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    Here’s a little etymology for your weekend—the word “forecastle” wasn’t just coined to describe Louisville’s premiere festival weekend of music, food and bourbon; it actually is a nautical term used to describe the upper deck of a sailing ship forward of the foremast, or the forward part of a ship with the sailors' living quarters.

    Thus, when you wander Forecastle Festival, be prepared to see a nod to this nautical heritage. Most notably with a landed-ship on The Great Lawn covered in mermaids swaying their fins to the music.

    I caught up with Lulu, a mermaid who spent her afternoon posed on the edge of a bathtub in The Bourbon Lodge, to ask about her weekend at Forecastle.

    Tell me a bit about yourself:

    My mermaid name is Lulu; my real name is Lauren Argo. Basically, I have had a long life of being captured. Starting in my youth, I was captured by Vikings. So I’ve been around for a while, keeping my beauty. But how I ended up here at Forecastle—I was taken on board by sailors and have been sailing with them for many, many months now; I’m almost out of lipstick, so it’s been that long.

    And, my fin is very dry.

    So, basically, they put me here at Forecastle, because they heard that there might be a ship that I could board. I hear that there is a ship outside the Bourbon Lodge, but I haven’t seen it yet.

    I can’t just walk over and check—you know?

    But I am hoping to board that ship and return to my natural waters.

    Will you be here the entire weekend?

    I will be here for parts of the day, mainly in the afternoon—and then I may stick around in my costume; it’s a little work to get this glamorous and this sea-ready, so we will see.

    So is this your first year at Forecastle?

    I have attended Forecastle as a volunteer in the past, but this is my first Bourbon Lounge mermaid appearance. I am a performance artist here in Louisville, and do a lot of theater and a lot of acting, and some performance arts stuff that I do. I work at 21C; I also lived in the window at 21C for 21 days. That was a few years ago.  

    So I think that has sparked something in peoples’ minds that I have the ability and nerve to do anything, which is totally right.

    Which band are you most excited to see?

    Ooh—band-wise, I am excited to see Outkast tonight, Band of Horses. But what I like to do is just discover new music here. I have a radio show on Art-FM called La La Land, so I play a lot of music on the radio, and have good musical taste, but am always looking to expand my musical library. So the past few years I have found some bands I really love here. 

    Follow @louisvillecom for Forecastle coverage! Cover photo courtesy of Shutterstock/Ivan Michaels

    Ashlie Danielle Stevens's picture

    About Ashlie Danielle Stevens

    I am a freelance food, arts and culture writer. Among other publications, my work has appeared at The Atlantic’s CityLab, Eater, Slate, Salon, The Guardian, Hyperallergic and National Geographic’s food blog, The Plate.

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