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Profs & Pints: Mermaid Tales

Profs and Pints
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Profs and Pints presents: "Mermaid Tales," a discussion of the enigmatic water spirits of Russia, with folklorist Philippa Rappoport of George Washington University.

Be careful out there. According to Slavic folklore, we're about to enter into Mermaid Week, a period in which mermaids, or rusalki, emerge from lakes and streams to water crops and to claim lives. They're mostly beautiful, with wild hair and blazing eyes, and more than happy to drag smitten young men with them in returning to the depths.

Join Philippa Rappoport, an expert on Slavic folklore and rituals, as she makes an encore Profs and Pints appearance to discuss Russia's water spirits and the traditions centered around them. She'll describe how rusalki were both revered and feared by people who would sing songs in their honor while carrying protective charms. You'll learn how Slavic mermaid lore permeated wedding rituals and parades, inspired the construction of effigies, and reflected beliefs about women that, throughout the world, have translated into a lot of concern over how women wear their hair and cover their heads.

Philippa wowed the crowd at Bier Baron with a fascinating December talk on Russia's Snow Maiden folktale, and her accounts of mermaids promise to be equally entertaining. Watching Coney Island's Mermaid Parade will never be the same. (Tickets $10 in advance, $12 at the door.)