Nearly a century ago, Irish author James Joyce penned what would become a classic of modernist literature in Ulysses. So much so that an unofficial holiday would be spawned in honor of the novel's endearing protagonist, Leopold Bloom. Bloom, who is sort of a refitted Odysseyus (the protagonist from Homer's epic poem) possesses such a great deal of pathos that Joyce fans the world over have dedicated June 16 as a day of remembrance for the literary character. From Dublin to Des Moines, Joyce fans will gather to reflect on Bloom's peregrinations and encounters, drain a few pints and -- if tongues get loose enough -- dust off a few of the infamous “dirty letters” that Joyce wrote to his wife, Nora Barnacle, the contents of which are as delightfully lewd as they are crude.
Phoenix's Irish Cultural Center, 1106 North Central Avenue, will commemorate Bloomsday with its 8th Annual Bloomin' Beerfest at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 14. Tickets start at $10. Visit www.azirish.org or call 602-258-0109 for details.