Fernando Allende to headline English in Action benefit concert at Belly Up Aspen
If You Go …
Who: Fernando Allende with Mariachi Sol de mi Tierra
Where: English in Action benefit concert, Belly Up Aspen
When: Wednesday, July 12, 6:30 p.m. (VIP reception) & 8 p.m. (concert)
How much: $75-$350
Tickets: Belly Up box office; www.bellyupaspen.com; 970-544-9800 ext 121
More info: www.englishinaction.org
Fernando Allende is coming home again.
The Latino stuperstar. who lived in Woody Creek from 1985 until 2001, is back in town showcasing artwork at Gallery 1949 and performing a benefit concert for English in Action.
Allende has been in show business his entire adult life, beginning singing mariachi at age 7 and acting at 17. He was a heartthrob in Mexico and Hollywood, made movies and albums, worked with the likes of Joanne Woodward and Tony Curtis and Quincy Jones in English-language productions and starred in countless Spanish-language films. In the 1980s, he was on “Murder, She Wrote,” “Miami Vice” and “Hart to Hart.” In Aspen, he filmed a Christmas special at the Wheeler Opera House. In Mexico, he worked to preserve traditional Mexican music, serving as an ambassador for mariachi musicians and made 18 albums with them.
At Wednesday’s concert — with all proceeds going to the Roaring Fork Valley nonprofit organization that offers language tutoring and builds cross-cultural bridges in the community — Allende will perform with Denver-based Mariachi Sol de mi Tierra.
“We are thrilled to have an artist of Fernando Allende’s caliber to help showcase our efforts to extend a hand of friendship to adult immigrants eager to improve their English language skills in order to better their lives and the lives of their families,” said English in Action executive director Lara Beaulieu.
Allende, 64, hasn’t given a musical performance in Aspen in years, though he and his wife and children have visited often since they left the Aspen area to attend to his sick father-in-law in Puerto Rico. Most recently, he’s come back to the mountains to showcase his exuberant abstract paintings at Gallery 1949, which currently has an Allende survey on its walls and will host a reception with Allende on July 11.
His devotion to painting, he told The Aspen Times during another recent visit, is an extension of his life’s work as a performer.
“I believe that it all comes from the same divine energy,” Allende says. “It comes from whatever you consider divine, whatever we come from and wherever we go. And that’s the same energy as when I sing, when I act, when I take something that’s on paper in black and white that I make into a character. I tap that same energy.”
His journey as a painter, in fact, began when he was living here.
“All of a sudden in Aspen I started to dream in color and brushes and canvases,” Allende recalls.
The recurring dreams of combining colors, shapes and visual ideas were unrelenting.
“I would dream the same thing until it turned into a nightmare,” he said. “So what I realized I wasn’t doing was going to buy the paints and brushes and starting paintings. It was like a celestial message.”
So he converted a room in his Woody Creek home into a painting studio and got to work. Allende was prolific from the beginning, fashioning abstract portraits and color fields — transferring his dreams onto canvas.
He began showing some of the work to friends, eventually landing in prominent collections and galleries and gaining admission to the Venice Biennale.
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