Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bloomsday, Part One

During the reading of the "Aeolus" chapter inside the Hammer, the actors sat down while they played a rare recording of James Joyce reading the speech that appears in the middle.
When the Sweet Set started playing their Irish music, the Green Beret got pissed and put in earplugs. I swear I overheard him yelling at his wife that it was too loud and that they had to leave, but no sooner had he said it, he started dancing a jig right there in the Guinness line. Tania and I later surmised that, like most old people, he just looks pissed off all the time. Or, more likely, perhaps he had been stricken by one of those faerie spells that makes one dance uncontrollably and without seize until the afflicted dies of exhaustion. “But besides all his fine Irish music,” it says in the Irish fairy tale “The Young Piper,” “he had one queer tune of his own, the oddest that ever was heard; for the moment he began to play it everything in the house seemed disposed to dance.” If I had that faerie disease, I too would be pissed off when anyone started strummin’ a violin. But then I’d also take care to avoid any event that was even slightly Irish. Like, I don’t know, a James Joyce Bloomsday celebration? Idiot.

Our anniversary was Saturday, June 16, which is also Bloomsday. It’s the day Tania and I first started “hanging out,” and, coincidentally, Joyce chose the day June 16, 1904 for Ulysses because it was the day he and Nora first “stepped out.” I’m not sure what “stepping out” entails (Joe Jackson song withstanding). Given the Irish attitudes toward sex, I would imagine it means they stood near each other in public? But then considering what we know about Joyce, perhaps it’s code for “shitting on my face?” To celebrate our anniversary this year, we visited the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and attended their fourth annual Bloomsday celebration. There was another celebration on the other side of town that entailed reading the entire 700+ page book in one sitting. “The ambitious can join others at Machine Project for a Ulysses silent read-a-thon. Literary buffs will attempt to speed read the several hundred page novel, one chapter each hour.” I really wanted to drop by and see the assholes that attended that one. Silent! There was surely going to be a lot of pay-attention-to-me chuckling, and, while it’s not a competition, you know someone is going to slam the book closed and proudly proclaim, “DONE!” No, we chose the Hammer where there was no work involved and the promise of Guinness, crappy fake Irish music, and a performance of the Aeolus chapter. For free.

We brought the Joel Rubochon and the Le Bernardin pens along. (Tania has taken to calling them Joe and Bernie.) As it turns out, Joe—who is of course French—claims he is related to one of the pens Joyce used to write Ulysses while living in Paris. I can’t substantiate this, but Joe has insisted it’s true and thus he considers one of the greatest works of modern literature “family.” I think he’s full of shit, but I like Joe, so we brought him and his friend Bernie to the Hammer with us. Which, we later learned, was a bad idea. (The rest of this post will be handled with captions.)


When we arrived, people were reading from the "Wandering Rocks" chapter of Ulysses from the podium in the courtyard. Note the woman in black reading in the background. She approached us later and asked if we wanted to read. Tania was bummed I declined. "You could have done it in black metal voice," she said. Which really wouldn't have been that out of place because nearly everyone that read either adopted their serious "I'M READING FUCKING POETRY" voice, or their "I'm reading a children's story to a child" voice. Men chose the former, women the latter. In the foreground, you'll note the crazy old man with the hat on. (Remember the hat.) I'm not sure what he wanted from the man in the blue shirt (an organizer), but it was crazy and it exasperated the man in blue. As you can see, he appears to be saying, "Sir—Sir? I understand, but, no, you cannot read your story—I'm sure it's wonderful, but this is not an open mic."
An overview of the scene in the courtyard: old people being read to. "What'd you do on Saturday night?" "Oh, we sat quietly in a museum courtyard with a bunch of senior citizens and listened to people read books."
Here's the Green Beret. You'll note that he's dressed in green and his beret is covered with giant green sequins. I was half expecting someone to be dressed up as James Joyce, but there were no costumes at all. The Green Beret and his wife were the only two who wore anything remotely Irish and festive. He's dancing in this picture, by the way. Like I said, he just kind of looked mad all the time.  
The Sweet Set playing their crappy fake Irish music. They might have really been Irish, I don't know.
And of course while this was all going on we were drinking Guinness. Or I was. And Joe and Bernie were sharing a pint as well. Tania hates the stuff. Earlier in the week I had asked her to pick some up at the store so I could pre-party. "How much of that swill does one really need to have at home?" she said. "If you are really hankering for it, I can pour a flat rootbeer into some cold coffee for you." 
Joe and Bernie started getting trashed on Guinness. I noticed it when they started getting all lovey dovey. "I love you, maaaan." Or, actually, I guess they would say, "Je t'aaaaaime." I was like, "Really?" Apparently they don't drink much.
Speaking of "Really?" this is Tania rolling her eyes at me because I'm taking pictures of French pens in Irish beer.
Paddington Bear was there. Tania noted that Paddington Bear was wearing very expensive Coco Chanel shoes.

The "Aeuolus" chapter takes place in the offices of the Evening Telegraph, a Dublin newspaper. This is a print they had on an easel of the front page of the Evening Telegraph from June 16, 1904. Joyce references ads and whatnot from it often throughout the book.
More like an abode of piss and two jets of hot shit shooting down your pant legs.
When they each started chugging their own pints, that's when things started to get ugly.
Not as ugly as this, though. This is the bathroom off the courtyard. That is an adult diaper on the floor in a large puddle of urine. The image in my head is of an old man with his pants around his ankles and they're flooded to the brim with piss. He fishes the diaper out and then bails his pants with his cupped hands. When I described the scene to Tania she said, "I'm surprised there was only one diaper on the floor. Look at this crowd."
We could see our friend Pearl Hsiung's art on the floor above the Sweet Set playing. 
Me, Joe, and Bernie were pretty drunk when the performance started and, frankly, I was trying to find a way to get out. "No more seats? Oh well, let's go to the bar." It was PACKED. Just then someone offered us two seats in the second row. "Yeah, some old man was saving them for his friends or something, but he hasn't been back." It was the crazy man with the hat above and he had saved dozens of seats all around the auditorium for his imaginary friends. He was bummed that all his seats had been given away. Presumably because his imaginary friends had to sit on the floor? And, yes, that's his luggage in front of the stage with his hat on it. Everything in its right place. Because the chapter they read takes place in a newspaper office, Joyce broke up the narrative with newspaper headlines which get more and more ridiculous as the story unfolds. "K.M.A.," for instance, stands for, "Kiss My Ass." That was the only time the four children in front of us laughed. I actually enjoyed the performance and I will likely go back next year.
Since it was our anniversary, we decided to treat ourselves to a dinner at Bouchon. I know Tania really likes the tiles at Bouchon, but I didn't think I was drunk enough to be taking stupid pictures of tiles.
Bernie was wasted. He was talking all kinds of shit about Thomas Keller, "Fuuuuck Penn and Tellerrrrrr," and then he passed out in my steak.
Tania often uses the "special occasion" button on the reservation system she uses. Which is funny wen she doesn't tell me. "Happy anniversary!" Huh? Oh. I mean, yeah, thank you. Except this time it really was our anniversary. So that free desert is totally deserved. And that's Dullahan the horse. Dullahan was one of the horses in the Triple Crown. Tania thought it sounded like a derogatory term for a stupid person. "That guy's a real Dullahan!" So she's taken to drawing this retarded cross-eyed horse all over the place. She must have used a pen other than Joe or Bernie because those dudes were fucked up. As you'll see in part two of this story.




3 comments:

Austin said...

Fuck I missed this blog. A friend sent me this link today and it combines a couple of things you seem to be interested in (food and poop): http://unclestinky.wordpress.com/2008/01/14/andouillette-french-pig-colon-sausage/
Ever had any experience with this? Would you need to summon Darf to deal with it?

Anonymous said...

Fuck I missed this blog. A friend sent me this link today and it combines a couple of things you seem to be interested in (food and poop): http://unclestinky.wordpress.com/2008/01/14/andouillette-french-pig-colon-sausage/
Ever had any experience with this? Would you need to summon Darf to deal with it?

Anonymous said...

Fuck I missed this blog. A friend sent me this link today and it combines a couple of things you seem to be interested in (food and poop): http://unclestinky.wordpress.com/2008/01/14/andouillette-french-pig-colon-sausage/
Ever had any experience with this? Would you need to summon Darf to deal with it?