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    Adalberto “Adal” Castellon Jr. offers more than just trendy haircuts. His shop, called Spanish Fly, is a 660-square-foot space on East Main Street that was inspired by movies with alternate universes, like Beetlejuice and the Disney-Pixar animated film Coco. Bright, burnt-orange-painted brick provides a jolt of color, while a natural, wood-planked wall creates a warm, Southwestern feel. Orange and yellow marigolds brighten the nooks and crannies surrounding three barber stations. Small figurines, old toys, family photos, cacti and other vintage relics fill in the large windowsills. Potted plants with vibrant greens draw attention to the hardwood floor, covered by a giant cowhide rug. “I wanted this…weird, John Waters-esque feel, and maybe something out of a campy horror film,” Castellon says.

    The 35-year-old moved from Los Angeles to Louisville in 2015 with his wife, Sarah Jane Estes (a Louisville native). His uncles’ barbershop, Barberia Teran, in Nuevo Casas Grande, Mexico, is where he got the idea for a small shop of his own. “In the summer, when most kids were going to camp, I was going to the barbershop in Mexico,” Castellon says.

    He discovered the space that is now Spanish Fly after parking across the then-vacant building to attend a Louisville City FC soccer game. “I poked my head in and literally that was the beginning,” he says. “I was obsessed after that.” The 100-year-old building hadn’t been touched in more than two decades. Castellon overhauled the space, removing what he calls the “ugly, office-drop ceiling.”

    Castellon filled his space with nods to Mexican and American culture. Two of three barber chairs are the originals from his great-grandfather’s barbershop in Mexico. To retrieve them, Castellon drove there with his wife and their one-year-old son. He’d inherited some cream cans from his wife’s grandfather, who welded them in the ’60s, so he had them refinished with a bright-green color and hand-painted flowers. Prices for haircuts appear on a refashioned Pepsi sign that once hung in Za’s Pizza Pub.

    But the most eye-catching piece is a giant American-flag tapestry, which Castellon made with help from his wife, who owns a textile studio. The flag is Mexican blankets, with marigold flowers as the stars. “I had this idea in my mind for the longest time,” Castellon says. “Basically, that flag and what it represents is the American Dream, and that it doesn’t necessarily come from the usual fabrics. I come from Mexican fabric, but I feel more American than anybody. I always say it’s me in a flag.”

    This originally appeared in the January 2019 issue of Louisville Magazine under the headline "Lookin' Fly." To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    Photo by Joon Kim,

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    Loretta Lynn is the best country music singer of all time and if you don't like pickled foods, you can leave.

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