Skip navigation

The Tradition Continues…

THE BLOOMSDAY GAZETTE — It was 16 years ago on another June 16 that a group of puzzled participants first celebrated Bloomsday at the used book store of the same name in Brookside with a 24-hour reading of ULYSSES.  In addition, that midnight, Sylvia Stoner, fresh from Skidmore College, directed the first staged reading in K.C. of Professor Opitz’s play.

The early readers were an enthusiastic crew of volunteers who struggled with the words and blushed mightily at the content.  Despite widely varying degrees of talent, it was a huge success.  Gradually over the years, the enthusiastic amateurs have given way to some of our region’s finest professional performers.

A  special thanks this year goes to Kip Niven for assembling the wonderful cast, to Nancy Wormington and Renata Rea, executor director and assistant director of the Irish Center, and to the Kansas City Irish volunteers and barflies who never fail to show when needed.

— Tom & Nancy Shawver, Bloomsday Books

The Day’s Events

•9 a.m. Marathon Reading of Ulysses, includes traditional Irish breakfast
•4 p.m. Joyce to the World, documentary of the 100th Bloomsday celebration
•5:30 p.m. Bridget Driscoll Dancers with live traditional Irish music
•7 p.m. The play Bloomsday: Dublin, June 16

Admission, beer and refreshments are free, but donations to the Irish Center are appreciated.


More information about Bloomsday, Joyce and all manner of Irish bawdery below the break.


The 20th century has begun and Dublin, ancient city of noble buildings and ignoble slums, awaits you. It is a wanton place, a soldier’s paradise hosting the largest military garrison in the world with a multitude of brothels to serve the soldiery.

It is also a musical city where all ages talk knowledgeably of opera and musical plays. The city’s census shows 223 female and 169 male music teachers.

It is the setting of James Joyce’s masterwork, Ulysses. It is the day on which the protagonist, Leopold Bloom, journeys throughout the city, visiting Davy Byrnes’ pub, Bella Cohen’s bordello and Molly Bloom’s bedroom, just to name a few.

Welcome to the annual celebration of Bloomsday, presented by the Kansas City Irish Center.

What’s Bloomsday? The protagonist and hero of Ulysses is Leopold Bloom.  The entire book takes place on one day – June 16, 1904.  Joyce celebrated it each year as one would a birthday.

What’s the book about? It’s modeled after Homer’s epic The Odyssey, a tale of journeys, circuitous routes through dangerous areas, filled with treachery and bravery, ultimately a celebration of humanity.
Why is it considered one of the great works of modern literature?  James Joyce introduces the concept of stream of consciousness to capture the inner monologue of thoughts and juxtaposed it with the actions of one man in a single day. He used it to paint a vivid portrait of Dublin, showing the politics and issues of the time, and the enduring human condition.

The novel experimented with use of puns and parodies, witty phrasings and unique spellings – it was meant to be read aloud, to be savored in the mouth and ears!

– What’s all the fuss about a book? The book was censored on charges of  immorality and obscenity when it was published. It has been much scrutinized in scholarly circles as academics and literature lovers continue to mine its rich layers of allusion, puzzles and enigmas.

In 1999, the Modern Library ranked Ulysses as No. 1 on its list of the Top 100 English-language novels of the 20th Century.

Special Thanks to the The Bloomsday Gazette (above excerpted).  Written by Tom & Nancy Shawver over at Bloomsday Books

%d bloggers like this: