EVENT: Mermaid reading/screening at Bluestockings Bookstore
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A mermaid city and finned maidens?! Sara Dionne discusses "Weeki Wachee: City of Mermaids," her book about Florida's hardscrabble mermaid theme park. In addition to screening archival footage shot at Weeki Wachee, Dionne will be joined by Shinko Akasofu, a real live mermaid who performed in the 1970's.
When swimsuit-clad young women cavorted in the freshwater springs of Weeki Wachee, Fla., in October 1947, it seemed so fantastic, many visitors couldn't believe the performers were actually underwater. In this era before scuba, people were expected to drown if they stayed under for more than a few minutes. They certainly didn't dance ballet or eat bananas and drink soda pop underwater, like the Weeki Wachee mermaids did.
For the next three decades, an ever-renewing roster of mermaids entertained growing crowds of roadside travelers and celebrity guests (Elvis himself hugged and kissed those mermaids). If Disney hadn't opened Magic Kingdom, and over-development hadn't threatened the aquifer, Weeki Wachee might still be going strong today. But thanks to writer Vickers and designer Dionne, readers have backstage access to this classic American roadside attraction.
172 Allen Street between Stanton and Rivington Streets