GAIA’S MONSTERS: Mythological Background for Odds Bodkin’s ZOOM Performance this Sunday at 7pm/FALL OF THE TITANS

Up until this point in FALL OF THE TITANS, Gaia the Earth has brought forth perfect human-like children with Ouranos, her husband, Titan of the Sky. She’s given birth to twelve Titan babies in all, each soon in charge of creating an ecosystem.

But this new infant is different. This newborn is a Cyclops, already gigantic as babies go. Even Titan babies.

“I love all my children equally, Ouranos,” Gaia says to horrified Ouranos as she cuddles the one-eyed infant. “And not everything I make is perfect.” She gently pokes the baby’s chest. “Hello, little Arges.” The infant glares at her and then screams like a thousand stabbed goats, even though he’s just been nursed. His Cyclops tummy is full, but still he makes this unnerving sound. It certainly unnerves Ouranos. He has no idea what this means, but it does not bode well.

In a nutshell, here is Gaia, the Earth Mother, the first being of all beings in Greek mythology, or as Ouranos calls her, “Queen of Us All.” Just as with our modern earth, in this fanciful mythological tale, life pours forth from Gaia all across her surface.

Her job is to make life, and in FALL OF THE TITANS, she does so, at times to a fault. She cannot control her fecundity, and she doesn’t really want to because it’s just too important to keep on creating. After all, one of her very first creations is Eros, the attraction between things, which binds the Universe together, and she’s still just as endlessly driven by the lust and love Eros brings as anybody else.

The only difference is, Gaia can create any living thing she likes.

Of any size.

In any form.

She can do it all by herself if she wants to. Ouranos secretly hopes that’s what she just did to create this baby Cyclops.

Maybe he’s not the father, Ouranos thinks. It would be nice if that were true. Maybe she used parthenogenesis, and created this little beast the same way she created Ouranos himself, long ago, from the flesh of her flesh.

He has no idea of the monsters to come.


FALL OF THE TITANS

An Odds Bodkin Virtual Storytelling Event

Sponsored by Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square

Sunday, July 19th at 7 pm EST on ZOOM

TICKETS: $15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GAIA: AN ANCIENT MYSTERY

The name “Gaia” entered the popular lexicon along with the “Gaia Hypothesis”, a theory proposed by scientist James Lovelock that views the Earth as a vast, self-regulating organism. Gaia hails from the mythology of the ancient Greeks, who viewed her as the originator of life on Earth, and as the Earth itself. This is all pre-scientific thinking, of course, but nevertheless, Gaia’s story is a creation myth worth knowing.

With Nature in revolt in many formerly livable lands across the planet due to an excess of human activity, the consequences of which are drought, flooding, see-sawing periods of hot and cold, crop losses, human migration, pandemics and social stress, among others, renewed interest in the original Gaia story isn’t surprising.

Upon reading the Greek poet Hesiod’s most famous work, The Theogony, or “Birth of the Gods”, as a storyteller I decided to create a version of this old Greek creation myth from Gaia’s point of view. The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley, takes a similar tack only with the Arthurian legends: the author views the events of Arthur and Lancelot from the POVs of the women of Camelot and the Lady of the Lake.

In Babylonian mythology’s creation myth, the Enuma Elis, the primordial Gaia goddess is called Tiamat. In one benign version of the story she is the feminine salt water who mixes with male fresh water to produce early life. In another version, Tiamat is a monster, a vengeful bringer of storms and chaos.

In my FALL OF THE TITANS tale, Gaia is a little bit of both.

I’ll be performing it Sunday, July 19th at 7 pm EST on Zoom. A $15 ticket will buy you the URL and a password to join the event. It’s sponsored by Grendel’s Den, where I’ve told FALL OF THE TITANS to adult audiences before. I also performed it at the Boulder Climate Conference a few years ago. It’s a fun evening, filled with characters and music on 12-string guitar.

It is not for children, however, since there is treachery and sexual violence in the tale.

To read more backstory on FALL OF THE TITANS, scroll through my recent blog posts. You’ll find more articles about the characters and situations in the epic.

FALL OF THE TITANS

Odds Bodkin, Storyteller and Musician

July 19th at 7 pm on ZOOM

Tickets: $15

 

 

 

THE BIRTH OF APHRODITE, ELDEST OF THE GODS–Mythology Background for Odds Bodkin’s FALL OF THE TITANS Zoom Performance July 19th

 

Ouranos is a good guy. He’s the Titan of the Sky, after all, and father to Gaia the Earth Mother’s twelve perfect children. As one of the very first titans she created along with the mountains and the sea, Ouranos is flattered when Gaia asks him to become her king. He’s a gentle, protective father who revels in his children’s creative talents. He watches Oceanus turn the sea to salt, and Phoebe invent prophecy. Tethys creates streams and rivers. Hyperion invents the moon and sun. On and on. They’re a talented bunch. And yes, as they begin to marry one another, the whole thing is incestuous, but who else are the first beings supposed to mate with? It’s a myth, after all.

Tickets $15

When next a daughter, Rhea, is born, she has no obvious talent. She’s beautiful, but that’s about it. Ouranos even comments on Rhea’s mysterious lack of talent to Gaia, but she replies, “Not everything I make is perfect.”

Cronus, the last born of the twelve titan children, has no talent either, apparently, other than to covet everything he sees. He’s a greedy fellow who’s convinced he knows more than anybody else.

However, the real family-destroying problem arises when Gaia gives birth to a Cyclops. Although it’s just a baby, Ouranos knows it will grow up to be larger than any of the titans and will be very dangerous. “Why did you make that?” Ouranos asks her, shocked. Cooing at her baby monster, she replies, “Not everything I make is perfect.”

Things grow worse when she births two more Cyclopses and then three hideous, many-armed, many-headed beasts called Hecas, each the size of a mountain. After all, creating life is what she does and she can’t really control herself. All these monsters, once they grow up, will dominate the titans, Ouranos knows, and so he carves six prison cells into the rock walls of underground Tartarus and locks the screaming baby monsters inside them.

Tickets $15

“Free my children!” Gaia demands, but he refuses, claiming he doesn’t need her permission. This mistake proves terrible for Ouranos, because for the first time in her existence, Gaia grows angry. As volcanoes erupt and earthquakes shake the land, her calm, patient side vanishes and she plunges into a vengeful fury.

Deciding the Sky is no longer worthy of being her king, she sharpens a sickle and holds it up before her twelve children. “Who among you will castrate your father so that he is no longer king?” she roars. Horrified at the thought, eleven shake their heads. But then Cronus, he who covets power, asks, “If I do it, mother, will I become King of the Universe?” “Yes, my son, you will,” she replies.

As the story goes, Cronus ambushes Ouranos and does it, hurling his screaming father’s sex organs into the sea. A pink foam wells up from where they sank and upon it appears a seashell. The foam floats to shore, the shell opens, and out steps a tiny goddess, fully-grown and stunningly beautiful.

Thusly, from the sex of a fallen king, the sexiest goddess of them all is born, Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love.

She is the first Olympian god. At this point, no others have been born.

No one knows what to make of her.

 


FALL OF THE TITANS: An Adult Storytelling on Zoom

Odds Bodkin

July 19, 2020 at 7 pm EST

Sponsored by Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next Sunday in Cambridge, MA: ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS

As Loki hangs on while Thor thunders his chariot down Bifrost, the Rainbow Bridge to earth, Loki hollers over the wind, “Thor, how fast can this chariot go?” The heavy vehicle is drawn by two He-Goats, Snarler and Tooth Grinder.

“I can cross ten leagues in an hour!” Thor proudly replies.

“Oh, then how many leagues can you cross in ten hours?”

Thor’s brows knit. He snorts, unable to think that far. “Don’t ask stupid questions, Loki!” Then a light enters Thor’s eyes. Ah, he has the answer. “Far enough!”


In Odds Bodkin’s telling of Thor’s Journey to Utgard, although Thor knows Loki is a liar and tells him so to his face, he still needs Loki’s cleverness. At least he thinks he does. Their insulting banter is constant as they make their way to Utgard, the capital city of the Frost Giants.

Thor is there to prove his strength. The outcome is altogether different.

This is one of two Viking myths, along with Viking lore, I’ll be offering Sunday March 8th at Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA.

Come eat Viking food and drink mead from Grendel’s Den’s complimentary Odds Bodkin glass!

ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS

An Adult Storytelling with live music

Sunday, March 8th at 5:30 p.m.

Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square, Cambridge MA

TICKETS: $20 in advance, $25 at the door

 

TAKE ODDS’ STORIES HOME WITH YOU.

A MEAD GLASS WITH EPIC POETRY

When thoughts and hands grow liberal,

And single toasts turn several

-Odds Bodkin

If you can believe it, my quote about drinking alcohol is now emblazoned on specialty mead glasses created by Grendel’s Den and given away at my adult storytelling performances. I’m thrilled. Arriving along with flights of mead to the VIP tables, the two lines of iambic tetrameter are from The Water Mage’s Daughter, my 13,000-line epic poem about magic. Read it. It’s fun.

Meanwhile, your next opportunity to drink mead, eat Viking food and take home a glass is on March 8, 2020 at a performance of ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS.

Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door.

Grab yours soon. Beowulf and The Odyssey were sell-out shows, I’m delighted to report.

 

The Fans Have Spoken: India’s Ancients is My Final Cambridge Show

I was a bit wary when Kari Kuelzer, she who runs Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA, suggested that for my final show this winter, we ask the fans to choose it.

“Nobody’s going to do that,” I observed.

“No, we’ll put it up on Eventbrite so when people buy their tickets for Beowulf and The Odyssey, they can vote,” she replied, looking determined, which spelled doom for me to say no.

I remained skeptical but grudgingly agreed to offer a choice between Heartpounders: Tales of the Supernatural, Hercules in Hell, India’s Ancients: Tales from the Mahabharata and Fall of the Titans. They’re all full evenings of storytelling.

Lo and behold, people voted and in the end India’s Ancients edged out Heartpounders. This was all revealed at the Odyssey show last Sunday. So it looks as if I’ll be trotting out some of my favorite tales to tell, especially Yudisthira at Heaven’s Gate. And I’ll have to practice up my 12-string guitar motifs designed to sound like a sitar. I developed these stories for shows at the Art Institute of Chicago years ago, and recently at the Peabody Essex Museum.

 

India’s Ancients: Tales from the Mahabharata and Beyond

March 29, 2020 at 5:30 p.m.

Grendel’s Den, Cambridge MA

Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 at the door.

No Man Did It! No Man Killed Me!

So howls Polyphemus the Cyclops to the other cyclopses outside his stone door. He’s been blinded by a giant spear in his one eye as he slept, a spear carved from a tree by Odysseus and his men. Now thrashing in agony in the darkness, the monster has attracted the other monsters with his howls.

“I’m blinded! I am killed!” he screams.

“Who did this to you, Polyphemus?” calls one outside.

“No Man did it! No Man killed me!”

“Well, if it is no man, then it is the work of the gods. Good bye!”

Polyphemus has been cruelly fooled, doubly so. For as Odysseus has poured brandy into the monster’s bowl and fooled him into drunkenness, and the monster has asked him his name, Odysseus has replied, “My name is No Man,” fooling him again.


Come hear this and other adventures from Odds Bodkin’s adult storytelling, THE ODYSSEY: BELLY OF THE BEAST, this coming Sunday in Cambridge, MA.

“a consummate storyteller” — The New York Times

“a modern-day Orpheus” —  Billboard

 

Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square

Feb. 9 at 5:30 p.m.

Doors open at 5 p.m. for dinner.

Tickets $20 in advance, $25 at the door

THE ODYSSEY: BELLY OF THE BEAST Adult Storytelling at Grendel’s Den

It’s when instead of attacking them immediately, the cyclops rolls the giant stone to block the cave door, that Odysseus senses doom. It just hasn’t happened yet, but will. As the monster tears two men apart in a shower of blood and devours them, Odysseus realizes that this is no peaceful shepherd as he assumed. No, this one-eyed giant who stands as tall as thirteen men is a cannibal. And soon they will all be in its belly. Unless they escape somehow. But the giant stone weights many tons, and there’s no other way out.

For one of the most famous scenes from Homer’s The Odyssey, Odds Bodkin takes on the giant voice and deadly gestures of Polyphemus the Cyclops. Vocal effects explode in the scene: popping heads and crunching bones, roaring flames and a giant hissing eyeball–while his 12-string guitar burns with rapid notes–all to render a vivid and yes, horrifying imaginative experience.

It’s really fun.

Of this performance Professor James Tatum of the Dartmouth Department of Classics wrote, “Odds Bodkin’s performance is the closest thing we have to a Homeric experience.”

His first show of the season, Beowulf, was sold out, so get your Odyssey tickets today.

Come feast and drink like a Greek, then settle in for the show. VIP ticket packages available for great seating and special foods.

 

The Odyssey: Belly of the Beast

February 9, 2020 at 5:30 pm

Grendel’s Den Restaurant, Cambridge MA

Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 at the door.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A FLIGHT OF MEAD, THEN A VIKING STORY

Vikings drank mead from dawn til dusk, and so Grendel’s Den is offering Flights of Mead on their menu for January 12th’s Odds Bodkin adult storytelling performance of Beowulf: The Only One.

After all, Beowulf was a Viking who killed monsters while dining on honey cakes, brined bird’s eggs, strips of venison and dried fruits for dinner. Typical Viking fare.

Who knows what Viking delicacies Grendel’s Den is planning for that Sunday evening’s menu, but it’s sure to be spectacular. $50 VIP Experience tickets include special seating, a flight of 4 local and imported meads, a tasting menu of 4 themed dishes, and a printed mead glass for you to take home.

Otherwise, tickets are $20.

Beowulf: The Only One

An Adult Storytelling Evening with Odds Bodkin

Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020 at 5 pm

Grendel’s Den Restaurant

Harvard Square, Cambridge MA