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Have a good laugh 

Humor wins the day at KwirkWorld

“When people are laughing, they’re generally not killing each other,” Alan Alda once, wisely, stated. This sentiment expresses just one reason the newly opened KwirkWorld, located at 766 Higuera St., merits a visit. When the economy most closely resembles a sinkhole, there’s nothing like a Barbie doll chandelier or a talking wall clock named Kim to buoy the spirit. And KwirkWorld is, without doubt, the only store in San Luis Obispo to carry both essential household appliances, along with all things irreverent, pithy, blasphemous, sacrilegious, and wise-cracking. 

IRREVERENT:  Kirk Psenner recently opened KwirkWorld in downtown SLO. - PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • IRREVERENT: Kirk Psenner recently opened KwirkWorld in downtown SLO.

“There’s nothing in here you need, but a lot of things you want,” explained Kirk Psenner, who opened the doors to his quirky world on Nov. 10. “It’s like the South Park of stores; it’s irreverent, but with a lot of love.” And while his initial statement might be a point worth arguing—who doesn’t need a lunch box emblazoned with an image of The Last Supper, or stationery paper labeled from the desk of St. Amnesia the Fornicator?—KwirkWorld is intended, first and foremost, as a venue for laughter and goodwill. 

Thus far, the reaction has been positive, with friends arranging to meet in the store and wandering through the aisles, giggling. Psenner was prepared for picketing, and placed a PG-13 sign in the front window, cautioning parents that KwirkWorld carries adult materials. Besides protecting his new business from potential criticism from parents, he recognizes that the suggestion of inappropriate content can also serve as a significant draw. 

When Psenner hears the word ‘sacreligious’ applied to the products he carries, he’s armed with a response. 

“I say Jesus would want you to laugh,” he said. “I think it’s wonderful. A smile and laughter comes out of love.” In fact, one of the Jesus-themed product displays is presided over by the holy roller himself, glancing piously heaven-ward and with outstretched arms holding tote bags. Beneath him, Psenner and his employees have assembled Jesus mints, action figures and ashtrays and the ever-popular punching nun. 

“Every time I think I’m pushing the edge it ends up being one of the best sellers,” Psenner added. 

In order to find the colorful, whimsical items inhabiting every corner of his store, Psenner attends conventions and meets with product representatives, trudging through a bevy of run-of-the-mill cute gifts before striking comic gold. His criteria for new products are that they make him laugh or that they be something he would like in his own home. These include higher end pieces like a five-piece stainless steel voodoo knife set or the leg lamp featured in A Christmas Story

   While business has been booming so far, and there are always a few groups of people milling through the aisles, laughing, Psenner plans to keep KwirkWorld fresh by featuring monthly themes. For example, during January he is calling KwirkWorld the International Headquarters for Beer Pong. There is even a constantly evolving section for the literary crowd, full of titles like The Deviant’s Pocket Guide to the Outlandish Sexual Behaviors Barely Contained in Your Subconscious, The Cuddle Sutra, and the must-have How To Tell if Your Boyfriend is the Antichrist. Even if the answer turns out to be yes, a sarcastic greeting card, T-shirt, or set of shot glasses will probably chase even that particular woe away.  

KwirkWorld is located at 766 Higuera Street, and the store number is 544-4222. 

Fast facts

Noor Jewelers recently opened its doors at its new location right in the heart of downtown San Luis Obispo at 850 Higuera Street, just in time for last-minute Christmas shoppers to get a gift for their special someone.

The new location allows more room for owner Adrian Bay to display his “quintessential boutique jewelry store on San Luis Obispo’s main downtown artery,” Bay said. “We’re growing up quite a bit,” he said, adding that his new store is much larger than his previous location on Broad Street, allowing for better displays and a wider variety of products on site.

More information on Noor Jewelers and their new location can be obtained by calling 544-9220…

Rizzoli’s Automotive is continuing its 2nd Annual Holiday Food Drive through the end of the year, encouraging community members to add one last stop to their holiday shopping route to donate nonperishable  food for needy families.

“Last year, we collected almost 800 pounds of food, and we’re committed to collecting even more this year,” said Kyle Rizzoli, general manager of Rizzoli’s Automotive. “One out of six Californians goes hungry every day, and that figure is growing daily as the economy worsens. This food drive is one way to tackle that problem in our own backyard.”

Rizzoli’s Automotive is collecting food at both its San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria locations, and those who contribute will be given a $5 off service or repair voucher that remains valid through April 2009. All food donated will go to food banks in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. Nonperishable food items of any size are welcome.

More information can be obtained by visiting or by calling 541-1082.  

Arts Editor Ashley Schwellenbach compiled this week’s Strokes&Plugs. Send your business news to

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