If the standing room only crowds at Sunday’s Bloomsday celebration have anything to tell us about the state of the world today it’s this: the Indy bump (and the magically flowing pen of Nick Welsh) is alive and well, as is Santa Barbara’s love of literature — at least when there’s booze and snacks involved.

The James Joyce pub was packed to the rafters on Father’s Day, presumably with lovers of literature and theater, all of whom came out to support the third annual Bloomsday celebration, the Indy Award–winning annual salute to famed Irish writer James Joyce, held on the day his most famous novel, Ulysses, is set (June 16).

Or, as George Yatchisin put it: “We packed a State Street bar, on Father’s Day, on Graduation Weekend, with folks eager and willing to hear hours of one of the most notoriously difficult novels in English. And to entice them, we started with poetry.”

Indeed, audiences gathered in somewhat mystifying droves to enjoy spoken-word performances from a host of local actors and writers, including co-founder Jim Buckley — whose booming voice you may recognize from the Foresters’ games — who co-organized the event with the sadly too-ill-to-attend DJ Palladino. Also on the playbill was Santa Barbara Film Festival Executive Director (and Independent writer) Roger Durling, award-winning local performers Matt Tavianini and Lark Batteau, storyteller Michael Katz, and the (entwined by marriage) poet/writers Chryss Yost and the aforementioned Yatchisin (another Independent writer). Bloomsday also welcomed new talent to the pub stage, including actor/producer Bill Egan, TV film and theater veteran Henry Brown, and Santa Barbara–based actors Rachel Brown, James McCarthy, Jay Carlander, and Maureen Claffey, as well as local teacher and actual Irish person James Claffey. 

“Joyce’s wonderful words flowed like smoothfoamy Guinness from the mouths of our creatalented actalkers,” said Buckley, still channeling his inner James Joyce a day later. “It was inspiring to see so many people who believe in the power of literature, all gathered to share in a worldwide salute to a master of the craft.”

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