A Mad Scramble

It was a mad scramble. In an email, two weeks out from Sept. 9, Professor Walsh, Chair of Classics at Loyola, wrote that campus conditions were “vexing.” He warned we might have to go with Zoom again due to sudden Delta variant rules. I already had my Southwest Airlines ticket. As always, I’d stay with my sister Lindsay outside Baltimore, drive to town the night of the show, perform the tale, and then go out to dinner with the profs.

For fifteen years I’d done this in September. I’d pack my 12-string and tell either The Odyssey or the Iliad: Book I for two hundred Classics and Honors students in a big performance space. 70-minute storytellings. Either psychodrama or high adventure.

But now there was an indoor mask mandate on campus, even if vaccinated. How could I perform with a mask on? That was patently impossible and so I wrote Professor Joe Walsh back with the suggestion that for the second year in a row, against our frustrated wishes, we could always Zoom from my studio in New Hampshire. I work with a brilliant digital engineer named Gavin Bodkin, who has helped his dad move online since the pandemic began. Yes, Gav was available to produce. Joe Walsh agreed. My Zoom studio on the third floor had sat unused during a summer of live shows.

The mad scramble began.

I tightened the twelve fresh strings on my Taylor from the floppy looseness I’d planned on for safe flying. I strung it up to the open tuning I use for The Odyssey. Gavin produced the Zoom invitation to be sent to the students from faculty. Five nice people from Loyola suddenly became involved and we exchanged a blizzard of emails. I provided an Odyssey logo.

And then I heard Martha was back from sabbatical and that she’d be the one to introduce me. Professor Martha Taylor is, I guess, now that she’s back, the Chair of Classics once again. It was she who, fifteen years ago, established the annual tradition of inviting me to perform to kick off each fall semester. It might be over Zoom, but it would be great to see her again after her two sabbatical years.

I started rehearsing the Odyssey musical score and on a drive to my son Jon’s house to return a pair of sandals I’d inadvertently swiped at a party there, I ran the movie of the story in my mind. Troy. The beach at Ismaros. The Lotus Eaters. The Cyclops. After a half hour out, and a half hour back, the story was rehearsed and ready.

Bless his heart, Gavin arrived at 4:30 for the 7 pm show, rested for an hour, and then we climbed the two flights of stairs to the studio. A jet black backdrop, a wooden chair, a quiet little fan, tried and true lighting, and the camera mounted in place two feet away from me. Last spring I conducted performances and full day residencies for elementary kids from that chair. I doubted I’d ever be back. The pandemic was over, right? Wrong, as we all now know.

By 6:35 Gavin was in his headphones watching the computer, seeing who was in the waiting room. Joe showed up on my screen and we talked until Martha, too, appeared. We chatted, lamented our lost profs’ dinner, and got ready for the show. More and more students were signing on.

Telling my version of The Odyssey is like entering a dream. The music is constant, and lofts the words and sounds along. Once it begins inside the Trojan Horse, it doesn’t end until the Cyclops is blinded, and Odysseus escapes with what’s left of his crew. During such shows, I lose all sense of time and awareness of my body. All that I’m aware of is my fingers running the frets of the guitar, and how the music is blending with the imagery. The characters all know what to say. Sometimes they surprise me, and say things I’ve never heard before.

This version ended up seventy-five minutes. Then came the questions. Suddenly, faces appeared in group mode on Zoom. Here were all these young people who’d just watched the show with me on full screen, only I could see them now. Groups of five or six on a couch, with masks on. Some alone in their dorm rooms. Hands went up. The questions? How did I memorize all that? Is the music all planned out? We went on for another fifteen minutes. They were enthusiastic and very nice.

I’m old. They’re young. Still, it worked.

Of course, the story is imagined, not memorized, and the music, like jazz, is spontaneous, moment to moment.

Even Martha loved it. She sent me a post-show email inviting me back for year sixteen.

So it looks as if until this plague really does end, I’m Zooming again.

 

https://www.oddsbodkin.net/educational-programs/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tonight at 5 pm…Live on ZOOM…Odds Bodkin’s Fairy Tales for Smart Girls!

“a consummate storyteller”–The New York Times

Join Odds Bodkin tonight for four amazing and fun fairy tales about smart girls. Tomorrow is International Women’s Day, and Bodkin has created this special show–including a new story from Italy–for the event. You can sing along with two of the tales, so get your voice ready.

The show comes to you via ZOOM at 5 pm EST. Grab your ticket and log in for a full-screen storytelling performance with characters, sound effects and live music on 12-string guitars and Celtic harp.

And if you have a question for Odds after the show, he’ll stay online to chat.

 

SHE’S CLEVER, THAT ONE: Fairy Tales for Smart Girls

Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 5 pm EST on ZOOM

Tickets: $25 per screen

 

It’s Not Too Late for Odds Bodkin Story Downloads

It’s Christmas Eve. Is it too late to buy a meaningful gift? No, not if you visit Odds Bodkin’s Shop and grab an All Collections + Bundle: all Bodkin’s audio tales for young children plus 3 long epics for older listeners and adults.

Download endless hours of classic listening in minutes.

Happy Holidays!

 

 

Journey to the Ends of the Earth: 4 hours of The Odyssey

A hero’s journey like no other.

Narrated with live music on Celtic harp and 12-string guitar featuring 37 character voices.

Odds Bodkin’s 4-hour epic audio story, The Odyssey: An Epic Telling.

Odysseus. The Cyclops. Circe. The Sirens. Troy. Ithaca. The Underworld. The Isle of Cannibals. The Whirlpool. The Hall of Suitors. 42 episodes in all. 4 hours 8 minutes.

“a tour de force“–Dartmouth Department of Classics

“a consummate storyteller”–The New York Times

Download it here for $49.95

 

Story Time with Odds Bodkin on Facebook Live: Friday Finale/THE EVERGREENS & THE NAME OF THE TREE

Each day this week Master Storyteller and Musician Odds Bodkin will tell a different music-filled story from his collection of tales for children.

The performances are at 12 noon Eastern Standard Time.

If you’re a mom or dad with kids at home during this scary time and you need a break, then sit the kids down for two stories with sweet and warm characters, amazing sound effects and a live score on 12-string guitar and African sanza.

On Friday, April 3rd, at 12 noon EST, he’ll perform THE EVERGREENS, a tale from Denmark on 12-string guitar, and THE NAME OF THE TREE, a wise Bantu tale from Africa on thumb piano.

Follow Odds Bodkin at

https://www.facebook.com/oddsbodkin/

and join him on April 3 at 12 noon EST.

Please share with friends and family!

Visit Odds Bodkin’s Download Store for hours of listening!

Story Time with Odds Bodkin on Facebook Live for Thursday, April 2: THE TALE OF THE KITTENS

Each day this week Master Storyteller and Musician Odds Bodkin will tell a different music-filled story from his collection of tales for children.

The performances are at 12 noon Eastern Standard Time.

If you’re a mom or dad with kids at home during this scary time and you need a break, then sit the kids down for a story with wild characters, amazing sound effects and a live score on 12-string guitar.

On Thursday, April 2nd, at 12 noon EST, he’ll perform THE TALE OF THE KITTENS, a wondrous Italian fairy tale with a song to learn.

Follow Odds Bodkin at

https://www.facebook.com/oddsbodkin/

and join him on April 2 at 12 noon EST.

Please share with friends and family!

Visit Odds Bodkin’s Download Store for hours of listening!

 

Story Time with Odds Bodkin on Facebook Live for Tuesday, March 31st: Finn MacCool and the Big Man

Each day this week Master Storyteller and Musician Odds Bodkin will tell a different music-filled story from his collection of tales for children.

The performances are at 12 noon Eastern Standard Time.

If you’re a mom or dad with kids at home during this scary time and you need a break, then sit the kids down for a half hour of wild characters, amazing sound effects and a live score on 12-string guitar.

On Tuesday March 31st, at 12 noon EST, he’ll perform Finn MacCool and the Big Man, a hilarious Irish folktale with a song to learn.

Follow Odds Bodkin at

https://www.facebook.com/oddsbodkin/

and join on March 31st at 12 noon EST.

Please share with friends and family!

Story Time with Odds Bodkin on Facebook Live Tomorrow at Noon

Each day this week at 12 noon Eastern Standard Time, Master Storyteller and Musician Odds Bodkin will tell a different music-filled story from his collection of tales for young children.

If you’re a mom or dad with kids at home during this scary time and you need a break, then sit the kids down for a half hour of wild characters, amazing sound effects and a live score on 12-string guitar.

Tomorrow, Monday March 30th , at 12 noon EST, he’ll perform The Little Shepherd, a completely absorbing Italian Fairy Tale.

Follow Odds Bodkin on Facebook.

That’s tomorrow, Monday March 30th at 12 noon EST.

Please share with friends and family!

TWO EVIL DWARVES: They Who Kill for the Blood of Wisdom/Viking Myths at Grendel’s Den with Odds Bodkin

“Fjalar.”

“Yes, Galar.”

“I miss the mead. I miss those sips. I didn’t understand what happened to me when I drank it, Fjalar.”

“I did. Wisdom happened to you, Galar. That’s why you didn’t unders…”

Suddenly their heavy oaken door blew in and landed flat on the floor. There stood an old man in a grey robe and wide hat, his one-eyed, scarred face half-obscured in the swirling stone dust. He carried a gnarled staff in his left hand.

“Dwarves…” said the stranger, who, although they did not know it, was Odin, who was about to kill them. He’d finally found the murderers of his best friend. “Welcome…”

A mortal fear swept the two dwarf brothers of Nidavellir.

 

 

THE MEAD OF POETRY is the second story in ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS, an adult storytelling with music at Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA this coming Sunday, March 8th at 5:30 p.m.

Eat Viking food, drink mead, and then settle in for an evening of adult storytelling.

“a consummate storyteller” — The New York Times

“a preternatural ability to create characters with an array of simply inspired voices.”—digboston 2020

ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS

ODDS BODKIN

GRENDEL’S DEN, CAMBRIDGE MA

SUNDAY, MARCH 8, 2020 AT 5:30 PM

TICKETS $20 IN ADVANCE, $25 AT THE DOOR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE ODYSSEY this Saturday Night/Odds Bodkin

THE ODYSSEY: A Storytelling Evening with Odds Bodkin. Show starts at 8 pm at the Riverwalk Music Bar in Nashua, NH. Older kids and teens welcome. Enjoy an immersion into Greek mythology you’ll never forget!

TICKETS are $13 in advance, $15 at the door.

A WEEK FROM TODAY: Odds Bodkin performs The Odyssey in NH

Grab your tickets today to see Odds Bodkin perform his epic version of Homer’s THE ODYSSEY next Saturday night, July 27th, in Nashua, NH. The show starts at 8 pm at the Riverwalk Music Bar. Tickets are $13 in advance, $15 at the door.

TICKETS

Why Bar Hop When You Can Island Hop?

It’s Saturday night in New Hampshire and instead of bar hopping, why not island hop with Odysseus of Ithaca in 1300 B.C.? Unlike him, you can settle in comfortably and order drinks and a dinner as I regale you with his namesake story, the Odyssey. The Island of the Lotus Eaters is where fentanyl-like flowers grow; Odysseus and his men are lucky to escape alive, which can’t be said for their visit to the Island of the Cyclops. Other islands come: the Island of the Cannibals where most of his fleet is destroyed; Aeolia, the Island of the King of the Winds who puts all the storms into an ill-fated bag which, of course, doesn’t stay closed; on and on. Island after island. Adventure after adventure.

I’ve been telling this tale with 12-string guitar and harp for decades and will be doing a fairly long version of it (not the complete 4 hours, though) at the Riverwalk Music Bar on July 27, 2019 at 8 pm.

This is a full evening’s entertainment.

Tickets are $13 in advance, $15 at the door. It’s appropriate for kids over the age of nine, too.

I hope to see you there!

 

The Odyssey with Odds Bodkin

Saturday July 27th 2019 at 8 pm

The Riverwalk Music Bar, Nashua NH