June 15, 2008


Dublin’s James Joyce Centre has declared its favourite venue for the world’s annual Bloomsday celebrations is in Auckland – the grubbily-named Dogs Bollix pub, Newton gully, just off Karangahape Rd.

Ten years ago Auckland’s one-day-a-year James Joyce Performing Group pioneered the Elizabethan-shaped Dogs Bollix as a pub theatre.

Subsequently there have been Irish plays and Shakespearian productions adorning it.

But Monday, June 16, it returns to Bloomsday.

Bloomsday is the day literature lovers everywhere celebrate James Joyce’s comic Irish masterpiece ULYSSES.

Acclaimed as one of the greatest modernist novels of last century, ULYSSES is set during the hours of one day, June 16, 1904, and records the mock-heroic odyssey round Dublin city of Leopold Bloom, wandering Jew. Its frank depiction of sexuality, particularly female sexuality, saw it banned in its author’s land of birth, with the DUBLIN SUNDAY EXPRESS providing a fairly typical reaction: "The obscenity of Rabelais is innocent compared with the leprous and scabrous horrors of Joyce’s book. All the secret sewers of vice are canalised in its flood of unimaginable thoughts, images and pornographic words." The market had the last say: a signed first edition will now set you back half-a-million dollars.

On Monday June 16, in a one-night-only show, Dublin actor Brian Keegan will be reading from the Good Book, Lin Lorkin and the Jews Brothers band will be providing an appropriate klezmer musical setting aided by mezzo soprano Yuko Takahashi, and Auckland’s Michael Morrissey — who brilliantly starred in THE HOLLOW MEN at the Maidment — will be appearing in a range of terrifying roles, including a trans-gender brothel madame who fiendishly transmogrifies into the Prime Minister herself.

"And, lo, there came about them all a great brightness and they beheld the chariot wherein He stood descend from heaven. And they beheld Him in the chariot, clothed in the glory of the brightness, having raiment as of the sun, fair as the moon and terrible that for awe they durst not look upon Him! And there came a voice out of heaven, calling: Elijah! Elijah! And he answered with a main cry: Abba! Adonai! And it was Him, Mr Leopold Bloom, of 7 Eccles St, Dublin, right by the Mater Hospital and just off Lower Dorset Street down by the wharves, and he was descending in his raiment and glory to a South Pacific public house called the Dogs Bollix which sat snugly next to the one street that defies the city council’s attempts to turn Auckland into a world-class city – Karangahape Road!"

Bloomsday, Dogs Bollix pub, just off Karangahape Rd, starting at 8pm. The only Hiberno-yiddisher Bloomsday in the known world!

For James Joyce himself reading from Finnegans Wake:

Share on social