ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS
Odds Bodkin with Instruments
Sunday Jan. 10, 2021 at 5 pm EST
ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS
Odds Bodkin with Instruments
Sunday Jan. 10, 2021 at 5 pm EST
Odin has no friends, really, other than harmless and trusting Kvasir, who wants nothing that Odin possesses. But now, Kvasir has been missing for months and word has come that in the mountains of Jotunheim a giant is bragging that he owns a magical mead. It’s a drink that bestows power and wisdom with one sip.
The problem is, he is claiming it was brewed from the blood of the god Kvasir.
Which means that somebody killed poor Kvasir for his essence. Odin’s great eye can see anywhere he casts his gaze, but he cannot see everywhere at once. Who has done this? To find out and return his friend’s blood to Asgard, Odin goes on a long quest of disguises, shape-changing and implacable revenge.
The Mead of Poetry is one of two long Norse myths I’ll be performing this coming Sunday evening over Zoom. My 12-string guitar will sport fresh, crisp strings and I will be ready with character voices and narration. I’ll create voices for Odin, Thor, Loki, Bauge the Giant, Utgarde Loke, King of the Frost Giants, Gunlod the Singing Giantess and a host of others.
The show begins at 5 pm Eastern Standard Time on Zoom. Grab your $25 ticket and you’ll receive a meeting link, and then a password the day of the show.
I’ll be full screen for the event with great sound. See you there!
This show is sponsored by Grendel’s Den of Cambridge, MA.
Before the pandemic, I regaled audiences in person. Seated behind two microphones, I told them my tales through a sound system so people in the back row could hear. People in the front row? How far away were they? If I were onstage, I’d say about six to ten feet.
But now, for better or worse, I’m closer, sharper, and louder, too, because if my audience wants to turn up the volume, that’s easy to do at home.
Yes, for the time being I’m on Zoom for my adult performances. The camera is a mere two feet away. Hoary and curmudgeonish as I am, it still seems to work. As professor Joseph Walsh put it after a recent Zoom show for college kids:
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.
Up until March of last year, I told my winter series of adult tales at Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA. We had lots of fun doing it, and not wanting to lose that fun completely, Kari Kuelzer, the owner, and I decided to move our shows to Zoom. She’ll be online to introduce me and help me juggle audience questions afterwards.
For next Sunday she chose ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS, which I’ve performed at her club many times. You are invited. Tickets are $25. I hope you join us for some wild and woolly performance art.
Happy New Year!
2021 is around the corner!
Storyteller Odds Bodkin is presenting two Zoom events in January to kick off the New Year. First, on January 10th, ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS, an adult storytelling. Then, on Jan. 24th, MYTH MAKERS, his first adult how-to-tell-stories workshop on Zoom.
Check out the links and sign up!
On Sunday Jan. 10, 2020 at 5 pm EST, Storyteller Odds Bodkin returns to Zoom with his beloved adult show, ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS.
Mark your calendar and enjoy two Norse myths presented with giant voices and music on 12-string guitars. Wit and humor combine with mythic adventure in these riveting works of performance art. An evening’s entertainment.
After the show, chat with the artist. He’ll stay online.
“A consummate storyteller”–The New York Times
Sponsored by Grendel’s Den in Cambridge MA.
From the Odyssey, Hercules and Beowulf to Gentle Nature Tales and Dino stories. 18 albums. All on a USB Flash Drive.
I just finished listening to Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto #1 in my kitchen, while recovering from a day of hard physical work cleaning out my garage and carting off the last leaves of autumn here in New Hampshire. In my town of Bradford, if you don’t turn on your front porch light this Halloween, trick or treaters will not ring your doorbell. We’re doing that this year, Mil and I. We’re going to light the wood stoves and lay low. Just today I put on and took off my mask numerous times, a task almost as tiring as taking moldy old sleeping bags to the dump.
A young woman (violinist Alena Baeva) was the soloist for the concerto, and she was note perfect and found yet a few new subtleties in performing this beloved and well-worn piece.
Of course, this was a pre-Covid performance. It was a scene of happy aesthetes assembled together in a concert hall somewhere, put up on YouTube. No masks. Everyone breathing the collective air normally. A roaring applause at the end, everyone standing up in joy, just having been transported.
All this will come back. It really will. We just have to hang in there a little while longer.
That’s because our beloved scientists have almost figured out the bioinformatics on this virus. Just as breathlessly as I listened to this concerto, I await that day. It’s just around the corner.
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.
My wife Mil took this photo today after she’d cleared the lilies from the back wall garden. No context, really. They just are what they are.
“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.
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.
I’ve been a full-time professional storyteller since 1982, and in all those years and across all the recordings I’ve made, I only sell one video. It’s of The Iliad: Book I performed live before a high school audience. All the rest are audios, because, well, my business is to urge people to imagine. I use words and music to do it.
When I turn on a screen, however, I don’t want to imagine. I want that to be done for me ahead of time by actors, directors and composers, with scene changes. I want to watch what they’ve imagined, not some talking head. Usually I’m live on a stage a few feet away from a front row of listeners; the audience stretches out behind them, as far as the PA system can send the sound. They listen and imagine. I never thought I’d give that up.
Enter the coronavirus.
No more live audiences, right?
Gavin Bodkin, my entrepreneur middle son who helps run the ultra-cool company called Circular Blu, now in his thirties, has graciously become my Zoom producer as well because—oh, I’ll just say it–he loves me a lot and wants to see me keep performing. I live in an old three-storey house and the attic is pretty big, big enough for an area of it now to have become my new “Zoom Studio.” I’ve done a few shows on full-screen over Zoom, but until the other day remained skeptical it could really work for people.
And so I was shocked when Gavin said, “Dad, I’ve figured out why your Zoom shows translate.”
“Do tell,” I said, wondering if he meant it.
“No, seriously. It’s your eyes.”
Unlike an actor with a fourth wall, as a storyteller I always make eye contact with my audience, an old habit. It builds the storytelling spell. Now, since there’s nobody to look at, I’ve been making eye contact with the camera lens, just a couple of feet away.
Gavin went on. “You’re close up and your eyes are locked onto the camera, even as you’re playing your instruments. I think that’s why it works.” While he’s producing, he watches all the people’s reactions at home. Kids dancing and smiling. Adults laughing, even clapping. I don’t get to see any of that because I’m busy with the art aspect, this photo of me being an ogre who’s holding an imaginary fairy notwithstanding.
“They’re all imagining, dad. I think this whole thing is going to work.”
My next show is coming up this Sunday, July 19th at 7 pm EST on Zoom. I’m working with Grendel’s Den in Cambridge MA. It’s early Greek mythology. FALL OF THE TITANS. Tickets are $15. Drop by and let me know afterwards if it translates. There will be a Q&A.
Oh, and no kids, please. It’s an adult show.