12-STRING GUITAR MOTIFS for Fall of the Titans

 

I’ve had a wonderful run of well-attended shows at Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square this winter and want to thank Kari Kuelzer, Charlie Gargano, Joe Froeber and the great staff at Grendel’s for making all the evenings run so smoothly.

Everybody’s having a good time.

This season’s last show is Sunday night, March 31 at 6 p.m.

FALL OF THE TITANS

TICKETS $15

The Eldest Olympian is Love, But With a Dark Origin

You’ve seen Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus. There she stands at the sea’s edge, demure in her newly opened scallop shell. Her hair is plenty long enough to cover all of her, since she’s in her birthday suit, but she’s no prude, not this goddess, and so she’s left one breast uncovered.

A reception committee has arrived to greet her. A handsome winged god, Zephyr, hovers on the left with his cute girlfriend, Aura. Both are blowing a breeze that is driving Venus toward shore and fluffing her hair, almost like a fashion shoot. On the right is the Hora of Spring (one of the Hours), a lovely minor goddess who seems to be doing a bit of floating herself as she holds out a garment for Venus to put on, when she’s ready, of course. Pink mallow flowers hover in the air and appear in miniature on the garment, as well.

In 1480 or so, when Boticelli painted his Renaissance masterpiece, he did not include any blood in the water, notice. There is no Titan on the distant cliffs, laughing, while another Titan, his father, clutches his bloody loins. Nope. Wisely, Botticelli left out the rest of the story.

If you’d like to learn the terrifying origin of The Goddess of Love, the eldest Olympian, join me in my performance of Fall of the Titans, this coming Sunday on Harvard Square at Grendel’s Den.

As gruesome as it is, it makes a strange kind of sense.

An adult storytelling with music on Celtic harp and 12-string guitar. No children please.

 

FALL OF THE TITANS

Odds Bodkin

Sunday, March 31 at 6 pm

Grendel’s Den, Cambridge MA

 

Tickets $15

NEXT SUNDAY IN CAMBRIDGE: Fall of the Titans Adult Epic Storytelling

This coming Sunday, March 24th, Odds Bodkin performs FALL OF THE TITANS: The Original Game of Thrones at Gendel’s Den in Cambridge MA at 5 pm. Character voices, sound effects and a full score on 12-string guitar bring this epic Greek myth to life.

After sold-out shows this winter, this is Bodkin’s last appearance on Harvard Square this season.

Arrive at 5, order drinks and food from a great menu, and then settle in for this cosmic tale of creation, family jealousy and the overthrow of worlds.

Tickets $15

 

 

 

A Supercontinent Led Me to this Ancient Greek Myth

Pangea—you’ve heard of it. The ancient supercontinent of the Late Triassic that slowly broke apart into the continents we have today. Geologists have successfully matched so many rock formations at the edges of so many modern continents that they’ve reverse-engineered the rock patchwork puzzle all the way back to Pangea, or “All Earth.”

A few hundred million years of continents drifting an inch a year.

While looking at reconstruction maps of these long-lost continents, I noticed that scientists had named the ancient oceans around them with names like the Rheic Ocean, the Iapetus Ocean and the Tethys Ocean.

Rhea. Iapetus. Tethys. These were names I’d not heard.

A little googling revealed that they were Titans from ancient Greek mythology, first named by a poet, Hesiod, around 700 B.C. in a work called Theogony, or “Birth of the Gods.”

A little unclear about who the Titans were exactly (other than evil giants in Hollywood movies) and what if anything they had to do with the Greek gods, I found a translation of Theogony and lo, realized I’d come upon the Greek genesis story, like Adam and Eve in the Bible.

The story of Gaia and her Titan children, the builders of the earth. At least in the Greek imagination.

Here, ten years later, Fall of the Titans is one of my favorite epic tales to perform. The character voices are wild. The scenes of origins are exciting and revelatory and fun to enact. And as always with my tales, I’ve composed a score for it on 12-string guitar.

Since it usually takes me ten years of telling such a story to be ready to record it, I’m ripe for the plucking now, and so will be recording Fall of the Titans live at Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square this coming Sunday, March 24th at 5 pm.

If you’d like to be part of this live recording event, grab a ticket and I’ll see you there!

TICKETS $15

 

AMBITION, JEALOUSY AND HIGH IRONY: Cronus the Titan

He’s Gaia’s last-born Titan child and talentless, his mother observes. All the other Titans build things—seas, mountains, river systems—but not Cronus. He simply wants to control everything others build.

By the time he’s grown, he’s insanely jealous of Ouranos, his father and Gaia’s husband.

Ouranos rules the universe well until he makes the mistake of angering Gaia by imprisoning a few of her monstrous offspring. Cyclopses and others. In her fury she promises Cronus he can become king if he topples his father from power.

He does it, becomes king and marries his sister Rhea, also, it seems, a talentless Titan. That is until she becomes pregnant and a prophecy is whispered: one of Cronus’s children will overthrow him.

In a rage of fear, he swallows down each of Rhea’s babies after they are born. Demeter. Hades. Hera. Poseidon.

The irony of the overthrower living in fear of being overthrown is not lost on Gaia, but she’s busy creating plants and animals, watching life thrive on her surface, and so let’s things stay as they are. At least for now…

———————–

Come listen to Fall of the Titans, my last show at Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square for this winter. Told with a full score on 12-string guitar, character voices and vocal effects, it’s a full evening of adult storytelling. Introduction on Celtic harp. No children please.

Fall of the Titans

March 24, 2019 at 5 pm

Grendel’s Den in Cambridge MA

Tickets are $15.

FALL OF THE TITANS at Grendel’s Den on March 24th

After a wonderful sold out performance of Beowulf: The Only One last Sunday, my final show in this year’s Grendel’s Den series is two weeks away.

Fall of the Titans is my feature-length version of the Greek myth of Gaia and her Titan children, and how Zeus and the Olympian gods overthrew these creators of the world. It’s a wild and beautiful tale, with no few modern reverberations.

Grab your tickets now!

Adult Storytelling with Music in Cambridge MA Tomorrow Night: Love Stories

Usually I tell mythic adventure stories during my trips down to Grendel’s Den in Cambridge. I hop in my car in New Hampshire and two hours later, I’m on busy Harvard Square, loading in the harp and guitars, greeting the crew for the evening and grabbing a coffee. Then it’s to the stage for tuning and a sound check. Before I know it, I’m performing tales of gods and monsters. Giants speak. Hammers fly. Dwarves chitter. Beasts roar.

It’s fun and the audience usually has a good time. They eat, they drink, and then they listen.

Happily, my Grendel’s Den show last month, Odin and Thor Battle the Frost Giants, was sold out, packed with nice people. Tables full of professorial-looking souls, others crowded with students and millennials, even a few young couples out on dates.

No kidding. Dinner and a story, I guess. I’m flattered at the thought.

Tomorrow night’s show, however, is one that those young, unmarried people out on that date together might really enjoy. Basically two long love stories, one from Japan and one from Arthurian England, this show takes place once a year for Valentine’s Day. Both tales have elements of magic, yes, but no monsters to speak of. No life or death battles. Just the wonder of male/female relationships in the face of the prime directive, and how things can go so very wrong if the trust isn’t there, and how things can go so very right when it is.

A few tickets remain.

WORLDS APART: Tales for Lovers

Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA

Sunday, Feb. 10 at 5 pm

TICKETS $15

 

 

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 IS CONFLICT: Old Stories Have Something To Say

Love between men and women nowadays in the Western World is marked by increasing conflict, it really is. The ancient compact between women seeking children and protection and men, longing in their hearts to give women those things and surge life forward, seems, at least in this dubious historical moment, to be over. Or at least in flux.

Enter these two ancient stories about love. The Crane Wife, a simple-on-its-surface folktale from old Japan, and The Dame Ragnell, a more intellectually complex but nevertheless fraught tale from the French courtly poets of the 1400’s, those iconoclasts who dared to suggest that without their families’ approval, a woman and a man could fall in love and marry each other anyway, just from the sheer magic of their souls having found one another.

“Romantic love” is a Western notion. It was born in Europe. It speaks to a time when towns became cities.

If you’d like to listen to and think about these two ancient love stories, by all means, join me at Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square this coming Sunday, Feb. 10th at 5 pm. It’s a Valentine’s Day show, one I do each year.

The music is on pentatonically tuned Celtic harp and pretty lush 12-string guitar. Lots of character voices, sound effects and other drama-inducing illusions to keep the tales moving.

Hope to see you there.

TICKETS $15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When a Goddess Loves a Nerd

Let’s say you’re an impoverished and lonely sail maker in ancient Japan. No woman will even look at you, much less fall in love with you, much less toil up the cliffs to your hovel overlooking the salt marsh to give it a try. Nope, you’re an involuntary celibate, doomed to a life of loneliness.

But then, on the wings of a storm, magic blows into your world. The wind slams it into your front door and knocks it unconscious, leaving it there. It’s a white crane. An injured, delicate bird.

Ah, but it’s not, of course. It’s a goddess, and you, the nerd who nurses it back to health, are about to become the luckiest man on earth…

Come hear The Crane Wife and another love story for Valentine’s Day this coming Sunday, Feb. 10 at 5 pm at Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square. This one is scored with pentatonic Celtic harp. The other tale is scored with 12-string guitar.

WORLDS APART: TALES FOR LOVERS

Odds Bodkin

A Valentine’s Day Adult Storytelling

TICKETS: $15

 

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