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Bloomsday celebration in New Orleans 

This year marks the 101st anniversary of a Thursday in the life of Leopold Bloom, the fictional anti-hero in James Joyce's celebrated novel, Ulysses. On June 16, 1904, Bloom, an Irish Jew, wandered the streets of his hometown of Dublin in a fog of personal crisis and, since 1922, readers have been challenged to trace his journey through an innovative fog of language. Worldwide celebrations occur every year on Bloomsday, commemorating both novel and author, but this year's date falls on Thursday, the same day as Bloom's original journey. (Incidentally, Joyce chose June 16, 1904, as the date for his novel as a tribute to Nora Barnacle, the love of his life, whom he began courting on that exact date.) In New Orleans, O'Flaherty's serves as Bloomsday central, celebrating the event with readings of the novel by Jason Berry, John Biguenet, Andy Fox and Patty Friedman, a presentation by Tulane English professor Vincent Sherry, a literary trivia contest, Irish music by Danny O'Flaherty, a "Bloomsday Idol" open-mic competition (in which participants present dramatic interpretations of the novel and are judged by a panel), specialty drinks (pints of Guinness and Harp will be available all day for $3), and a special appearance by John Joyce, a Tulane professor and relative of James Joyce. To compete in "Bloomsday Idol," contact Deb Wehmeier or Ted O'Brien at Garden District Books (895-2266). Costumes and teams are encouraged. Trivia contestants may sign up at the event. The New Orleans Bloomsday celebration is sponsored by the New Orleans Gulf South Booksellers Association, O'Flaherty's Pub and Guinness. Free admission.

7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, June 16
O'Flaherty's Irish Channel Centre & Pub, 514 Toulouse St., 529-1317

click to enlarge HAROLD BAQUET
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