14 Jun
2012

Rejoyce! Rejoyce!

James Joyce: Literary Badass

And a happy Bloomsday to you!

Bloomsday is probably the strangest "holiday" I've had the pleasure of writing about for this blog, and remember, I got to write about "What if Cats and Dogs had Opposable Thumbs Day." Bloomsday is the yearly celebration of Joyce's Ulysses, the epic novel that manages to fit about 265,000 words into one day, 16 June 1904. Since 1954 (the 50th anniversary of the events in the book -- math!) fans of Joyce and of the novel in particular have gathered to take part in event ranging from live readings to pub crawls. Bloomsday was inaugurated by a group of five Dubliners of ranging social prominence, including Joyce's cousin Tom. The basic idea was to follow Leo Bloom's trail around Dublin; they even hired an old-timey stage coach similar to the ones used in the period. The abandoned it about halfway through and spent the rest of the day at the pub. Slainte!

1954: Keep it classy.

Since then, however, Bloomsday has shaped up a bit. Dublin now has an extensive array of events. The readings and pub crawls have, of course, remained, but are embellished with Edwardian costume, actors in character wandering the street philosophizing, and massive feasts. In 2004, the centenary year of the novels events, 10,000 people were treated to a free, open air full Irish breakfast of sausage, rashers, beans, puddings, and toast.

Ireland's Number One killer is Cardiovascular disease.

New York City does it up in style as well, with pub gatherings and readings at the Symphony Space -- last years presenters included Stephen Colbert and Ira Glass. Philadelphia's Rosenbach Museum is home to the original handwritten manuscript of Ulysses and closes of a few blocks of Delancey St. for their Bloomsday, which includes a recitation of  of the Molly Bloom soliloquy by Drucie McDaniel, a home grown actor probably best known for her role as an Evil Doctor in Girl, Interrupted.

And wouldn't you know it, Pittsburgh has its own Bloomsday! It all starts at the Crazy Mocha on Liberty Avenue in Bloomfield at 9 AM on Saturday the 16th, where "Telemachos as 'stately plump Buck Mulligan' ascends the stairs..." The full schedule roams around the Burgh, and can be found here. Time to get reading.

Girls with books are hot.Oh my.

I need a beer.

Oh hey, we sell this T shirt.

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