How do you celebrate the life of one of the greatest showmen this country has ever seen, a man whose excess turned him into some sort of legend in Argentine lore? Well, to truly honor the man you would probably have to rent out the Casa Rosada and just fill it with pools of champagne, an army of super-tan Ricardo Fort lookalikes, and a non-stop loop of this until the sun comes up.
But since the chance of that happening are pretty slim, we’re proud to announce the next best thing: #FortNotDead, an over-the-top celebration of the mythical man himself, to be held on Thursday, November 8th at Centro Cultural Feliza.
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El jueves celebramos en @felizarcoiris #FortNotDead, un festejo del legado de Ricardo Fort a 50 años de su nacimiento. Habrá charlas, musicales, una galería de memes, una feria y más. Les cuento en exclusiva (!) el line up de las #FortTalks: @charonlopez @martingarabal @srtabimbo @matzorama @ohmecha @haraduck @djpradon @lilviolaar @rodrigoespector @francotorchia_ (ilustración: @juampidelbosque)
Fort’s Rise to Fame
It’s hard to overestimate the impact of Ricardo Fort’s short-lived but jam-packed foray into Argentine show business. He was born into an extremely rich family, his father heir to the Felfort company, a chocolate and candy powerhouse that was founded at the beginning of the 20th century. His mom, on the other hand, was a singer, which I guess would explain why he did this at some point.
By the time he was grown up, the chocolate game wasn’t really something he wished to pursue, so he moved to the US to give showbiz a try, far away from his dad who definitely did not approve of his career or lifestyle choices. He spent close to 15 years between Los Angeles and of course, Miami (yes, this last city’s name is written that way and not MAIAMEEEE. Sorry to burst your bubble).
His career in the States failed to become a thing and he was forced to return to Argentina, where he began to work in the family business, where his biggest accomplishment was introducing cereal bars to the company, although he would go on to credit himself with doing a lot more. “Everything was done by hand in this company, I introduced the computer,” he would later say with his patented brand of modesty and down to Earth-ness (/ sarcasm).
By the time his dad died in 2009, Ricky decided to finally pursue his dream of becoming a celebrity in Argentina. His route towrad TV fame began by befriending Celina Rucci, who would eventually get him into gossip magazines and TV shows like Infama and Animales Sueltos. His biggest break however came with El musical de tus sueños where he danced all the way to the final. Dancing, by the way, was kind of a big thing in his life, not only allowing him to become a regular in different shows but getting the all important GIF treatment that pretty much assures you’ll be a big thing for life:
Glory Days & Downfall
With his name gaining some serious traction amongst the chimento-heavy Argentine TV audience, Fort hit it big by becoming one of the judges of Bailando por un Sueño, that monster that has been carving up the ratings for several years now thanks to Marcelo Tinelli‘s larger than life concept and his pension for drama and semi-nude women that act as ornamental stage décor.
As you could imagine, this was the perfect environment for a creature like Fort to thrive, and his persona pretty much ballooned to the stratosphere in these years. By the time he was done with Bailando, he launched Fort Night Show, which was Fort at his Fort-est, with carte blanche to just go as wild as possible.
Amidst his rise to fame he also launched several plays (all centered around his life), an unsuccessful clothing line called Fortmen (for the douchey body builder out there), and a perfume (because why not?). His personal life also became a well discussed issue. Everything from his bisexuality to his two children born from an unknown surrogate were dissected by the media and talked about constantly.
And this is all without having mentioned the more than 27 surgeries he underwent, including his face, torso, and a procedure that actually made his heels higher. Ironically, it was during a surgery, albeit one related to his ailing back and knees, that he passed away from cardiac arrest in 2013.
Fort’s Legacy and a Night of Remembrance
It’s safe to say that Fort’s name has only become bigger after he passed away. Some of his catchphrases like “Chicos, basta” or “Mamá, cortaste toda la luz” are still cited to this day in everyday conversations, and Fort Memes have become some of the most-used objects in social media in these parts of the world. If you spent some minutes on Google searching for Fort goodies, you’ll find everything from socks, to coffee mugs, to slippers and religious stamps, to this weird as hell mask. Fort is everywhere, completely inserted into the local zeitgeist.
Which is why the #FortNotDead celebration this Thursday is such a big thing. The event promises to “investigate and celebrate how his figure was re-appropriated and resignified on the Internet” and will try to achieve this enormous task with an impressive array of activities. There’s #FortTalks, a series of five minute chats by some of El Comandante’s friends and colleagues, including Charo López, Franco Torchia, Srta. Bimbo, Martín Garabal, Matías Liliana Viola and DJ Pradón, among others.
There will also be a gallery of Fort-inspired illustrations by artists and web designers, as well as a collection of artisans and startups that have climbed aboard the Fort train by using his image to create keychains, t-shirts, and God knows what else. Oh, and to top it all off, there will be non-stop dancing thanks to DJ Cajeta and looped screenings of Fort Night Show and Fortuna, one of his plays.
So put on your best pair of True Religion jeans and skintight Ed Hardy t-shirts and see you on the dance floor, kids.
#FortNotDead | Thursday, November 8th | 7 PM | Feliza – Av. Cordoba 3271 | More Info