Louisville Magazine

SEP 2018

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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78 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 9.18 It's 7 p.m., and no Forester. Ledford, still leaning against the car, crosses her ankles and arms, her blond, asymmetrical hair sticking out of her hat like a glow- stick, sleeves rolled up over the tattoos on her arms: a bear roaring up from a screen of hexagons, an unfinished astronaut, a pyramid eye (Illuminati!) in the center of a marbled sphere. (Having a tattoo artist for an older brother is convenient.) She synthesizes the lo-fi romance of the dreamiest skater boy you knew growing up with the severe magnetism of a cattle hand in an Annie Proulx story, which is to say: Cool. Some people have a problem with a marriage of styles like that, one that breaks down binaries. When she goes to a barber, they nail the fade on the sides, but screw up the longer lemon plumage up top. When she goes to a salon, the top's great, but the buzz is bad. Ledford is usually brighter, but she's tired today, and not just because of grief from the funeral. She found out earlier that someone she trusted with a financial obligation some time ago wasn't so trustworthy, and, without getting into all of it: Now, like a great many 23-year- olds she knows, she's getting hounded by debt collectors. She looks at the blacktop. It's 7:03. "I'm gonna call Rae," she says, taking out her phone, which she dropped and broke earlier today. She tried to catch it and ended up smacking it down to the ground, cracking the screen — an uncharacteristic example of clumsiness. She's never dropped a stick performing with Forester. She walks toward First Street, Cardinal Stadium like a big ugly, empty bowl before her, freshly shorn of Papa John's name following his much-talked-about use of the n-word. She puts her phone to her ear, says something undetectable, and hangs up. "She'll be down in just a sec," she says. e first time I called Forester, she picked up but didn't say anything until she heard my voice. "I wanted to make sure it wasn't some automated thing," she said. She has some student debt of her own, and she doesn't want to hear from anyone who uses her full "government name," which is a bit of a burgeoning rock star's secret. For this story, she's Rae Forester, not to be confused with Rej, which is how she spells her name online so that it makes sense to her Scandinavian friends. Sometimes folks stateside call her Redge, like Reggie, and she and Ledford never correct them because, one, it's really funny, and two, Forester says, "Reggie is the dykiest name ever. It's even dykier than Forester." Several secs after Ledford's phone call, Forester apparates into the parking lot in a cloud of this frenetic magical energy she exudes, like espresso and weird distilled into a scentless vapor. A loose-fitting black-and-white striped shirt tucks into the front of her slim dark pants, which also sport a small, casual splotch of paint. "Good morning," she says, 10 hours removed from any such thing. Her short brown undercut, which she did herself, has all the stark beauty of a Scandinavian ord, and her stratospheric cheekbones frame the facets of a face seemingly excavated from stone by a diamond cutter. Every time Peter Jackson casted someone other than Forester as an elf in Lord of the Rings, he made a colossal mistake. Sure, those movies won awards. It was still a mistake. Every elf should have been Forester. At 26, she's got an impressive and still growing array of tattoos herself: abstract black waves encircling her upper arm and lower leg, a blood-dripping wolf 's maw on her side, a blackwork forest scene growing up from her ankle, some abstract line work that might have something to do with guitar strings and — after that I lose count. It's easy to get a lot of tattoos when you can tattoo yourself. She learned tattooing around age 14, but her mom made her get rid of her kit of badly made needles and unsafe inks. It was obvious something was up, all those people coming into the house. It's not like Forester had friends. Her mom assumed she was selling drugs. Forester traded the kit for an aquarium or something. Once, she spent three days inking her own leg, went out without giving herself time to heal, and then came back and tattooed herself more. "I lowered my immune system so much I developed an abscess in my mouth," she says. Forester's also sporting a new scar, like an upside-down chevron, on her eyebrow. About a week ago, she and Ledford played a show in Lexington with a band called God Alone, which is made up of members of the Devil Wears Prada, a band that was huge when Forester and "IT'S LIKE IF TWO LESBIANS GOT REALLY ANGRY, AND ONE OF THEM KNEW HOW TO PLAY DRUMS AND THE OTHER KNEW HOW TO PLAY GUITAR," LEDFORD SAYS.

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