ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS on July 14th in Concord, NH–Odds Bodkin Live

ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS on July 14 in Concord, NH

–Odds Bodkin Live

 

Odds Bodkin comes to Concord, NH for his summer storytelling concert this July 14th at 5-7:30 pm in Concord Community Music School’s recital hall.  An adult performance safe for kids 12 and over.

Bodkin’s storytelling concert features two long Viking myths and little-known lore. His character voices, vocal effects and live music on 12-string guitars and Celtic harp infuse the tales with dramatic energy. Tickets are $35 and available online.

Thor’s Journey to Utgard and The Mead of Poetry are the featured tales, along with a fascinating introduction to Norse mythology and the Viking Age. All while Odds plays his instruments.

“a consummate storyteller”–The New York Times

“a modern-day Orpheus”–Billboard

 

 

Tickets $35

 

I LOVE THIS STORY. SOON I’LL TELL IT.

I LOVE THIS STORY. SOON I’LL TELL IT.

Which story is this?

Well, it’s a challenging one.

It’s my storyteller’s version of Beowulf, the old Viking story about a hero who kills a monster who can’t be killed. Spears and blades don’t work against the towering beast, Grendel, a beast who can sweep strong fighters away like tiny birds. And who takes them home to his cave to eat them afterwards.

Horrible, I know. Yet this ancient tale has fascinated generations. I admit, it fascinates me as well, and I’m looking forward to performing it again. Why would I spend years perfecting an old Viking story? Years developing character voices and a lush, compelling 12-string guitar score? At first glance there’s not much to it: big strong guy who’s braver than everyone else kills monster and becomes legendary hero. There are dozens of such stories. But in a careful reading long ago I found a reason beyond those outer trappings for Beowulf to journey to the Mark of the Danes–Denmark in modern parlance–to help old King Hrothgar.  A reason beyond a simple lust for glory and riches. Although Beowulf is brave and craves renown, in my version, it is gratitude that drives him. It turns out that as a boy, Beowulf sailed to Denmark with his father, who had killed a Wylfing warrior. As it often was in those ancient clan times, the Wylfings had put a blood price on his father’s head. Sounds like John Wick, I know.

Pay us, said the Wylfings, and we won’t hunt down and kill Edgtheo. Or pay others to do it. A common thane like Beowulf’s father could never pay so much gold, and so he’d sailed to ask King Hrothgar–the richest man along the Baltic–to help him. Generously the Danish king paid the blood price for his father and in so doing saved his life.

The little boy, Beowulf, never forgot it.

And so here, years later, Beowulf is willing to die for old Hrothgar by killing his Grendel beast, who for twelve years has decimated the Danes.

This heartfelt detail is in the original text, although usually not brought to the forefront. To my way of thinking, it humanizes an otherwise dark warrior tale while still honoring the original epic narrative.

I’ll be telling Beowulf: The Only One on Sunday, February 4th at Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA. Doors open at 5 pm. You can drink, eat Viking food, and then sit back for this feature-length evening of adult storytelling. Tickets are $35.

BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE

Sunday, Feb. 4 at 5 pm

Grendel’s Den, Cambridge MA

Tickets: $35

 

 

Early Influences of Creator of Epic Rap Battles of History

How Did EpicLLOYD, Creator of Epic Rap Battles of History on YouTube, Take Inspiration from Storyteller Odds Bodkin?

49 million views. 141 million views. 60 million views. Epic Rap Battles of History—irreverent short videos of historic figures dissing each other in character—features a talented chameleon voice artist, musician and creator named EpicLLOYD. He’s based in Los Angeles, but he grew up in New Hampshire. As a kid, his mother took him to Odds Bodkin shows and bought him Odds’ classic recordings.

Lloyd was never the same once he listened to Odds and discovered that one person can embody a universe of characters.

“I’ve been captivated by the wondrous talents of Odds Bodkin since I was a child. His ability to bring vibrant characters to life with his many voices and simultaneously weave them together with spellbinding music and storytelling is a true gift. A gift that he was blessed with, yes, but more so, a gift for all those he shares those talents with. Thanks for all of the inspiration and wonder, Odds, your work will certainly always serve as some of the earliest seeds to any character work I’ve ever brought to life myself.”  – EpicLLOYD, Epic Rap Battles of History

Share with your family the same Odds Bodkin stories Lloyd grew up with. They’re timeless entertainment. And now, they’re downloadable. Who knows who you’ll inspire?

EpicLLOYD recently listened to Odds’ latest audio epic, Voyage of the Waistgold, and wrote back, “I am now a Waistgold fan!” If you’re an adventurous adult, you’ll become one too.

Visit Odds’ Shop and explore the many offerings, new and old. Stories for kids and adults, all with age recommendations.

Thor Defeated. Is That a Real Norse Myth? Yes, It Is.

Thor defeated. Is that a real Norse Myth? Yes, it is.

Thor the God of Thunder is known as a giant killer. Across the Norse mythos, in many tales, his hammer Mjolnir sends Frost Giants to their graves.

So what is this? You mean Thor is defeated? Well, no, but he is outwitted thoroughly, along with Loki, in the hall of the Frost Giant king.

To find out how, come join me Saturday night, Sept. 24th, at Nova Arts in Keene, NH. The show is at 8 pm. I’ll have my two 12-string guitars and Celtic harp for this 90-minute performance. Character voices. Sound effects. Narrative. Full musical scores for the tales. Plus amazing visuals, lore and plenty of humor.

Grab dinner, enjoy some wine, and sit back for some adult storytelling.

 

ODDS BODKIN

performs

ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS

SEPT. 24TH at 8 pm

Nova Arts

48 Emerald Street

Keene, NH

Tickets: $25

https://www.novaarts.org/events/oddsbodkin924

 

 

Adult Storytelling and Feasting Tomorrow Night in Cambridge

Adult Storytelling and Feasting Tomorrow Night in Cambridge

For a total immersion into an ancient mythic world, join Master Storyteller and Musician Odds Bodkin for a storytelling concert: ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS. A full 90 minutes of imagination entertainment.

Grab a table with friends, eat heartily, and then sit back for Thor’s Journey to Utgard and The Mead of Poetry, two Viking myths performed with character voices, sound effects and music on two different 12-string guitars. Plus a Viking lore introduction told with Celtic harp.

Children over 12 are welcome.

“Bodkin’s enchanting voice, musical prowess, and larger-than-life persona have earned him an illustrious career as a master storyteller.” — The Harvard Crimson

“a consummate storyteller”—The New York Times

“a modern-day Orpheus”—Billboard

ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS

Odds Bodkin

Sunday, April 3, 2022 at 5 pm

Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square

Tickets: $25

White Dove

White Dove

It was part of what used to make me very happy. Sitting in a big empty multi-purpose room in a school with my harp, guitars and PA system, with a half hour left over just to play music before the hundreds of children arrived for the show. I’d feel the harp music ripple through my fingers, filling the space with glorious sound. I’d be sipping at my black coffee. Often teachers would come in and stand to listen for a minute or so, smile and wave. “Can you come here every morning?” many would ask, as the harp music echoed down the halls. “It’s just so beautiful and peaceful.”

The children heard that music, too, in their classrooms. A faint, magical whisper that something special was about to happen.

And then close to the hour the principal would come over, or the arts liaison (usually a nice mom) and ask, “Mr. Bodkin, are you ready for them?”

“Bring them on in,” I’d reply. The doors would open.

Like goslings following mother goose, the little kindergarteners would usually arrive first with their teachers and sit on the floor about three feet away from me, row after row of them. They’d finally see who was playing the harp, and that it wasn’t a recording. Then the grades above them would arrive, sitting next in extending rows. These were shows for two hundred to five hundred kids, a growing sea of young faces. Often they wouldn’t say anything, forgetting to chitchat with their friends because of the music.

I’d finish one extemporization in a major key with a flourish, and they’d wildly applaud. I’d bow slightly, winking and lifting my finger, as if to say, “All right. See if you like this one,” and then launch into another piece in what I call Fairytale Minor, which is really just B minor but played in a certain lilting way. If kids came into the space talking, others who were already seated would shush them, which I found charming, and the most effective crowd control I could ask for.

And so as often as not, there was no reason for the principal to call them to quiet before the show by doing the double hand clap, the universal training American kids learn in school to signal when it’s time to quiet down. Since they were already quiet, at a heightened state of attention–the music having primed them for the listening–it usually wasn’t necessary. This was much to the surprise of the teachers, who I could tell were archly eyeing their problem children. What would they do? Act out? Embarrass the school? Ruin the show?

Instead, the principal would repeat what I’d asked her to say: “This is Mr. Odds Bodkin, and he’s here to tell you some stories.” No preamble about empathy, kindness, or walking in others’ shoes. “The stories will explain themselves,” I’d usually tell her beforehand. “We don’t need to mention those things.” And then I’d pull the harp aside and pick up the 12-string for the introduction. It was always the same:

“Well how’s everybody? Good?”

“Good!” they’d reply in unison.

“Good. Well, it’s a pleasure to be here. As you heard, my name is Odds Bodkin. Can you say that?”

A chorus of Odds Bodkins, or something close, would follow.

“That’s right, and believe it or not, here at the dawn of the 21st century, I make my living telling stories. Now, I have a few for you this morning, but before I can tell them, I need to offer you a thought, and the thought is this: if instead of being here at your school, you were in a movie theater getting ready to watch a movie, all you’d need to do to see the story the movie told would be to look up at the movie screen, and there the story would be. Same thing with television: you look at it, and there it is. But in what we’re going to do today, you don’t have to look at anything. You don’t even have to look at me. But I hope you’ll consider this thought: think about looking inside something. It’s your power of imagination, or your Mind’s Eye, and it’s right up here.”

At this point I’d tap my forehead. Some of the kids would wrinkle their brows and touch their own foreheads, wondering if they really did have an eye in there. “Now, I can offer you words, character voices, music and sounds. But it’s going to be up to you to be the moviemakers here. To take those things and in your Mind’s Eye spin them up into a kind of movie of your own making, and if you do that, then the stories will come to life, I’ll probably disappear, and we’ll have a really great time. So what do you think, deal?”

At this point, they’d all thunder back, “Deal!”

“Good enough, then,” I’d say, setting aside the 12-string, which I’d have been playing in an upbeat way all during this introduction. “I’ll put away my 12-string guitar, which I’ll play for you later, because my first story comes from Africa, and in order to tell it to you, I need to use this.” I’d reach down and pick up my sanza, or kalimba, as some folks call it, and plink a few notes. Instant delight on their faces. “This is my sanza. Can you say that word?”

“Sanza!” came the chorus.

Holding it up so all could see, I’d explain the instrument. “All it is is a little wooden box with a hole in it to let out the sound. And there are strips of metal of different lengths along it. The long ones make the low tones (plunk) and the short ones make the high tones (plink). And with it, I’ll tell you my first story. This sanza was made in South Africa, and so, too, this first story. It’s called The Tale of the Name of the Tree.

I’d make the sound of dry, singing savannah wind, tinkle the notes, and begin the story.

———

The reason I bring all this up is because for two years, I haven’t done any of it. Haven’t set foot inside a school to perform for kids, haven’t asked where the adult bathroom is, haven’t dodged crowds of munchkins in their brightly colored jackets, haven’t been offered cupcakes or cookies– none of it, not since March of 2020. Been on Zoom plenty of times, and Facebook Live, and recently I’ve begun doing live shows again for adults in Cambridge at a club called Grendel’s Den, but I haven’t set foot inside a single elementary school in all that time.

But now that the masks are coming off and the fears are waning, lo and behold, the schools are calling to book shows once again. Live, in-person shows. Performances in schools I visited often in that life I lived before the world came apart.

Come May, I’ll be back with the little kids, playing my harp in those big empty rooms before they file in. As I write this—as much to remember how to do it as anything else—I’m getting a lump in my throat. I really missed telling stories to schoolkids, and wasn’t sure if I’d ever do it again.

It’s as if after two long years, a magician has pulled away his dark cape to reveal the same white dove I’ve always loved, still there, still alive.

 

–Odds Bodkin

 

To book a show, go here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VOYAGE OF THE WAISTGOLD: Storyteller Odds Bodkin Debuts Original Epic Adventure

VOYAGE OF THE WAISTGOLD: Storyteller Odds Bodkin Debuts Original Adventure Sunday Feb. 27, 2022 at 5 pm, LIVE at Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square.

The “consummate storyteller” (New York Times) is returning to Grendel’s Den, the renowned watering hole on Harvard Square, to perform his original feature-length work. After four seasons of live shows before adult audiences, he switched to Zoom during the pandemic, but on Sunday night he once again regales his Grendel’s audience with voices and narration, live and in-person.

Here’s a tale of murderous pirates who steal a mystery ship and soon discover it is like no other. It has a mind of its own. To double the intrigue, the beautiful young witch queen who built it arrives in the middle of the trackless sea. Impossibly, she has found them. Worse, she wants her ship back.

Humor, horror and social commentary come together in this wild piece of high fantasy storytelling. Come feast and drink like a pirate, then be the first to hear it!

Tickets are $35.

No children please.

 

Odds Bodkin

VOYAGE OF THE WAISTGOLD

Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022 at 5 pm EST

Grendel’s Den, Cambridge MA

Tickets $35

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABOUT THAT AWFUL SCENE IN EARTH OVERTHROWN

ABOUT THAT AWFUL SCENE IN EARTH OVERTHROWN

 

“a modern-day Orpheus”—Billboard

“a consummate storyteller”—The New York Times

“one of the great voices in American storytelling” —Wired

 

When her husband Ouranos jails her latest babies (four gigantic monsters) in the dark depths of Tartarus, Gaia demands to know just what Ouranos thinks he’s doing. “I didn’t approve this!” she cries, feeling anger for the very first time in all her eons of life.

“When they grow up, they’ll be more powerful than we Titans, Gaia!” her worried husband pleads. “It’s too dangerous! Look how huge they are already!”

“I do not give my permission for this,” she retorts, insulted at his behavior. After all, she created Ouranos and chose him as her husband and king. Together they raised twelve perfect Titan children. But now that she’s birthed a few monsters—he is the father, after all–he thinks he can imprison them? And and go against her will? Because he’s afraid of something that may happen in the distant future?

“You do not have my permission!” she hisses.

“I don’t need your permission!” he snaps back, locking the young monsters in their cells.

A darkness overpowers Gaia and she decides Ouranos will no longer be king. Assembling her twelve Titan children before her, she brandishes a razor-sharp blade. “Who among you will wound your father?” she demands, “And take his power?”

Only Cronus, her last born, the one with no talent other than ambition, agrees. In his low, hateful voice he asks, “If I do this, mother, you promise I will become king?”

“Yes,” she replies.

“How shall I wound him, mother? What shall I cut from him?”

Gaia widens her eyes. Her well-behaved, creative children have never seen her in a fury like this. “What makes a man a man?” she asks darkly.

———————–

This chilling, and yes, quite adult scene is part of EARTH OVERTHROWN: GAIA AND THE TITANS. What Cronus does next, and how Aphrodite in her famous seashell is born from Ouranos’ blood, is just part of this revelatory Greek myth. Backstory after backstory. All the way to the conniving grandson, Zeus, and the war he declares on his parents.

If you’ve ever been curious about where the Gods of Olympus—imaginary as they are–came from, well, here’s your ticket.

The tale is accompanied by a live score performed on 12-string guitar. It’s for adults only.

EARTH OVERTHROWN: GAIA AND THE TITANS

An Odds Bodkin Storytelling Event on Zoom

Thursday, March 3, 2022 at 7 pm EST

Tickets $30 per screen (buys your login and password)

 

 

Pox On You All! You Ain’t Gettin’ This Ship!

A POX ON YOU ALL! YOU AIN’T GETTIN’ THIS SHIP!

After Phineas Krull murders the Grand Builderguilder and he and his pirate crew steal The Waistgold, they think they’re free of the denizens of Port Sqwunk. But that’s not the case. Their pursuers want one thing: The Waistgold and her gem-studded wood.

Me spyglass reveals a damn sixty-oared frigate,
Five times our size easy and loaded with Sqwunks.
With at least ten sails up and her cannons, 12-pounders,

Bebristlin’ her rails, she looks ready fer blood.
Below in ‘er galleys, big Roachers be rowin’,
Singin’ songs ‘o the spirit to pass off their pain,
Hungry eyes on each other to see who’ll die first.
Never thought they’d be comin’, but then I sees why.
‘Tis a damn Builderguilder, not ‘im who be dead,
But another––he the brother?–– with a glass to ‘is eye.

Right, the dead one’s brother or a partner in crime
All hot full ‘o vengeance and wanting ‘er back.
Seein’ me seein’ ‘im as we stares ‘cross the space,
I says, “Pox on you all! You ain’t gettin’ this ship!”

Here’s a quick video introduction to this new performance work by Odds Bodkin:

Be in the audience at Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square this coming Sunday the 27th for the live show!

VOYAGE OF THE WAISTGOLD

A Premier Performance

Sunday Feb. 27, 2022 at 5 pm EST

LIVE AT GRENDEL’S DEN on Harvard Square

Tickets: $35

SHE BUILT IT. LET HER HAVE IT.

SHE BUILT IT. LET HER HAVE IT.

In Voyage of the Waistgold, Phineas Krull, a poisoner and pirate, steals a ship he sees at the docks. With a waistband of gold around its gunwales, the ship is unlike anything he’s seen.

 

‘Tis not just the wheel what’s becrusted with gems,

For the ebony beams sport fat emeralds in rows

Seemin’ lit from behind inside finely carved scrolls

Among faces, creatures, temples, odd leaves,

And wrought geometrics o’ the Golden Mean.

 

In a blood-soaked book Phineas reads who ordered it built: young Ood, an orphaned enchantress queen from far to the north. According to the book, she’s probably dead. Her land was in flames when the scribe who wrote the book escaped.

The problem is, it turns out Queen Ood is very much alive. And once she does the impossible and finds Krull on the open sea, she wants her boat back. He lets her and her soldiers come aboard. A confrontation soon follows.

 

“I’d like you to leave,” she says, facin’ the windows,

Unwillin’ to share any truths in ‘er eyes.

“As ye wish, lady queen. Ye may sleep in this cabin.

Know this, though: The Waistgold, tomorrow at dawn,

Sets ‘er sails as she was, ‘fore your boats come a’flyin’.

We’s still headin’ west. Ye can fight, leave or ride.

So please do consider just what ye might do

To avoid unpleasantries fer ye and yer crew.”

 

She understands the danger she faces demanding what is now a pirate ship. It’s the beginning of an astonishing relationship.

I’ll be performing Voyage of the Waistgold in one week, at Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square. In this original fantasy world, I’ll perform the tale in pirate patois, with Phineas Krull as the narrator. If you come, be sure to bring a thick skin; this story is guaranteed to leave no one unoffended. It’s adult fun.

Have some food and drink, and then be among the first to experience this tale.

Odds Bodkin

Voyage of the Waistgold

Sunday, Jan. 27, 2022 at 5 pm EST

Grendel’s Den in Cambridge MA

Tickets $35

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Voyage of the Waistgold: How a Performance Poem Came to Be

Voyage of the Waistgold: How A Performance Poem Came to Be

Imagine a mountaintop where a bejeweled sailing ship sits perched on wooden rails. It has been built up here, even though the sea is leagues away. Soon it will slide down those rails through moonlit forests until, at breakneck speed, it will splash into the sea.

“That would make an interesting story,” I thought to myself, living in Manhattan in my twenties. I’d jotted down the idea in my journal. “So who would build such a mystery ship?” I wondered. “And why so far from the sea? That doesn’t make sense.”

Later, in a dream state, I envisioned a pirate captain on a ship’s deck, swearing to kill a dark threat, a fell beast that waited for him in distant mists. The captain’s name came to me: Phineas Krull. He was an evil man. Then his ship’s name floated into my thoughts: The Waistgold.

I instantly understood that the ship on the mountaintop was The Waistgold.

 I now had a story with more questions than answers.

 ———-

Voyage of the Waistgold is now a 90-minute spoken word entertainment. I’ll be premiering it live at Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square this coming Sunday night, February 27th at 5 pm.

As outlandish yarns go, it’s pretty good. I hope to see you there!

The show is for adults only.

Here’s the introduction:

 

Storyteller Odds Bodkin

Voyage of the Waistgold: A World Premier

Sunday, February 27, 2022 at 5 pm EST.

Tickets and details here.

A Week from Today: Odds Bodkin tells THE ODYSSEY

A week from today, Odds Bodkin tells THE ODYSSEY on YouTube Live. This rescheduled performance (Omicron interfered but all is well) begins at 7 pm EST, 4 pm PT. Produced by Six Feet Apart Productions and hosted by Claire Hennessy, this 70-minute tour de force storytelling performance combines thrilling music with vivid characters acted in real time.

Journey back to Homer’s world of Greek mythology and the Trojan War with a Master Talesman.

“a consummate storyteller” — The New York Times

“a modern-day Orpheus” — Billboard

Odds Bodkin

The Odyssey: Belly of the Beast

Sunday, Jan. 30 at 7 pm EST

Tickets: $25 – $30