Thursday, June 15, 2006

Take a Seat in the Delancey Street Living Room and Celebrate Bloomsday

Every year on June 16, the Rosenbach Museum closes off the 2000 block of Delancey ( between 20th and 21st) to celebrate James Joyce's modernist classic, Ulysses, and the street turns into a genteel urban living room. I can't think of a better way to spend a warm summer afternoon in Philadelphia (especially a Friday!) than slouching in a white garden chair under Delancey Street's canopy of London Plane trees, and listening to Joyce's lyrical sentences float through the air. The account of Leopold Bloom's walk through Dublin on June 16, 1904 is read by a selection of pols, writers, artists, and various local celebrities between noon and 7 p.m.
Joyce's novel is, among other things, a celebration of the intricate personal and physical connections that are forged in urban places. The setting of the book is Dublin, but it could have just as easily been Philadelphia. As someone who has lived in both places, I've always marveled at how much they have in common - small brick houses, provincial outlooks and incestuous politics. Delancey Street is the perfect spot to channel Dublin, and a completely different way to experience Philadelphia. The facades of Philadelphia's grandest Quaker mansions are transformed into the walls of a cozy parlor. Everyone becomes a neighbor. There is great music from the period . And you get to see grown men walking around in suspenders and silly straw boaters.

2 Comments:

Blogger Stephen Lauf said...

Now compare 16 June in Philadelphia with 15 June in Philadelphia.

1:08 PM  
Blogger normajean said...

Bloomsday is also a great opportunity to visit the Rosenbach Museum & Library- one of the many, wonderful institutions in Philadelphia that help make this a truly unique and interesting city.

2:56 PM  

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