|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.)
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|We could see our friend Pearl Hsiung's art on the floor above the Sweet Set playing.|
|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.|