“St. Patrick’s Day is more of a drinking holiday than anything else,” confesses Irish performer/ raconteur Chris Sullivan, who will bring his Irish “hooley” (party) complete with songs, poems, stories and limericks, to the Santa Monica Playhouse this St. Patrick’s Day Thursday, March 17th.
Though Sullivan’s performance will be more theater and song than pub fare, a number of local Irish pubs have special parties and events tailored around the “day of drinking.”
A BIT OF IRISH — “A Bit of Irish with Chris Sullivan,” the title of Sullivan’s St. Patrick’s Day one-man variety show, is taken from a common insult that the English direct at the Irish.
“When something’s not logical, the English say ‘Ahhh, that’s a bit of Irish,’ which means it’s nonsense,” Sullivan explains.
“But that’s okay,” says Sullivan. “We make fun of them making fun of us.”
Sullivan says that, contrary to what many believe, St. Patrick’s Day has traditionally been bigger in the United States than it was in Ireland, its popularity stemming from Irish immigrants celebrating their culture.
“Until a few years ago, it was never as popular over there as it was here,” says Sullivan. “But by this point, it has been commercialized and is a pretty big celebration in Ireland and England.”
Sullivan’s performance will take place at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 17th, at the Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 Fourth St., Santa Monica. Admission is $10 to $15.
In his performance, Sullivan says that theater-goers can expect to hear authentic Irish songs that they would not be likely to hear in the United States, songs such as “Rare Old Times” and “Finnegan’s Wake,” a song title spun from the James Joyce novel Finnegans Wake.
Sullivan has recently stopped using James Joyce material in his performances due to rights being difficult to obtain, he says, but he still uses material from Irish poet W.B. Yeats and other Irish literary figures.
Information, (310) 394-9779 ext. 1.
BRENNAN’S IRISH PUB — It isn’t enough that Brennan’s Irish Pub will open at 5:30 a.m. and get the pre-breakfast cocktails flowing on St. Patrick’s Day, but the pub has also planned a St. Patrick’s Day warm-up, for the evening of Tuesday, March 15th. The pre-St. Patrick’s Day bash will feature Brennan’s signature turtle racing spectacle, green beer, corned beef and cabbage and a performance by the Beatles tribute band Forever Fab. Admission is free.
Along with the corned beef and cabbage, green beer and Irish coffee, on St. Patrick’s Day itself, Brennan’s will feature an all-day lineup of rock and Irish music performances.
The day’s music includes the Malarkey Brothers at 8 a.m.; Celtic instrumental music with Blues Skies at 11 a.m.; Irish rock with The Lads at 1 p.m.; jam and rock/folk covers with Cowspace at 2 p.m. on an outdoor stage; rock covers with The Mandrakes at 5 p.m.; and Irish music with The Praties on the outdoor stage at 7 p.m.
A bagpiper will fill the air with traditional Irish tunes between bands.
Admission is $10 or free for those who show up before 2 p.m.
Information, (310) 821-6622.
FINN McCOOL’S — Open Irish music jams are held at 4 p.m. Sundays and 8 p.m. Tuesdays at Finn McCool’s, 2700 Main St., Santa Monica. The jams, which feature guest musicians and regulars, are a way to get in touch with the songs of Ireland as St. Patrick’s Day nears. The pub will hold an Irish music brunch on St. Patrick’s Day and will feature a DJ and dancing that night. Admission is free.
Information, (310) 452-1734.
PRINCE O’WHALES — Prince O’Whales will open its doors two hours earlier than normal at 9 a.m. on St. Patrick’s Day, to begin serving Guiness and green beer. St. Patrick’s Day entertainment includes singer/songwriter Stephen Lage, beginning at 8 p.m., playing “Irish songs, silly songs and requests.”
Prince O’Whales is located at 335 Culver Blvd., Playa del Rey. Admission is free.
Information, (310) 823-9826.