ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS
Odds Bodkin with Instruments
Sunday Jan. 10, 2021 at 5 pm EST
ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS
Odds Bodkin with Instruments
Sunday Jan. 10, 2021 at 5 pm EST
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.
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!
Zinger’s in Milford, NH usually hosts stand-up comedians and music acts, but on January 17th, 2020, at 7 pm Odds Bodkin will show up to tell ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS, an adult storytelling show with live acoustic accompaniments. He’ll use Celtic harp and 12-string guitars.
Talk about some cognitive dissonance. And yet, not so, because very hip young crowds have been coming to get their minds blown at Odds’ adult shows at Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square for years now. They found the secret ticket to the true intelligentsia. Now you can, too.
If you’re a hard-boiled comedy fan who can’t find anything to laugh at anymore, then come to this show. Odds Bodkin doesn’t care if you laugh.
He’s there to make you dream.
When Hanna and I first talked about it, there was no outdoor stage at 11 West Main Street, here in Bradford, New Hampshire, otherwise known as the Sweet Beet Cultural Center. At least that’s how I think of it. It’s not called that yet.
And so Pierre built me a stage up against the woods. It’s still there, three years later.
And when Hanna and I attempted our first fundraiser for the Sweet Beet—now a cluster of entrepreneurial ventures housed in the old inn, a rebirth of a time when our little town was a destination for horse and buggy tourists, but which inn has now been gloriously renovated by the Two Mikes (Mike Bauer and Mike James)—I said, “Well, if we can get around 150 people to show up at ten bucks a head, all the money is yours. Consider it my in-kind donation.”
That was Halloween 2017. Lo and behold, we had 150 crazy Bradford souls and other crazies from other towns show up, bundled in winter hats, gloves and blankets, eating chili, and generally settling in to hear the local storyteller tell some tales with guitars, alto recorder and harp.
Other than adding a mysterious new horror tale to this upcoming evening’s entertainment, I’ll be reprising my show of two years ago on Pierre’s stage this Oct. 25th at 7:30 pm. Please bear in mind that as a musician, performing outside in the cold is a challenge. Cold slows the fingers. However, it quickens the mind.
The Storm Breeder, a New England ghost legend. 12-string guitar.
The Panther Boys, a tale of lycanthropy from Confucian China. Alto recorder.
Treasure Trove, a deeply unsettling story from Old Russia. 12-string guitar.
And the new story, which shall remain as cloaked as a ghost. This will be its debut.
You’ve never heard it, because I’ve never told it.
Bundle up. BYOB. Hot food for sale. Braziers will be burning.
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.
During the late 1800’s in Colorado, narrow gauge railroads crossed the Great Divide of the Rockies heading for Sante Fe and other parts west. In those days, nothing facilitated the Westward Expansion and what Americans thought of as Manifest Destiny more than the invention of the steam locomotive. The Iron Horse, as it was known.
Various folklores grew up around the railroads, including those of ghostly trains. Much as in earlier seafaring times when folklores centered around phantom ships—the Flying Dutchman being the most famous—where dead souls seeking vengeance chased the living, so too in the early Industrial Age in America similar tales were handed down about the captains of the locomotives. The engineers.
Whether these frightening accounts were actual events or not remains open to debate. Still, they are a part of American mythology.
The attached early map from the Denver and Santa Fe Railroad shows Marshall Pass (in the story, Marshall’s Pass) the topmost rail crossing of the Great Divide. It is at this Rocky Mountain pass that one of the tales I’ll be telling this weekend takes place.
It’s accompanied with a flat-picked score on a Taylor 6-string guitar.
DARK TALES OF THE SUPERNATURAL
Friday, October 19th at 8 p.m. at the Sweet Beet, Bradford, New Hampshire.
An outdoor event. Bring warm clothes, chairs and blankets.
Freshly made hot food and drinks available for purchase.
HORROR TALES FROM THE DEEP VAULT/October 19th Outdoor Show
I stopped performing Sedna the Ocean Mother because it’s just too unsettling, especially in the #MeToo era. Still, I’m going to do it. I haven’t told The Phantom Train of Marshall’s Pass in years because the flat picking on 6-string guitar is so fast. Still, I’m going to do it. I haven’t told The Infallible Doctor since I made the mistake of doing so in New Jersey shortly after 9/11 for schoolkids who, I only learned afterwards, had lost loved ones in the Twin Towers. Despite that bad memory, I’m going to do it. And I’ve never told The Demon Heads ever, so I’m going to debut it and see what people think.
Music on Celtic harp, 12-string guitar and 6-string guitar.
October 19th, 2018 at 8 pm, outdoors at the coolest new food and culture hub in New England, the Sweet Beet Market in Bradford, New Hampshire.
Hot chili, freshly baked breads, mulled cider and lots of organics to buy. Bring a blanket or chair, hat and gloves for this outdoor show by the cemetery.
Adult Storytelling a Week Away!
Sunday night, July 29th at 7 pm at the Riverwalk Music Bar in Nashua, NH storyteller and musician Odds Bodkin performs HERCULES IN HELL, his feature-length performance piece based on the Greek myth of Hercules. With hypnotic 12-string guitar scoring the tale, you’ll be “mesmerized” as a woman in the audience said she felt when Bodkin last did this show.
Plus you’ll learn about Hercules’ youth, madnesses and murders and his Twelve Labors of Expiation, not to mention his bizarre death from a love charm.
So grab your imagination and a friend and delve deep into some Greek mythology you never knew!
VIKING MYTHS IN COLORADO: Odds Bodkin at Sunrise Ranch
“Modern-day Orpheus” (Billboard Magazine) Odds Bodkin will perform an adult show of Viking myths and lore Saturday May 26th at 7 pm at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado. Voices for Thor, Odin, Loki and various Frost Giants, along with symphonic 12-string guitar scores and ancient lore told with Celtic harp make this show a rare evening of hilarious and elemental entertainment. You don’t need to be a fan of storytelling to love this one-man theater experience.
Let all your friends know!
An Ancient Knowing of Trees
As modern people who with a chain saw can fell a sequoia eight feet thick in a few minutes, it’s hard to imagine the awe ancient people felt for big trees. Especially in a climax forest that stretched in Roman times from England’s north all the way to its south, covering all except hunting trails. To this day, the famed Sherwood Forest of Robin Hood remains a small patch of that vast woodland.
It was the same everywhere across the planet, of course, wherever trees grew. Different people walked beneath different ones, but it was the same awe. So it’s no surprise that myths honoring trees are universal.
In South America, the first palm tree grew from the body of a buried maiden. In India, trees were thought of as sentient beings. Living beneath massive oaks in Britain, the Druids were named after them, while further north, Vikings believed a giant ash tree held up the universe. Everything in the Garden of Eden was edible, except for the fruit of one tree. When the Buddha attained nirvana, he was seated beneath the Bodhi Tree.
To celebrate this parade of archetypes, I’ll be telling my best stories about trees for kids and parents this coming May 25th at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado. Some tales are funny, filled with animal characters, while others run deeper. All are filled with characters, naturalistic sounds and music on 12-string guitar, Celtic harp and more.
It’s an ideal family show for any parent who wants their child to respect living things.
Martha Taylor, Chair of Classics at Loyola University Maryland, passed this note on to me after an Odyssey performance last September. It was written by a college freshman.
“I didn’t know what to expect and I was completely blown away by the whole thing. The way he told the stories was so captivating! With all of the sounds he was able to make, the unique voices of each person, and intricate guitar playing…it was unbelievable. With all of the sensory details he provided it really was as if I was there, during ancient times, transported to 700 B.C. in the “Belly of the Beast” so to speak.
I absolutely loved his Polyphemus voice, the old man/priest in Apollo’s temple who gave Odysseus the brandy, the men who accompanied him during the travels, the people in the lotus flower scene within the ivy of the sickly-sweet perfumed island–everything! The way he created such a vivid scene made imagining a transcendent and effortless gift.”
I’ll be at Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square, February 11th at 5:30 p.m., to tell this tale again, with Celtic harp and 12-string guitar.
Catch some adult storytelling this February. THE ODYSSEY: BELLY OF THE BEAST at Grendel’s Den.