WOMEN FREE TO BE ANGRY

All right. I don’t look like much, I agree.

A portly, middle-aged white dude in a chair with a couple of instruments. Two microphones on booms. Not much else. No flashing lights. No background dancers or singers. No pyrotechnics to burn the house down.

I’m definitely not pretty.

Nevertheless, this coming Sunday night, Feb. 10th, 2019 at 5 pm at Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA, I’m performing WORLDS APART: TALES FOR LOVERS. The show is two stories, The Crane Wife and The Dame Ragnell. Two ancient love tales about women either being thrilled or disappointed by the men in their lives, or feeling both emotions at the same time. And how their men, following their own rules, see the women.

Old, old stuff.

I once heard a beautiful woman say, “I married a prince. And look, he turned into a frog.”

These stories might well make you weep.

 

Odds Bodkin

WORLDS APART: TALES FOR LOVERS

Feb. 10, 2019 at 5 pm

Grendel’s Den, Cambridge MA

 

TICKETS

LOVE STORIES on Feb. 10 at Grendel’s Den in Cambridge MA

Odds Bodkin performs WORLDS APART: Tales for Lovers on Sunday, Feb. 10 at 5:30 pm as he returns to Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square. A Japanese tale of love and greed, and a hilarious but moving Arthurian tale of beauty, ugliness and love.

Bring someone you love, or would like to, and settle in for some sophisticated adult story entertainment. Music on 12-string guitar and Celtic harp.

TICKETS: $15 BUY NOW

DON’T LET ‘EM SEE YOU WEEP

What if you are a beautiful young woman, but you’ve been cursed to live in a hideous body until the best man in England marries you of his own free will? In your ugly form? He can’t be told you’ve been cursed. He can’t know you are beautiful.

The problem with enacting characters is that their emotions come with them. Oh, sure, they’re just fictions, I know. Crafted phantoms of the muse. Still, if you’re speaking the words of the Dame Ragnell, who’s been enchanted into that hideous body, and she’s about to undo the spell by having tricked Sir Gawain of Camelot into voluntarily agreeing to marry her, then portraying her in this moment is not easy.

Because how this man reacts, now, as you both disrobe on your wedding night, either means freedom and joy for you both, or tragic failure.

Only he can dispel your terrible duality.

But only if he says the right words.

He has no idea of the pleasures that await him if he does.

So what if, in his innocence and his chivalry, he says those words?

And you become your beautiful self again?

Well, right around then, it’s time to cry a few tears.

So here I am, the performer. Odds Bodkin. I’m the master of the scene and the voices. It’s my job to control them and deliver them to the audience, along with the surging music at this point of The Dame Ragnell tale, found in Chaucer and Chretien de Troyes. Ah, but it’s tricky, because if the Dame Ragnell’s emotions get too far into me and I’m not really careful about it, I too start to weep uncontrollably right along with her. Just break down in sobs.

This can be very embarrassing and unprofessional, as you can imagine.

I dread this moment of the show. If I don’t thread the needle and control my own emotions about the whole thing, my tear ducts release and suddenly I can’t see the guitar or the audience and the whole thing goes to hell in a hand basket.

This has happened before. This is a very challenging story to tell.

Still, I’ll be telling it yet again, or at least trying to, at Grendel’s Den in Cambridge MA on Feb. 10th. By far the most liquid and wondrous 12-string guitar music I’m capable of playing backs it up.

Wish me luck.

 

Worlds Apart: Tales for Lovers

Odds Bodkin

Feb 10, 2019 at 5:30 p.m.

Grendel’s Den, Cambridge MA

Tickets $15

WORLDS APART: Tales for Lovers at Grendel’s Den…Feb. 10 at 5:30 pm

Sir Gawain is not only handsome beyond words, he’s a humble and gentle man in his day-to-day dealings with women. On the male side of the equation, however, he’s a powerful knight, feared in combat, who may well kill you if he has reason to.

As his code of chivalry demands, he treats women with the utmost deference, thinking of them as sacred beings. As he passes by, the young women of Camelot catch their breath and swoon. They all think of him as “the best man in England”. For that time and place, he might well be.

But as King Arthur’s best friend, his loyalty is about to be tested. In order to save Arthur’s life, Gawain is about to promise to marry a woman–sight unseen—who he’s been told by Arthur is the ugliest, foulest, smelliest woman on earth. Hideous beyond belief. The antithesis of feminine beauty.

Still, Gawain promises to marry her.

The Dame Ragnell is a six-hundred-year-old story Odds Bodkin tells with character voices and music on 12-string guitar. Although it’s filled with laughs, it speaks to eternal questions of love and beauty, and asks the most dangerous question of all: “What does a woman desire most?”

It’s one of two love tales I’ll be telling for WORLDS APART: TALES FOR LOVERS at Grendel’s Den in Cambridge MA on Sunday, Feb. 10 at 5:30 p.m.

 

Worlds Apart: Tales for Lovers

An Adult Storytelling for Valentine’s Day with Odds Bodkin

Sunday, February 10th at 5:30 p.m.

Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square

TICKETS: $15

YOU SAVED US FROM BABY BELUGA

YOU SAVED US FROM BABY BELUGA

Sunday night I was down in Cambridge at Grendel’s Den warming up my harp and 12-string onstage for a telling of Beowulf when a tall gentleman with silver hair came over, looking somewhat shy. The place was full and new faces were in the audience. Along with the usual crew of fine fans, Harvard students and curious twenty-somethings, I’d noticed husbands and wives in their fifties or early sixties at the tables. Obviously this gentleman had something to say. I stopped playing and smiled at him.

“Am I interrupting you?” he asked. He was fit and had a nice smile.

“No, not at all. I’m just warming up. Good evening.”

“Good evening,” he replied and we shook hands.

“I just wanted to tell you, Mr. Bodkin, that you saved us from Baby Beluga,” he said in a sort of admiring seriousness. It didn’t take too long for me to process that, and so I smiled wryly and chuckled, suspecting I knew what he was saying. He went on. “My kids are in their thirties now and are jealous they can’t be here.”

“Why, thank you.” I’ve had similar conversations with other nice people like him.

“No, thank you,” he said.Your stories got us through a lot of long trips when our kids were little. We had all your cassettes. Got them from Chinaberry Book Service.”

I used to do business with Chinaberry, a kids’ media operation out in California. Sold tens of thousands of recordings through them. This nice man’s wife, probably, had bought them, back when their kids were little. “Ah, yes,” I replied. “I’m glad your kids liked them. Tonight’s story is very different from those children’s recordings.”

“I expect so.”

“This one’s rather bloody,” I replied, thinking how in The Evergreens: Gentle Tales of Nature and The Teacup Fairy, some of my earliest kids’ albums, there is no blood.

“Can’t wait to hear it,” he said, sounding ready for some Viking wildness.

“Well,” I said, hitting a chord on the 12-string, “enjoy the show.”

“We will.” He returned to his seat at the bar next to a woman about his age. His wife, I assumed. The mother of the children he spoke of.

Baby Beluga! Baby Beluga!

The refrain from the song by Raffi echoed in my mind. I once met him, the man who wrote and sang that classic children’s song. A troubador from the Nineties, Raffi’s most famous song was Baby Beluga. He was the best-known of many musicians for young kids back then, a man who sang sweet, reassuring songs. I think of him as the Mr. Rogers of children’s music.

Back then I was selling recordings for young kids, too. Raffi always outsold anything I ever did, but then again, I wasn’t singing songs, which had a huge kids market before the advent of cellphones and iPad games. Instead I was telling stories, but even though they were for young children, they weren’t kiddie stories per se––stories about puppies and baby hedgehogs and so on. Nevertheless, lots of young children, including this gentleman’s who’d come up to say hello, apparently, had listened to them and had talked about them with their parents. I always tried to produce children’s media that didn’t make moms and dads lose their minds while listening to them, over and over again in their cars.

After the show I posed for photos with the man and his wife, along with a few other couples who proceeded to buy EPIC DRIVES. They wanted to send them to their grown children, they said, who now had kids of their own. Two young women in their twenties had listened to the Little Proto stories and loved them. A couple with their kids kept talking about The Blossom Tree, a Tibetan tale I tell, and I mentioned how I’ll be performing it in May as part of a weekend dedicated to the magic of trees, out in Colorado.

And so these stories I made a generation ago continue to make their way into the lives of a new generation, accomplishing a goal I always strove for: to make something that doesn’t quickly become marked as genre material of a former time.

I recommend Baby Baluga, too.

An Ancient Knowing of Trees

An Ancient Knowing of Trees

As modern people who with a chain saw can fell a sequoia eight feet thick in a few minutes, it’s hard to imagine the awe ancient people felt for big trees. Especially in a climax forest that stretched in Roman times from England’s north all the way to its south, covering all except hunting trails. To this day, the famed Sherwood Forest of Robin Hood remains a small patch of that vast woodland.

It was the same everywhere across the planet, of course, wherever trees grew. Different people walked beneath different ones, but it was the same awe. So it’s no surprise that myths honoring trees are universal.

In South America, the first palm tree grew from the body of a buried maiden. In India, trees were thought of as sentient beings. Living beneath massive oaks in Britain, the Druids were named after them, while further north, Vikings believed a giant ash tree held up the universe. Everything in the Garden of Eden was edible, except for the fruit of one tree. When the Buddha attained nirvana, he was seated beneath the Bodhi Tree.

To celebrate this parade of archetypes, I’ll be telling my best stories about trees for kids and parents this coming May 25th at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado. Some tales are funny, filled with animal characters, while others run deeper. All are filled with characters, naturalistic sounds and music on 12-string guitar, Celtic harp and more.

It’s an ideal family show for any parent who wants their child to respect living things.

Check it out here and get your tickets early!

 

–Odds Bodkin

 

ROSES FADE, BUT A LOVE STORY LASTS FOREVER

 

Love, ‘tis a weed lest it’s an oak.

True love to the heart’s earth grapples slow,

While false love’s promise, quick to poke

Itself upward and spread its show,

Seldom finds the height time can bestow.

 

Instead it bursts its heated bloom

And starts to die,

Though it seem to grow

In passing clouds of sweet perfume…

 

So begins The Dame Ragnell, the astonishing love story between the most eligible

bachelor in King Arthur’s court and the ugliest woman in the world.

 

It’s one of two tales on STORIES OF LOVE. Listen, laugh and talk about it with someone you love.

 

Download it today at Odds Bodkin’s Shop or get it on the EPIC DRIVE.