political activist and critic Carlos Monsiváis once said that cartoonist Eduardo Del Rio, a.k.a Rius, was more important than the Ministry of Education in getting Mexicans to read. Rius' work forms the basis for a wide-ranging new exhibition at Mexico City's Museo Del Estanquillo, along with the lesser-known output of his spiritual predecessor, Andrés Audiffred. [more inside]
Product of Mexico: Hardship on Mexico's farms, a bounty for U.S. tables — the first in a series of four Los Angeles Times long-form stories about labor conditions discovered during an 18-month investigation of Mexican vegetable farms that supply produce to the United States. [more inside]
There is little trace of the presence of the South Asians who lived and worked in Mexico during the colonial period except for one woman whose legend lives on even today. She was purportedly born Mira in the kingdom of the Gran Mogol, or the Great Mughals, where she was captured by the Portuguese who eventually sold her to the Spanish at the port of Manila.The 'Mughal Princess' of Mexico: At the South Asian American Digital Archive, Meha Priyadarshini briefly explores the myths and realities of Catarina de San Juan (1606-1688), a religious mystic/visionary who sailed on the Manila galleon to Mexico nearly four hundred years ago and over time became associated in popular legend with a well-known style of dress. The etymological complexity of one keyword involved should not be underestimated and itself tells another story about the history of colonialism.
Chuck Bowden's final story,16 years in the making, is a fascinating 3 part read in to the torture and murder of DEA agent Enrique Camarena in 1985. [Part 1][Part 2][Part 3] [more inside]
The Green Monster: How the Border Patrol became America’s most out-of-control law enforcement agency.
A long-form report from Politico.
A long-form report from Politico.
Vintage Photo Finds is a site with vintage photographs. According to creator Joel Snow:
The following pictures were found as negatives at the bottom of a cardboard box at a flea market. I shot them with my SLR on a lightbox and inverted them back to positives with Photshop. I'm not sure if it was a single photographer, or many, but many of the shots show an artistic and creative eye and share a similar style.[more inside]
Something happened the night of September 26th, 2014 near the town of Iguala, 100 miles from Acapulco, Mexico. According to The New Yorker: “Scores of uniformed municipal police and a handful of masked men dressed in black shot and killed six people, wounded more than twenty, and rounded up and detained forty-three students in a series of attacks carried out at multiple points and lasting more than three hours [...] The forty-three students taken into police custody are now ‘disappeared.” All 43 students, all young men who were studying to become rural teachers, are still missing, presumed dead. [more inside]
Planned cities are not a new idea (Palmanova, Italy, 1593). From Washington, D.C. (1791), to Canberra, Australia (1911), to Brasilia, Brazil (1957), planned cities have long been an urban dream (from space), perhaps most frequently applied to national capitals. But they don't always work out as planned. [more inside]
Joanna Goddard has been interviewing American women raising their children in other countries, to hear how motherhood around the world compared and contrasted with motherhood in America. She's talked to parents in Norway, Japan, Congo, Northern Ireland, Mexico, Abu Dhabi, India, England, China, Germany, Australia, Turkey, and Chile. [more inside]
Moving the Mexican Border
The whole point of setting the border between Mexico and the United States at the deepest channel of the Rio Grande was that the river was not supposed to move. That was the thinking in 1848 [...][more inside]
I am on the western edge of the United States-Mexico border to understand more about the most publicised and most crossed border in the world. Ben Stubbs visits one of the most notorious borders in the world and reflects on Australia's frontier issues.
The Man Without a Mask, The New Yorker on Cassandro and the role of the exótico within lucha libre.
“It was Baby Sharon who encouraged me to step out of Mister Romano,” Armendáriz said. Baby Sharon was an exótico—a luchador who wrestles in drag. Exóticos have been around since the nineteen-forties. At first, they were dandies, a subset of rudos with capes and valets. They struck glamour-boy poses and threw flowers to the audience. As exóticos got swishier and more flirtatious, and started dressing in drag, the shtick became old-school limp-wristed gay caricature. Crowds loved to hate them, screaming “Maricón!” and “Joto!” (“Faggot!”). The exóticos made a delightful contrast with the super-masculine brutes they met in the ring. Popular exóticos insisted that it was all an act—in real life, they were straight. Baby Sharon was among the first, according to Armendáriz, to publicly say that, no, he was actually gay.[more inside]
A monster mouth doorway, ruined pyramid temples and palace remains emerged from the Mexican jungle as archaeologists unearthed two ancient Mayan cities.
YuMex - Yugoslav Mexico is a 45-minute documentary by Miho Mazzini about Yu-Mex, the genre of music comprising Yugoslav interpretations of Mexican music.
They grew up in America, were deported or returned to Mexico for other reasons and faced challenges and opportunities alike. A recently funded kickstarter for a book called "Los Otros Dreamers" tells the struggles and hopes of the other DREAMers. Nancy Landa, a deported honors graduate of California State University, who has lived in Tijuana and London since her deportation in 2009, is about to begin a research project collecting the experiences of voluntary and involuntary returns to Mexico after a long time in the U.S. To help in a country that is foreign to them the Mexican nonprofit Dream in Mexico supports young people who just arrived in Mexico. The German Der Spiegel interviewed three young deportees and how returning to Mexico after a lifetime in the U.S was both, a culture shock and an opportunity for a better life. [in German]
With the completion of the group stages, three quarters of the matches in the 2014 FIFA World Cup have been played. Now, it's a straight round-by-round elimination for the remaining 16 teams in their quest to reach the final. There's been biting, alternative commentary, mood swings, (allegedly) sulky England players, exciting matches, the USA vs Ronaldo, Europeans taking early return flights, deep analysis, a fantasy league and many goals - but who will finally lift the trophy in Rio's Estádio do Maracanã on Sunday 13th July? [more inside]
Take Me to Sanborns: Swiss Enchiladas and Race in Mexico City.
One afternoon early in their stay, [Jack] Johnson and Etta – who was white – walked into the famous Sanborns cafe in Mexico City's historic center for lunch. But before they could even place their order, owner Walter Sanborn refused to serve Johnson on racial lines. Johnson went and found a few of the generals he had met and told them what happened. They returned to Sanborns together and all sat down at the counter. They ordered ice cream. Everybody was served except for Johnson.
On March 23, the floodgates of the Morelos Dam, near Yuma, Arizona opened, unleashing a three-day "pulse" into the dry Colorado River delta. The waters recently reached the Sea of Cortez, and a group of scientists and journalists were there to raft it. [more inside]
Crawling the lost tracks of Latin America. Artists Ivan Puig and Andrés Padilla Domene, a.k.a. "Los Ferronautas," converted a car into a retro-futuristic rail vehicle they dubbed SEFT-1 (Sonda de Exploración Ferroviaria Tripulada, "Manned Railway Exploration Probe") to explore the abandoned passenger railways of Mexico and Ecuador.
Marcos stepping down demonstrates the strength of this autonomous community. On May 2, 2014, José Luis Solís López, better known as Galeano was murdered in the community of La Realidad in the Mexican state of Chiapas. Galeano was murdered by three gunshots after he, unarmed, was surrounded by paramilitary troops and refused to surrender. The attack took place on the eve of a meeting that the Zapatistas had planned to hold with other indigenous organizations and indigenous people of Mexico during which spokesperson Subcomandante Marcos had planned possibly to reappear after a public absence of nearly six years. During the attack, a number of people were injured, and a Zapatista school and health clinic in La Realidad, both of which were symbols of the movement’s autonomy, were destroyed. [more inside]
Amparo "Amparin" Serrano turned the much-revered Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico, into its Hello Kitty. In the early 2000s, Amparin drew a cute cartoon version of the Virgin and asked for protection, an inexpensive cell phone, and removal of her cellulite (Google auto-translate; original Spanish article), and it went from there (auto-translation; original page). Now, Serrano and her Distroller company have teamed up with Walmart and other large chain stores, and the brand has also expanded into the US.
Last November, after five years of remarkable negotiations that unfolded far from the Delta, representatives from the U.S. and Mexico agreed to a complex, multi-part water deal that will give them desperately needed flexibility for weathering the drought. More surprisingly, the two nations will join the team of environmental organizations to release a flood of more than 105,000 acre-feet of water – 3.8 million big-rig tankers' worth – into the Delta's ancient floodplain, and chase it with a smaller, permanent annual flow to sustain the ecosystem.For High Country News, Matt Jenkins describes the most ambitious water sharing plan ever created between Mexico and the United States (single page print version). For much more about this project and the water issues surrounding it, there's Eli Rabett's roundup of John Fleck's blogposts about this. (Or read the tl;dr version by Alex Harrowell.)
It is the unlikeliest of times to pull off a deal like this. Rather than hoarding all the water for themselves in this drought –– the river supplies some 35 million people –– the West's largest water agencies have pledged to send some all the way to the sea. That move is, to some extent, a long-overdue acknowledgment that the U.S. bears responsibility for the impacts its dams have caused beyond its borders. And after years of fruitless court fights in the U.S. by environmental groups, the Mexican government finally insisted that water for the Delta be a cornerstone of the broader deal.
It looks like axolotls are gone forever. This may not mean much to you if you aren't into amphibians, but if you read Mad Magazine back in the day the word might conjure up some memories, or even a poem. [more inside]
DEA Negotiated With Mexican Drug Cartel Members "An investigation by El Universal (in spanish) found that between the years 2000 and 2012, the U.S. government had an arrangement with Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel that allowed the organization to smuggle billions of dollars of drugs while Sinaloa provided information on rival cartels."
'I submit that the drug trade—and specifically cocaine—is among the worst things that the human mind ever invented.' The gruesome human cost of a fun little party treat.
Behold! The Heartbreaking, Hair-Raising Tale Of Freak Show Star Julia Pastrana, Mexico’s Monkey Woman
Buried deep among the hundreds of old scripts in RKO Pictures’ archives was a 1941 melodramatic gem about an amnesia-stricken man who wakes up in the middle of a revolution in Mexico. Never produced, the screenplay for “The Way to Santiago” is credited to Orson Welles.
The Panamanian golden frog that lives near loud waterfalls and the people of both Kuşköy (a small village in Turkey) and La Gomera (an island off the coast of Morocco) have something in common: creative communication in challenging situations. Where the golden frogs communicate by waving, the people of Kuşköy and La Gomera overcome difficult terrain by whistling. The Turkish people call their language "kuș dili" or "bird langage," as it originated in Kuşköy, which itself means "bird village," and the Silbo Gomero language is so organized and thorough that every vowel and consonant can be replaced with a whistle. [more inside]
Juárez Correa felt a chill. He’d never encountered a student with so much innate ability. He squatted next to her and asked why she hadn’t expressed much interest in math in the past, since she was clearly good at it. “Because no one made it this interesting,” she said. -- Wired reports on a teaching method finding success in Mexico
Spanish Indie Rockers Delorean Safe After 'Virtual Kidnapping' in Mexico City [spin.com]
After two days' disappearance and a ransom call to family members, the group is safe, but police aren't saying more.More info here [Article in Spanish].
Since late August, tens of thousands of protestors have taken over Mexico City's already chaotic streets. They've repeatedly closed down the main boulevard, chased lawmakers out of Congress, and even shut down the thoroughfare to the airport, forcing tourists and travelers to walk to terminals under police escort. Mexico's President Enrique Peña Nieto was forced to postpone his address by one day and move the venue to the secure grounds of the Presidential residence. The protesters are the country's teachers, who are angry about a set of reforms being debated in Congress, which have now passed, with some compromises to appease the teachers unions. [more inside]
"Borders feel like places of movement. A transition point from one place to another. You don't think of people making a home there. But they do."-A description of Photographer Lara Shipley's project, Coming, Going and Staying
"Migrants quite rationally responded to the increased costs and risks by minimizing the number of times they crossed the border,” Massey wrote in his 2007 paper “Understanding America’s Immigration ‘Crisis.’” “But they achieved this goal not by remaining in Mexico and abandoning their intention to migrate to the U.S., but by hunkering down and staying once they had run the gauntlet at the border and made it to their final destination." -- How the militarisation of the US-Mexico border actually increased Mexican immigration into the US.
Sound Opinions, the ever-excellent radio show / podcast based out of Chicago, have embarked on a 'world tour'. With the aid of a local musician or journalist, each episode covers the history of modern music in a certain country. They look at what's new and exciting in both the mainstream and underground as well as what foreign music is cracking the market. So far the tour has touched down in Mexico, Japan and Sweden, and Greg & Jim are encouraging feedback on where they should go next. [more inside]
Héctor Espino landed in Florida on Aug. 6, 1964. A helicopter reportedly flew over Jacksonville, Fla., trailing a banner with the words ESPINO HAS ARRIVED.
If you fancy diversity in cheeses, you might have come across queso Chihuahua, or Chihuahua cheese, a Mexican semi-soft cow milk cheese. But if you're in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, the cheese is called Queso Menonita or Campresino Menonita, for the Mennonites who first made the cheese in this region. The Mennonites in Mexico are a small but growing socio-religious pocket of that has retained much of their traditional Dutch and German heritage, despite a series of moves, from Russia to Canada, and finally Mexico. Mexican photographer Eunice Adorno spent time with Mennonites in Durango, capturing moments in their lives. [more inside]
While visiting Mexico on their 20th anniversary, one lucky couple captured a rare moment of wonder: Several killer whales frolicking in the wake of their boat. [via]
Cosas Feas (Nasty Stuff) is a short, gooey Lovecraftian coming-of-age comedy by Mexican director Isaac Ezban. Its recomended for fans of Stuart Gordon and anyone who had an awkward childhood.
Serious Eats tries all the tacos at La Chaparrita. What is this magical place? Well... [more inside]
Criminal Cartels And The Rule Of Law In Mexico: Summary, PDF
The cartels have thousands of gunmen and have morphed into diversified crime groups that not only traffic drugs, but also conduct mass kidnappings, oversee extortion rackets and steal from the state oil industry. The military still fights them in much of the country on controversial missions too often ending in shooting rather than prosecutions. If Peña Nieto does not build an effective police and justice system, the violence may continue or worsen. But major institutional improvements and more efficient, comprehensive social programs could mean real hope for sustainable peace and justice.[more inside]
The Goat Slaughter
When the first goat was killed, it took me by surprise. My husband Jorge and I had been invited by one of Jorge’s photojournalist friends to this nondescript compound in La Mixteca, the most impoverished region of Oaxaca, Mexico’s most impoverished state, to watch the annual slaughter of thousands of goats.[more inside]
Amongst the canals of Lake Xochimilco, south of Mexico City, there are artificial islands called chinampas. Chinampas were invented by the Aztecs as a way to increase agricultural production, and while most have been converted for residential or commercial use, there is one that stands apart: Isla de las Munecas (The Island of the Dolls). Home to hundreds of terrifying, mutilated dolls, their severed limbs, decapitated heads, and blank eyes adorn trees, fences, and nearly every available surface. [more inside]
A documentary film about Norman Borlaug, the Iowa farm boy who saved over a billion people from starvation. (1:06:47) Americans have little knowledge of one of their greatest sons. Why do schoolchildren in China, India, Mexico, and Pakistan know the name and work of Nobel Peace Prize winner [His speech] Norman Borlaug while so few of his countrymen have never heard of him? How did a dirt-poor farm boy from rural Iowa grow up to save a billion people worldwide from starvation and malnutrition and become the father of the Green Revolution? What were the inherited traits and environmental factors that shaped his astonishing journey and led to successes that surprised even him? What can we learn from his life and views that might help the human race survive the next critical century? [more inside]
Cascada (single link vimeo) Tangled vines. Endless rain. Dodgy hotel rooms. Mud. Biting flies. Aggressive viruses...Perfection. Is this a vacation? Erik Boomer, Tyler Bradt, Galen Volckhausen, Tim Kemple, Anson Fogel, Blake Hendrix and Skip Armstrong hunt the remote Mexican jungle for the perfect waterfall...and the perfect shot. Paddler and cinematographer alike explore a world beyond the expected. (Music by HECQ and Anson Fogel)
A short animated infographic that pretty clearly explains the extent of the illegal drug and weapon problem shared by Mexico and the United States.
Reportero (alternate link) - follows a veteran reporter and his colleagues at Zeta, a Tijuana-based independent newsweekly, as they stubbornly ply their trade in one of the deadliest places in the world for members of the media. In Mexico, more than 50 journalists have been slain or have vanished since December 2006, when President Felipe Calderón came to power and launched a government offensive against the country's powerful drug cartels and organized crime. As the drug war intensifies and the risks to journalists become greater, will the free press be silenced? [more inside]