Sid Yiddish, renaissance man
Charles Bernstein uses “Sid Yiddish” as his stage name. | Provided
Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., Sid Yiddish And His Candy Store Henchmen and poet Este Stevie Cologne will be featured at Let Them Eat Chocolate, 5306 North Damen Ave., in Chicago.
Updated: January 16, 2013 8:40AM
Charles Bernstein, who uses “Sid Yiddish” as his stage name, performs in tight spaces within the USA and Denmark, in person and via Skype.
At various times, the Evanston resident has worked as an oddball actor, throat singer, poet/writer and musician/composer/conductor. In 2011, Sid appeared on America’s Got Talent and can be seen in the Def Jam music video, Jingalin’ by hip-hop artist, Ludacris.
He had a non-speaking part, playing a homeless man in the first season of the NBC-TV series Chicago Fire.
Q. First, where did you grow up? What high school and colleges did you attend?
A. I attended Niles West High School in Skokie. I finished my undergrad bachelor of Aarts degree in print journalism from Columbia College, in Chicago, Ill., in 1990. I’ve just begun (this past fall) attending grad school for my MFA in Interdisciplinary Media & Arts at Columbia.
Q. How did you get into acting? What influences have there been?
A. I got into acting as a performer. It was a natural fit; I mean, during my fabulous 10-year career as an undergraduate student, I did try out for a number of plays and shows, but I never got those roles. My first film role was playing a corpse. That was it. It was a student film. The roles got better over time. Over the years I’ve played a UFO eyewitness (Conspiracy/History Channel); a rabbi (Tough Times); bartender (Hilarious Posters).
Q. Where does the name Sid Yiddish come from?
A. Charles Bernstein is my birth-given name. It also happens to be the same name as the language poet in New York. Prior to taking on the stage name,“Sid Yiddish,” in 2004, for several years I had to deal with all of the other doppelgangers that the other Charles Bernstein was attached. I received his mail and later e-mail; was congratulated when he had readings at the University of Chicago or the Art Institute. I had friends of mine thinking it was me. When I sent out poetry submissions to varying publications, the editors would write me back right away and literally drool all over the page, asking to have my work in their journals, without realizing of course, that I wasn’t him. When I gave performances and his real fans discovered I wasn’t him, they became pretty sore … I told almost all of them to take it up with my parents.
Q. Any stanzas of poetry you would like to share?
A. These are two favorite American haiku of mine: “Singing/on the platform/the rats are harmonizing,” and “Lips twitch/like rabbit ears/tasting sour milk.”
To find more Sid Yiddish music & films online go to: www.myspace.com/2dollarcockroach www.punkrockers.com/SidYiddish & www.youtube.com/user/poetmonk And of course, one can always Google Sid Yiddish and find much more!