Bloomsday in Orlando/Bloomsday in NYC

On June 16th, this podcast (which is I, actually) will host a Bloomsday event from 6 to 9 p.m. at Urban ReThink in downtown Orlando.  This event is inspired, in large part, by the Bloomsdays I attended in New York when I lived there.  Here is a journalist droplet I wrote about my last one.

Bloomsday 2010: A Dispatch from NYC

Amidst the slate-gray geographic jigsaw puzzle of downtown
 Manhattan, Stone Street is a picturesque anachronism, a valley of nineteenth
 century architecture with its brick rectangles lined with pubs.  And
 on the afternoon of June 16th, one of its pubs, Ulysses Folk House,
 celebrated both its anniversary and the day the spirited, expansive
Modernist novel it is named for is set on.

Colum McCann, winner of last year’s National Book Award for Let the
 Great World Spin, emceed the event, as he has done for the last seven
 years, with vivacious humility and charming bonhomie.  He read the opening pages of James Joyce’s 1922 novel with his creamy baritone
 brogue, to a crowd of a hundred or so listeners congregating in the
 middle of the surprisingly mild afternoon.  His stubbled cheekbones
 pursed often, ready to grin, as he loudly intoned Buck Mulligan’s
 mockery of Latin, or one of Stephen Dedalus’s many moping retorts to
 Mulligan.  With his peach-colored boutonnière in his tweed jacket, McCann himself looked like a character out of the book.

So did many people in the audience, which over the next few hours
 swelled to three times its size.  Waitresses emerged with infinities of amber pints.  Readers pecked their way randomly across the text.
  Larry Kerwin, lead singer of the Irish punk band Black 47, approached the podium with a heroically-tattered paperback.  He read the part of Gertie MacDowell, the adolescent girl who watches the seaside fireworks, and the admirer who was watching her, with such sweet, cooing teenage hysteria.  And the crowd cheered Kerwin as if his voice
and Joyce’s words were themselves fireworks dazzling off somehow in broad daylight.

The greatest pyrotechnics, however, came from a diminutive actress named Aedin Moloney, who intermittently read from Molly Bloom’s risqué, stirring, and often poignant soliloquy that closes Ulysses.
 Moloney’s voice reverberated all over Stone Street with the dreamy
passion and jeweled filth and mad romance of Joyce’s novel, with her enrapt audience clapping, laughing, and whooping for literal joy.

Ulysses, originally, was street culture,” beamed the owner of Ulysses Folk House, Danny McDonald, “that’s what the book is really about—street culture—and this is street culture, folks.”

One response to “Bloomsday in Orlando/Bloomsday in NYC”

  1. […] If in NYC on June 16th, enjoy Bloomsday at Ulysses Folk House! I wrote a profile about a past year’s event here. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


The Drunken Odyssey is a forum to discuss all aspects of the writing process, in a variety of genres, in order to foster a greater community among writers.


%d bloggers like this: