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Documentary highlights troubled life and times of Jesse Bernstein

Jesse Bernstein, the deeply disturbed poet and performance artist who was a fixture on Seattle’s grunge scene in the late-’80s and early-’90s, had a knack for describing the tortured and troubled lives of society’s misfits and outcasts. Before his suicide in 1991, he practiced his particularly visceral brand of performance on Seattle stages and in recordings for Sub Pop Records that helped to turn him into a national cult figure. A film about his life and work, “I Am Secretly an Important Man,” based on a 1996 compilation of his work of the same name, will screen in Allen Street Hardware’s Backroom (245 Allen St.) at 8 tonight as part of Squeaky Wheel’s “Squeakeasy” film series.

After the screening, Buffalo band TMMC will perform. A release describes the band as a “folk/psychedelia/post-punk act” that integrates “the poetry of Leonard Cohen, the longing of Neil Young and the unhinged despair of Joy Division.” The “Squeakeasy” series will take a break for December and January and will pick back up on Feb. 26 with a screening of the documentary “Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis.”

Tickets are $7 or free for Squeaky Wheel members. Call 884-7172 or visit

– Colin Dabkowski

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