ASK AMAZON ALEXA TO PLAY “BEDTIME STORIES”. SUBSCRIBE AND GET 42 ODDS BODKIN AUDIO STORIES

Back when Odds Bodkin was creating his folktales and fairy tales collections for young children, he first issued them on cassettes. As an audio technology, they were soon replaced by CDs. Next came digital downloads, mp3s and other formats, where the audio music business still exists today in the streaming world.

Odds Bodkin’s early recordings are now available on Amazon Alexa. Just ask her to open “Bedtime Stories”, buy a subscription (it’s not much) and find a treasure trove of child-safe stories, all told with characters and live music.

Just ask for an Odds Bodkin story.

What will Alexa choose?

 

 

 

PROFESSOR REVIEWS ODDS BODKIN’S UNIVERSITY SHOW ON ZOOM

Joseph Walsh is the current Chair of Classics and Co-Director of the Honors Program at Loyola University Maryland. On September 10, 2020, storyteller Odds Bodkin and Walsh tried an experiment: since the university went completely virtual for Fall, would Bodkin’s annual Classics performance of The Iliad or The Odyssey work on Zoom?

Here is Walsh’s review:

“Odds Bodkin has been thrilling our students every Fall for years now with his live performances, and this year’s zoom performance of Iliad Book 1 was every bit as successful. We have gotten a good deal of feedback from the attendees, and it indicates that they were mesmerized, as usual.  Indeed, several students who had seen Odds perform in the past – and he has fans who come back every year – considered it even better.  They loved the fact that they could see his face up close, watch his fingers dance across his guitar and harp, and they thought not a bit of the usual intensity and beauty of his performance was lost.  I agree.  It was just terrific.  Several students said they broke out into applause at the end, even though they knew Odds could not hear them, and a few even said they gave him a standing ovation, though they knew he could not see them.  They were just carried away, as was I.  We were a bit apprehensive about having a zoom performance, but our apprehensions were completely unfounded.  Great performance, as usual, and every bit as impactful.  And it transported our students, who are studying remotely and feeling confined and disappointed with the current circumstances, beyond their homes, beyond these times, and beyond this world.”


Bodkin’s next Zoom performance is yet another of his renowned tellings of Greek myths. Hercules in Hell comes online live on Sunday, Oct. 18 at 5 pm EST. Buy a ticket, get your Zoom invitation, and settle in for an epic imaginative experience.

BACK TO SCHOOL AT HOME? BUY YOUR FAMILY AN EPIC DRIVE

Literature. Music. Performing Arts. English Language Learning.

They all can be found listening to Odds Bodkin’s award-winning

stories.

“I’m so thrilled to have found your website and eagerly await reconnecting with your peerless storytelling.

Some thirty years ago I lived in New Hampshire, where my two young sons and I frequently caught your act. Cassette recordings also entertained us on our twice annual car treks to visit family in Ohio.

Now the boys are grown and living on opposite coasts while their parents have settled in Kentucky. Anticipating grandchildren and, thanks to the pandemic, more long drives to visit family, I went in search of an old favorite road companion. It feels like going home.

Thanks for all you do.”

–A Recent Customer

If your children or grandchildren are heading back to school by staying at home this fall, get yourself an EPIC DRIVE with 18 full-length storytelling albums. From gentle nature stories to mythic adventures, they’re all told with characters, sounds and live acoustic music.

Click to read about the national media awards.

Find Odds Bodkin’s stories on Amazon Alexa.

WHO WAS HOMER?

Some say Homer was a sightless genius like John Milton. Milton dictated his three massive poems—The Divine Comedy—to an amanuensis who wrote them down. Homer, however, performed his poems, The Iliad and The Odyssey, aloud and before live audiences. Scholars guess that Homer used character voices and lyre music during his shows to bring his tales to life. He lived in Ancient Greece circa 700 B.C.

While The Iliad is filled with horrifyingly vivid descriptions of battlefield carnage and details about what swords and spears can do to a human body, The Odyssey is more of a fantastical adventure. It features monsters, cannibals, enchantresses, drugged out Lotus Eaters and many-headed dragons. Much of it takes place out on the open sea as Odysseus wanders from island to island across the Mediterranean. Here, as his fleet is slowly destroyed and all his friends are killed, he becomes the last man standing after ten years of woe. Only he returns to his island of Ithaca alive.

Even then, things aren’t easy. He’s been gone twenty years and the sons of Ithaca have grown into rowdy, fatherless men.

It must have taken Homer many nights to recite his monumental works in their entirety. At some point scribes set down his famous words and what was until that point oral literature held in one man’s mind became written literature for the ages. The two epics have been translated into English, and I used Robert Fitzgerald’s version to map out the best of Odysseus’s adventures for modern listeners.

I’ll be performing my intro to the tale, THE ODYSSEY: BELLY OF THE BEAST in about a month, on ZOOM. The 70-minute show is sponsored by Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA. Tickets are $15. The date is Sunday, Sept. 20th at 7 pm EST.

Years ago, when I performed it at Dartmouth College, a professor wrote that my version is the closest thing we have to a Homeric performance.

This is the second in my three-part Greek myths for adults series on ZOOM. If you want to see what a Greek myth like this looks and sounds like, you’re welcome to listen to FALL OF THE TITANS, here on YouTube. I told this tale a couple of weeks ago.

SCHOOLS, UNIVERSITIES AND CLUBS MOVING TO ZOOM SHOWS WITH ODDS BODKIN

With all the uncertainly surrounding school openings, Loyola University Maryland has decided to go completely remote. Students won’t be on campus, but to preserve a twelve-year Odds Bodkin September tradition, the Department of Classics has chosen to invite Odds once again, only this time via ZOOM. The performance: THE ILIAD: BOOK I.

Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square, a location in Boston where Odds has regaled adult ticketed audiences for years, wants to preserve the magic. The two shows coming up on ZOOM sponsored by Grendel’s? THE ODYSSEY: BELLY OF THE BEAST on September 20th and HERCULES IN HELL on October 18th.

Simonds School in Warner, New Hampshire had to postpone a 2-day GOLDEN RULE: WORLD STORIES ABOUT EMPATHY residency for K-2 and 3-5 last spring with Odds. But with an HD video and sound ZOOM studio, he’ll be visiting the school anyway. Two performances on full-screen, followed by interactive workshops with the students will take place on September 21st and 22nd.

Yes, there’s a pandemic. Crowds of listeners crammed into big rooms, especially crowds of kids, are problematic these days.

But Odds’ brand of performing arts—always a complete one–man show—doesn’t require a troop of actors onstage, sets or backup musicians. Odds provides all that in his musical storytelling shows. Even Classics and Honors students and their professors at Loyola know that.

If your kids or grandkids go to a school, give them live Odds Bodkin stories by suggesting programs to teachers and principals. Every seat is a front row experience.

To find out more, go here.

GRIEF COUNSELING AND GREEK MYTHS

“I’ve been working with using myths in grief counseling,” she said, “and I was wondering if you know of any Greek myths that might help.”

She was young, seated next to her husband or perhaps boyfriend on a couch in their home. I didn’t know her. She could be anywhere on Earth. I’d just finished telling FALL OF THE TITANS, and she was one of the folks who’d bought a Zoom ticket. This was the Q&A, done live, a new feature.

I scrambled around in my mind and recalled facts from Greek mythology I’d used to explain how the ancient Greeks viewed death. The greatest of warriors went to the Elysian Fields while demigods like Hercules went to Mount Olympus, but these cases were exceedingly rare.

“The Greeks didn’t really have a Hell,” I began. “You know, a place of punishment if you’d been bad in life. Or a heaven, for that matter. Most everybody, kings, queens, all the way down to goatherds–good or bad–went to the Underworld at death. Here, they simply became “shades”, ghosts who remembered their lives but who lost their voices.”

Then I flashed on a scene from THE ODYSSEY, where Odysseus, visiting the Land of the Dead at Circe’s direction, tells his men to slaughter a lamb and fill a hole in the ground with its blood. From the mists emerge shades of famous people he’s known, and he speaks with his dead friend Achilles, but then to Odysseus’s shock and dismay, his mother, Anticlea, whom he did not know was dead, emerges and drinks the lamb’s blood. What she tells him breaks his heart.

It’s almost like a séance.

I didn’t go into all that, but instead flashed on a story from HERCULES I did share with the young woman, where Queen Alcestis, a woman Hercules would have married if she’d not already been married, had taken her own life so that her husband Admetus could live on. Hercules storms down to the Underworld and frightens Hades so badly he lets Alcestis return to life.

“Oh,” I added, “you also might look into how Orpheus harped his way in and out of the Underworld.” It didn’t end well for Orpheus, but he did prove the power of music and love, along with the importance of following directions.

What do I think in these pestilential times? These tales are ancient and universal. Maybe it’s possible to find solace in them. I don’t know. I hope so.

TONIGHT at 7 PM EST: Odds Bodkin Live on Zoom Telling FALL OF THE TITANS

Grab a $15 ticket here and join Master Storyteller and Musician Odds Bodkin for a real-time Zoom performance of FALL OF THE TITANS. The show is tonight at 7 pm Eastern Standard time.

Background lore on Celtic harp, then the tale told with characters, narration and a full score on 12-string guitar.

Gaia gives birth to Titans. All is well on the early Earth until she starts to make monsters. Then things fall apart.

An adult Greek mythology epic storytelling. No children, please.


Your ticket buys the URL and password.

Find a screen and join the event!

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“a consummate storyteller” — The New York Times

Sponsored by Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square.

 

 

“DAD, I FIGURED OUT WHY IT TRANSLATES”

I’ve been a full-time professional storyteller since 1982, and in all those years and across all the recordings I’ve made, I only sell one video. It’s of The Iliad: Book I performed live before a high school audience. All the rest are audios, because, well, my business is to urge people to imagine. I use words and music to do it.

When I turn on a screen, however, I don’t want to imagine. I want that to be done for me ahead of time by actors, directors and composers, with scene changes. I want to watch what they’ve imagined, not some talking head. Usually I’m live on a stage a few feet away from a front row of listeners; the audience stretches out behind them, as far as the PA system can send the sound. They listen and imagine. I never thought I’d give that up.

Enter the coronavirus.

No more live audiences, right?

Gavin Bodkin, my entrepreneur middle son who helps run the ultra-cool company called Circular Blu, now in his thirties, has graciously become my Zoom producer as well because—oh, I’ll just say it–he loves me a lot and wants to see me keep performing. I live in an old three-storey house and the attic is pretty big, big enough for an area of it now to have become my new “Zoom Studio.” I’ve done a few shows on full-screen over Zoom, but until the other day remained skeptical it could really work for people.

And so I was shocked when Gavin said, “Dad, I’ve figured out why your Zoom shows translate.”

“Do tell,” I said, wondering if he meant it.

“No, seriously. It’s your eyes.”

Unlike an actor with a fourth wall, as a storyteller I always make eye contact with my audience, an old habit. It builds the storytelling spell. Now, since there’s nobody to look at, I’ve been making eye contact with the camera lens, just a couple of feet away.

Gavin went on. “You’re close up and your eyes are locked onto the camera, even as you’re playing your instruments. I think that’s why it works.” While he’s producing, he watches all the people’s reactions at home. Kids dancing and smiling. Adults laughing, even clapping. I don’t get to see any of that because I’m busy with the art aspect, this photo of me being an ogre who’s holding an imaginary fairy notwithstanding.

“They’re all imagining, dad. I think this whole thing is going to work.”

My next show is coming up this Sunday, July 19th at 7 pm EST on Zoom. I’m working with Grendel’s Den in Cambridge MA. It’s early Greek mythology. FALL OF THE TITANS. Tickets are $15. Drop by and let me know afterwards if it translates. There will be a Q&A.

Oh, and no kids, please. It’s an adult show.

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

 

 

 

CRONUS, EATER OF HIS CHILDREN: Mythological Background for Odds Bodkin’s FALL OF THE TITANS Zoom Concert on Sunday July 19th

Let’s say you’re not just any king,

No, you are King of the Universe.

Let’s also say that you’re paranoid and will never let go of your power. Add in that you, the talentless last son in a big talented family of Titans, have become King by cutting off your king father’s privates and throwing them into the sea. No kidding. That’s what Cronus does in FALL OF THE TITANS.

In the ancient ways of power, if a king loses his virility, he can no longer be king.

To make matters worse, your mother Gaia has given you the slicing weapon to attack Ouranos, her husband and your father. She is angry with him. Henceforward, your siblings loathe you. You are a pariah.

However, you are now Cronus, King of the Titans, and they have no power over you other than to chirp at the margins.

According to the myths, Titans lived before the gods of Olympus, and as giant creators, they basically built the Earth and its ecosystems. It was only after eons that the Gods of Olympus took the Earth from them by force of arms, luck and a few hired monsters. They did this in a ten-year war called the Titanomachy.

TICKETS

But why did this war happen within a single family? How could they have been so angry at each other that parents battled their own children?

Cronus is the main reason. Gaia tells him that she’s heard of a prophecy that one of his children will overthrow him as King, but the prophecy doesn’t say which child. Shortly after, Cronus becomes a father when his wife, Rhea, gives birth to tiny Hestia, a goddess the size of a pea.

Cronus wonders, “Is this the child who shall overthrow me?” To his wife’s horror, he promptly gulps down the newborn, imprisoning her in his stomach. The next newborn, Demeter, lands in Cronus’s stomach a year later. Baby Hera, little Hades and lastly, infant Poseidon follow in due course.

Gaia does not approve of Cronus’s actions, but she loves all her children equally, including this wayward son. Always, she insists upon loving her children equally. And so she lets the evil of swallowing the children go on. It’s part of her downfall.

Desperate to keep at least one of her babies to hold and love, daughter Rhea begs Gaia to help her keep this next baby’s location a secret from Cronus. Gaia agrees and the newborn boy is cleverly hidden on the isle of Crete.

The little boy grows up hating his father Cronus for imprisoning his brothers and sisters. One night, he drugs Cronus and his father vomits forth the Olympians, now fully grown.

“Follow me,” cries Zeus, no longer a baby, “and we will take this world from the Titans!”

Thus the Gods of Olympus begin to tear Earth away from the old nature spirits who built it.

 

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Now, as a storyteller who tells old myths for adult audiences, I love this old zinger and will bring it to life from my ZOOM studio Sunday, July 19 at 7 pm EST. It’s a full evening’s entertainment, with a score on 12-string guitar and character voices, as usual.

In a first, however, joining me after the show will be Kari Kuelzer of Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square, taking questions from the audience, which I’ll answer. I’ve told FALL OF THE TITANS live at her place a couple of times before and so we’ll see how this Zoom experiment goes.

Hope to have you in the audience!

–Odds Bodkin

 

FALL OF THE TITANS: An Adult Storytelling on Zoom

Sunday, July 19th at 7 pm Eastern Standard Time

Tickets: $15 for your meeting invitation and password

 

 

 

 

 

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FALL IS COMING. WILL KIDS HAVE ARTS IN SCHOOL?

School systems across America are facing a back-to-school dilemma. Should students stay home for everyone’s safety or attend real classes this fall? And even if students return, are school assemblies where hundreds gather in a gym or auditorium for arts presentations a step too far?

If you are a parent, teacher or administrator, explore storyteller Odds Bodkin’s ZOOM assemblies. As a solo performer, his presentations are the same music-filled adventures as always, and with ZOOM, every seat is a front row seat. From his Rivertree Productions studio in New Hampshire, he comes to your students live on full screen. Each assembly is password protected and we administer the tech. All you need to do is log on, at school or at home. Live Q&As and follow-up workshops are available as well.

To learn more about elementary school ZOOM assemblies and Odds Bodkin author visits, click on the links or go to Show Requests.