Thursday, July 21, 2011

SouthSide Exclusive Interview with Sid Yiddish

Sid Yiddish ...the other masked man of the local scene, honorary son of Denmark, America's Got Talent contestant and pirate? Yes, blogspot readers, he's a pirate too. This "celebrity" throat singer has left a sizable imprint in recent months though he contends that he's "...observant, faithful, intense, beyond comprehension and [at times] methodical..." Sounds like his online profile - just kidding. Yet in so many words, it's only Sid being modest about himself. To be honest, SouthSide barely peeled through the many layers that truly defines her friend, Sid Yiddish. Recently this reviewer traveled to Evanston, IL to discover more about her friend from how did he get started and his love for Denmark to life beyond his America's Got Talent appearance a whole lot more never revealed until now.

After a mini tour of downtown Evanston which included a small trip down memory lane into Sid's young life, SouthSide instantly jumped into her first question - who is Sid Yiddish? He simply answered he "...could be your worst nightmare..." who's "...not always listening to what you want to hear..." but "...wants you to think about what you're doing, thinking, saying, et al..." On the flipside, Sid has his ways of being complicated man who likes to challenge people and in turn, be challenged. And don't be surprised if you see a man holding an intense conversation with himself riding the "L" (elevated) train next to you - that might be Sid Yiddish. Sid says he "...blends in like everyday people ...[I'm] an 'average' guy sort of..." despite constantly being recognized on the street after his America's Got Talent stint (more about that later on). Still he thinks of himself as "...plain and simple ...[somewhat] complez with many layers..." as well as "...[an] open-minded individual ...thinking outside of the box..." Yes, blogspot readers, Sid's really out there ...sometimes.

Now that SouthSide got a glimpse of who is Sid Yiddish, she wanted to know how the Sid character get its start. However, first she had to swear to keep a few things off record which included her interviewee's real name. Even masked men (i.e. The Lone Ranger, Flabby Hoffman, Sid...) need to keep their real identities private but this reviewer was granted a peek of Sid's driver's license. Sid, named after his middle name - Sidney, before becoming the Sid Yiddish we now know him was a performer under his real name for approximately 10 to 15yrs. He did acts which incorporated music with his spoken word poetry (though that wasn't really new back in 1995) sometimes adding whacky things every so often until he was banned. For seven years, the Bucktown Arts Fair barred Sid from performing after deeming his poem "Performance" sexually offensive for a family event. According to Sid, there was nothing sexually offensive about it. Today, you can hear part of that poem within his longer piece titled "Coming Up For Air".

Fast forward, blogspot readers, to June 4, 2004 - that date means something special to Sid ...the actual day when the Sid Yiddish character was "born". By this time, he was doing experimental art at open mic shows and testing his "new" craft that would have included an audience member holding a tape measure or a piece of string from a ball of yarn while he recited poetry. The audience's reaction to his eccentricism while being amidst his eclectic art was what he was seeking. He truly moved deeper into his craft when performing at Caribou Coffee (in Arlington Heights) in which he hosted a game called "Pin The Quote On (Ronald) Reagan's Mouth". The prizes - Reagan bumper sticker and a Roosevelt dime (as consolation prize since the government was thinking about replacing Roosevelt with Reagan's face on the ten-cent piece). However, it didn't bode well for Sid since he was amongst the heart of Republican country once again, he was banned from performing there even though the audience liked the game. Don't despair, blogspot readers, there's a silver lining to this story. He did get the chance to perform the game again this time at No Exit during its Be Here Now show with new prizes - canisters of Zoloft-flavored Jelly Bellies. The game faired well with the audience with it ending in a tie between two contestants Sid asked them a tie-breaking question for the win - what was Paul McCartney's middle name? (Hint - If you haven't figured it out, then re-read the question again). Yet why move from straight poetry to something more outrageously eclectic? Sid answered "...was sick of the poetry circuit I retired from the scene until Mykel Board dragged me out of retirement..." And the rest, they say, is history.

So what makes Sid Yiddish unique and different? Well, the most obvious would be his costume yet there's more to that answer, blogspot readers, "...[It's] the approach to people ...that I'm not afraid to perform what I perform..." replied Sid. He thinks of his Sid character as a modern age vaudevillian even though he's not but a "...master of all trades [ie singer, dancer, et al]..." Sid enjoys working with people on a personal level "...getting everyone and everything involved and react to what he does..." during a performance. Basically, Sid Yiddish likes pushing the envelope to shock and awe you, blogspot readers however currently those "shock and awe" days are long gone.

After a quick feeding the parking meter break, SouthSide was curious about how Sid Yiddish and the other masked man of the local scene, Flabby Hoffman, met. Well, there's the unabridged version where they met in a dark alley somewhere in Chicago. Then there's the abridged version in which Sid doesn't really remember the entire story but here's what he remembers. They met back in 2002 at Phyllis' Musical Inn (located in Wicker Park) when he (Sid) was still performing under his real name. The two kept running into each other here and there at different performances until finally joining The Flabby Hoffman Trio full-time. According to Sid, their "true hollywood" story of the historic meeting " has to be legendary...". However he did recall a show in which Flabby asked him to do featuring his shofar and a bunch of Furbys (fuzzy mechanical toys that moved to sound) called "The Suite for Furbys on Shofar in D Minor". Funny thing about this performance - everyone remembers it because Sid was on his stomach blowing into his shofar to make the Furbys move (on a personal note, Sid has a collection of them - 21 in all ...only 14 are workable). Also here's another interesting fact about Sid Yiddish. He attracts the ladies according proud members of The Flabby Hoffman Trio. "...I feel I don't because I'm not really trying..." says Sid humbly. Truth be told, blogspot readers, SouthSide has seen Sid in action during her review of The Flabby Hoffman Trio and he does attract the ladies ...the recent Peace Fest in Lincoln Park is good example.

Besides the mask and costume, Sid Yiddish is well-known for his pop culture Haikus which are recited in between songs during a Flabby Hoffman Trio performance. SouthSide asked him two questions about his Haikus - where does he get the inspiration and has he written one about himself. Before answering her questions, this reviewer was privied to an exclusive secret about his Haikus ...sorry, it was said off record and will not be revealed here. Sid did mention that his Haikus are "...meant to provoke the listener a little bit make you think about the possibilities..." adding they're "...meant to perspire ...or maybe expire ...and yes, some are sexual in nature..." Even Sid gets a kick out of them while his Haiku poetry before and during a performance "...they're funny ...out of whack..." due some of the titles used. Sid thinks there's one about himself in his many Haikus written however he didn't say which one, blogspot readers. SouthSide suppose that will remain a mystery ...for now.

SouthSide did wonder if there's any controversal subject (albeit religion, race, sex, etc) that Sid Yiddish will not touch in his Haikus. Ha! There's nothing kept untouched in his pop culture poetry ...he covers EVERYTHING, blogspot readers, and EVERYBODY. She asked him if he was trying to inform the masses through his political satirism. "...Yes and no ...both ...trying to inform and trying to get people to think..." says Sid. Finally, SouthSide wondered if he'll ever write one about President Obama and/or the state of the US economy. At first, there was no comment from Sid Yiddish but he then replied "...anything is possible ...time will tell..." stating "...honestly, he's [President Obama] doing everything he can to fix the economy..." This led SouthSide to ask Sid if he thinks his pop culture Haikus are anti-American which is quite favorable in certain European countries. "...Of course, everything is anti-American ...Americans are really rude..." answers Sid, "...if you have an opportunity, they'll take it from you..." It's probably the reason why Sid loves Europe especially his native "homeland", Denmark where he has found an appreciation for his craft and what he does as a performer. Sid has fondness for Denmark ...loves the country and its people even on July 4, he felt more like a Dane than an American. "...once outside your [border], you discover it's crap..."

Speaking of Denmark, blogspot readers, believe or not, Sid does have a HUGE following over there. So how did Sid and this country (actually The Clean Boys) get joined at the hip? Back in 2007, a musician named Pedro Da Palma (lead singer/bassist of The Clean Boys) was searching on YouTube for Mykel Board and came across Sid Yiddish within a video. After posting a comment, they communicated with each other until hooking up over Skype for the Chicago Calling Festival featuring Sid and The Clean Boys (7 hour time difference between Chicago and Denmark)despite having some technical problems. Fast forward to 2009 when Sid and The Clean Boys hooked up again in which the band scored the music to his poetry "...they're able to understand what I wanted over Skype ...they really studied the Sid Yiddish character..." Though having some technical complications, they were able to do another Chicago Calling show. During another performance, the Clean Boys were projected onto a screen behind Sid as if they were there in person with him on stage. It led to a Sid Yiddish & The Clean Boys Safari Freakshow Adventure tour, blogspot readers, where he traveled to Korsor, Denmark after recording an album with the Danish band. This was the part of the interview in which SouthSide wished she had videotaped because he had SO many tales to tell about his travels in Denmark (i.e. the long train journey from Copenhagen to Korsor to Aarhus) and Germany (his visit to Hamburg) ...the wonderful people he met and so much more.

Now it's time for SouthSide to tell a tale of how Sid Yiddish got an appearance on America's Got Talent. She reviewed one of Flabby Hoffman's Caravan show which featured Sid Yiddish and his pop culture Haikus as well as his infamous talent for throat singing. The review caught the attention of the executives and producers at America's Got Talent and one, Shannon, requested SouthSide's help in contacting him (and a few others mentioned in the review) to audition. So what has been life like since his AGT stint recently aired on television for Sid Yiddish? "...CRAZY..." says Sid "'s been unbelieveable ...NUTS..." He was able to see two previews before the actual air date of the episode featuring him yet he had a performance on the day when it shown on tv. Like Sid, SouthSide missed seeing it too because she was covering a show. He showed her the saved text messages from friends and those who saw the episode and said that when he went online, there were so many messages waiting for him "...propelled me to the outer stratosphere..." Since that appearance, Sid's Facebook friendships has jumped considerably while he's adjusting to the new found "celebrity" status though he likes to stay in the background. Believe it or not, blogspot readers, Sid Yiddish is a shy person. So will he try out for another AGT appearance? Perhaps ...his biggest supporters, Tom Repetny (of Monk 9 and Flabby Hoffman think he should meanwhile the fans have told him that he should have been picked to go to Las Vegas. Sid stated the audition was hard especially when there's (over) one thousand people jeering and booing at him " was very frightening ...I wanted to give it all up..." and he didn't want to do another performance because he was "...afraid of getting heckled again..." However with a little encouragement and help from his friends, Sid returned to the stage ...stronger and better than ever, blogspot readers.

To wrap up this extraordinary interview, SouthSide and Sid briefly discussed his thoughts about the local scene (i.e. music, art, et al) in which he described it to be a "vegetable garden" because we're our own farmers adding a piece into the community in our own way. To him, this isn't a "scene" pre se, blogspot readers. "...are we good? yes, when we come together collectively ...when we get rid of the exclusivity (i.e. cliques)'s the fights that kills the scene..." In his opinion, Chicago is conservative - we don't follow any set trends like they do in New York and Los Angeles "...we do our own thing..." Then he gave SouthSide an exclusive about the next Sid Yiddish adventure in which it will be a cultural exchange with his friend Vagn Remme from Denmark. Though it's still in the planning stages, he disclosed that Vagn will come here to perform while Sid will go to Denmark to do the same however he did say there's a possibility that he won't return. That's how much he loves Denmark. Plus there's in the works a Danish/English book of poetry to be published. Then there's his AGT-like talent show happening soon, blogspot readers, featuring Aaron Morales and Mark Pervrye as judges with a special 3rd judge not revealed at the time of this interview. Of course, Sid will be hosting in full costume as bands compete for a five hundred dollar ($500) prize. And that's not all ...Sid has a band, The Candystore Henchmen and two new CDs coming out soon.

Wow! What an interview, blogspot readers, longest one to date (over 4 hours at Panera Bread). After thanking SouthSide for the honor of being interviewed and her 100th scheduled event, Sid ended with some parting advice for all "...don't give into pressure ...follow your passions and make yourself into something..."

For more information about Sid Yiddish and where he will be spouting his pop culture Haikus, visit or

Until next time, support your local scene,


  1. Great interview. YES that's the Sid we know;)

    Jolly Roger from Denmark

    Pedro da Palma

  2. **Update** - SouthSide has heard a rumor that Sid appeared in a rap video? Well, that's not a rumor - Sid Yiddish of Aleatory Records gave this reviewer the exclusive about his wild weekend appearing in the new Ludacris video - Jingalin' which will debut in a couple of weeks on YouTube (of course), BET and MTV. Also, Sid will be performin in this year's Produce series as well as be one of the many participating headliners during Mental Spaghetti Fest 3 (located in Weldon Township, MI) happening Aug 10th. SouthSide will be interviewing Sid again soon...


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