We will be celebrating Bloomsday on the evening of Friday, June 16, from 6:30 to 8:00 at the Euro Echo Cafe in Skokie, located at 7919 Lincoln Avenue. A number of us will be reading some of our favorite passages from Ulysses, and we encourage others to read with us. There will be a display of Ulysses-related art by Leonid Osseny. Euro Echo Cafe is a comfortable and cozy place with a nice selection of sandwiches, salads and desserts. It is located across the street from the Skokie Theater. Please confirm your attendance and let me know if you would like to read by contacting me at email@example.com.
It’s almost June 16th. Bloomsday. I enthusiastically celebrate this day commemorating my Jewish brother (well, sort-of), Leopold Bloom, as he travels and travails through Dublin and its environs on June 16, 1904. Bloom’s odyssey is chronicled in James Joyce’s Ulysses, arguably the greatest book ever written in the English language.
I, like so many countless others, endlessly struggled to read the book. I tried three times before I enrolled in Steve Diedrich’s Ulysses class at the Newberry, and soon the genius of Joyce slowly, but very truly, began to reveal itself in the fantastic dialogue and narrative. Only ten sessions with Steve ( a non-academic who worked by day as an insurance actuary) and words became images, the literary mystery unfolded into sense and sensibility, and the book’s marvelous cast of characters leaped forward out of Joyce’s unbridled imagination and into my mind and soul.
I took Steve’s class in 2007. Sadly he died of cancer three years later. Not only had he taught the Ulysses class at the Newberry for twenty plus years, but he also organized a Bloomsday celebration each year at the Cliff Dwellers.
Steve transformed me into that small circle of literati who are proud to be called “Joyce enthusiasts.” I celebrated my first Bloomsday at the Cliff Dwellers in 2008 watching Steve orchestrating a marvelous selection of readings from the text. The next year, my wife Anne (another one of Steve’s students) and I traveled to Dublin as pilgrims on our own Joycean hajj. We remain regulars at the Cliff Dwellers annual Bloomsday.
This year, once again, my friend and the illustrator of my book, the incomparable Leonid Osseny, enhances the Cliff Dwellers Bloomsday festivities by exhibiting some of his Ulysses sketches on easels. He has an illustration for each chapter of the book. Leonid’s exhibit of “Chicago Bridges,” by happenstance, also is on display at the Cliff Dwellers.
Hope to see you at the Cliff Dwellers this Bloomsday where Molly Bloom always gets the final word to say. Yes!
Celebrate Bloomsday, a few days early, at the historic Cliff Dwellers Club in Chicago on Thursday evening, June 13. In true Dubliner fashion, people will gather for drinks at 5:30 p.m.. The program of readings from James Joyce’s Ulysses commences at 6:15 p.m. At the conclusion of the readings, at about 8:15 p.m., the Joycean revelers will proceed for food and other merriment to conclude the evening. It’s a way to bask in the brilliance of the words of perhaps the most significant novel ever written in the English language. As Edna O’Brien states “Joyce did something extraordinary: he threw out the entire history of English literature —language, story, structure, everything—and created a new and stupendous work.”
This year’s Bloomsday at the Cliff Dwellers has an added enhancement. Internationally acclaimed artist, Leonid Osseny, will showcase the illustrations that he has done on each chapter of Ulysses. These were the same pieces that were exhibited at the Joyce Center in Dublin during the Bloomsday Centennial in 2004.
So join Leopold, Molly, Buck, the Croppy Boy and others as we ring in Bloomsday 2013 at the Cliff Dwellers! For additional information check out http://www.cliff-chicago.org.