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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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