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

2020 Season at Grendel’s Den Begins with BEOWULF

It’s been four years now since Kari’s husband built the stage for me. Kari’s restaurant on Harvard Square, Grendel’s Den, had never hosted a performer before, and since I was to be the first, I needed a stage in order to be seen by folks at the tables. This had all come about when Gavin, my son, who, since I perform Beowulf–and Grendel the monster figures prominently in it–pitched the idea to Kari: dine on Scandinavian food and drink, and then hear a classic monster myth from Viking times. Just for adults. No kids.

It worked. Since then I’ve done lots of adult shows in the heated intimacy of Grendel’s Den, and I’ll be back for a fresh season starting on Sunday January 12th at the usual 5 p.m. start time. This year, we open with Beowulf: The Only One, a favorite tale to tell, despite the hard work involved. Hard guitar playing. Hard voice work, especially Grendel, who roars out his emotions, and his mother, who screeches out her vengeful, but intelligible words.

Next, on February 9th, I’ll perform The Odyssey: Belly of the Beast.

 

Then, on March 8th, it’s Odin and Thor Battle the Frost Giants.

 

Lastly, on March 29th, I don’t know what I’ll be performing because Kari’s holding an “audience’s choice” contest over winter where ticket buyers for other shows get to vote on the final show. Choices are FALL OF THE TITANS: THE MYTH OF GAIA, INDIA’S ANCIENTS: TALES FROM THE MAHABHARATA AND BEYOND, HEARTPOUNDERS: HORROR TALES or HERCULES IN HELL.

I like them all.


Meanwhile, first up is:

Beowulf: The Only One

Sunday, January 12, 2020 at 5 pm

Get Your Tickets for Good Seats: $20

 

 

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

FALL OF THE TITANS: Adult Storytelling in Cambridge on March 31st

Don’t miss Odds Bodkin’s final story performance of the season at Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square this coming Sunday, March 31st at 6 p.m.

FALL OF THE TITANS is the sweeping saga of ancient Greek Titans, first birthing and then battling, the Gods of Olympus.

 

TICKETS $15