Beer Mystic Spins Round the Earth

18 03 2010

* Cover by David Sandlin

by bart plantenga

The Beer Mystic was born under unusual but [sur]real circumstances. I did actually walk under streetlights in NYC and they did give up the ghost and go out. This was long ago when exhaustion, disillusionment, poor eating habits, drink and nightclubbing probably had a mind-altering effect on my reality. It was also during this time that we quite coincidentally formed the legendary [at least in our own minds] NYC writing group, The Unbearable Beatniks of Lite, later just The Unbearables.

Over time my fiction, meta-fiction and non-fiction has appeared in over 200 sources. The Beer Mystic has appeared in a number of literary sources including Semiotext[e] SF. Most of these were in earlier pre-pubescent versions; the latest, final version now appears online in a unique format called the Beer Mystic Global Pub Crawl.


40 sites host a Beer Mystic excerpt. Each host includes the excerpt plus the URL to the BEFORE and AFTER excerpt. Browsing of host sites is also encouraged. People can click to specific excerpts or follow the path of URLs from beginning to end of Beer Mystic. A map shows the geographical location of each publication, chapter number and URL. Listen to 3 DrinkDrankDrunk radio shows while you read. Read the related syndicated blog BEER MYSTIC Burp at Sensitive Skin.

BEER MYSTIC: Last Day on the Planet: recently uploaded film version of the last chapter with soundtrack by Brain Damage from the album Spoken Dub Manifesto.

also available at these fine literary sites

Unlikely Stories

In Other Words: Mereida


Eddie Woods

Sensitive Skin & for the backstory: Beer Mystic Burp #18


Beer Perks

Online participants benefit from this global interlinking by introducing new readers to you site. Creates new literary relationships across borders, oceans, beer preferences and styles. A pub crawl in the best sense of the term. Eventual paper and eBook publication of BEER MYSTIC.

About the Beer Mystic: A Novel of Inebriation & Light

“Top-fermented, with a good nose, an acrid middle, a dry finish — bubbly and acidulous in reserved measure –and with ambient yeast peculiar to the Lower East Side, the kind that turns concrete to dust. Plantenga is a poet and a prankster as well as a distinguished bathtub brewer. He deserves immediate investigation.”
• Luc Sante, Low Life

Time: Black Monday, October 1987, date of the last financial crisis – the scent of Prozac perks the air.
Ambience: Grim Reagan-era tension between the Haves & Have-nots [& the Have-something-elses]. A swirling delusional state of drunken godliness and traffic gridlock as an urban metaphor for meditative clarity and epiphany.
Attitude: Anti-traffic, pro-beer, pro-darkness and libation. Mystification is transformed into mysticism.

The Beer Mystic: Furman Pivo, a young, disillusioned lad, is probably in the wrong place with too much information and not enough ambition. He subsists inconspicuously in a shadowy zone, outside of the velvet ropes of the trendiest clubs. The velvet ropes are the contemporary equivalent of the barbed wire that separates us from them. He teeters on the ragged edge of schizoidal perceptions – The Man Who Fell To Earth as Charles Bukowski reading Albert Camus – and takes an offhand cue from the Situationists of lore, who believed the efficient organization of life as manifested by the logical grid of the city, the enhancement of traffic circulation and streetlight strategies to ensure safety are ultimately detrimental to dreams and human creative endeavors. Dreams are born in the dark.

Furman, too geared up to stay “home,” wanders the forgotten seams of nocturnal New York to wear himself out so he can eventually sleep. He drinks to slow the world down, reverse the dizziness imposed upon us by the spin of our earth.

One fateful night Furman is offered a third way.He discovers himself drunk under a NY streetlight – when suddenly this streetlight goes out, on the blink, extinguished – Poof! – it’s dark.

Coincidental synchronicity: It happens again… and again and again. The unusual becomes the uncanny, and perceived synchronicity begins to acquire a mystical spin. He begins to believe he [or he + beer] may be the cause of these outages. The events are fixed somewhere between mystification and environmental consciousness. he discovers that the urban blight of excessive light has devastating effects on human dreams. As do automobiles and dogs, each killing in us the dreams we use to sustain our inner lives. \without dreams, denizens seek dream surrogates elsewhere in consumer activities: partying, drugs, shopping, status.

The Beer Mystic is born: Furman’slife gains mission. The battleground is laid out: Beer + him vs. light + cars… his life changes, gains substance, responsibility, and ultimately a quasi-religious fervor with a sense of mission.

Magical realism? Speculative meta-fiction? Or something more hybrid, deceptive, transient, possible…

“The Beer Mystic is so goddamn good at the end of the fog. The surreal, political & aesthetic levity talked to me in person. It sent me full speed into the outrageous black hole of Americana. I recommend it unconditionally; a wise, witty, poignant gift of real pleasure…”

• Larry McCaffery, Editor, Black Ice Books


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