PLRKNIB LAUNCHES ON AMAZON

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I’m extremely excited to announce that Plrknib is now available at Amazon.

Plrknib – which has been serialized for the past year over at www.plrknib.com – is about my experience doing stand-up comedy during my senior year of high school in 1980.

Early reviews have been great.  Including:

“Hysterical, edge-of-your-seat drama.”

“The Power of Jokes permeates this book…in a way rarely seen in fiction.”

“I felt as though I was on stage with him 30 years ago.”

Plrknib retails for $1.99 (ebook) and $6.99 (paperback).

And! – for this week only – if you’d like a free review copy, contact me at alexb0917@gmail.com and we’ll set you up!

 

fourth of july

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Fireworks were so abundant and so easy to get when I was a kid, that I thought you could get them anywhere – the grocery, the local drug store.  I didn’t realize till much later that my father – and everybody else in town – had to go all the way across the river to Kentucky to get them.

He always bought a good selection – not just sparklers, but bottle rockets, black cats, cherry bombs, and big stuff like roman candles.  He showed us how to set them off, but we were not at all graceful.  We’d light them and run, 20-30 feet off.  And if the thing didn’t go off, you’d have to decide whether or not to go back and check.  Was it a dud?  Delayed?  Should we light it again?  What if it exploded the moment you got near it?  I can say that I never knew one of those kids who lost a body part over a firecracker.  (Although I did meet a kid on a bus once who shot himself in the leg with his dad’s rifle.  But that’s another story.)

But the best fireworks were firecrackers.  The ones they sold (and still sell I’m sure) in bricks with the fuses all tangled up and you could separate them out or light the whole thing at once.  We’d put them under cans and watch them explode into the air.  Miniature dynamite.

The biggest badge of honor was finding a loose, unused firecracker somewhere outside.  The kind that had been dropped or abandoned.  Bottle rockets that flew off but never exploded.  If you found one in the street or the woods, it was better than money.  And after a typical Fourth of July, kids would scour the streets for them.  Most were duds, but one in a hundred worked.  I held onto one for about a year that was perfect and dry before I tried it.  When I did, I had no idea what was going to happen.  I blew a Folger’s can to kingdom come.

One time, at camp, we did this show that we knew would be perfect if we could end it with big special effects.  What we wanted was dry ice – but my friend Kenny said, no problem, he’s got black cats and some cherry bombs.  He’s on it.  Fortunately, it was at the end of the show, and it didn’t matter so much when the entire building filled up with smoke and everyone ran out of the place, screaming and coughing.  No one got hurt.  But ten minutes later smoke was still pouring out of the windows.

a uniquely useful hobby

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After a half dozen more Sundays with Dugle, WAIF rewarded us with our own show, late at night on the last Saturday of every month.  And with that, the Six Pistols found themselves in Geek Nirvana.

Dave D, Bucky, Ron, Bob, and I wrote prolifically.  At the other extreme, Dave S., my best friend, never contributed a single piece of material to the show.  Additionally, he couldn’t act and any voices he did were extremely nasal because of ongoing sinus problems.  (Bob, at least, could fake a British accent, albeit with a Kentucky twang.)

However, Dave did make a lasting contribution:  he brought sex to the show.

The conclusion of chapter 3 of Plrknib.  Click here to keep reading.

what it is

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Plrknib is a memoir about my experience doing stand-up comedy in Cincinnati in 1980-81 when I was 16-17 years old.

I’m going to be serializing it weekly over at www.plrknib.com.  It’s about 35+ chapters, so depending on how fast I post, it should be complete by the fall.

Most of the entries will be straight chapters from the book.  But I’ll also be doing some meta chapters – over there and over here – like this one, explaining what’s going on behind the scenes.

Plrknib” itself is the name of a single, extremely important joke that appears about halfway through the story.

Almost every stand-up comic mentioned in the book is real, and many of them are still going strong today.  (Where and when appropriate, I’ll link to them and their websites.)  And d.w. eye was the very real comedy club we all performed at.

The rest of the names (e.g. people from high school, etc.) are, for the most part, changed.

If you were a teenager in the late 70’s/early 80’s – or a fan of stand-up – and other – comedy of the day, this should be right up your alley.

Thanks for taking the trip with me.

plrknib again

The second entry is up at Plrknib.  It’s called, confusingly, “Plrknib“.  It will get less confusing in the days to come, I promise.  It should be worth the wait, I think.

By the way, it’s pronounced “Plurk” (like “work”) – “Nib”.  Plrknib.  So, there you go.

Here’s a bit of what’s up there, today…

 

For the better part of my senior year of high school, I was Plrknib and Plrknib was me. We were one and the same. When people saw me on the street or at the club, I was Plrknib.  At Wyoming High School and at Ursuline dances, at Bogarts, and at the Losantiville Country Club, at the Corral Show and Zantigo’s, I was Plrknib.

And, briefly, it made my life much, much easier.

more

plrknib

I’ve just launched my new site Plrknib.

More about what that is, soon.

The first entry is Possible Opening Lines.  Here’s an excerpt.

 

Good evening.  I’ll be your comedian for the next ten minutes.

Good evening.  My people have been persecuted for 5,784 years.

Good evening.  My grandmother just died.

Anybody kick pigeons?

This is my first stand-up.  So, if I throw-up its part of the act.

more

May Fete

The best day of the school year – far and away – was May Fete. On or about the second Friday in May, Wyoming Middle School (in Wyoming, OH) would transform into a massive carnival teeming with rides, food, and game booths. May Fete started at noon and went late, late into the night. And it was incredibly exciting.

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.

Continue reading

miserable holiday stories – the easter egg story

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About the Easter Egg story.

So, it occurred to me when I was assembling Miserable Holiday Stories as an ebook that it might be fun to include an extra story in there, like a hidden extra track on an album.  So, if you were one of the people that downloaded the book in the first 24 hours, the Easter Egg story was called “Too Much Snow.”  (It was only a page long.)  But within that first 24 hours, I was feeling uncomfortable about some of the language in that story and I decided to swap it out for a different story, which is what I did.  Since the new piece was also only one page, I simply swapped it out and it didn’t change the formatting of the book or the table of contents or anything, really.

And then it occurred to me that – since this is currently an ebook-only format – I can do this as often as I want.  So, no matter when you download the book, you’ll always get the 10 listed stories.  But say, over the course of a year, 10 people could have 10 slightly different versions with 10 different Easter Egg stories, making each periodic “run” of the book a kind of limited collector’s edition!

I have no idea if this is actually innovative or not.  But I don’t know that I’ve heard of anybody else doing it…

Since there’s currently no print version, I have no idea how this impacts the idea of a “first edition” or not.  It’s all just virtual editions.  At the moment, I’ve only swapped out the story once.  But I like the idea in theory, and could imagine doing it again soon, depending on how people respond.  And then maybe in ten years, if this thing goes anywhere, I can publish a book that’s just all the Easter Eggs.

And then maybe that book would have one Easter Egg story.

miserable holiday stories

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I’m extremely proud to announce that my first-ever short story collection – Miserable Holiday Stories – is now available as a Kindle ebook.  The collection features 10 mostly holiday-themed pieces (actually 11; there’s an Easter egg buried in there), eight of which have appeared here and in various lit journals over the last few years.  And the whole thing is an e-steal at a $1.99!

Here’s the blurb copy from Amazon:

Throw another yule log on the fire and twist that final menorah lightbulb! Author and humorist Alex Bernstein presents a collection of quirky, bittersweet tales calculated to ruin even the most blessed festivities. No matter which holidays you celebrate, these 10 stories will have you yearning for mid-January. Featuring the recent Glimmer Train finalist (but not winner) “Brownie Mix”, the infamous chapter-book parody “The #$@!# Bicycle Boys Save Christmas, Again!”, the never-before-printed “Blue Christmas”, and stories previously appearing in such eclectic journals as The Big Jewel, Litro, Corvus, eFiction, Dysfunctional Family Story, The Legendary, Blue Print Review, and Hobo Pancakes, Miserable Holiday Stories is the perfect gift for that special someone you’d rather not ever hear from again. And cheaper than wool socks, to boot!

Click here to order on Amazon.

And a big thanks – and Happy Holidays – to all of you who have supported Prom and these momentary distractions over the last few years!

alex