THE HERCULES CHRONICLES: The Glory of Hera? No, Just the Opposite

“Herakles” translates to “the glory of Hera”, an ironic name indeed for the hero who came to be known as Hercules, since the Queen of Olympus does everything in her power to ruin his life. As Hercules relates it in Odds Bodkin’s live story performance HERCULES IN HELL, when Hera hears that Zeus, her philandering husband, has fathered yet another child with a mortal woman, her jealousy knows no bounds. She conceives an animus for Hercules that will last his entire lifetime.

During her first attempt at his murder, when he’s an infant, she sends two serpents to bite him in his cradle, but instead, just by playing with them, the young demigod strangles them.

None too pleased, but biding her time, Hera waits until Hercules is married with a young family; he’s a prince on his way to becoming king. She then sends what Hercules calls “a storm of blood”, a madness that tears out his senses and plunges him into hallucinations. Attacking him from all sides come monsters, lions, centaurs and enemies, and so in his survival rage he fights back, destroying them all.

It’s only after the madness passes that he finds his wife and children dead at his feet. Their blood is on his hands. He can’t remember doing it. Always too strong, he has now murdered those he loves most. Drowning in guilt and unaware that Hera sent the madness, Hercules fears the insanity will return, and so he flees to the wilderness to live on squirrels and berries, filthy in his solitude.

Still, no matter where he is, the guilt eats at his soul. He cannot sleep. His dead family appears in his dreams every night. Finally, he journeys to the Oracle of Delphi and learns of his unwelcome fate. Zeus and the Fates have decreed that until he completes Labors for the King of Mycenae, Hercules will never be free of his guilt.

And so he journeys to the Court of King Eurystheus of Mycenae, puts himself under the thumb of his weak cousin, and his Labors begin.

Initially, Zeus and the Fates decreed ten labors, but because Eurystheus finds reasons to deny two of them, they end up twelve.

 

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Join Odds Bodkin via Zoom on Sunday, Oct 18 at 5 pm EST for his epic telling of the life story of Hercules. The camera is up close and the sound and video are HD, so you can watch the instrumental work on 12-string guitar as a master storyteller enacts his characters.

A solid and entertaining lesson in epic Greek mythology, one you’ll never forget. Not recommended for children under 12.

 

HERCULES IN HELL

Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020 at 5 pm on Zoom

Tickets: $15

An Odds Bodkin Concert Anywhere on Earth

As a one-man show, Master Storyteller Odds Bodkin has never needed fancy costumes and backup dancers, since they’d only get in the way of audience imagination. Because he’s a character actor, he doesn’t need fellow thespians to bring a story to life. Backup musicians aren’t necessary either; he plays his own music live. And since he doesn’t wear makeup, he looks the same as always. Dressed in black. Beard. Bushy eyebrows.

That’s why in his live Zoom concerts, the only difference is that everyone has a front row seat.

Got a group of bored adults from your company working from home? Book an evening performance of BEOWULF: THE ONLY ONE or ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS.

Got school kids scattered to their homes? Book a GOLDEN RULE: WORLD STORIES ABOUT EMPATHY or FAIRY FOLKS AND OLD OAKS performance for up to 1, 000 of them. It will be live, just for them, some time in the morning or afternoon.

Recently DigBoston wrote about Odds’ “preternatural ability to create characters with an array of simply inspired voices.”

He also offers HEARTPOUNDERS: DARK TALES OF THE SUPERNATURAL shows, as if these times weren’t dark enough.

To learn how to create a large group storytelling event, all while social distancing, inquire here.

 

Shiva, Parvati, Yudisthira, Ganesha, Bhima, Arjuna and a Faithful Dog in Mahabharata Tales for Adults

Although the princes of two families grew up as demigods together, they have always competed for rulership of the city of Hastinapur. Each armed with fantastical powers, the Kurus and the Pandava brothers fight with magical mantras as much as with weapons. They’re not above trickery and murder. And it is their sweeping tale, arcing across history, bejeweled with hundreds of stories-within-stories, that is The Mahabharata.

When I first read it, I was stunned by the particle weapons and cluster bombs the characters wielded–this in a book created 2,500 years ago. I was also amazed by the immense floating cities. And by the Himalayan forests where emeralds were the leaves. And by the epic journeys encountering beings of all kinds. And by the Hindu gods especially, visiting humans like aunts and uncles on vacation from heaven.

It reminded me of Homer’s Iliad, and how the Greek gods whisked warriors away from death on the Trojan plain.

It’s a mythic storyteller’s dream, this great epic. And with my 12-string guitars and harp tuned to the world of Indian ragas, I’ll scratch The Mahabharata’s surface on Sunday, March 29th at Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA.

If you’re of Indian descent, please do come. You’ll enjoy it. It is highly honorable and Indian folks in Chicago loved it.

This fourth Grendel’s Den winter season has been a series of sell-out shows, and India’s Ancients: Tales from the Mahabharata and Beyond is the performance that fans voted for, out of a field of four adult tellings, to be the final one.

So this is the one I’m preparing for.

Some of the finest, most wondrous stories I’ve ever come across.

 

INDIA’S ANCIENTS: TALES FROM THE MAHABHARATA AND BEYOND

ODDS BODKIN

MARCH 29, 2020 AT 5:30 PM

GRENDEL’S DEN, CAMBRIDGE MA

TICKETS $20

VIP TABLES AVAILABLE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PHYSICS MAGIC EXPLORED IN AN EPIC POEM

 

The wastrel prince who breaks a deep law of respect and must flee his kingdom.

The daughter of an apostate water mage who was forbidden to father a child, yet here she is.

The Water Mage’s Daughter. A 13,000 line epic in rhyming verse. A love story. A tale that explores the physics of magic.

All in a novel that rhymes in four different ways.

Odds Bodkin’s THE WATER MAGE’S DAUGHTER.

 

Buy it now. PDF: $29.95

512 pages

2.1MB PDF (e-Book)

Glossary of Rare Words 623 K (e-Book)

MEETING DEATH ON THE ROAD IS NO FUN

It’s no fun to meet Death on the road, especially when you’re not anywhere near dying. No, you’re quite healthy and about to become a new father. Death–who was after you anyway–upon hearing there’s a baby soon to be born, suddenly becomes reasonable. He offers you a deal. If you agree, Death will become your son’s godfather.

Only your son–and no one else–once he’s grown, will be able to see his godfather standing at the foot of the bed whenever a patient is about to die.

That’s how your son becomes an infallible doctor.

He’s never wrong, but once he becomes famous for knowing who will live and who will die, when a beautiful girl on her deathbed enters the picture, all bets are off.

The Infallible Doctor is a gentle, light-hearted tale from Latvia told with the Celtic harp. It’s dark and deathly, but it’s funny as hell and has a happy ending, unlike all the other stories in Odds Bodkin’s HEARTPOUNDERS II storytelling concert performance.

Odds Bodkin’s tales will give children nightmares, frankly, and the artist would prefer that, since he tells stories to children often, that they not be exposed to these stories. Please do not bring 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

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

 

A TRUSTED VOICE

Studies warn nowadays that increasing numbers of young kids are entering school without deep trust in an adult figure. Any adult figure. You can blame it on family breakup, drugs, poverty, or just frenetic modern life in general, I suppose, because even in affluent families, plenty of kids have to compete with their parents’ smartphones to get their attention.

Whatever the causes, Story Preservation Initiative (SPI) has decided that my audio stories for young kids might help by providing a consistent and trusted voice in their lives.

I’m honored and delighted to have my works viewed in this way, and to be part of a school-based program like SPI’s.

LEARN MORE.

 

 

After the Holidays, A Time for Vikings!

On January 6th at 5 p.m. join Odds Bodkin at Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square for Odin and Thor Battle the Frost Giants, an adult storytelling.

Two wild Viking adventure myths scored on 12-string guitars, introduced with lore while Odds plays Celtic harp. A full evening of entertainment,humor and elemental imagination.

Tickets $15.



ADULT STORYTELLING for HALLOWEEN…TWO Odds Bodkin SHOWS

HEARTPOUNDERS: HALLOWEEN TALES OF HORROR is Odds Bodkin’s adult storytelling evening with live music for 2018. Two shows remain:

Plaistow, New Hampshire on Friday Oct. 26th at 7 p.m. FREE TO THE PUBLIC

Cambridge, Massachusetts on Sunday, Oct. 28th at 5 p.m. Tickets: $15


Friday Oct. 26th at the Plaistow Town Hall GET DETAILS

Sunday Oct. 28th at Grendel’s Den (RECORDING EVENT) GET DETAILS

The Dancing Plant/No Time-Lapse Required

The Dancing Plant/No Time-Lapse Required

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If we sped time a thousand-fold,

Then spied on silent, leafy plants

Who stand stock-still above their roots,

We’d soon grasp how wildly alive

Our green-clad cousins are. They strive

And twist for space, wiggle their shoots

And whip their leaves like flagellants.

As noons fly past, like stories told.

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I wrote those lines for The Water Mage’s Daughter (epic poem on Amazon) many years ago, and last night, for the first time, I saw this video. For this plant, time doesn’t need to be sped up. Just play it music and it moves! A true wonder.

 

You can learn more tree lore in Loveland, CO this late May.