2020 Season at Grendel’s Den Begins with BEOWULF

It’s been four years now since Kari’s husband built the stage for me. Kari’s restaurant on Harvard Square, Grendel’s Den, had never hosted a performer before, and since I was to be the first, I needed a stage in order to be seen by folks at the tables. This had all come about when Gavin, my son, who, since I perform Beowulf–and Grendel the monster figures prominently in it–pitched the idea to Kari: dine on Scandinavian food and drink, and then hear a classic monster myth from Viking times. Just for adults. No kids.

It worked. Since then I’ve done lots of adult shows in the heated intimacy of Grendel’s Den, and I’ll be back for a fresh season starting on Sunday January 12th at the usual 5 p.m. start time. This year, we open with Beowulf: The Only One, a favorite tale to tell, despite the hard work involved. Hard guitar playing. Hard voice work, especially Grendel, who roars out his emotions, and his mother, who screeches out her vengeful, but intelligible words.

Next, on February 9th, I’ll perform The Odyssey: Belly of the Beast.

 

Then, on March 8th, it’s Odin and Thor Battle the Frost Giants.

 

Lastly, on March 29th, I don’t know what I’ll be performing because Kari’s holding an “audience’s choice” contest over winter where ticket buyers for other shows get to vote on the final show. Choices are FALL OF THE TITANS: THE MYTH OF GAIA, INDIA’S ANCIENTS: TALES FROM THE MAHABHARATA AND BEYOND, HEARTPOUNDERS: HORROR TALES or HERCULES IN HELL.

I like them all.


Meanwhile, first up is:

Beowulf: The Only One

Sunday, January 12, 2020 at 5 pm

Get Your Tickets for Good Seats: $20

 

 

A CHRISTMAS STORY LIKE NO OTHER…Odds Bodkin in MA this Dec. 1

Imagine you are a generous but now impoverished old knight who needs a boon from the High King, but you’re too embarrassed to see your old friend without even a small gift to bring. It’s been forty years since you saved the king’s life. He hasn’t seen you since.

And then, a miracle. The dead cherry tree in your courtyard blooms and grows cherries in a dark snowstorm. It’s three days before Christmas Eve. With the miraculous cherries in a basket, you set off on foot for Cardiff Castle. Essentially, you are carrying a gift from God.

English law of the time states that anyone, even peasants, can beg a boon from the king on Christmas Eve. And so, disguised as a farmer, you bang on the castle’s guardhouse door. The rough guard inside thinks you’re just another peasant and so tells you you’re too late to get in, that is, until you show him what you’ve brought: glowing, fresh cherries. An impossibility in winter. The guard knows the king will love them and give an you extraordinary boon.

He agrees to let you in, but demands one third of whatever gold, silver, gems or furs the king may give you. It’s frank extortion, but to get into the castle, you agree. You promise him a third of your boon and you enter the castle.

But there are two more doors you must pass before you enter the feasting hall. And there are two more gatekeepers who see the cherries, too, and have the same idea.

MID-WINTER MIRACLES: MUSICAL TALES FOR CHRISTMAS AND CHANUKAH

DEC. 1, 2019 at 3 pm at The Burren Backroom in Somerville MA. Tickets $10 in advance, $15 at the door.

TICKETS

A TEACHER’S REVIEW OF “THE GOLDEN RULE RESIDENCY”/One Day at an Elementary School

Hello, Odds!

My goodness, words can not express our ENORMOUS thanks and gratitude for your time and talents on Tuesday… The students were absolutely awe-struck (as was I and the other adults!)!

I’ve waited on writing you because I wanted to gather the feedback for you and the biggest feedback I’ve gotten is “He is AWESOME!!” “He needs to come back!!”! They LOVED your choice of stories, they were fully immersed and involved and captivated and your workshops were the perfect format to digest and disseminate these stories even farther into their true meaning! They really enjoyed getting to go deeper into the stories and their meanings with you and to learn more about you! Letting them have time to ask about you was perfect as well! You had clear evidence of being an educator previously, in the way you worked with the kids and how your broke down your lessons and how you were able to reach out/teach them! Your content and style was perfect! The format was perfect to hear everything as a full group and then let it “sink in” for a bit and then break it down more with you. 🙂 You are true treasure and I plan on spreading the word even more about you! I will even post your website on my web page, if you’re ok with that! 🙂

THANK YOU SO MUCH, AGAIN!
I look forward to hearing more of your tales soon!
Christina Catino
CSDA General Music, Chorus, Orchestra

 

If you know any elementary schools that could use a dose of storytelling and civility learning, tell them about GOLDEN RULE: WORLD STORIES ABOUT EMPATHY.

MID-WINTER MIRACLES Show in MA this December 1st at The Burren Backrooom

I originally found it in a big red book I’d had since I was a child. In it, a dead cherry tree springs to green life in midwinter and produces miraculous cherries, a precious gift for the king indeed. But when an old knight tries to deliver them, there’s a knave at every doorway in the castle.

Turns out THE WINTER CHERRIES is among my listeners’ favorites. Softer-hearted folk cry at the end. I don’t blame them, really. Sometimes I do, too.

I’ll be telling THE WINTER CHERRIES along with other Holiday tales only once in Massachusetts this December as part of MID-WINTER MIRACLES.

 

The show is 3 pm on Dec. 1 at The Burren Backroom in Somerville, MA. Tickets are on sale now. Get yours for this fun family performance.

THEY FLEW FROM VIRGINIA TO HEAR GHOST STORIES IN NH

After my Heartpounders II Halloween Horror for Adults show at the Warner Town Hall in NH last Friday, two women in their late twenties came up to me.

“We flew up from Arlington Virginia for this,” one said.

Sometimes people travel distances to attend my shows, but that’s pretty far, I thought. “For this show?” I asked, wondering if I’d heard correctly.

“Yup. Two rental cars and an airplane,” said the other. “This is such a pretty area.”

I was still wondering if they were visiting local family or something and had heard about the show. “You’re saying you flew up from Virginia just to attend this performance. That’s it.”

“When we were kids, you came to a Zainy Brainy store in Arlington and did a show,” said the first. “Our moms bought your recordings. We grew up listening to them.”

Zainy Brainy was an upscale toy store chain back in the age of cassettes. I’d visited a few, but completely forgotten about it.

“We loved the story about the man chased by the thunderstorms.”

The Storm Breeder. Wow, well, I’m moved,” I replied, wishing I’d told it that night. “Thanks for coming all this way. What are your names?” They introduced themselves and we shook hands and talked a little bit more.

“Do you live near here?” asked one.

“Next town over, in Bradford.”

“It’s really beautiful up here,” said one. “Well, thanks for the show. It was amazing.”

And after a few more words exchanged, they left.

Days later, I’m still impressed.

I have one more Halloween Horror Show for adults this season, a different one, coming up this Friday the 25th at 7:30 pm. at the Sweet Beet, 11 West Main Street in Bradford, NH. Hopefully you won’t need to come as far to see it. I’ll be telling The Storm Breeder, oddly enough.

It’s outdoors, so bundle up and bring chairs. BYOB. Hot chili, hot cider, donuts and apple crisp will be on sale before, during and after the show, all made by the wonder chefs at the Sweet Beet.

The show features horror tales from colonial America, old Russia, Confucian China and a new mystery story yet to be performed at any of my Heartpounders shows. Music on 12-string guitars, alto recorder and Celtic harp. They are not suitable for young children.

TICKETS ARE $20.

This is the third annual Halloween storytelling at the Sweet Beet. Hope to see you there!

 

TONIGHT! ADULT HORROR TALES AT THE WARNER NH TOWN HALL

Come support the New Hampshire Telephone Museum tonight, Oct. 18, 2019 at 7 pm and prepare yourself for Odds Bodkin’s collection of terrifying tales for Halloween. Music on multiple instruments. Sound effects. Character voices. Stunning stories of the supernatural.

TICKETS $10 MEMBERS, $15 NON-MEMBERS

Not suitable for children under 14.

HORROR TALES IN BRADFORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE ON OCT. 25TH

When Hanna and I first talked about it, there was no outdoor stage at 11 West Main Street, here in Bradford, New Hampshire, otherwise known as the Sweet Beet Cultural Center. At least that’s how I think of it. It’s not called that yet.

 

And so Pierre built me a stage up against the woods. It’s still there, three years later.

And when Hanna and I attempted our first fundraiser for the Sweet Beet—now a cluster of entrepreneurial ventures housed in the old inn, a rebirth of a time when our little town was a destination for horse and buggy tourists, but which inn has now been gloriously renovated by the Two Mikes (Mike Bauer and Mike James)—I said, “Well, if we can get around 150 people to show up at ten bucks a head, all the money is yours. Consider it my in-kind donation.”

That was Halloween 2017. Lo and behold, we had 150 crazy Bradford souls and other crazies from other towns show up, bundled in winter hats, gloves and blankets, eating chili, and generally settling in to hear the local storyteller tell some tales with guitars, alto recorder and harp.

Other than adding a mysterious new horror tale to this upcoming evening’s entertainment, I’ll be reprising my show of two years ago on Pierre’s stage this Oct. 25th at 7:30 pm. Please bear in mind that as a musician, performing outside in the cold is a challenge. Cold slows the fingers. However, it quickens the mind.

The Storm Breeder, a New England ghost legend. 12-string guitar.

The Panther Boys, a tale of lycanthropy from Confucian China. Alto recorder.

Treasure Trove, a deeply unsettling story from Old Russia. 12-string guitar.

And the new story, which shall remain as cloaked as a ghost. This will be its debut.

You’ve never heard it, because I’ve never told it.

 

Bundle up. BYOB. Hot food for sale. Braziers will be burning.

Odds Bodkin’s

HEARTPOUNDERS I +

Friday, October 25, 2019

7:30 p.m.

11 West Main Street, Bradford NH

TICKETS $20

A DEEPLY FRIGHTENING MYTH OF SURVIVAL

In the sparse life of the ancient Eskimos, a daughter who will not marry is a death sentence.

Sedna is just such a girl. No suitor quite suits her, not even when a mysterious stranger pulls up his kayak onto the pebbly beach and brags of his staggering wealth.

Sedna’s angry, aging father insists she go with the man to become his wife. With no choice in the matter, she slides down into his kayak.

As events unfold, both father and daughter end up in a situation that is beyond horror, beyond betrayal.

A dark, elemental tale from the traditional Inuit of the Arctic Circle, Sedna the Ocean Mother is possibly the scariest, most unsettling story Odds Bodkin tells. Especially for women. It is not cultural appropriation. It is cultural reverence.

This tale is performed with 12-string guitar and a few character voices, plus vocal effects of sea birds, gales and frantic paddling.

To benefit the New Hampshire Telephone Museum, which is a must-see on its own, Odds Bodkin’s Heartpounders II tales are for an adult audience only. Please do not bring children. Original acoustic music–much of it created live, on Celtic harp, 6-string guitar, and 12-string guitars–accompanies the stories.

Friday Oct. 18, 2019 at 7 pm/Warner Town Hall, Warner NH

TICKETS $10 MEMBERS, $15 NON-MEMBERS

A SAMURAI FACES FLYING HEADS

A former samurai who is now a Shinto priest, Kairyo knows all about the demons who appear after dark in the forests of Japan. If you stumble, the phantom dogs will attack you from behind. If you hear a baby’s cry near a river, it’s not a baby, no, you are being lured to your death by a wraithe that lurks in the water.

Of course, Kairyo has heard about the Rokuro-Kubi as well, demons who detach their heads at night to feed on field insects, mice and the delicacy of human victims, if they can entrap them.

It’s on a lost, stormy night in the mountain forests that Kairyo is late to the safety of a village, and meets the Rokuro-Kubi.

Four of them.

Come hear The Demon Heads, an old tale from Japan, and other tales of the supernatural at Warner Town Hall in Warner, NH, in an event to support the New Hampshire Telephone Museum.

Odds Bodkin’s Heartpounders II tales will give children nightmares and are not suitable for them. Acoustic music accompanies each story.

 

Heartpounders II

Friday, Oct. 18, 2019 at 7 pm

Warner Town Hall

Warner, New Hampshire

 

Tickets: $10 members, $15 non-members

Teacher Reports that Odds Bodkin Stories Used in New Online Lab Support Core Standards

Story Preservation Initiative, or SPI, has launched something new. The organization, renowned for its interviews with famous people–interviews that older students can access online–has added something new for younger students, K-3.

Odds Bodkin stories on audio with full curriculum follow-up. Stories that support core standards. Visit here.

Here’s a fall 2019 teacher review:

“There are five wonderfully told stories along with PDF multifaceted lesson plans.  The stories are engaging and Odds Bodkin has amazing effects to bring each to life.  The fables are definitely geared to celebrating our natural world.  The Evergreens, for example is a fable about deciduous versus evergreen trees and about why they loose their leaves.  The lesson plans give you multiple ways to tie the books into different core standards.”

If you are a K-3 teacher, or know one, please share this information. There are five Odds Bodkin stories available in this exciting new program.