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Brooklyn to Celebrate Bloomsday with Readings of James Joyce's "Ulysses."

Irish musicians celebrate Bloomsday, honoring James Joyce's "Ulysses," in Brooklyn.
Irish musicians celebrate Bloomsday, honoring James Joyce's "Ulysses," in Brooklyn.
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Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick

PARK SLOPE — Leopold Bloom was an outsider in James Joyce's fictional Ireland, but this Saturday he'll be welcomed as a son of Brooklyn at the borough's third annual Bloomsday celebration.

Borough President Marty Markowitz will proclaim Bloom, the hero of Joyce's masterpiece "Ulysses," an honorary Brooklynite at a literary pub crawl where selections from Ulysses will be read aloud at bars along Park Slope's Fifth Avenue.

The annual Bloomsday event, celebrated around the world, commemorates Joyce's groundbreaking novel, which is set on June 16, 1904. Now regarded as one of the most important literary works of the 20th Century, "Ulysses" was deemed obscene and banned when it debuted in the United States in 1922.

Brooklyn's Bloomsday is hosted by the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick and kicks off on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Black Sheep Pub, on Bergen Street and Fifth Avenue. Readers will act out the novel's opening scenes and introduce the audience to it hero Bloom and his wife, Molly.

At the next stop, Union Hall, on Union Street and Fifth Avenue, Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes will read the part of Joe Hynes in the novel's Cyclops episode, where a group of men in bar discuss the events of the day and debate Irish nationalism.

Then at the restaurant Benchmark, on Second Street and Fifth Avenue, participants will eat "Mr. Bloom's lunch" — a gorgonzola cheese sandwich washed down with Burgundy wine.

At the Old Stone House, on Fifth Avenue and Third Street, Markowitz will proclaim Bloom a Brooklynite and induct Bloom, who was an Irish Jew, into the Loyal League of Yiddish Sons & Daughters of Erin.

Next up is a stop at neighborhood drinking institution Jackie's 5th Amendment, on Fifth Avenue and Seventh Street, followed by the last stop, Smith's Tavern, where readers share the scene of Bloom remembering his first kiss with Molly.

Most readings at Brooklyn's Bloomsday event last about five or 10 minutes, with the longest, the Cyclops scene at Union Hall, clocking in at about 15 minutes, said John Burns, vice president of the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick.

"We try to keep it moving," Burns said. "It's more to have people socialize and to hear some of the key parts of the book."

Many of the stops include live Irish music, with tenor Robert Harley singing "Love's Sweet Song" at the Old Stone House.

Ulysses runs a daunting several hundred pages, but hearing scenes from the book read aloud is a good way to get acquainted with the novel for those who might be intimidated by its length, said Burns.

"It's the best way to start understaindng 'Ulysses,' by hearing it acted out and spoken," Burns said. "A lot of people are put off by the book. They see it as very dense. Hearing it, you kind of get the ordinariness of the day Bloom had."

For more information about Brooklyn's Bloomsday, email bklynbloomsday@aol.com.