When: Tue., June 16, 5 p.m. 2009
In the 1995 film Before Sunrise, the two lovers spend a day together on the date. In 1956, Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes got married on the date. And in 1904, James Joyce had his first outing with his future wife on the date — the date being June 16th, which happens also to be the date on which Leopold Bloom, Molly Bloom, and Stephen Dedalus made a date with literary history. It’s their comings and goings, both physically and mentally, in Dublin, that form the basis of Joyce’s Ulysses.
So, come June 16th, it’s once again “Bloomsday,” and Celtic Crossing, the Irish pub and restaurant in Cooper-Young, is doing its share — as cities throughout the world will be doing — of honoring Ulysses and the man behind Ulysses: the Irishman in exile, James Joyce. Among those behind Memphis’ own “Bloomsday” is Mary Lowe-Evans.
Lowe-Evans, a Joyce scholar, will be reading from Ulysses along with her husband, Ron Evans. But they won’t be alone. Local actors have been invited to read from the novel as well, and Memphians have been invited to dress accordingly — in the fashions of the day. You need inspiration? See Bloom, the film, for pointers. Or wait to watch that film at Celtic Crossing on the 16th. You can maybe see it with a Gorgonzola sandwich and some kidneys straight out of the pages of Ulysses. And you can later hear the sounds out of Ulysses with the live music Celtic Crossing’s planning. What would Mr. Joyce have to say about being so honored? “I think he would love it. Absolutely love it,” Lowe-Evans says. “Joyce wanted to achieve fame, for one thing. And he had such nostalgia for Dublin itself: the humor, the hospitality, the music, which, if you go to Ireland, is all over the place. Like Memphis!”
“We want everyone to experience a taste of the Irish literary heritage that is James Joyce,” says publicist Viola West. “Guests will be able to participate in dramatic readings along with the actors or just sit back, relax with a pint of Guinness, and enjoy.” — Leonard Gill