February 13-15, 2020: Austin College, UT-Arlington, TJCL Convention 

My first Odyssey performance took place in my parents’ living room on March 17, 2002. 

My 300th Odyssey performance took place in Arlington, Texas, in a lovely parlor-style room in the University of Texas-Arlington library, on February 14, 2020. 

In some sense it was very much like the first 299 performances in that I talked for a bit, played my 35 minutes of music, and then led a discussion with the audience about Odysseus and his story. 

But in another sense, as milestones often are, it felt like…

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November 18, 2019 - Pomfret School, Connecticut 

It's a brisk rainy fall Monday morning as I pull onto the campus of Pomfret School, a small (mostly) boarding high school in eastern Connecticut. 

I spent the previous night in Providence, Rhode Island, exploring a city I'd only briefly visited (in 2016 for a performance at Brown) and drove the 45 minutes northwest through a setting indistinguishable from rural Ohio.

My contact, a genial English teacher, pulls up in a Volvo and he and I hit it off immediately.  I'll be performing for his class of about a…

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October 15, 2019 - Northern Illinois University 

For my first semester of college at UW-Madison, prior to succumbing to the Siren song of Classics, I was an intending psychology major. 

The sum total of this dalliance was two classes: Intro to Psych and The Psychology of Human Emotion.

What I remember of these classes is fleeting: I remember giggling incessantly with my roommate about the term "Skinner Box." I remember all the girls seemed to have a crush on the professor who taught both classes (or at least the girl I had a crush on did).  

And I vaguely…

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September 30, 2019 - Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

"The journey is the people you meet along the way," said the septuagenarian gentlemen wearing leather driving gloves as he drove me in a black Lincoln from the airport to my hotel in the Pittsburgh University district on an unseasonably warm late-September Monday morning.

We were talking animatedly about life, the universe, and everything, really connecting over, among other things, his Chicago roots and military service in the Vietnam War era.

I looked around to see if I was on some weird Academic Candid…

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September 25, 2019 - University of Illinois - Chicago 

This year I've been obsessed with a book called Effortless Mastery by a pianist named Kenny Werner, in which the author writes about applying simple mediative principles in musical practice and performance as typified by this quote: "The effort it takes for you to perform music equals the distance between you and mastery."

This book has helped me breakthrough some sticking points on both the guitar and voice and I think as a consequence I've been performing the Odyssey better and with much more freedom…

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July 27, 28, and 29, 2019 - The National Junior Classical League Convention, Fargo, North Dakota 

To read Homer is to be humbled again and again by its unique brilliance.

No matter how many times you've encountered the lines "Sing, Goddess, of the anger of Achilles" or "Sing, Muse, of a man of many turns," you can be sure that each time you start these stories, you will discover something profound, moving, and true, something that you haven't seen during previous readings.

Often times you feel amazed that a piece of beauty has been sitting there the entire time and you've only just noticed it on your…

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May 17, 2019 - St. Andrew's School, Middletown, Delaware 

Looking back at my writing book for the post on my performance at Union College was, to use a formal academic phrase, fucking weird.

I often talk and have written some about how the generative phase of my Odyssey is so far in my past that it doesn't feel like I even wrote it: I feels like it's just always existed and I've known how to do it.

But in paging through this writing book from the very beginning of the millennium, I can't avoid confronting the proof of the moment the piece came into being…

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May 16, 2019 - Union College, Schenectady, New York 

Sometimes I wish I had been a little more diligent in formally documenting my odyssey of performing my Odyssey.

I have the journal in which I wrote the piece... here's the first ink I committed to the idea on October 26, 2000.

I didn't actually begin writing the piece in earnest until over a year later (December 2001), but "Who Am I" and the ideas expressed around the sentiment here made it into the final composition almost entirley intact.  

Seeing my own handwriting and instincts expressed so naively and…

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May 2, 2019 - The Robin Theatre, Lansing, Michigan 

"Do you ever regret not going on to study Classics in graduate school?"

Students, man: they can bring it.

And the Waverly High School students who filled the intimate Robin Theatre in Lansing, Michigan, on a May Thursday morning sure as heck brought it.

I make it clear to all my audiences that I will answer each and every question with full honesty and they need not feel limited in the type of questions they ask me.  Some audiences take me up on this, some don't: this audience did.

The question about regret…

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April 15, 2019 - The University of Montana - Missoula 

At the Orality and Literacy Conference in Austin a couple of weeks ago, a professor asked me if I remember my performances.

I've been thinking about this question since that show and as I flew from Chicago to Missoula, Montana (by way of Salt Lake City), on a Sunday morning for a Monday performance at the University of Montana, I closed my eyes and tried to remember as many of my Odyssey shows as I could.

Not just the shows but the journeys to and around the shows.

I started with the first time I performed in…

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SEE THE ODYSSEY

Feb25

Northern Illinois University

Northern Illinois University, 1425 W Lincoln Hwy, Dekalb, IL

Private classroom show

Mar17

Walter Payton High School

Walter Payton High School, 1034 N Wells St, Chicago, IL

Private classroom show

Mar23

Ohio State University Newark

Ohio State University Newark, Newark, OH

Private classroom show

BUY THE ODYSSEY

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