it’s a Gi60 weekend!

It’s that time of year, once again, for Gi60! (Gone in 60 Seconds – the One Minute International Theatre Festival).  Gi60 is an evening of 50 short plays in (approx) 50 minutes.  I’ve gone international again, this year, with six pieces performed across three different shows – inc pieces in the Brooklyn and UK Leeds shows, and four in the Gi60 NextGen show (also in Brooklyn).  Above is one of my pieces from last year’s NextGen show – Bupkis.

Tickets are still available for all of the shows this weekend.  You can find links here.  And if you can’t make it out to Brooklyn, the evening shows will also be live streamed.

I will be haunting both of the Saturday shows in Brooklyn, and will likely have a few copies of both Plrknib and Miserable Adventure Stories with me for signing.

Here’s all the information on the shows and tickets.

Hope to see you there!

eggheads podcast – infinity wars and the new gods

Hey, you know I love comic books, right?  (I was Reviews Editor for the legendary comics-focused website PopImage for about four years in the early 2000s, and Prom on Mars actually started as a webcomic on that site before it morphed into this.)

So anyway, I come back to my fanboy roots in Part 1 of this new Eggheads Podcast talking with prime Egghead Pablo Solano about Infinity War, Adam Warlock, Kirby, the New Gods, and much much more.  Check it out!

mom comes to visit

Scene – JEFF and BETH settle cozily onto the couch with Chinese food and prepare to watch TV. Jeff glances over at Beth, and flirts with her.  She flirts back.

JEFF:  I’m glad we got to spend more time together this weekend.

BETH:  Me too.  It’s been great.

They watch TV.  Jeff puts his arm around her.  They look into each other’s eyes, snuggle closer, as if about to kiss.  Suddenly, a screeching, bird-like VOICE comes from offstage.

MOM (OS):  Jeff!?  Jeff – are you home?!

JEFF:  Oh no.

BETH:  Maybe if we’re quiet, she’ll go away…?

MOM:  Jeff?!  Is that you?  Are you here?!  I love you! It’s your mother, Jeff!  Are you in there?

JEFF’S MOM enters in baggy housecoat, and loaded down with several large suitcases. When she talks she sounds like a broken, skipping record.

MOM:  There you are!  It’s me, Jeff! Your mother! I love you! Who’s this?!  Who’s this?!

JEFF:  It’s Beth, Mom.  You’ve met, like, five times.

MOM:  I’m his mother!  I love him! Do you love him?

BETH (embarrassed):  Uhm…well…uh…

MOM:  I love him!  I’m his mother!

JEFF:  I didn’t know you were here, Mom.

MOM:  I yelled!  From outside!  

JEFF:  I guess I didn’t hear you.  

MOM:  I yelled 27 times!! Since early this morning?

BETH:  What did you say?

Jeff glares at Beth.  She smiles, innocently.  

MOM:  JEFF! THIS IS YOUR MOTHER!  I LOVE YOU! THIS IS YOUR MOTHER!!

JEFF:  Wow. I guess I just didn’t hear you.  

Mom suddenly withdraws a large knife out of one of her suitcases and threatens them with it.

MOM:  YOU DIDN’T?! I COULD KILL YOU!

There is a short moment of intense fear.

MOM:  Just kidding. I love him! I’m his mother!

She puts the knife away.  They relax, slightly.

JEFF:  Why don’t you go upstairs and get some rest, Mom?

MOM:  Oh no! I’ll just stay here! I’ll stay here with you!

BETH (to Jeff):  Maybe we could find her a hotel?

MOM (pulling out knife again):  Jeff!  Jeff! I don’t like her!  I DON’T LIKE HER!

Another moment of intense fear.

MOM:  Just kidding. Do you love him?

Beth grits her teeth.

BETH:  Uhm – that’s such a strong –

MOM:  I love him, too!

BETH:  You’re his mother!

MOM:  Right!  That’s me!

Suddenly, Mom drops all her suitcases, opens one up and starts rifling through it. She tosses clothes all over the room looking for whatever she is looking for.

MOM:  Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait!  It’s here! I know it’s here! I know it! I just know it’s here! WAIT! Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait! I know it’s here! I know it’s here!

She stops for a moment and looks up.

MOM:  I’m his mother.

Mom dives back into her bags.

MOM:  AH HAH!

Triumphantly, she pulls out a DVD.

MOM:  Deadpool!

She puts it in the DVD player, nearby, turns it on and sits down. She opens another suitcase, which is full of nothing but popcorn. She eats and watches TV.

BETH:  I’ve never seen Deadpool.

MOM:  Great movie! Stay and watch!

JEFF (to Beth):  Maybe we should go out?

MOM:  STAY AND WATCH!

BETH:  Why don’t we stay and watch for a while?

The stay and watch. The movie comes on.  After a moment, Mom leans over and talks to Jeff. He is annoyed by her talking during the movie.

MOM:  How are you?  You look well.  Grampa bought a new car! It has a stick shift.  I can’t drive a stick shift!

JEFF (whispering):  Shh…not during the movie, Mom.

MOM:  What’s Bunco?!  Everyone plays Bunco.  

BETH:  I think it’s a game drunk Soccer Moms play.

MOM:  Bunco! Bunco! Bunco!

JEFF:  Don’t encourage her.

MOM:  When I was young I had a kitten!

JEFF:  Mom, please –

MOM:  His name was Snowball!

JEFF:  Shhh…

MOM:  Snowball got hit by a car!  BAM! No more Snowball! Ha ha.

JEFF:  MOM, SHUT UP!  

Beat.  Mom looks hurt.  Like she may cry.  Jeff looks apologetic.  

JEFF:  Sorry. I’m sorry.  It’s been a rough day.

Mom smiles.  They all sit back and watch the movie.  Mom starts singing.

MOM:   Raindrops on roses and soft woolen mitten.

             Flowers and laundry and 200 kittens.

             Tie them all up with a big piece of string.

              These are a few of my favorite things.

She start eating lots of popcorn while she sings.

MOM:   Basketball, horseshoes and watching the Beaver.

             Buying a new car and getting a fever.

             Pinching the waiter and having a fling.

             These are a few of my favorite-

Abruptly, she starts choking on popcorn. They watch her without helping. She chokes, falls to the ground, spazzes a bit-

MOM:  Jeff! Jeff! I’m choking! I’m choking! I’m- Jeff! Jeff! This is your mother!  I love you! I – I – I –

She chokes.  Finally, Jeff smacks her on the back. She coughs out a piece of popcorn and passes out. They wait a second and then Jeff presses his fingers next to her throat, checking her pulse.

JEFF:  …She’s fine.

BETH:  Want to finish the movie?

JEFF:  Sure.

BLACKOUT

it’s may fete time again!

In Wyoming, Ohio, the best day of the school year – far and away – continues to be May Fete. On or about the second Friday in May, Wyoming Middle School (in Wyoming, OH) transforms into a massive carnival teeming with rides, food, and game booths.

When I was a kid, May Fete started at noon and went late, late into the night. To a seven-year-old in 1971, it was as if a high-end amusement park had sprung up out of nowhere. You couldn’t go to an odd corner of the school grounds without running into a cake walk or a fish bowl toss or a dunk booth or something. Simply trying to explore every nook and cranny of the event took a very full day.  It was incredibly exciting.

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the raglun oracle

UPDATE – May 1, 2018 – Raglun Oracle just won the story of the month over at Frontier Tales and will be in their eighth anthology!  Thanks to everyone who voted!

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My Twilight Zone meets the Old West piece, The Raglun Oracle is up today at Frontier Tales.  They’ve got a competition running on the site, so please vote for The Oracle!

And of course, you can also find this piece in my new collection Miserable Adventure Stories.

Here’s a snippet:

Christmas last year will not be a day that I—nor anyone in my family— will soon forget, I dare say. I write this comfortably from a bed at my Aunt Sara’s house. As you know, we did not make it to Sara’s last year. And we were anything but comfortable. The storms and snow of last year were greater than any we’d seen in decades. And while that would not usually stop my daddy from makin’ the trip, Ethan, as you know, was quite sick.

Poor Ethan—all of four years—had been a fairly strong boy till that last year—when various sickness overtook him. I had been packing an overnight bag for the trip up north when my Uncle Campbell told me that Ethan was burning up and we’d have to stay put. Daddy had gone for the doctor—a half-day trip, at the least. Ma was in her bedroom laying compresses on Ethan. His fever was high.

Over the past few years, my family had fallen into something of an isolation from the rest of the town, as tends to happen with farming families. Arguments are started and never resolved. Families lose touch and keep to themselves. And so, the begrudging offer to visit from my Aunt was quickly discarded when Ethan fell ill. Soon, a pallor lay over our house as wind crept in through chipped planks causing a low, solemn whistle. The holiday tree I’d cut down myself stood bent over, unseasonable.

Our town, Raglun, is a small one. There aren’t but forty, fifty families—all of whom I can name by sight. There’s little crime, no jail, and half the townsfolk can’t write or read proper. In fact, a great many, in this year of our lord 1873, still believe Lincoln runs the capital, if you can believe that.

Which may be why Ethan’s sickness—and his babbling in particular—came off so unsettling.

I was the one heard it first. I had woken up early that morning to his kicking and writhing. Still asleep, but tossing, turning. And saying words over and over that I couldn’t understand:

Nixon

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Rejected Ben & Jerry’s Passover Flavors

ben_jerrrys_Affliction1b

Why is this ice cream different from all other ice creams?

Bread O’ Affliction! – Sure, we wanted to use real bread, but who has the time?!

Gephilte Phish! – Random, minced fish pieces in a fabulous jellied froth!

Let My People Go Eat Ice Cream! – From Yahweh’s mouth to your freezer!  Right now!

Karpas-tacular!It really is!

Coupons available Next Year in Jerusalem!

view the whole thing at McSweeney’s

miserable review on new pop lit

MISERABLE ADVENTURE STORIES is a variegated collection of pop fiction by one of the best practitioners of the pop story, Alex Bernstein. Three of the stories aren’t miserable, they’re masterful…

Okay, you’re not supposed to draw attention to reviews – because then it’s like cherry picking if you don’t show the bad ones.  But this one is so nice.  (Listen, when Simon & Schuster start publishing my books, we can start a new conversation about it.)

The good folks over at New Pop Lit call the stories in MAS “Masterful examples of the pop genre” and “all entertaining”.  You can read the full review here.  Book reviews are a new sleeve over at NPL, and their other reviews are tremendously insightful about all the books they’re reading, new and old.  And as always, check out the rest of their site for some of today’s best up and coming authors.

Of course, you can easily discover what’s so masterful and entertaining about Miserable Adventure Stories by picking up your own copy here.  You can also find it at many of your better bookstores.  Ask for it by name!

p. king duckling on netflix

I was extremely excited to learn that P. King Duckling – the Disney Jr./Little Airplane show that I worked on – is now available for streaming on Netflix!  My only access ever to the show had been via the Disney Jr. app – and then it was whatever episodes they happened to be releasing at a given time.  (And mine – which were at the tail end of the first season – took forever to show up.)  But!  On Netflix, of course, you can stream the entire series over and over and over!  And why not?!

I’ve got two episodes – #20 “Hills ‘n Thrills” and #26 “A City Under the Sea” – and I can’t tell you enough about what a phenomenal job Little Airplane and their production partner UYoung did on this series.

If you have toddlers and you’re looking for something that’s essentially Spongebob-Lite, look no further.  It’s a terrifically awesome, funny, and actually quite emotional show that focuses on the importance of friendship at any age.

PKD is a great series for sampling – there are tons of excellent episodes – but my favorite is the tether ball episode (#12) where P. King discovers he can’t lose at tether ball.  Funny.

plrknib now available at quimby’s!


Chicago area and nearby residents!  Both Plrknib and Miserable Adventure Stories are now available at Quimby’s! – Chicago’s  favorite independently owned bookstore that sells independently-published and small press books, comics, zines and ephemera. They “favor the unusual, the aberrant, the saucy and the lowbrow.”

And god knows, Prom on Mars books are certainly lowbrow! 

I, myself, have never actually been to Quimby’s – don’t get to the Chicago area too much – but I hear it is super cool and groovy!  And don’t forget to pick up some underground zines while you’re there!

groucho in the bardo

Groucho in the Bardo – another piece from my new book Miserable Adventure Stories – is up today at HeadStuff.org.  Very cool site.  Check it out.

This piece features the Marx Brothers – (Zeppo, too! circa Duck Soup) – as well as many other famous film celebrities, and Lincoln.

This piece, FYI, was inspired by my mother’s intense interest in the new book, Lincoln in the Bardo – although you don’t need to have read that book to enjoy this piece.  In fact, you may enjoy this piece even more if you haven’t read that book.  If you’ve read the book, there’s the slight chance that this piece might actually make you angry.  Although, my mother loved this piece.  But hey, she’s my mother.

Here’s the opening:

Scene – The Bardo. A misty, foggy place. RUFUS T. FIREFLY  wanders about lost. There are sounds of faint WAILING and CRYING.

FIREFLY
Hello! Hellooo! Either I’m in Hell or the world’s worst sauna!

CHICOLINI appears – also lost. They both creep about, not seeing one another. Chicolini raises his fists, ready to fight.

CHICOLINI
Who’sa dat? I hear you, but I no see you! And that’s two a you, I already don’t like!

They slowly back into each other and collide, surprised. They’re approximately pleased to see one another.

FIREFLY
I should’ve known it was you – fog follows you everywhere!

CHICOLINI
At’sa true! Hey! This is some barbecue! I think you left the steaks on too long!

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