Bloomsday will soon be upon us — the annual June 16th celebration where James Joyce’s Ulysses breaks out of the classroom and hits the bars. And where better to celebrate this hallowed literary tome than at one of State Street’s favorite watering holes, The James Joyce pub.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of Joyce’s famously formerly-banned book, a revered 1922 novel that follows the stream of consciousness thoughts of the main character Leopold Bloom on June 16, 1904 (hence the name “Bloomsday”). Event organizers James Buckley Jr. and D.J. Palladino — both local authors and bonafide literary fanboys — have lots of fun on tap for all who want to imbibe in the free festivities.
Coffee with a Black Guy founder and Santa Barbara mayoral candidate James Joyce III will be on hand to read select passages from Ulysses, along with Buckley and Palladino. Other readers include Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s Roger Durling, former Santa Barbara Poet Laureate Perie Longo, Novelist and SBCC Professor Emerita Jinny Webber, Historian and Professor Jay Carlander, and Actor Leslie Story.
Bloomsday is sure to be a lively event, with musical interludes between readers by Folk Orchestra Santa Barbara, and a beautifully illustrated edition of Ulysses raffled off, with donations to the Santa Barbara Public Library Foundation encouraged.
The bar is unhosted, but The James Joyce is offering happy hour pricing, and the Irish themed nibbles are free, as are the music and what’s sure to be some highly theatrical entertainment.
“I think it’s really important to speak Ulysses out loud in America, because for the first 11 years after it was published, it was illegal to own a copy of Ulysses in the United States,” said Palladino, who owns The Mesa Bookstore with his wife Diane Arnold.
“Certainly Joyce fans and Ulysses fans will find something to enjoy and share on this important anniversary,” said Buckley. “But even if you’re not a Joyce fan, but have heard about this famous author, come and have a Guinness and learn more about him. And if you want to come help the Library Foundation, that’s a nice thing too.”
Bloomsday, Thursday, June 16, 5-8 p.m., The James Joyce, 513 State St. sbjamesjoyce.com.