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ASK AMAZON ALEXA TO PLAY “BEDTIME STORIES”. SUBSCRIBE AND GET 42 ODDS BODKIN AUDIO STORIES

Back when Odds Bodkin was creating his folktales and fairy tales collections for young children, he first issued them on cassettes. As an audio technology, they were soon replaced by CDs. Next came digital downloads, mp3s and other formats, where the audio music business still exists today in the streaming world.

Odds Bodkin’s early recordings are now available on Amazon Alexa. Just ask her to open “Bedtime Stories”, buy a subscription (it’s not much) and find a treasure trove of child-safe stories, all told with characters and live music.

Just ask for an Odds Bodkin story.

What will Alexa choose?

 

 

 

PROFESSOR REVIEWS ODDS BODKIN’S UNIVERSITY SHOW ON ZOOM

Joseph Walsh is the current Chair of Classics and Co-Director of the Honors Program at Loyola University Maryland. On September 10, 2020, storyteller Odds Bodkin and Walsh tried an experiment: since the university went completely virtual for Fall, would Bodkin’s annual Classics performance of The Iliad or The Odyssey work on Zoom?

Here is Walsh’s review:

“Odds Bodkin has been thrilling our students every Fall for years now with his live performances, and this year’s zoom performance of Iliad Book 1 was every bit as successful. We have gotten a good deal of feedback from the attendees, and it indicates that they were mesmerized, as usual.  Indeed, several students who had seen Odds perform in the past – and he has fans who come back every year – considered it even better.  They loved the fact that they could see his face up close, watch his fingers dance across his guitar and harp, and they thought not a bit of the usual intensity and beauty of his performance was lost.  I agree.  It was just terrific.  Several students said they broke out into applause at the end, even though they knew Odds could not hear them, and a few even said they gave him a standing ovation, though they knew he could not see them.  They were just carried away, as was I.  We were a bit apprehensive about having a zoom performance, but our apprehensions were completely unfounded.  Great performance, as usual, and every bit as impactful.  And it transported our students, who are studying remotely and feeling confined and disappointed with the current circumstances, beyond their homes, beyond these times, and beyond this world.”


Bodkin’s next Zoom performance is yet another of his renowned tellings of Greek myths. Hercules in Hell comes online live on Sunday, Oct. 18 at 5 pm EST. Buy a ticket, get your Zoom invitation, and settle in for an epic imaginative experience.

SNOUT OF THE CAVE BEAR

In Joseph Campbell’s The Masks of God: Primitive Mythology, he recounts how deep in a European cave, a strange ritual display was discovered. It had lain untouched for thirty thousand years. A Cave Bear’s skull with femurs jutting from the eye sockets, stood on a stone table. The scene resembled a shrine. Archeologists and anthropologists believe it reflects an ancient religion, a Cult of the Cave Bear.

Which makes sense, considering that in order to set up shop in an Ice Age cave, Neandertals often had to deal with a resident bear. Either drive it out, or kill it. When they reared up, Cave Bears stood eleven feet tall. Big ones weighed 2,200 pounds. In the Chauvet cave in southern France, 190 such skulls have been found, many placed on those flat stone tables by ancient hands.

So I was excited to read that a fully preserved Pleistocene Cave Bear, complete with fur and flesh, teeth and lips, was just discovered by Siberian deer herders. Its snout and head juts from the melting permafrost.

To be so well preserved, its death must have been sudden. Perhaps a flood of silt-laden water that completely buried it all at once, and then a weather change that froze it solid.

It’s a fantastic find for biologists. Even its internal organs are intact. The only downside is why it was revealed. The permafrost is melting so fast, its head didn’t even have a chance to decompose.

An Endangered Tradition Makes the Leap to ZOOM

It’s been thirteen years since Martha Taylor, Chair of Classics at Loyola University Maryland, first invited me to perform The Iliad or The Odyssey live before her audience of Classics and Honors students. Every September since then, I’ve journeyed to Baltimore, stayed with my sister Lindsay at her place outside the city, and then gone to campus for one of the two shows. Afterwards, Martha and Joe Walsh, another amazing Classics professor, would always take me out for some fine dining.

Then came Covid and the university went totally remote for the fall semester. No students on campus. Everybody on Zoom. As with so many traditions, here was another one endangered by the virus. I though for sure it was over.

But guess what? Last night, with my excellent Zoom producer Gavin Bodkin and event techs from Loyola co-coordinating, I performed The Iliad: Book I live at 7 pm. It worked! A hundred and twenty-nine students logged on and they all stayed at their screens for the entire telling. We followed with a live Q&A, and all but three stayed for that. They even typed in their questions, lots of them, about the music and character voices, and I answered onscreen, explaining how it was done. It was a solid hour and lots of fun.

No fine dining this year, but the show went on.

The art was made.

I am pleased as punch.


My next ZOOM concert is THE ODYSSEY: BELLY OF THE BEAST sponsored by Grendel’s Den in Cambridge MA.

Sunday Sept. 20th at 5 pm EST.

Tickets: $15 per screen

 

 

 

 

 

 

BACK TO SCHOOL AT HOME? BUY YOUR FAMILY AN EPIC DRIVE

Literature. Music. Performing Arts. English Language Learning.

They all can be found listening to Odds Bodkin’s award-winning

stories.

“I’m so thrilled to have found your website and eagerly await reconnecting with your peerless storytelling.

Some thirty years ago I lived in New Hampshire, where my two young sons and I frequently caught your act. Cassette recordings also entertained us on our twice annual car treks to visit family in Ohio.

Now the boys are grown and living on opposite coasts while their parents have settled in Kentucky. Anticipating grandchildren and, thanks to the pandemic, more long drives to visit family, I went in search of an old favorite road companion. It feels like going home.

Thanks for all you do.”

–A Recent Customer

If your children or grandchildren are heading back to school by staying at home this fall, get yourself an EPIC DRIVE with 18 full-length storytelling albums. From gentle nature stories to mythic adventures, they’re all told with characters, sounds and live acoustic music.

Click to read about the national media awards.

Find Odds Bodkin’s stories on Amazon Alexa.

WHO WAS HOMER?

Some say Homer was a sightless genius like John Milton. Milton dictated his three massive poems—The Divine Comedy—to an amanuensis who wrote them down. Homer, however, performed his poems, The Iliad and The Odyssey, aloud and before live audiences. Scholars guess that Homer used character voices and lyre music during his shows to bring his tales to life. He lived in Ancient Greece circa 700 B.C.

While The Iliad is filled with horrifyingly vivid descriptions of battlefield carnage and details about what swords and spears can do to a human body, The Odyssey is more of a fantastical adventure. It features monsters, cannibals, enchantresses, drugged out Lotus Eaters and many-headed dragons. Much of it takes place out on the open sea as Odysseus wanders from island to island across the Mediterranean. Here, as his fleet is slowly destroyed and all his friends are killed, he becomes the last man standing after ten years of woe. Only he returns to his island of Ithaca alive.

Even then, things aren’t easy. He’s been gone twenty years and the sons of Ithaca have grown into rowdy, fatherless men.

It must have taken Homer many nights to recite his monumental works in their entirety. At some point scribes set down his famous words and what was until that point oral literature held in one man’s mind became written literature for the ages. The two epics have been translated into English, and I used Robert Fitzgerald’s version to map out the best of Odysseus’s adventures for modern listeners.

I’ll be performing my intro to the tale, THE ODYSSEY: BELLY OF THE BEAST in about a month, on ZOOM. The 70-minute show is sponsored by Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA. Tickets are $15. The date is Sunday, Sept. 20th at 7 pm EST.

Years ago, when I performed it at Dartmouth College, a professor wrote that my version is the closest thing we have to a Homeric performance.

This is the second in my three-part Greek myths for adults series on ZOOM. If you want to see what a Greek myth like this looks and sounds like, you’re welcome to listen to FALL OF THE TITANS, here on YouTube. I told this tale a couple of weeks ago.

SCHOOLS, UNIVERSITIES AND CLUBS MOVING TO ZOOM SHOWS WITH ODDS BODKIN

With all the uncertainly surrounding school openings, Loyola University Maryland has decided to go completely remote. Students won’t be on campus, but to preserve a twelve-year Odds Bodkin September tradition, the Department of Classics has chosen to invite Odds once again, only this time via ZOOM. The performance: THE ILIAD: BOOK I.

Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square, a location in Boston where Odds has regaled adult ticketed audiences for years, wants to preserve the magic. The two shows coming up on ZOOM sponsored by Grendel’s? THE ODYSSEY: BELLY OF THE BEAST on September 20th and HERCULES IN HELL on October 18th.

Simonds School in Warner, New Hampshire had to postpone a 2-day GOLDEN RULE: WORLD STORIES ABOUT EMPATHY residency for K-2 and 3-5 last spring with Odds. But with an HD video and sound ZOOM studio, he’ll be visiting the school anyway. Two performances on full-screen, followed by interactive workshops with the students will take place on September 21st and 22nd.

Yes, there’s a pandemic. Crowds of listeners crammed into big rooms, especially crowds of kids, are problematic these days.

But Odds’ brand of performing arts—always a complete one–man show—doesn’t require a troop of actors onstage, sets or backup musicians. Odds provides all that in his musical storytelling shows. Even Classics and Honors students and their professors at Loyola know that.

If your kids or grandkids go to a school, give them live Odds Bodkin stories by suggesting programs to teachers and principals. Every seat is a front row experience.

To find out more, go here.

ALEXA, PLAY ODDS BODKIN!

“Alexa, open Bedtime Stories.”

That’s all you have to say to your Amazon Alexa to open a trove of Odds Bodkin’s audio stories for kids. The Evergreens. The Teacup Fairy. The Little Proto Trilogy of dinosaur adventures. The Elf of Springtime. The Rock n’ Roll Three Little Pigs. 38 stories in all, each told with beautiful music, wild characters and amazing vocal effects.

Yes, Odds Bodkin’s ancient craft is now available on the most high-tech of platforms. Parents’ Choice Awards. Indie Awards. Storytelling World Awards. The Dove Award. The Golden Headset Award. These timeless tales have won them all.

Of course, you don’t have to rely on Alexa when you own these stories, plus The Odyssey, Beowulf and Bodkin’s other tales for adults and teens. Just purchase an EPIC DRIVE, the complete collection of Odds Bodkin’s audio works.

Happy listening!

GRIEF COUNSELING AND GREEK MYTHS

“I’ve been working with using myths in grief counseling,” she said, “and I was wondering if you know of any Greek myths that might help.”

She was young, seated next to her husband or perhaps boyfriend on a couch in their home. I didn’t know her. She could be anywhere on Earth. I’d just finished telling FALL OF THE TITANS, and she was one of the folks who’d bought a Zoom ticket. This was the Q&A, done live, a new feature.

I scrambled around in my mind and recalled facts from Greek mythology I’d used to explain how the ancient Greeks viewed death. The greatest of warriors went to the Elysian Fields while demigods like Hercules went to Mount Olympus, but these cases were exceedingly rare.

“The Greeks didn’t really have a Hell,” I began. “You know, a place of punishment if you’d been bad in life. Or a heaven, for that matter. Most everybody, kings, queens, all the way down to goatherds–good or bad–went to the Underworld at death. Here, they simply became “shades”, ghosts who remembered their lives but who lost their voices.”

Then I flashed on a scene from THE ODYSSEY, where Odysseus, visiting the Land of the Dead at Circe’s direction, tells his men to slaughter a lamb and fill a hole in the ground with its blood. From the mists emerge shades of famous people he’s known, and he speaks with his dead friend Achilles, but then to Odysseus’s shock and dismay, his mother, Anticlea, whom he did not know was dead, emerges and drinks the lamb’s blood. What she tells him breaks his heart.

It’s almost like a séance.

I didn’t go into all that, but instead flashed on a story from HERCULES I did share with the young woman, where Queen Alcestis, a woman Hercules would have married if she’d not already been married, had taken her own life so that her husband Admetus could live on. Hercules storms down to the Underworld and frightens Hades so badly he lets Alcestis return to life.

“Oh,” I added, “you also might look into how Orpheus harped his way in and out of the Underworld.” It didn’t end well for Orpheus, but he did prove the power of music and love, along with the importance of following directions.

What do I think in these pestilential times? These tales are ancient and universal. Maybe it’s possible to find solace in them. I don’t know. I hope so.

TONIGHT at 7 PM EST: Odds Bodkin Live on Zoom Telling FALL OF THE TITANS

Grab a $15 ticket here and join Master Storyteller and Musician Odds Bodkin for a real-time Zoom performance of FALL OF THE TITANS. The show is tonight at 7 pm Eastern Standard time.

Background lore on Celtic harp, then the tale told with characters, narration and a full score on 12-string guitar.

Gaia gives birth to Titans. All is well on the early Earth until she starts to make monsters. Then things fall apart.

An adult Greek mythology epic storytelling. No children, please.


Your ticket buys the URL and password.

Find a screen and join the event!

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“a consummate storyteller” — The New York Times

Sponsored by Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square.

 

 

GAIA’S MONSTERS: Mythological Background for Odds Bodkin’s ZOOM Performance this Sunday at 7pm/FALL OF THE TITANS

Up until this point in FALL OF THE TITANS, Gaia the Earth has brought forth perfect human-like children with Ouranos, her husband, Titan of the Sky. She’s given birth to twelve Titan babies in all, each soon in charge of creating an ecosystem.

But this new infant is different. This newborn is a Cyclops, already gigantic as babies go. Even Titan babies.

“I love all my children equally, Ouranos,” Gaia says to horrified Ouranos as she cuddles the one-eyed infant. “And not everything I make is perfect.” She gently pokes the baby’s chest. “Hello, little Arges.” The infant glares at her and then screams like a thousand stabbed goats, even though he’s just been nursed. His Cyclops tummy is full, but still he makes this unnerving sound. It certainly unnerves Ouranos. He has no idea what this means, but it does not bode well.

In a nutshell, here is Gaia, the Earth Mother, the first being of all beings in Greek mythology, or as Ouranos calls her, “Queen of Us All.” Just as with our modern earth, in this fanciful mythological tale, life pours forth from Gaia all across her surface.

Her job is to make life, and in FALL OF THE TITANS, she does so, at times to a fault. She cannot control her fecundity, and she doesn’t really want to because it’s just too important to keep on creating. After all, one of her very first creations is Eros, the attraction between things, which binds the Universe together, and she’s still just as endlessly driven by the lust and love Eros brings as anybody else.

The only difference is, Gaia can create any living thing she likes.

Of any size.

In any form.

She can do it all by herself if she wants to. Ouranos secretly hopes that’s what she just did to create this baby Cyclops.

Maybe he’s not the father, Ouranos thinks. It would be nice if that were true. Maybe she used parthenogenesis, and created this little beast the same way she created Ouranos himself, long ago, from the flesh of her flesh.

He has no idea of the monsters to come.


FALL OF THE TITANS

An Odds Bodkin Virtual Storytelling Event

Sponsored by Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square

Sunday, July 19th at 7 pm EST on ZOOM

TICKETS: $15