public domain image

Revolutionary Joyce Better Contrast / Joyce in Zurich c. 1918 – Public Domain Image (WikiMedia Commons) – CLICK TO ENLARGE

Today’s broadcast of “The Freak Power Ticket” (Monday, June 22nd) kicks off the music-and-cultural arts program’s new summer time slot, from 11am-1pm, with a two-hour meditation on connections between Irish author and poet James Joyce and Harlem Renaissance writer Ralph Ellison, Joyce’s modernist epic Ulysses and Ellison’s National Book Award-winning novel Invisible Man.

The week just past also marked two cultural celebrations.

For many, June 16th has come to be known as “Bloomsday.” Derived from the name of Leopold Bloom, the protagonist of James Joyce‘s novel Ulysses, Bloomsday celebrates the life of the iconoclastic writer, and fans around the world also enact and discuss the events of his complex narrative.

June 19th, on the other hand, is referred to by many as the portmanteau word Juneteenth (or Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day). Juneteenth is a holiday that commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in the U.S. state of Texas in June 1865, and more generally the emancipation of black slaves throughout the Confederate South. Juneteenth is also the name of Ralph Ellison’s posthumous second novel.

"Ralph Ellison photo portrait seated" by United States Information Agency staff photographer - Low-resolution version available through the Library of Congress at http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/wpaintro/intro12.html. The image is originally from NARA (reference number 306-PSA-61-8989).. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Ralph Ellison photo portrait seated” by U.S. Information Agency staff photographer – Low-res. version available through the Library of Congress HERE . The image is originally from NARA (reference number 306-PSA-61-8989). Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Producer / host Ted Coe says, “Last week’s horrifying terrorist attack at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina prompted me to adjust my plans for a second-annual Bloomsday celebration on ‘The Freak Power Ticket.’

Wanting to protest what appears to me to be an epidemic of racist violence throughout the United States, I chewed on how to accomplish that on the air. Juneteenth bookended the week of Bloomsday, and Ellison’s artistically- and even politically-radical classic began to seem a compelling vehicle to consider. Invisible Man even directly references Joyce’s influence.

I’ve enjoyed creating a playlist inspired by those titles, and am excited to share it with our listening audience.”

Hear: • audio samples and original period music associated with Ellison and Joyce • adapted songs and dramatic excerpts • contemporary music and creative works that also pay tribute to both • running commentary • other songs selected to honor the spirits of these literary masterpieces.

“The Freak Power Ticket” airs on Mondays in the Spring from 11am-1pm PDT.