Jesse Bernstein is Not-So-Secretly Important

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Published September 20, 2010

Seattle poet Steven Jesse Bernstein, whose stories about drifters and societal misery enraptured the late ’80s and early ’90s grunge-era Pacific Northwest art scene gets his first documentary treatment this month in I Am Secretly an Important Man (Parts and Labor), which debuts on October 6 at Seattle’s Moore Theater, where Bernstein once performed alongside William S. Burroughs in 1988. A musician as well as a writer, Bernstein made only one proper album of his spoken word performances, 1992’s Prison (Sub Pop), which was released less than six months after Bernstein committed suicide at the age of 40. Those tracks make up the soundtrack for the film which plays like an homage to this volatile artist. “Bernstein dedicated his entire life to his art,” says the film’s director, Peter Sillen. “He wasn’t just this flophouse junkie.” More info at iamsecretlyanimportantman.com