performance art | shtetl has a hand up the dress

Zuni and Yosl

This week Shtetl on the Shortwave has “A hant untern kleydl” (A hand up the dress)! Tune in and find out about two bohemian Yiddish puppeteers, Zuni Maud and Yosl Cutler, from New York’s Lower East Side in the 1920s and ’30s. The two artists were political, controversial, funny, and involved in the occasional sordid activity, all reflected in the popular shows they put on through their Modicut Puppet Theatre. My guest is Eddy Portnoy, Professor of Yiddish language and literature at Rutgers University. I spoke with him at the International Yiddish Theatre Festival in Montreal this summer.

Music by Django Reinhardt, Stereototal, The Barry Sisters and Beirut. Meet Eddy, Zuni and Yosl.

In the lower clip, listen in for Portnoy’s imitation of Zuni Maud.