TUNA OR CALAMARI?

TUNA OR CALAMARI?

He burps, wondering if what he ate was tuna or calamari. He’s King Geoffrey the One-Eye, the formerly fearsome T-Rex who’s retired among the dinosaurs of the Sea Forest and now eats fish. Little Proto is lucky to have him as a friend, especially when a pteranodon flies off with the kid hero. Suddenly Proto needs to be rescued in this child-friendly adventure.

The national award-winning Little Proto Trilogy is on Odds Bodkin’s EPIC DRIVE, along with 15 other storytelling titles for ages four through adult. Age-coded mp3s.

Get yours today!

“a consummate storyteller”–The New York Times

 

BOOKING NOW: World Stories About Empathy for Schoolchildren

I read countless news reports about kids treating one another badly in schools. Lately, it appears, things have grown worse. Telling kids how to behave is less effective than it’s ever been, it seems.

For some years now I’ve offered a school assembly program called GOLDEN RULE: World Stories About Empathy in two versions, K-3 and 3-5. Using ancient stories from world cultures, GOLDEN RULE taps the unconscious in kids and delivers a message while they’re completely entertained and having fun.

One principal called it “The best anti-bullying program we’ve ever had, hands down.”

If you know any schools who are facing this problem, find out about GOLDEN RULE and pass the word along.

–Odds Bodkin

THANK YOU, DAVID MILLSTONE

Thank you, David Millstone.

“I’m writing to New England storytellers with a request,” David Millstone, a fifth grade teacher in Norwich, Vermont wrote many years ago. “Can any of you tell an episode from The Odyssey? The Sirens. The Cyclops. Calypso. Any episode will do.” I’m paraphrasing, but that was his basic request. I immediately wrote back (paper letter) and told him I could tell the whole thing.

I didn’t know the story at all.

To my delight, he wrote back and said I was hired. He was building an interdisciplinary unit around Homer’s great myth, and instead of asking his students to read a version, since Homer was a spoken-word artist, he’d like to introduce his students to the tale in this more authentic way.

My knowledge of The Odyssey was limited to a movie I’d seen as a kid starring Kirk Douglas, Ulysses. And having read Joyce’s take on the tale by the same name. I had three months to prepare. I got to work.

I’ll be telling THE ODYSSEY: BELLY OF THE BEAST, the early episodes of what ended up a 4-hour epic, for an adult audience at Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA this coming Sunday night beginning at 5:30. Introduction with music on Celtic harp, then into the tale itself with a 12-string guitar accompaniment.

The 12-string not a lyre, but it does have more strings.

A few tickets remain.

With all of the sounds he was able to make, the unique voices of each person, and intricate guitar playing…it was unbelievable.

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.

Tickets at tables are $15.

“Mythology Brain”–An Embarrassing Public Condition

I must suffer from “mythology brain” I’ve decided. This is an as yet undiagnosed condition, but could soon appear in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the renowned and ever-changing DSM). Symptoms include a Jungian fascination with myths, love of creating music and a sub-condition I’ve dubbed “dramatosis.”

Dramatosis presents itself not as hearing voices in your head that aren’t yours (a much more serious condition), but rather creating voices that aren’t yours for the benefit of listeners. “Mythology brain” is a strenuous form of public madness and I don’t recommend it to anybody.

Still, if you’d like to see what it looks like up close, I’ll be back at Grendel’s Den on Harvard Square this coming February 11th to once again demonstrate the malady. Voices will include Odysseus of Ithaca, father, reluctant warrior, expert liar and all around great guy; enthusiastic drug takers called Lotus Eaters; sundry Ithacan crewmen; sheep and goats; and last but not least, Polyphemus the Cyclops, a giant cannibalistic shepherd who loves his animals but eats humans as they scream in horror. The huge, half-witted basso voice of Polyphemus is especially fun to make because despite the veneer of civility I try to maintain in my quotidian life, he feels the way I feel whenever I’m hungry and grumpy.

All kidding aside, the show is at 5:30 p.m. and seating begins at 5:00.

And there’s music throughout, of course. Celtic harp and 12-string guitar.

THE ODYSSEY: BELLY OF THE BEAST/An Adult Storytelling.

Tickets are $15 ($10 for solo chairs) and you can get them here.

 

 

What a Night! Sold out in Cambridge…

What a night I had Sunday evening at Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA. ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS, my adult show of Viking myths, was sold out, which was great, of course, but the highlight was when the audience sang with me.

For the second long tale, The Mead of Poetry, I wrote a song that the lonely but deadly giantess, Gunlod, sings in her cave in the heart of a mountain. Her father has commanded her to guard the magical mead, an elixir brewed from Odin’s best friend’s blood. His friend has been murdered for it, and Odin is on a quest to return it to Asgard where it belongs.

As he approaches Gunlod’s cave, he hears

One soul, lost in loneliness/Down in the dark where nobody dares to go

One soul, none will ever see/My father’s will has now imprisoned me

Guard it, he says/Guard it, he says/Guard it. Let no one touch it at all.

I sang this in Gunlod’s voice, but then invited the audience to sing it with me. What a moment! In natural voice I sang, and lo, all those nice people joined in on the haunting tune. The room rang with men’s and women’s voices. They learned it almost immediately. Nice moment, along with all the laughs I heard throughout the two stories.

For New Hampshire audiences, I’ll be reprising this show this coming Sunday, Jan. 21 at 6:00 pm at Schoodacs Coffeehouse in Warner, NH. Intimate setting. Tickets are $15.

The show begins with little-known Viking lore, accompanied by Celtic harp music, then moves to Thor’s Journey to Utgard, a hilarious and magical adventure that Thor and Loki experience with Frost Giants (12-string guitar score), and then The Mead of Poetry (with a second 12-string). It’s fine for older kids, but is essentially an adult show.

So if you’d like to immerse in some adult storytelling, and even learn about the Medieval Climate Optimum and how we got our days of the week, come!

THE EPIC DRIVE now available at Odds Bodkin live shows

If you’re attending any of my live shows this weekend (The Odyssey at Lawrence Academy in Groton, MA this Friday night or Odin and Thor Battle the Frost Giants at Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA this Sunday night) I’ll have something completely new for sale. The Epic Drive. Something for every storytelling fan in your life, from age four to forever.

Hope to see you there!

Soon this product will be available at my online shop as well.

THE ODYSSEY: Belly of the Beast this Friday at Lawrence Academy in Groton, MA. The public is welcome.

Lawrence Academy in Groton, MA presents The Odyssey: Belly of the Beast, Odds Bodkin’s telling of Homer’s classic this Friday, January 12th at 6:30 p.m. With his 12-string guitar and panoply of characters and sounds, Odds will take the stage to offer this evening of entertainment and education for students and faculty. Generously, Lawrence Academy is also inviting the public to attend, free of charge.

ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS Sunday Jan. 14 at Grendel’s Den in Cambridge MA

Adult storytelling this Sunday night!

Odds Bodkin returns to Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA to perform ODIN AND THOR BATTLE THE FROST GIANTS: VIKING MYTHS OF ADVENTURE on Sunday night, January 14th at 5:30 p.m., with seating commencing at 5:00 p.m.

 

Eat and drink adult beverages like a Viking, then hear two epic Viking myths wrapped in little-known lore (Thursday is Thor’s Day; Wednesday is Wotan’s Day). First, a tale of magic and illusion as Thor and Loki journey to the city of their enemies, the Frost Giants. Meet Thor, big, strong, slightly dim and lovable, along with Loki, everything Thor is not. You’ll hear full characterizations for these mythic characters, along with peasants and immense giants. And of course, a full score on 12-string guitar. Then, the long tale of Odin’s search for the blood of his best friend who’s been murdered, his blood brewed into a wisdom-bestowing elixir. Hear another 12-string, along with more music and voices for dwarves, a dangerous, lonely giantess, and Odin himself.

 

Plus little-known Viking lore explained as Odds plays the Celtic harp. Last year, this show sold out, so grab your tickets now! Only a few remain!

 

Adventure, humor and great acoustic music.

 

$15 table seating, $10 at the bar. Get tickets here.

THE TAKEOVER BEFORE CHRISTMAS: A Poem by Odds Bodkin

‘Twas the month before Christmas, fifty-seventh floor.
The Chairman of the Board had just stormed in the door.
All the VP’s tugged their collars and started to sweat.
He looked about as mad as a Chairman could get.

He yelled, “I hear there’s competition coming from up north!”
Then he swiped his iPhone X and looked back and forth.
“And yes, I’ve looked into the problem, figured out the cause.
Some old man working nights they call Santa Claus.”

So they filed a complaint with the SEC,
Said this Santa Claus guy’s got a monopoly.
Why, all the children in the world wait for him to appear!
So what if he delivers only one night a year?

So they wrote him out a writ that read from left to right,
Hired a hundred lawyers should he put up a fight,
And they flew in their choppers up to the North Pole.
From his parka, the Chairman stared out at the cold:

“Santa Claus, Santa Clause, where do you belong?
I’m gonna send you down south to an old folks’ home.
Kick your feet up in the sun on Biscayne Bay,
And let the snow in your soul melt away.”

Well, Santa welcomed in those hostile takeover guys,
Dressed in striped shirts, suspenders, and little bow ties,
But before he could get in any words edgewise
They slapped him with the writ, then offered compromise.

They said, “It’s cold and you’re old and elves aren’t that much fun.
Wouldn’t you rather be golfing down in the sun?
Where the beach people mingle and play all day?
Here’s a solid gold watch. We’ll give you severance pay.”

But Santa looked at them all and pulled on his glove.
“‘Tis a long way from earth, to heaven above.
And between, there are children. Not all are properly loved.”
And between them the old boy shoved.

But the Chairman said, “Wait! Someone’s getting bilked!
We’ve heard you’ve taken bribes of cookies and milk!
And that you’ve flown without a license in restricted airspace!
So either go down south, Santa, or go down in disgrace!”

Well, they flew old broken Santa down to Key Biscayne,
Where the only snow that ever falls is rain.
They traded in his snowsuit for sandals and lotion,
And left him in a beach chair, looking out at the ocean.

Meanwhile up north, poor Rudolf went out of his mind,
And elves showed up in unemployment lines.
And all the letters from the children lay unopened, unread,
For Santa Claus was gone. The Christmas Spirit seemed dead.

That Christmas Eve, the world’s children, all snug in bed,
Had fitful dreams as chopper blades roared overhead.
Down the chimneys fell presents, all wrapped by machine,
With computer bills that read, “Send no money ‘til spring.”

Meanwhile, down south, old Santa was a different man,
Betting fantasy football and sporting a tan.
He drove a fifty-seven Ford with lots of polished wood,
And instead of reindeer, had horses, under the hood.

But the tan and the shades, they were all just for show.
For though the beaches were white, they weren’t white as snow.
And though on Christmas Eve all the presents came,
To the kids, it just wasn’t the same.

But the TV’s cried out, “Sure the toys are the same!
So somebody else brought them? Hey, what’s in a name?
Oh, yes, and “Dear Santa” letters don’t apply anymore.
Just cross out “North Pole.” Write: “Fifty-seventh floor.”

And sure enough, the next Christmas, all the letters poured in,
All addressed in crayon, filling bin after bin,
And the Chairman saw his future––endless Christmas bull markets––
As he jumped from his limo and told his chauffeur to park it.

But imagine his surprise. His office was a tomb.
His golden parachute was falling toward financial doom.
The firm was in trouble. It was all on his head!
For they’d opened all those letters and every last one had said:

“We the kids of the world, we don’t think it’s funny,
How you took Santa’s love and all that’s left is money.
Our parents think so, too, and promise they’ll assist us.
So either bring Santa back or we’ll boycott Christmas!”

Well, the Chairman, he resigned. I mean, circumstances forced him.
He lost his limo, stocks and bonds. His lovely wife divorced him.
Salvation Army took him in and served him soup and fruit.
Next day he showed up at the mall dressed in a Santa suit.

So Christmas was put back to the way it once had been.
Santa blew out his Ford, but quickly traded it in,
Rounded up all his reindeer, got his elves off the dole,
And headed north listening to rock’n’roll.

Yes, Santa got back to the snow and ice
And started keeping his list of who’s naughty and nice,
And he wrote the world’s kids and said, “Thanks. Glad you missed us.
Peace on earth. Rudolph’s fine. Oh, and Merry Christmas.”

–Odds Bodkin