Tomorrow in the Twitterverse

August 14th, 2012

I don’t know how many of you have been following the very cool Modernist Versions Project’s “Year of Ulysses” but, obviously, we’re pretty excited about it. So much so that Josh worked up this jazzy new “ineluctable” image to show our support. Moreover, it’s got me stepping away from the studio for the day tomorrow to talk about how the comic is going, some of the difficulties of the process and some of the reasons why Joyce is so damn fun to draw. I’ll be doing one of their twitter chats tomorrow, Wednesday, August 15th, beginning about 2PM EST and going, well, as long as it goes (twitter is like that, you know; 140 characters at-a-time is a fun way to talk.)

There will be a blog post going up on their site as well that will show off some of the new “Lotus Eaters” pages Josh and I have been so diligently working on since Bloomsday. Oh, and we’ll have some news about big changes looming for this very website (yes, we’ve been busy on that front as well).

So follow us tomorrow on twitter @ulyssesseen or through the hashtag #yearofulysses. And bring your best 140character questions. I’ll defend decisions I’ve made, waffle on positions I’m unsure of, and give you plenty of fresh links to think about while all the time happy to get out of the studio and hear some feedback for the day.

-Rob

Ulysses “Seen” Original Art at The James Joyce Centre

July 24th, 2012

Dublin, Ireland — 23 Jul. 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The James Joyce Centre is delighted to present an exhibition of original drawings by illustrator Rob Berry from the ‘Ulysses “Seen”’ project, an adaptation of Joyce’s Ulysses. The work will be on display at the Centre until Thursday 20th December 2012.

This exhibition is made possible through the continued support of the James Joyce Centre by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and marks the beginning of an important transatlantic collaboration between the team behind ‘Ulysses “Seen”’ and the Centre.

‘Ulysses “Seen”’ is a web based comic adaptation of Joyce’s masterpiece, developed with the aim of reinvigorating an appreciation for a work which has established a reputation for inaccessibility. The project offers itself as a unique companion piece to the novel, transposing the subtlety and humour of the book into a comic narrative form which will be familiar to 21st Century readers. The result is what the Huffington Post has called a “breathtaking adaptation”.

Mark Traynor, manager of the Centre, says: “The Centre has long admired ‘Ulysses “Seen”’ and this is precisely the sort of work that we want to show to the public. Without dumbing down the novel, Rob Berry’s drawings cut through the academic gobbledygook that turns off so many readers and refocuses on what makes the book great: its playfulness, humanity, and extraordinary ordinariness.”

“By the same token,” he says, “it also appeals to the sort of reader Joyce would have loved: someone willing to embrace new forms, someone comfortable with popular culture, and above all someone with a sense of humour and imagination.”

See www.jamesjoyce.ie for further details.

For additional information, pictures or interviews please contact Mark Traynor at (00353)-1-8788547 or mark@jamesjoyce.ie.

It is true. I’m finally going to Dublin.

June 11th, 2012

True, there hasn’t been much info about it here. In fact the blog seems rather, well, quiet for the week before Bloomsday, doesn’t it? I mean there must be new pages coming out soon, right? There must be new events from Bloomsday the world over that you, as subscribers, are interested in hearing about, aren’t there? And what about a print version of the comic? Or some more t-shirts or pint glasses?

Yes, all of that’s true and in the works as well. We’ve been really busy on putting together those pages and keeping on top of new developments. But this Dublin trip, long over due, came as something of a surprise and we’ve been too busy getting ready for it to bring any of you up to speed. My apologies. But don’t worry we’ll have plenty to talk about all week long, I promise.

For those of you who will be in Dublin this this Bloomsday, c’mon down to The Bailey (original home for Bloomsday, by the way) and say hello. Mark Traynor, our friend at the James Joyce Centre, has been welcoming me to the town and helped make all the arrangements for this informal exhibit with the good folks at The Bailey. We’ll have original art from the comic as well as posters to sell, but I’ll also be using it as a sort of beachhead for my forays into Dublin. I’ve got a lot to see if I’m going to do this comic rightly, so I’m happy to meet any Joycefans who want to bend my ear and send my feet and eyes of in the right direction of reference material. Or just share a pint.

-Rob

Getting ready for BloomsDay?

June 6th, 2012

Looking to get your Joyce fix before Bloomsday? Hoping you can slip a bit more easily in to the deep waters of modernist literature and, maybe, get a few really good bellylaughs along the way? Well, Tom Stoppard and some of the very talented folk at Plays&Players here in Philadelphia have got you covered. And, believe me, this will get you ready, happily, joyfully ready for all the lifeaffirming comedy Joyce’s work can bring.

Plays&Players is presenting Tom Stoppard’s TRAVESTIES, a fantastical romp through the art culture of Zurich during World War One when Joyce, Vladmir Lenin and DaDa poet Tristan Tzara may, or may not,  have met. In typical Stoppard fashion it gives you a wild, frenetical glimpse at how art, literature and politics all intersect. Sure, you may leave the theatre wishing you read more, but that’s just typical Stoppard as well. Don’t worry. No one is going to check your library card when you come in, but I guarantee  you’ll be looking to use it a lot more once you leave.

But, to make things a bit easier still, Plays&Players has schedule some great supplementary and educational “talkbacks” with the cast and some guest speakers after some of the performances:

JUNE 8

“Talking Stoppard and Joyce”

Join us for a pre-show happy hour at our Quig’s Pub, from 6:30-7:30pm on Friday, June 8 for an informal conversation about the work of Tom Stoppard and James Joyce with Professor Janine Utell of Widener University, author of James Joyce and the Revolt of Love: Marriage, Adultery, Desire.  Read more. (many of you will know Janine from her  fantastic Readers’ Guide to the “Calypso” chapter on this website.)

JUNE 10
“Meet-the-cast talkback with a guest star!”
The cast and creative team of Travesties join Professor Joseph J. Feeney for a talkback immediately following the show, to talk about the work of James Joyce, Tom Stoppard, and to answer questions about the production. Read more.
JUNE 15
“Bloomers on the Limmat”
Join us for a pre-show happy hour at our Quig’s Pub, from 6:30pm-7:30pm on Friday, June 15, with Professor Jean-Michel Rabaté of the University of Pennsylvania, as he discusses the reality behind the imagination of Tom Stoppard in Travesties, transporting us to 1917 as privileged witnesses to the radically modern, a time when Vladimir Lenin, James Joyce, and Tristan Tzara were busy changing the world of art and politics. Read more.
JUNE 17

“Meet-the-cast talkback with a guest star!”
The cast and creative team of Travesties join Professor Elizabeth Mannion of Temple University for a talkback immediately following the show, to talk about the work of James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, and to answer questions about the production. Read more.
As you may’ve guessed by now, I did the poster for this production you see above and most of the drawings used on stage. This means I’ve had a chance to see the rehearsals of this really difficult play and can tell you that I’m really excited by what thew cast and director Candace Cihocki are doing. Can’t suggest it highly enough and, well, I’m a bit of a tough audience for Joyce-related theatre by now!
Hope you’ll join us for this glimpse into the modern age and the wartime lightheartedness that only real men of genius are granted the time for. Heavy politics and art? Maybe. But the deeper question is, “what has any of that got to do with life and love and memory?”
Hope to see you there,
-Rob

What you should do while you’re waiting for Bloomsday

May 7th, 2012

Hello and welcome back!

If you’re a regular subscriber  on on our facebook or twitter feeds you may know that I and the original pages from the comic will be in Dublin for the first time this BloomsDay.

(Yes. I will be in Dublin for the first time. Yes. My wife as well. Anyone no where to buy a good seedcake?)

You may’ve therefore heard that there will be new pages of the coming “Nestor/Lotus Eaters” chapter going online for the holiday… but I’m not allowed to tell you where yet.

Today’s news isn’t about the comic, however. Today it’s about telling you all how I and my partners at Throwaway Horse are getting behind the folks at Boston College who are developing an smart-phone based walking tour of Dublin with ULYSSES as the key. It’s called JoyceWalk and it looks fantastic.

Professor Nugent and his students have created a tour of the town that accesses the paths of Stephen and Mr Bloom and gives you all of the relevant spots, the deeper histories, the most significant monuments and the truly outstanding pubs, complete with related images and quotes, all in time for my first-time visit to dirty, dirty Dublin. Now we need to help him out a bit so we can get it on our phones by Bloomsday.

The tech has been designed and the content work is done, but there hoping for a little kickstarter push to get code written and submitted in time. As someone who’s dealt with this before… I feel the worry.

So I’m sending out this call for help to all of you who have helped us so much before. Making this novel more accessible relies strongly on making people see how Mr Joyce’s love and humor is still part of our everyday experience and that his Dublin and our own modern cities are not so very far apart. Bringing that idea to a new audience means meeting them, intelligently and calmly, in the forum digital application, something I believe Joyce would’ve loved.

I’m committing new drawings and original art from the comic as rewards to this wonderful kickstarter drive and I’m hoping all of you who have supported us in the past will send the love to Professor Nugent and his students. You can receive original drawings from my Dubliners sketchbook there for a donation of just $35. There will also be pages of original art from our “Calypso” chapter offered there for a $300 dollar pledge of support.

I really, really would like to see this project make it. As a Joycehead like yourselves, I really want someone to just say, “hey, sure it’s hard to understand. But if you bring it up on your phone there then I think we can give you a little glimmer of just why you’ll want to read it.”

Thanks so much and standby for further updates as Bloomsday draws nearer,

-Rob