Huddle Around the Zoom Fire Sunday Night for Beowulf

With 12-string guitar and Celtic harp, character voices and sound effects, master storyteller Odds Bodkin will perform his classic tale, BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE, for adults this Sunday night at 5 pm EST. The tale contains mayhem and violence and is not recommended for children.

Shorn of its heraldic side stories, Bodkin’s version of Beowulf cleaves closely to the original thousand-year-old story of a thane who rescues an aged king from monsters that attack his hall. Filled with striking scenes and plenty of humor, the story translates vividly over Zoom.

 

Tickets are $25

 

BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE

ODDS BODKIN

MARCH 28, 2021 AT 5 PM EST ON ZOOM

 

This performance is sponsored by Grendel’s Den.

 

Deep Inside Act II of Beowulf, A Bizarre Scene

He’s already killed Grendel, a towering, sword-proof beast, but now Beowulf has sunk to the bottom of a reeking mere to hunt and kill Grendel’s mother. If Beowulf rids Denmark of these demons, King Hrothgar will declare him his son. In Beowulf’s world, that’s the promise of full half of Hrothgar’s fabulous wealth, enough for Beowulf to become a king himself back home. Hrothgar is the richest man along the Baltic.

Denmark and Sweden/Geatland

 

As he approaches her underwater cave, Grendel’s Mother curses Beowulf. She has dragged her son’s carcass here along with the bloody, hairy arm Beowulf tore off Grendel in the mead hall, which she has stolen back before retreating to her home. She is huge, with fangs and claws, yet she stands like a woman at the water’s edge. With Grendel gone, she is now the last of their kind. Through the ripples she sees soft colored lights beyond the submerged entrance. The man, the killer of her son, has arrived at the mere’s bottom.

Into the water she slides, kicking through the blackness toward what she sees is a helmet with glowing gems on its crown.

Holding his sword out, the man cannot see her. Stealthily, she swims to behind him and violently clamps her fangs onto the helmet, thinking to crush it, along with the soft human skull inside.

Up until this moment, Beowulf has been reliving boyhood memories. How Hrothgar once paid the blood price for Beowulf’s father, and the Wylfings had stopped pursuing him. It had been wonderful to stand on the ship’s deck heading home to Geatland with his father, who was a free man at last. Yes, Beowulf has come here for glory, but also to show gratitude to King Hrothgar of the Danes for that act of mercy so long ago.

Feeling sudden pressure inside the helmet, Beowulf slides out of it and slashes the sword, Hrunting, at the she-beast behind him, but the blade is too slow in the water. With a bubbling scream she shoots back into her cave, ready for the fight.

She is three times his size.

However, Grendel’s Mother does not know that this man is Beowulf, a fearless thane of the Geats who has come from the north, a warrior with the grip of thirty men. He doesn’t know it yet, but after she stabs him in the chest, he will kill her with a weapon crafted by long-dead giants.

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In the actual telling of this scene from BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE, haunting, scintillant music on 12-string guitar builds the creepiness, while Grendel’s Mother hisses loudly to herself, and Beowulf’s voice speaks his inner monologue, “Fate often saves an undoomed man if his courage holds.”

Come see and hear the entire tale via ZOOM on Sunday, Feb. 28th at 5 pm EST.

BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE

AN ODDS BODKIN ZOOM STORYTELLING

SUNDAY, FEB. 28, 2021 AT 5 PM EST

TICKETS: $25

 

Hear a sample from the tale:

SPONSORED BY GRENDEL’S DEN.

 

 

 

 

 

TWO ODDS BODKIN ZOOM CONCERTS COMING UP: BEOWULF and TALES FOR GIRLS

Over the next three weeks, Master Storyteller and Musician Odds Bodkin will be live on ZOOM for two very different shows–BEOWULF, a brooding adult show, and SHE’S CLEVER, THAT ONE: FAIRY TALES FOR SMART GIRLS, a funny, rollicking concert for the whole family.

BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE, his storyteller’s version of the oldest known work in English literature, goes live Sunday Feb. 28th at 5 pm EST. A riveting, feature-length tale with music to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Grendel’s Den in Cambridge MA, this is among his best-loved tellings and is a favorite on Harvard  Square. Tickets are $25.

 

 

Then, on Sunday March 7th at 5 pm EST, it’s SHE’S CLEVER, THAT ONE: FAIRY TALES FOR SMART GIRLS in celebration of International Women’s Day. Odds uses 12-string guitars and Celtic harp to animate four of his classic fairy tales for kids, each featuring a brave and clever girl hero. Tickets are $25.

Some fans say they prefer his ZOOM shows because of the close-ups on his face and instruments. Judge for yourself from the comfort of your home.

Your ticket purchases your Zoom invitation with a password for the show.

 

 

 

 

It’s Not Too Late for Odds Bodkin Story Downloads

It’s Christmas Eve. Is it too late to buy a meaningful gift? No, not if you visit Odds Bodkin’s Shop and grab an All Collections + Bundle: all Bodkin’s audio tales for young children plus 3 long epics for older listeners and adults.

Download endless hours of classic listening in minutes.

Happy Holidays!

 

 

BEOWULF. Download Odds Bodkin’s Live Performance in Audio

Adult storytelling at its most extreme and beautiful.

amilolomy (verified owner)

This is the version that made me absolutely fall in love with the Beowulf story, and really understand why it has become such a classic piece of literature. There is such life and emotion in the way Bodkin tells it, that you just can’t get from reading it alone. He takes it from being a dry, unsentimental piece of curriculum and spins it into a deeply moving journey.

I always find myself crying by the end of it.

Buy Odds Bodkin’s telling of Beowulf here.

Tonight at 5 pm EST on Zoom: Meet Persephone, the Unhappy Wife of Hades

In tonight’s performance of HERCULES IN HELL, Hercules tells his own life story shortly after his death. Where does he do this? In the Underworld, a place he is shocked to find himself.

Of course, Persephone, Queen of the Dead, despises her husband Hades. Trapped in the Underworld with him, she longs for news of the living world. And so when Hercules, freshly dead, drops down before her, she won’t let him proceed to his final resting place on Mt. Olympus until Hercules tells both her and her husband his life story.

This is Odds Bodkin’s dramatic setting for the myth of Hercules, a storytelling work originally commissioned by The Art Institute of Chicago for an exhibition of Greek art.

Here’s a sample:

 

Hercules is reluctant to tell his story, because his life tallies just as many foul murders as glorious acts, but he tells it anyway, just to be able to leave. Does he give the full truth, or just his point of view? In places it’s hard to tell. Nevertheless, in his huge, deep voice, as Bodkin plays 12-string guitar, Hercules begins his story:

“My mother, Alcmene, loved my mortal father Amphitryon, but she would not have him in her bed until he’d avenged the deaths of her brothers, so while he was away, Zeus came to mother, disguised as Amphitryon, and fathered me. So who is my father? Zeus, yes. But I’ve never met him. Some father he is. No, it was Amphitryon who raised me…”

Thusly, the conversation between Hades, Persephone and Hercules unfolds. It’s about a man who cannot control his temper, a bad thing when you’re the strongest man in the world.

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Odds Bodkin won the prestigious Golden Headset Award for Best Audio when he released his epic Hercules recording into the storytelling world. Now you can watch him tell it, live and up close, as he Zooms the show from his studio in New Hampshire.

Tonight! Sunday, Oct. 18th at 5 pm EST. Join the crowd who have bought tickets. If after the show you have a question, Odds will answer it over ZOOM. It’s all live, sponsored by Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA. Kari Kuelzer, the owner, will MC the show and moderate questions.

Special thanks to Abigail Taylor, Katie LaBrie and Gavin Bodkin.

HERCULES IN HELL

TONIGHT, Oct 18 at 5 pm EST on ZOOM

Tickets: $15

Tomorrow Night, Masterful Adult Storytelling on ZOOM. The Greek Myth of Hercules

 

THE PROFESSOR’S OPINION

“Odds Bodkin has been thrilling our (college) 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 and watch his fingers dance across his guitar and harp.”

–Professor Joseph Walsh, Chair, Department of Classics at Loyola University Maryland after a Zoom appearance last month.

TOMORROW NIGHT, Sunday Oct. 18th at 5 pm Eastern Standard Time

Odds Bodkin goes to work.

Powerful, distinct character voices and 12-string guitar bring his hour-long tale to life.

No Hollywood sugar-coating, just a beautiful, epic Greek myth. Adventure. Tragedy. Humor. Love. Final transcendence.

 

HERCULES IN HELL

5 pm EST on Zoom

A $15 ticket on Eventbrite buys you a URL and password for the show.

Go BIG SCREEN for best viewing.

Hear a sample of the story:

Sponsored by Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA

Telling HERCULES IN HELL to Inmates: A True Story

I’ll be performing HERCULES IN HELL tomorrow, Sunday Oct 18 on ZOOM at 5 pm. Meanwhile, here’s a story about this particular story.

Roy Stevens and I arrived at the prison in the late morning. In the warm Central Valley of California, the compound was little more than a group of low cinder block barracks painted yellow, surrounded by two layers of tall fencing topped by razor wire. At the administration building, the Warden met us as we were buzzed through the multiple gates. He told us that he and his wife would attend the performance along with about a hundred male inmates. The guards wore side-arms.

Frankly, I wasn’t worried about the warden’s opinion nearly as much as I was that if the inmates weren’t entertained by my story, one might shove me a shiv on my way out. I felt like Johnny Cash at Folsum Prison, only I wasn’t famous and singing about a Boy Named Sue. Instead, I was telling an hour-long Greek myth, of all things. Roy had set up this show during a tour. Doing his civic duty was part of his wheeling and dealing to get me out to California for a month of shows.

A group of inmates shuffled through a fenced corridor followed by a guard with a .45 in its holster.  All were White and Latino men. While Roy and I were setting up the PA system in the prison yard, it dawned on me that on my little flat stage, there would be nothing between me and the inmates during the show. No raised stage. No barriers.

This wasn’t a super-max, but all these guys were being held here for one unseemly reason or another.

The music will work on them, I remember saying to myself. Just get the music going.

As Roy set up the two big speakers and the PA, I broke out my 12-string guitar, tuning it in the hot sun. Inmates emerged from the barracks, slouching against the walls, staying in the shade. They were curious and skeptical. Politely rephrased, who on earth were we?

Roy Stevens, by the way, is a world-class opera singer, who is now the artistic director of Opera Modesto. We’d met at Sailors’ Snug Harbor on Staten Island a few years before, as across New York Harbor, the newly destroyed World Trade Center was belching smoke.

We’d become friends. We still are.

Just get the music going. The score for HERCULES IN HELL is in a modified e flat tuning, an at times brooding, at other times triumphant set of leitmotifs. So, with the PA on loud, I began warming up. No talk, just music. It boomed across the compound and the men started to listen. I could see from their body language that they liked it. After all, Hercules was a great criminal, a violent and injured man. This music conveys that. And an endless, hard journey. And a lot of sad beauty. Here’s a sample:

 

Well, in the end, the Warden and his wife showed up and the inmates fell under the bardic spell of Hercules’ deep voice. I told the story non-stop for 65 minutes, and then ended the tale. Nobody moved during the show. After the applause, which I couldn’t believe happened, the inmates lined up to get my autograph, which I couldn’t believe was happening either, and man after grizzled man told me how they’d never heard a story like this before, and that it meant a lot to them. Fifty, sixty of them, I recall. I used fifty or sixty very short #2 pencils. Someone had given each man a scrap of paper as well. For the guys who didn’t have paper, I noticed, other guys tore theirs in half.

Amazed at how grateful and civil the men were, I signed the last autograph, somewhat relieved that nobody had stabbed me with his pencil. After shaking hands with the Warden and his wife, Roy and I left.

HERCULES IN HELL: A story about a tough life with redemption at the end.

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HERCULES IN HELL

An Adult Storytelling by Odds Bodkin

Oct. 18, 2020 at 5pm EST on Zoom

Tickets: $15

If you don’t have Zoom, the download is free!

This Zoom concert is sponsored by Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA.

 

THE HERCULES CHRONICLES: Poisoned Arrows and a Great Mistake

During his second labor–slaying the Hydra–Hercules dips his arrows in the dead monster’s blood. His arrows become super-weapons. The slightest scratch means instant death.

Years later, he finds himself in the cave of Pholus, an old centaur. Although “never trust a centaur” is an adage Hercules usually follows, in Pholus’ case, Hercules decides to stay and dine. He asks for wine along with the meat.

“Oh, no, no, no!” Pholus shakes his head. “I’ve got it, but can’t open it.”

“Why not?” growls Hercules.

“The other centaurs. They’ll smell it. Go mad with the smell of wine. Come here. Kill you.”

“If they try that, they’ll regret it. Besides, they’ll never smell it. Open the wine, Pholus.” As usual, Hercules is traveling with his lion’s skin, his club and his arrows poisoned with Hydra blood.

Scared, Pholus opens the wine and soon the thunder of hoofs approaches the cave. Centaurs charge in and attack Hercules and Pholus cries, “No! Run you fools! It’s Hercules! He’ll kill you all! Run!”

But they’ve gone mad and Hercules reluctantly clubs many to death, and shoots others with his arrows. Astounded that arrows can kill a centaur instantly, Pholus picks one up.

“Don’t touch that, Pholus! It’s Hydra blood!”

Startled, the old centaur drops the arrow and it scratches his leg. He gives Hercules a look he can never forget and then crumples down and dies.

Hercules doesn’t yet know it, but in the end, the blood of the Hydra will kill him, too.


Join Odds Bodkin this coming Sunday, Oct. 18 at 5 pm EST and hear this episode, along with many others, from his award-winning telling, HERCULES IN HELL. The show is live and the storyteller will stay after the show to answer your questions. If you don’t have Zoom, the download is free.

Here’s an audio sample from the show:

HERCULES IN HELL

A ZOOM adult concert

Sunday, Oct. 18 at 5 pm EST

Tickets: $15 per screen

 

Sponsored by Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA.

 

THE HERCULES CHRONICLES: The Birds Who Hurl Feathers Like Arrows

During his Twelve Labors, Hercules constantly wonders why the gods create such hideous monsters, many of which he is commanded to capture or slay. Among them are giant, brass-feathered eagles that infest a forest and regularly carry off village children. Their most deadly defense is to hurl their feathers like razor-sharp arrows.

To drive them off, Hercules travels to Stymphalos with a giant round shield, a spear, his poisoned arrows and a brass bell. When a lone eagle first attacks him in a field, Hercules shoots a poisoned arrow, but it bounces off the eagle’s metal feathers. It angrily hurls three feathers back at Hercules’ shield as he crouches beneath it. The hero instantly knows how he will drive off the flock, which number in the hundreds.

To find out how Hercules does it, set aside an hour on Sunday, Oct. 18 at 5 pm EST for Odds Bodkin’s Zoom performance of HERCULES IN HELL. If you don’t have Zoom, the download is free. There’s a full score on 12-string guitar for added drama, which Odds plays as he tells. With his HD Zoom sound, this guitar thunders with mythic boldness.

Hear a sample:

This is an adult storytelling sponsored by Grendel’s Den. Children 12 and up are welcome.

HERCULES IN HELL on Zoom with Odds Bodkin

Sunday, Oct. 18 at 5 pm EST

TICKETS are $15 per screen.

 

THE HERCULES CHRONICLES: The Glory of Hera? No, Just the Opposite

“Herakles” translates to “the glory of Hera”, an ironic name indeed for the hero who came to be known as Hercules, since the Queen of Olympus does everything in her power to ruin his life. As Hercules relates it in Odds Bodkin’s live story performance HERCULES IN HELL, when Hera hears that Zeus, her philandering husband, has fathered yet another child with a mortal woman, her jealousy knows no bounds. She conceives an animus for Hercules that will last his entire lifetime.

During her first attempt at his murder, when he’s an infant, she sends two serpents to bite him in his cradle, but instead, just by playing with them, the young demigod strangles them.

None too pleased, but biding her time, Hera waits until Hercules is married with a young family; he’s a prince on his way to becoming king. She then sends what Hercules calls “a storm of blood”, a madness that tears out his senses and plunges him into hallucinations. Attacking him from all sides come monsters, lions, centaurs and enemies, and so in his survival rage he fights back, destroying them all.

It’s only after the madness passes that he finds his wife and children dead at his feet. Their blood is on his hands. He can’t remember doing it. Always too strong, he has now murdered those he loves most. Drowning in guilt and unaware that Hera sent the madness, Hercules fears the insanity will return, and so he flees to the wilderness to live on squirrels and berries, filthy in his solitude.

Still, no matter where he is, the guilt eats at his soul. He cannot sleep. His dead family appears in his dreams every night. Finally, he journeys to the Oracle of Delphi and learns of his unwelcome fate. Zeus and the Fates have decreed that until he completes Labors for the King of Mycenae, Hercules will never be free of his guilt.

And so he journeys to the Court of King Eurystheus of Mycenae, puts himself under the thumb of his weak cousin, and his Labors begin.

Initially, Zeus and the Fates decreed ten labors, but because Eurystheus finds reasons to deny two of them, they end up twelve.

 

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Join Odds Bodkin via Zoom on Sunday, Oct 18 at 5 pm EST for his epic telling of the life story of Hercules. The camera is up close and the sound and video are HD, so you can watch the instrumental work on 12-string guitar as a master storyteller enacts his characters.

A solid and entertaining lesson in epic Greek mythology, one you’ll never forget. Not recommended for children under 12.

 

HERCULES IN HELL

Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020 at 5 pm on Zoom

Tickets: $15