“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.

 

 

A FEW TICKETS REMAIN…

A few tickets remain,
I make this claim,
For this evening’s show,
Just so you know.
Wily Odysseus, on his journey west,
Lost on the sea, doing his best
To hold things together
In all sorts of weather,
Missing his wife
And missing his boy,
Not having seen them in ten years at Troy,
Faces a beast with a glowering eye
And watches again as his best friends die.
But oh, he is wily, which gives him his fame.
Now journeys are odysseys, based on his name.

The Odyssey: Belly of the Beast, an adult storytelling event with live music on harp and 12-string guitar is tonight at Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA. 8 pm, April 2. A few tickets remain.

Tickets.

WHEN A GUITAR SOUNDS SYMPHONIC

I’ve been playing 12-string guitars to accompany stories for a long time. Nowadays I play a Taylor 12 and a custom-built Ron Ho made in Port Townsend, Washington, both great instruments. This coming Sunday night I’ll be using the Taylor to score The Odyssey: Belly of the Beast, tuned to a modified open E, a unique tuning that allows the guitar to sound, well, symphonic. Or at least that’s the goal.

 

The music is like a second voice, adding drama to the spoken words, much the way a movie score works. Leitmotif is a cool word coined by Richard Wagner denoting themes for characters and emotions, and The Odyssey is filled with many of them. One is a soothing, broad oceanic theme meant to relax my listeners. Another is a haunting, melancholy theme of longing that signifies Odysseus himself, wishing he were home even as he’s facing terrifying dangers. Polyphemus the Cyclops has his own music, too, bursting atonalities played in double-stops on the bass strings. Musicians tend to enjoy the accompaniment as much as the tale itself.

 

The show is at 8 pm on Sunday, April 2 at Grendel’s Den in Cambridge, MA. If you know anyone in New England who might enjoy this performance, please pass it on.

 
Tickets are $20 here.