ADULT HORROR STORIES RECORDING EVENT at GRENDEL’S DEN

Years ago I made a recording called Dark Tales of the Supernatural and sold it on cassette. When I switched over to CDs and then to digital recordings (www.oddsbodkin.net/shop) I left it out. Mostly due to production values.

Over the years I’ve received numerous requests for it, and so this October 29th at Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA, I’ll be recording a new version live.

Lycanthropes and wraiths, not to mention the Devil––both imitated by a fool and as a very real presence on the dance floor––comprise the four horror stories in this show. Plus the origins of Halloween, going all the way back to the Druids of ancient England and Julius Caesar’s comments about them in 55 B.C.

First, Rose Latulippe and the Devil, a French Canadian story deceptively scored with lovely Celtic harp music, even as Rose dances closer and closer to the elegant man with claws in his gloves. Unaware that her body parts are falling away, she just keeps dancing.

Next, The Storm Breeder, a classic New England ghost legend about how Jonathan Dunwell of New York received the hideous burn scar across his neck in the shape of a gripping hand. Wind, whiplashes, horse gallops and driving 12-string effects weave in and out of vivid characters in this tale.

In Eastern Europe they’re werewolves, in Russia, werebears, but in China, they’re werepanthers. In The Panther Boys, two fine young sons are cursed to take the skins of seven men of their village by turning to supernatural night cats. Kill they do, but the tale turns terrifying when their father realizes they must come for him next. This tale is told with creepy, wind-blown alto recorder and panther screams.

Last comes Treasure Trove, a tale from Russia’s serfs. It’s too dark and brooding even to begin to describe, other than there’s vodka, a funeral and hoof-prints of the Cossacks. That and it features a human devil.

HEARTPOUNDERS: Halloween Tales of Horror begins at 5 pm Sunday October 29th at Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square. Spooky specialty foods and drinks will make it even more fun for these adult storytellings, all scored throughout with original music.

Come be part of a live recording event and enjoy some imagination entertainment for Halloween!

Tickets are $15 table seating and $10 at the bar.

THE BENEFIT OF HORROR

Yes, it’s a benefit show for an up and coming business in my town, but it’s also a delightfully horrible evening. ‘Tis the season, after all, for lycanthropes and wraiths, not to mention the Devil––both imitated by a fool and as a very real presence on the dance floor.

I’ll be performing four tales tomorrow night at 8 pm on the lawn at the Sweet Beet Market in Bradford, NH, each story more unsettling than the last. Plus the origins of Halloween, going all the way back to the Druids of ancient England and Julius Caesar.

First, Rose Latulippe and the Devil, a French Canadian story deceptively scored with lovely Celtic harp music, even as Rose dances closer and closer to the elegant man with claws in his gloves. Unaware that her body parts are falling away, she just keeps dancing.

Next, The Storm Breeder, a classic New England ghost legend about how Jonathan Dunwell of New York received the hideous burn scar across his neck in the shape of a gripping hand. Wind, whiplashes, horse gallops and driving 12-string effects weave in and out of vivid characters in this tale.

In Eastern Europe they’re werewolves, in Russia, werebears, but in China, they’re werepanthers. In The Panther Boys, two fine young sons are cursed to take the skins of seven men of their village by turning to supernatural night cats. Kill they do, but the tale turns terrifying when their father realizes they must come for him next. This tale is told with creepy, wind-blown alto recorder and panther screams.

Last comes Treasure Trove, a tale from Russia’s serfs. It’s too dark and brooding even to begin to describe, other than there’s vodka, a funeral and hoof-prints of the Cossacks. That and it features a human devil.

HEARTPOUNDERS: Halloween Tales of Horror begins at 8 pm tomorrow night, Friday the 13th, at the Sweet Beet Market on Main Street in Bradford, NH. Food and hot drinks will be available. It’s an outdoor show under the stars, so bring a blanket, have dinner, find a good seat. No kids, please. These stories aren’t for them.

All ticket sales go to benefit the Kearsarge Food Hub. $10 in advance, $12 at the gate. Come support this young business and enjoy being horrified!

BACK TO THE CEMETERY: Heartpounders Horror Tales on Friday the 13th

Is it an old haunted inn? It looks that way. Abandoned for years, it sat overgrown and neglected, a hulking eyesore on Main Street in Bradford, New Hampshire, my town. Weeds grew. The old sign faded. I drove by it every day.

But then a group of young people in town had a dream. Now its ground floor is a thriving locavore food heaven, filled with organic produce and meats, ice creams and locally-made specialty items.

Today when I drive by it’s the Sweet Beet Market, and even bigger dreams surround it. A bakery. A new arts venue. A commercial kitchen for food artisans. On weekends, the parking lot is filled with cars. Folks eat freshly made breakfasts, cooked up on the wraparound veranda as families sit at picnic tables. At this time of year, artfully piled pumpkins have turned the place orange. The old inn has come alive.

To help with this Kearsarge Food Hub project, I’m donating the scariest show in my repertory this coming Friday the 13th at 8 pm, an outdoor event with jack-o-lanterns glowing, under the big tent. HEARTPOUNDERS: Halloween Tales of Horror is an adult evening of stories. No kids, please. Mini-horror movies for the mind’s eye, these tales have entertained audiences from Lincoln Center in New York to the National Storytelling Festival. Each with driving music on 12-string guitars, Celtic harp, and other instruments, plus lots of creepy character voices and sounds, they’re unnerving and fun. The show is two hours.

Hot cider. Good hot food. On a cool October evening beneath the waning moon, these stories will come to life, or horrible death (agh!!!) depending on how you like it.

If you know folks in New Hampshire, please let them know. Nothing like this anywhere else in the Granite State.

Tickets are $10, $12 at the door.

Check it out on Facebook.

DRUIDS AND HALLOWEEN: Heartpounders Show Tonight in Nashua, NH

As part of the introduction for tonight’s show, HEARTPOUNDERS: Halloween Tales of Horror, I’ve be delving into some ancient history. Albion, the old name for England, which means “the white land” (probably because of the chalk cliffs of Dover), when Julius Caesar arrived to conquer it, was a pagan land. People believed in nature spirits, living in a land of mostly forests. This was centuries before the Vatican sent its missionaries to convert the druidical people living there to Christianity.

Caesar wrote about the druids, the priests of the time. They believed that mistletoe was magical, since it lived in clusters on oak tree branches without any visible root systems. They built giant wicker cages in which they burned alive slaves and enemies during a harvest celebration called Samhain. Modern witches still celebrate Samhain. “Witch” derives from the same root words as “wicker”, “wicked”, “willow” and other words, which in their day referred to the ability to use natural herbs to heal (willow contains salicylic acid, otherwise known as aspirin).

When the leaves fell and the darkness of winter approached, Celtic people believed that the boundary between the living and the invisible forces beyond the grave thinned out. Every manner of ghost, goblin and bogie was able to cross over into the world. Rituals to keep them at bay were held at this time of year.

Fast forward to today. Halloween, or All Hallow’s Eve (during the later Christianization of the British Isles by Vatican prelates, they did their best to stamp out this night of primitive beliefs by declaring it sacred, or “hallowed”) has proven to be a tough root to pull out. In America at least, this ancient rite is still animated by parties, costumes and monsters.

Tonight’s show of very scary stories with music begins at 7 pm at the Riverwalk Music Bar in Nashua, NH. It’s not meant for children.

Music is on 12-string guitars, Celtic harp and alto recorder.

Tickets

HEARTPOUNDERS: Halloween Tales of Horror in Nashua, NH Oct. 8

From man-eating werepanthers (think werewolves) who must kill their own father to a dark road wraith chased across New England by Nature’s vengeance, these tales of horror build to climactic scenes in your imagination. Heck, they scare me!

Driven by virtuoso 12-string guitar playing, Celtic harp and other instruments along with riveting character voices and vocal effects, each of the evening’s tales are guaranteed to take you deep into your worst fears. And don’t forget the story of a greedy priest in Russia who bleeds everywhere he’s donned the skin of a dead goat.

Horrible, yes. Fun, yes. Plus ancient Celtic lore about the origins of All Hallow’s Eve.

Sunday, October 8th at 7 pm. at the Riverwalk Music Bar in Nashua, New Hampshire.

Tickets $13 at the door, $10 in advance here!

WHEN MOTHER NATURE DECLARES WAR: Houston and Hurricane Harvey

It’s simple. As the planet’s air warms it holds more water vapor. That means that when it rains, it pours. For three decades, climate scientists have tried to get their message out and much of the world has ignored them. They predicted storms just like Harvey, and here it is, along with Sandy in New York. But giving storms human names diminishes what they are. In truth, they’re weather monsters. They should be named Godzilla, or Hurricane Frankenstein.

Science can be hard to understand, but stories aren’t. If you want to help those climate scientists convince the public and learn to tell science-based stories about climate disruption yourself, come to Boulder, Colorado this September.

Living Beyond Hope and Fear: Warrior Principle, Climate Action, Boulder’s climate symposium, takes place Sept. 15-17 at Shambhala Center. This year there’s a new emphasis: climate storytelling. Join us.

Science Storytellers in Boulder

How do we reach the many Americans who, despite abundant facts everywhere, deny that man-made climate disruption is real and increasingly dangerous to humankind and earth’s creatures? Some believe it is God’s plan and there’s nothing to be done, nor should anything be done. Others are paid to call the science into question by business interests, despite the fact that the CIA and American military have been sounding the alarm for years. Our current president either believes that it’s not real or that adapting to the tipping-point nightmares in our near future can be done with sea walls and immigration walls.

The national conversation about climate we’re having today may well be the most important one we Americans have this decade, and to help with that, I’ll be journeying to Boulder, Colorado to join others this coming mid-September to lend storytelling skills to climate scientists and activists.

Composed of measurements and numbers as much of science is, it can be lost in the noise of entertainments we Americans so love. Climate stories, however, written and spoken by growing numbers of informed citizens, have a chance to break through to an inattentive public.

Living Beyond Hope and Fear: Warrior Principle, Climate Action Symposium takes place Sept. 15-17 2017 at the Shambhala Center in Boulder.

Saturday night I’ll be performing Gaia: Fall of the Titans, the Greek creation myth, followed up with a StoryScience presentation.

Saturday morning and afternoon I’ll be offering a special DOOR TO IMAGINATION: HOW TO AWAKEN YOUR INNER STORYTELLER workshop for climate scientists and activists.

Join us for this important conversation. You can register and purchase tickets for the Symposium here.

Please join us!

 

Odds Bodkin

 

“I Cannot Stop Listening”

Simon Brooks is an Englishman and fellow professional storyteller. He recently wrote a review of my latest epic audio story, Beowulf: The Only One. I’ve excerpted it below.

“Like all of his work, Odds Bodkin’s ‘Beowulf’is deep, funny, and brilliantly told. Odds’ version is entertaining and pulls you in so you cannot back away from it… I have listened to it several times. In fact I am at the point where I cannot start it unless I have the time to finish it all. I cannot stop listening to the words and music which flow so wonderfully throughout the hour and twenty minutes or so it lasts.”

Want a good story to listen to? Told for adults? You can listen to a sample and buy it here.

Happy Summer! And thanks, Mr. Brooks.

It’s No Fun To Wake Up in the Underworld

Hercules is not pleased. He’s just been burned alive on a funeral pyre he himself ordered. Expecting to wake up on Mt. Olympus, instead he’s standing before Hades and Persephone, King and Queen of the Dead. He’s been diverted to the Underworld. Why? Because Persephone craves news of the living and won’t let Hercules go until he tells his life story. Furious at this trick, Hercules makes empty threats until he reluctantly agrees, and so begins his epic, tragic tale.

 

This is Odds Bodkin’s approach to the Greek myth of Hercules. With a surging score on 12-string guitar and voices for Hercules, Hades, Persephone and other characters, Bodkin offers this evening’s entertainment this coming Sunday, June 25th in an intimate setting at the Riverwalk Café and Music Bar in Nashua, NH. Bring a friend and get ready for some adult imagination.

 

Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Great food and cocktails, too.

HERCULES IN HELL/Odds Bodkin in Nashua, NH Sunday June 25th at 7 pm/Mythology Intro on Celtic Harp

Master Storyteller and Musician Odds Bodkin will perform Hercules in Hell, an epic story for adults, at the Riverwalk Music Bar this coming Sunday. Scored with 12-string guitar and introduced with a Celtic harp accompaniment, this is the myth of Hercules as few have heard it. His teenage rages and teacher murders. How he loses his mind and kills his wife and children. The only escape from his guilt the gods offer? Twelve Labors, done for a despised and weak cousin who orders Hercules to kill the Hydra, capture a stag only the virgin goddess of the hunt may touch, drive off giant birds with brass feathers, on and on. Greek mythology for grownups.

Performed with character voices and vocal effects, this is pure imagination entertainment.

Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Get them here.

Weapons from the Sky

2,400 years ago, give or take a century or two, storytellers in ancient India described the use of strange weapons. One that’s particularly memorable is an arrow shot into the sky that explodes into thousands of spinning discs, their edges sharp as razors. This cloud of discs is designed to plunge down onto enemy ranks, killing everybody standing there.

 
Reminds me of modern “cluster bombs,” weapons looked down upon by modern conventions of war (supposedly), which explode above the ground and release “bomblets” that rain down upon enemy ranks, blowing whoever is down there into tiny pieces. Children in war-torn lands all over the world are still picking up unexploded bomblets from such munitions, thinking they’re toys, consequently losing their limbs or more often their lives.

 
In the ancient Indian case of these “mantra” weapons, or “spell” weapons, they’re described in The Mahabharata, one of the two great informing Sanskrit poems of India, the root stories of Hinduism. Arjuna, the legendary archer in this ancient story, knew many such mantric weapons, and used them on the battlefield. As an aside, he also spent time transformed into a woman during his and his brothers’ exile, along with their wife, their eldest brother having gambled away all their status and fortunes in a game of dice.

 
Yudisthira at Heaven’s Gate, one of the tales I’ll be telling this coming Sunday evening at the Riverwalk Cafe and Music Bar in Nashua, New Hampshire at 7 pm, comes from The Mahabharata. This particular story doesn’t include any war scenes, but does probe human virtue, as do all the hundreds of sub-stories in this old epic, the war stories included.

 
Interestingly, in the scene with the spinning razor discs, there’s actually a defense against them. When the opposing general looks up and sees what’s coming, he yells from his chariot to all his warriors, “Stand absolutely still. Drop your weapons. Think only of peace.”
The razor discs thunk into the ground among them, missing them all.

 
Tickets for the show are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. You can get them here.

12-String Guitar Sitar Mimicry

I first heard a sitar played on the Beatles’ Sargeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. My next encounter was at the famous Woodstock Festival, where Ravi Shankar, the greatest of Indian sitarists, was performing (see photo). It was 1969 and I was sixteen, traveling with a friend. We were slung with sleeping bags and backpacks full of Pop Tarts.

 

Ragas, the classical sitar-driven musical forms Shankar played, are vibratory states of resonating beauty. They don’t do much with Western harmony, relying instead on wondrous melodies run above a scintilant sonic drone created by santoor and harmonium, flowed along with tabla drums.

 
As a 12-string guitar composer, I’ve spent no few years trying to evoke ragas on my instrument to accompany my stories from India. You can come hear some of that music on two 12-strings, along with some pretty cool stories from India, this coming Sunday May 28th at 7:00 pm, at the Riverwalk Cafe and Music Bar in Nashua, NH. If you know anyone who might enjoy such an experience, please let them know. Tickets $10 in advance, $12 at the door.

Get them here.