prom selected for portland film festival

Exciting News!  My screenplay, Prom on Mars, is an Official Selection at the upcoming Portland Comedy Film Festival.

Wait – what?!  I hear you cry.  Screenplay?

Yes, once upon a long, long time ago Prom on Mars was my retro-futuristic screenplay about a bunch of kids in the year 2053 taking a three-day shuttle ride to Mars for their senior prom.  (Something of a cross between High School Musical (without the music), Star Trek, and Animal House.)  In the 2000’s – back when I was Reviews Editor for PopImage.com – Prom became a long-running webcomic at that site, and this site was created to house the whole thing.  Prom had a nice run for a few years at those two sites, told it’s story, sold a few indie copies of a print run of the first 50 strips, and then called it a day.

Later, when I started planning for a new website to house my writing, comedy, and publishing efforts, I decided to keep the promonmars url, because I kind of loved the name and the branding, and figured I’d also grab any leftover traffic.  The current site has had almost exclusively all new content.  Although I’ve occasionally re-posted some of the non-Prom strips – eg Total Losers, and Young Christo – but no Prom strips…yet.


Young Christo

In fact, for the past 10 years or so, in my brain, Prom was now a brand (and, technically, a publishing imprint), not a property of it’s own.

That is, until I re-read the original Prom script this past summer for the first time in a decade, and thought hey, that’s not so terrible.  So, I cleaned it up and sent it off to a couple places, including the Portland Film Festival.  And well, there you go.

Wish me luck!  I may even post some of the script or the old webcomics up here, if there’s any interest…

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!

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

more

 

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!

for your consideration!


Folks!  If you’ve read and enjoyed Plrknib this year (and, hell, even if you haven’t!) please consider making Plrknib your write-in vote for Best Memoir in the Goodreads Choice Awards 2017!  It’s easy enough to do.  Just click on this link here and enter – Plrknib.  There!  You’re done!  Excellent!  Wasn’t that easy?

You can only enter Plrknib as a Write-in for one category.  So, while we would certainly love you for to enter it in eg – humor, nonfiction, or debut Goodreads author (which technically, alas, it’s not – damn you, Miserable Holiday Stories!) – we would really love it if you’d plug us right there into the Memoir category.

And then…go vote for all those other books you loved this year!

Thanks, and remember – Reading Is Good!

obscenity trial in encyclopedia vol. 3

Very excited to announce that my extremely profane piece Obscenity Trial is in the long-awaited third volume of Encyclopedia.  I received my copy of Encyclopedia the other day and it is a gorgeous book, full of literary (and artistic/photographic) genius.  This tome has been swirling around in the ether for – literally – about five years now.  I was actually stunned to finally hold it in my hands.  But the encyclopedists have done fine, fine work.  You can order the book here.

Below is a (redacted) snippet from Obscenity Trial.  Pick up Vol 3 to read the full thing.

 

the d.w. eye reunion is happening

Yes, the d.w. eye Reunion is actually happening!  It’s going to be Friday, June 23, 2017 at the 20th Century Theater in Cincinnati.  For anyone who’s read Plrknib, this will essentially be the book coming to life before your very eyes (except everyone is significantly older).  Comedians appearing in the book who are scheduled to perform include Drew Hastings, Chili Challis, Rico Bruce Wade, Cap & Johnny, and myself.  (And this will be the first stand-up I’ve performed in Cinti in over 30 years!  Oy.)  We’re joined by a ton of great comics who performed at the eye shortly after the period that’s covered in the book, including Michael Flannery, Steve Caminiti, Jim Gilliece, and Mark Kline. And we expect to be joined by even more eye alumni.  (If you’re reading this and you ever performed at the eye, please contact me or Michael Flannery.)  Even Don Merriss, the original owner of the eye, will be on hand!

Flannery and I have been assembling this event for a couple months now.  If you’re in the area – this is going to be much more than a “night at a comedy club.”  We’re turning this into an event with a ton of surprises in store.

Also the night before the show, Thursday 6/22, we’ll be doing a signing of Plrknib at Joseph Beth Booksellers in Rookwood Pavilion.

For more info, please visit our new d.w. eye site. You can also let us know you’re coming by signing up at our Facebook event page.

More updates as we get them!

plrknib in cincinnati magazine

Lots of exciting Plrknib news this week – and in the weeks to come!  An excerpt from the book – nicely titled “Funny Guy” – is featured in the current “After Dark” issue of Cincinnati Magazine.  It’s only available in the print edition of the magazine – which you can order here.  Here’s a snippet from the piece, below.

If you’re in Cincinnati and looking to pick up a copy of Plrknib (along with the new Cincinnati Magazine) in an actual bookstore, one place you can certainly find it is at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Rookwood Pavilion.  A friend sent in the lovely picture below.  How appropriate to be sandwiched between Savages and Madness!  (I was told by someone else that it was a store pick in JBB, and had one of those “why you should check this out” notes above it.  How nice.)

And we have some VERY BIG announcements coming soon, especially again, for folks in the Cincinnati/Ohio area.

Stay tuned.

WVXU: cincinnati’s golden age of comedy

Nice, in-depth article about Plrknib and d.w. eye today at WVXU (in Cincinnati) written by John Kiesewetter, someone who was there at the time and remembers the comics intimately.  This leads into an interview coming up this Sunday night on WVXU with Kiese and fellow eye alum, Michael Flannery.

Mike Flannery came to the eye right when I was heading off to college and just tore the place up.  He went on to become hugely popular, winning Showtime’s funniest comic in Ohio twice, hosting the kids’ show Club 19, anchoring WCPO TV news, and basically becoming the most famous eye personality in Cinti.

Back in the mid-80’s I performed with him at least twice – once in ’85 at Aunt Maudie’s, and once in late ’87 at the Funnybone – where he shredded the place and I died a horrible death.

Flan remains very much on top of his game.  So, it was a real honor doing the VXU interview alongside him.  And…we may be doing some additional performing together in the near future.  Watch this space…

(You can hear the Plrknib interview this Sunday, March 19th at 7p on WVXU’s Around Cincinnati.)

irresistibly absorbing

dog-on-couch

(I got a little tired of re-posting the cover of the book; so here’s a picture of a dog.)

Yes, Plrknib now has something in common with toilet paper!

Hey – we got a super lovely review over at New Pop Lit!

Yeah, I know I’m not supposed to post references to a lot of reviews – because then I should be posting the bad ones, too, right?  (Not too many of those, yet, tho. Give it time!)  But this one is super-lovely, so…

Here’s a little excerpt…

….Like a comedian’s joke, Plrknib is the kind of narrative you fight against when you start reading it, but it pulls you along despite yourself. Like most of Bernstein’s writing, it’s irresistibly absorbing. Where is this book heading, you ask? What does “plrknib” mean? You’re skeptical, but you continue reading.

You can read the whole thing here.

And of course you can get the book here