This week

Throughout the world, June 16 is known as Bloomsday, marking the day on which James Joyce’s epic novel “Ulysses” takes place. Portland joins in the celebration, as the Maine Irish Heritage Center and the American Irish Repertory Ensemble have planned Bloomsday Portland events for Tuesday and Wednesday.

“This isn’t an esoteric gathering for Joyce scholars — it’s designed to be accessible to a general audience,” said Susan Reilly of AIRE. “James Joyce was one of the most innovative and influential writers of the 20th century, but many people have stayed away from ‘Ulysses’ because they’ve heard that it’s impossible to understand. We want to show those who might be intimidated by it what a fascinating and very funny work of art this is.”

At 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, AIRE will present its original piece “Ulysses for Beginners” upstairs at Bull Feeney’s Pub, 375 Fore St., Portland. This performance piece, written by AIRE artistic director Tony Reilly, uses scenes, songs, slides and humor to explain the story line of “Ulysses” in one hour.

From 5 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, there will be readings, music, films and refreshments at the Maine Irish Heritage Center, 34 Gray St., Portland.

Short segments from all 18 chapters of the book will be read by writers, actors, professors, and other Joyce enthusiasts. Readers include Portland Mayor Nicholas M. Mavodones Jr.; newscaster Pat Callaghan; writer and DJ Chuck Igo; Megan Grumbling, poet and theater critic; musician Julia Lane of the Celtic duo Castlebay, who will also play at the event; storyteller Lynne Cullen; poet and actor Nate Amadon; professors Bud McGrath, Tom Power and Bill Steele of the University of Southern Maine’s English department; Bob Lyons, lecturer in Irish literature at USM’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute; Brendan McVeigh, president of the Irish American Club; and actors David Butler, Maureen Butler, Janet Lynch, Christine Marshall and Mark Rubin. 

At 8 p.m. Friday at the Camden Opera House, the midcoast orchestra Maine Pro Musica will perform a program of music by Gioachino Rossini, Gabriel Faure, Camille Saint-Saens and Franz Schubert.

The orchestra is under the direction of Janna Hymes, and cellist Marc Johnson will join the musicians for the Saint-Saens Cello Concerto.

Johnson, an award-winning cellist, is best known as a member of the Vermeer Quartet.

Tickets cost $25 or $30 for adults, and $8 for children 12 and younger, and can be purchased at or by calling 470-7066.


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