Blog

A WOMB OF ROCK: Mythological Background for Odds Bodkin’s FALL OF THE TITANS July 19th Zoom Performance

Tartarus.

Chances are, if you’re familiar with the word at all, it conjures up some dark subterranean prison for ancient Greek titans–towering, evil creatures made of stone–and other bad actors. Take Sisyphus, for example. He’s imprisoned down there. He rolls a boulder all the way up a mountain, only to have it tumble back down, just as he reaches the top. He does this over and over, hence the term “a Sisyphean task”—doing something pointless. Another denizen of Tartarus is evil Tantalus, a demigod king who cut up his son and served him, boiled, to the Gods of Olympus. For all eternity he now starves beneath a fruit tree just out of reach, above a pond whose water recedes whenever he kneels to drink.

But peel away the deeper layers of Greek mythology, back to the time before the gods and humans, and Tartarus wasn’t a super-max prison for ancient Greek bad guys. Anything but. Instead, it was a place of divine feminine creation. A place where the sky, sea and mountains were first born, after Gaia had poured out the stars and created gravity, or, as it was called, Eros.

According to the Greeks, Gaia, the Earth, was the first thing to exist anywhere. She emerged from the silence and stillness of Chaos, and became self-aware. She was the first titan, and the first thing she created was her womb. Tartarus was so deep in the Earth that later, Zeus claimed a bronze anvil, dropped from the Underworld, would fall for nine days before it reached this place.

It was here that she created Ouranos, the Sky, her future husband, and the other early titans who fashioned the first ecosystems.

It was in Tartarus that her husband Ouranos locked away six of Gaia’s children, which enraged her.

It was in Tartarus that she created Typhon, a monster made for one purpose: to kill her grandson Zeus after he betrayed her.

And it was in Tartarus that Zeus imprisoned Gaia’s beloved family of creators forever in darkness, far beneath the light-filled life systems that they originally made.


FALL OF THE TITANS–A Live Odds Bodkin Zoom Performance on July 19, 2020 at 7 pm EST.

Tickets are $15.

SUNDAY JULY 19TH at 7 PM: Odds Bodkin’s FALL OF THE TITANS

From Odds Bodkin’s cave of magic comes a ZOOM performance that translates 100%: FALL OF THE TITANS.

Where did the Greek gods come from? Who were the Titans? Who was Gaia? Why did Cronus the Titan swallow his Olympian children? How did only Zeus survive?

Find out in a feature-length adult storytelling on Sunday, July 19th at 7 pm. Buy your ticket, get your ZOOM invitation and password, then sit back and watch elemental characters come to life. Greek lore explained with Celtic harp music, then a tale told with 12-string guitar.

Every seat is a front row seat.

A performance for adults. No young children please.

Sponsored by Grendel’s Den in Cambridge MA.

Tickets are $15.

I Didn’t Think a Zoom Show Would Work, But It Did

I couldn’t see them as I sang “Meow meow meow meow!’ with my guitar humming, but Gavin could. All I could see was the camera, but behind it, on the studio bench, he was smiling at his computer. “You should have seen them, dad,” he said after the show. “All those little kids, standing and clapping and singing. They loved it.” Gavin Bodkin, in his infinite kindness, helps me with these shows.

“So it works,” I said.

“Yeah, it works.”

This was a live Zoom K-3 concert for a Montessori school in Boston, just last week. All the kids were at home in front of their computers or TVs, and I was in my studio in New Hampshire.  Usually I perform for kids live, of course, in large groups, but haven’t lately, for obvious reasons. Lots of performers have been missing that live audience energy, and I’m one of them. Storytelling is meant to engage the imagination, and that’s tough through a screen.  Still, if these little kids were singing along in real time and laughing, apparently it worked for them.

And so we evolve.

Check out available shows here.

 

Being an Ugly Ogre for the Sake of Love

I came across this photo of me from a recent Facebook Live show and had to laugh. “Man, I can be ugly when I want to be,” I thought. “What story was this?”

Somebody out there captured a screen shot and posted it.

Just this morning I took another look at it. Ah ha, I realized, it’s the ogre from The Little Shepherd! The one who sings badly and who, near the story’s end, picks up Lovely Bargaglina and drops her into the well. You can’t see her in this photo, because she’s imaginary. Still, there she is, helpless in the ogre’s grip.

I’d never seen myself do this onscreen. Talk about ugly. Still, it’s all done to becharm little children for the sake of love. So why not?

 

 

 

Will You Marry Us?

“Will you marry us?” she asked.

She sat next to her fiancée in my kitchen. I’d known him for a while. They’d requested this meeting.

“You guys have been together for years, yes?” I asked, knowing they lived on St. John in the Caribbean, but had grown up in New Hampshire. Old friends with my son Chris, they’d invited him to visit them in paradise more than once. They nodded and explained how they’d heard my work over the years and wanted me to marry them. Flattered, I told them I’d never done that, but thought to myself that since I’m not a pastor, priest or rabbi, I’d probably need to become a Justice of the Peace. No sense collaborating on an artful wedding ceremony only to end up with a marriage that’s, well, not legal.

How, I wondered, does one become a Justice of the Peace?

Well, eight months have passed since then and now I, Bodkin the Storyteller, am indeed a Justice of the Peace. Vetted by the State of New Hampshire and found to be free of criminality and general malfeasance, I have been certified by the governor’s fresh signature. Since I’m able to preside over a marriage that will be enshrined in the State’s official records forever, I hold a public office of sorts. A sacred trust.

I can marry people.

Bear in mind, though, that New Hampshire is a quirky little state. Our Live Free or Die motto? Everybody’s heard it and rolled their eyes. Our first in the nation primary? Everybody despises us for it. Our lack of a motorcycle helmet law? Bikers love it and flock here in June just to ride free in the wind. But what many people don’t know is that here in NH, if you’re a Justice of the Peace, not only can you marry people, you can also issue warrants for their arrest.

There’s a joke in there somewhere but it eludes me.

Or anybody’s arrest, for that matter, at the request of a peace officer. No kidding. That power is conferred along with the appointment.

Issuing arrest warrants feels so diametrically opposed to uniting people in matrimony, it’s almost funny. When I applied, I didn’t know I’d be granted this second power. Then again, I doubt I will ever be tapped to do it. What peace officer in his right mind is going to come to me? Besides, we have plenty of good judges.

I’ll just stick with marriages.

 

“To have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, til death do you part?”

“I do.”

“I do.”

“Good. I now pronounce you husband and wife.”

 

Sounds nice, doesn’t it?

So listen up, all you fiancees out there. Yes, I’ll give you a storyteller’s wedding, replete with stories, harp music, wit and poetry, and then I’ll issue you a marriage certificate.

Just be sure to keep your wedding vows.

Otherwise, I might issue an arrest warrant.

 

Candles and Imagination

Long ago, when I began telling stories, I’d light a candelabrum at my feet. There in a darkened room the flames would dance across my face and kids loved it, until, of course, schools started to say, “No more, Mr. Bodkin. A kid might go up in flames. You dripped wax on our floor. Leave your portable campfire at home.” Even though I always cleaned up the wax, I stopped doing my candlelight shows.

I still recommend candelight, though, to people listening to my stories, especially the epics. Light a candle. Turn down the lights. Listen and dream.

Something about the flame quickens the mind’s eye.

For instance, Detroit Jewish News reviewed my telling of David and Goliath and said, “With nothing more than his guitar and voice, Odds Bodkin manages to paint a scene more captivating than much of what you see on the big screen.”

It won the Parents’ Choice Gold Award, the Storytelling World Award and the Dove Foundation Award. It’s an hour long.

Beowulf: The Only One just won the Storytelling World Award as well. It was recorded before a live adult audience in Cambridge, MA. It’s an hour and 20 minutes.

You can find lots of long-form stories like this at my download shop. Happy listening!

 

 

One Grandmother’s Quest to Send an Odyssey Recording to her Grandchildren

An email to Odds Bodkin’s Shop from this morning, April 24th:

Hope you can help me. I ordered The Odyssey Collection as a gift for my grandchildren but did not realize I had no way to send them the link and think somehow it is now in my email only. At this point I don’t remember my original password since I forwarded the email from you acknowledging my order to my daughter who could not download the stories because I did not have the password. When I went to password reset I was also unable to change the password.

So, if it is possible to send this gift to my daughter who can then set up whatever password she wants to use so these darling 9 and 10 year old grandchildren who are at the moment captivated by Homer can hear your wonderful music and voice, I would be grateful.

Please advise.
M*** C*** P*****

Odds Bodkin’s Shop replies:

Dear M***

If you can send us your daughter’s email address, we will send her a digital gift card
usable at our shop for $49.95. She can visit the shop, follow the directions and download
The Odyssey using her own email. She pays at checkout using the code on the
gift card.

We look forward to hearing back from you.

Thanks for your order, too, of course.

Best regards,

ODDS BODKIN CUSTOMER SERVICE

 

M*** C*** P***** replies:

You have given me a success in my Stay-At-Home week for which I am very appreciative. Thank you. Know this little family will be ever so happy listening together and hope they will continue to be Odds Bodkin fans for their lifetimes. The power of great literature well read and good music well played are a rare but winning combination.

My daughter, M*** C**** E********’s email address is *************@bellsouth.net

Hope you have a good day today and stay healthy.
M*** C*** P*****

 

GIFT CARD SENT. QUEST OVER.

The Odyssey, Beowulf, David and Goliath, Hercules, and Sir Percival and the Fisher King are Classic Epics

At 4 hours and 8 minutes, The Odyssey is the longest of Odds Bodkin’s epic audio tales, but the others average well over 70 minutes.

The Little Proto Trilogy, his original dinosaur adventure series, is more than 3 hours of immersive listening for kids 4 and up. They’ll listen again and again and again, especially at bedtime.

Get all these and 12 other FULL-LENGTH STORYTELLING ALBUMS on the EPIC DRIVE.

$99.95

You can listen to samples of all these award-winning mp3 audios at Odds Bodkin’s Shop.

 

 

An Odds Bodkin Concert Anywhere on Earth

As a one-man show, Master Storyteller Odds Bodkin has never needed fancy costumes and backup dancers, since they’d only get in the way of audience imagination. Because he’s a character actor, he doesn’t need fellow thespians to bring a story to life. Backup musicians aren’t necessary either; he plays his own music live. And since he doesn’t wear makeup, he looks the same as always. Dressed in black. Beard. Bushy eyebrows.

That’s why in his live Zoom concerts, the only difference is that everyone has a front row seat.

Got a group of bored adults from your company working from home? Book an evening performance of BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE or ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS.

Got school kids scattered to their homes? Book a GOLDEN RULE: WORLD STORIES ABOUT EMPATHY or FAIRY FOLKS AND OLD OAKS performance for up to 1, 000 of them. It will be live, just for them, some time in the morning or afternoon.

Recently DigBoston wrote about Odds’ “preternatural ability to create characters with an array of simply inspired voices.”

He also offers HEARTPOUNDERS: DARK TALES OF THE SUPERNATURAL shows, as if these times weren’t dark enough.

To learn how to create a large group storytelling event, all while social distancing, inquire here.

 

Young Kids At Home: A 3-Hour Dinosaur Saga on Audio

Sit them down to listen on a good sound system. Odds Bodkin’s famous “sound effects bursts” begin each Little Proto audio adventure.

This isn’t “Once Upon a Time.”

This is roaring wind, made with the human voice. Crickets. Far off dino calls. Three-ton foot falls.

Building underneath, there’s 12-string guitar music.

Then a young dinosaur’s voice. “I’m listening for the hoots of Iguanodons…” Little Proto sings. You can listen here:

 

So begin all three ultra-kid-friendly Little Proto dinosaur adventure stories. Generations of parents have bought them for their children ages 3 and up.

And now, you can buy them for your kids, too!

No TV required.

3 hours and 20 minutes about a young dinosaur growing up. Good for falling asleep, too.

Download the Trilogy now for $24.95

Winner of Parents’ Choice Gold and Silver Awards.

Journey to the Ends of the Earth: 4 hours of The Odyssey

A hero’s journey like no other.

Narrated with live music on Celtic harp and 12-string guitar featuring 37 character voices.

Odds Bodkin’s 4-hour epic audio story, The Odyssey: An Epic Telling.

Odysseus. The Cyclops. Circe. The Sirens. Troy. Ithaca. The Underworld. The Isle of Cannibals. The Whirlpool. The Hall of Suitors. 42 episodes in all. 4 hours 8 minutes.

“a tour de force“–Dartmouth Department of Classics

“a consummate storyteller”–The New York Times

Download it here for $49.95