June 23, 2006

May All Your Sons Be Bishops

The best part of the 2006 Bloomsday reading at The Cliff Dwellers Club overlooking Grant Park and Lake Michigan in downtown Chicago was the show after the show: Rory Childers, at the post-reading dinner, lifting a glass or two of wine while regaling his tablemates with stories of the great, late Brendan Behan.

Every year, Steve Diedrich does a yeoman's job of organizing the reading. Eric Best opened this year's June 16 event with a selection from the Telemachus portion of James Joyce's masterwork, "Ulysses." The writer Kevin Grandfield performed Proteus from memory and Irish Counsel General Charles Sheehan pitched in with a portion of Aeolus. Steve himself performed from the Circe section, Pat McCaughy performed the catechism portion from Ithaca and I had the pleasure of performing some of Calypso. Robert Reidy did another masterful reading of Hades, Claudia Traudt brought the fireworks to life for Gerty McDowell and, at the end of the show, the wonderfully talented Mary Nell Murphy brought more than one audience member to tears with Molly's Yes.

During the formal reading, Dr. Childers performed Bloom and Stephen from the Ithaca section; but, at dinner, the good doctor had us roaring with laughter at recollections of Brendan Behan. These were good, Irish laughs, too: hilarity and sorrow poured together and stirred well. Yes.


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