Pamela Paul, editor of the New York Times Book Review, keeps a list of all the books she has read. She wrote about her list — that goes back to 1988 — in the book review.
I know somebody else who keeps a list.
My list goes back to 1973, Ms. Pam Paul! (Actually 1971, but I can’t find the 1971-72 portion right now.)
My four literary horsemen of the early 1970s were Kerouac, Saroyan, Thomas Wolfe and Henry Miller. Plus every beatnik writer. Every beatnik. That included Dutch motorcyclist/writer Jan Cremer and Turkish East Village beat Erje Ayden.
Here is my 1974 list, edited:
The First Circle Alexandr Solzhenitsyn
Geronimo Rex Barry Hannah
Kentucky Ham William Burroughs Jr.
Confessions of a Child of the Century Thomas Rogers
Strangers and Brothers C.P. Snow
The Manor Isaac Bashevis Singer
Pere Goriot Honore de Balzac
Tropic of Cancer Henry Miller
Blue Movie Terry Southern
Monday the Rabbi Took off Harry Kemelman
I’m Glad You didn’t Take it Personally Jim Bouton
Call It Sleep Henry Roth
My Friend Henry Miller Alfred Perles
The Wanderers Richard Price
Imaginary Speeches for a Brazen Head Philip Whalen
Franny and Zooey J.D. Salinger
The Boys on the Bus Timothy Crouse
Nine Stories J.D. Salinger
The Autograph Hound John Lahr
Raymond Chandler Speaking Raymond Chandler
Lolita Vladimir Nabokov
My Last Two Thousand Years Herbert Gold
The Slave Isaac Bashevis Singer
Did you skim or read that list? If you read it, here’s your reward — a continuation, with asterisks for really funny books. (At the end of the list, there is a prose wrap-up.) My fav books, generally . . .
Keep the Aspidistra Flying George Orwell
Burmese Days George Orwell
Fear of Flying Erica Jung
A Fan’s Notes Frederick Exley
The War Against the Jews Lucy Dawidowicz
Little Big Man Thomas Berger
Hot to Trot John Lahr *
The Fight Norman Mailer
Miss Lonelyhearts Nathanael West
The World of Our Fathers Irving Howe
Bloodbrothers Richard Price
The Rise of David Levinsky Abraham Cahan
Tales of Beatnik Glory Ed Sanders
The Idiot Fyodor Dostoyevsky
While Six Million Died Lucy Dawidowicz
Thirteenth Tribe Arthur Koestler
Chrysanthemum and the Sword Ruth Benedict
The Last Tycoon F. Scott Fitzgerald
Confessions of a Nearsighted Cannoneer Seymour Krim
Union Dues John Sayles
All My Friends are Going to Be Strangers Larry McMurtry
The Chosen Chaim Potok
A Feast of Snakes Harry Crews
The Basketball Diaries Jim Carroll
The Cool World Warren Miller
Rabbit Run John Updike
Airships Barry Hannah
The Rector of Justin Louis Auchincloss
Sophie’s Choice William Styron
King of the Jews Leslie Epstein
The Pope of Greenwich Village Vincent Patrick
Dubin’s Lives Bernard Malamud
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz Mordecai Richler *
The Right Stuff Tom Wolfe
Tess of the d’Urbervilles Thomas Hardy
Jane Eyre Jane Austin
The House of Mirth Edith Wharton
Ethnic America Thomas Sowell
Zuckerman Unbound Philip Roth
Maiden Rites Sonia Pilcer *
The Friends of Eddie Coyle George V. Higgins
God’s Pocket Pete Dexter
Rabbis is Rich John Updike
This Way for the Gas Tadeusz Borowski
The Abandonment of the Jews David Wyman
Survival in Auschwitz Primo Levi
Man’s Search for Meaning Viktor Frankl
The Headmasters Papers Richard Hawley
Bright Lights Big City Jay McInerney
The Art of Fiction John Gardner
Fathers Playing Catch with Sons Donald Hall
La Brava Elmore Leonard
Babbitt Sinclair Lewis
Wiseguy Nicholas Pileggi
Providence Geoffrey Wolff
The Sportswriter Richard Ford
The Great Pretender James Atlas
Bonfire of the Vanities Tom Wolfe
Papa Play for Me Mickey Katz
Life is with People Mark Zborwski and Elizabeth Herzog
The Facts Philip Roth
A History of the Jews Paul Johnson
In Praise of Yiddish Maurice Samuel
Old New Land Theodor Herzl
Architects of Yiddishism Emanuel Goldsmith
From that Place and Time Lucy Dawidowicz
Paris Trout Pete Dexter
Patrimony Philip Roth
Mr. Bridge Evan Connell
Devil’s Night Zev Chafets
Rabbit at Rest John Updike
Rabbit Redux John Updike
Class Paul Fussell
Days of Grace Arthur Ashe
Lost in Translation Eva Hoffman
How We Die Sherman Nuland
Roommates Max Apple
Moo Jane Smiley
Independence Day Richard Ford
The Road from Coorain Jill Kerr Conway
Parts of My Body Phillip Lopate
American Pastoral Philip Roth
The Wishbones Tom Perrotta
Ex-Friends Norman Podhoretz
Hole in Our Soul Martha Bayles
The Trouble with Cinderella Artie Shaw
The Human Stain Philip Roth
Winning Ugly Brad Gilbert
Up in the Air Walter Kirn *
John Adams David McCullough
Selling Ben Cheever Ben Cheever *
The Corrections Jonathan Franzen
The New Rabbi Stephen Fried
Samaritan Richard Price
Funnymen Ted Heller *
My Losing Season Pat Conroy
Fabulous Small Jews Joseph Epstein
The Case for Israel Alan Dershowitz
The Da Vinci Code Dan Brown
Good Vibes Terry Gibbs
Made in Detroit Paul Clemens
On Beauty Zadie Smith
Prisoner of Trebekistan Bob Harris
High Fidelity Nick Hornby
Sweet and Low Rich Cohen
America’s Polka King Bob Dolgan
Prisoners Jeffrey Goldberg
Infidel Ayaan Hirsi Ali
A Random Walk Down Wall Street Burton Malkiel
Lush Life Richard Price
Dean’s List Jon Hassler
Irrational Exuberance Robert Shiller
Rabbit at Rest John Updike
How I became a Famous Novelist Steve Hely *
Facing Unpleasant Facts George Orwell
The Great Indoors Eric Broder *
Pops Terry Teachout
Olive Kitteridge Elizabeth Stout
I Feel Bad About My Neck Nora Ephron
Open Andre Agassi
How to Win Friends Dale Carnegie
The Whore of Akron Scott Raab *
I Married a Communist Philip Roth
Pocket Kings Ted Heller *
The Love Song of Jonny Valentine Teddy Wayne*
I bought the Richard Price books for pleasure and investment purposes. His books are probably worth nothing. I have followed Price’s career since he was 25. I knew a woman who dated him at Cornell. Price is a Lit god around my house.
I like short books. Most classics are long, so I’m bad at classics. Funny books are my favorite. Throw in a few jokes, or lose me. I don’t need a strong plot.
I’ve read The Great Gatsby five times because it’s great and short. I would read it more often if it was funny.
I can’t remember most of what I read.
A lot here — in this post — is a rip off of Nick Hornby and his Ten Years in a Tub, about books Hornby has read in the past 10 years.
I haven’t read much philosophy. Any? I’ve tried the Bible a few times. Proust — I’ve done 50 pages with him. I’m good with Shakespeare!
I haven’t read The Hobbit or War and Peace. (Check out Buzzfeed’s “22 Books You Pretend You’ve Read but Actually Haven’t.”)
I’ve read many books about Cleveland. Here are three random CLE books: A Fares of a Cleveland Cabby, Thomas Jasany; Confused City on a Seesaw, Philip W. Porter; and First and Last Seasons, Dan McGraw. I’ve read all of Harvey Pekar. Harvey didn’t write much. Maybe 90,000 words total. Thanks, Harvey.
I’ve read every klezmer book, I think. Did you know a Polish academic, Magdalena Waligorska, cited this blog in her book Klemzer’s Afterlife (Oxford University Press)?
My wife occasionally takes my literary recommendations to her book club. But not lately. She recommended How I Became a Famous Novelist by Hely. That ruined my wife’s credibility.
If you read a book on this list, pick one with an asterisk. And if you don’t think the book is funny, bail immediately.
I’m bailing. Gotta list something. What, I don’t know. Maybe I’ll tally the people who liked this post vs. those who thought it was too self-indulgent.
March 5, 2014 11 Comments
Every few days I get an email from my synagogue that reads something like this: “Subject — the passing of Melvin Weiner.”
About three people die per week at my shul. (I belong to a big shul.). My rabbi must live at funerals. True, he has an associate rabbi, but still, I think he — the senior rabbi — does most of the heavy lifting. The senior rabbi told me Costco has the best lox in town. He should know; he must see at least five dairy spreads a week. (I see my fair share, too. Love a dairy spread!)
The passing of Albert “Bert” Stratton . . .
I prefer “the passing of Albert Stratton.” A bit more consequential than “Bert.” I wonder if Melvin Weiner went by Mel. I didn’t know him.
I visited my mom’s grave recently and couldn’t find it because it had snow on it. (The headstone is flush with the ground.) I found the approximate location of the grave and drew a Jewish star and Mom. She’s been dead 10 years. She’s at Hillcrest Cemetery, as is my dad.
My grandparents are buried on the other side of town, as are two of my great-grandparents. [Stratton kids, see notes below.]
My wife doesn’t want to be buried in our shul’s cemetery (Park Synagogue / Beth Olam) because it’s too cramped. I’m fine with the Park cemetery. I would like to be up close next to a bunch of other people’s bones. My wife wants to be in Lake View Cemetery.
Actually, she doesn’t “want” anything. For instance, she doesn’t want to discuss this.
I wonder if my rabbi does burials at Lake View, or if his college-age son will someday. Maybe the kid will become a rabbi, and I’ll live another million years.
I think my rabbi will do Lake View — a nondenominational garden-style WASPy place. I see Jewish stars on some of the tombstones there now. Lake View is in Cleveland Heights. Nice touch. It’s not by the freeway.
Maybe I can talk her into Park. How much time do I have?
You won’t want to read this part unless you’re very closely
related . . .
Bert’s parents, Theodore “Toby” and Julia (Zalk) Stratton are at Hillcrest Cemetery, 26200 Aurora Road, Bedford Heights. Temple Emanu El section, by the tree.
Toby’s parents, Louis and Anna (Seiger) Soltzberg, are at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery, aka Ridge Road #1, 3740 Ridge Rd. Cleveland. (Past Taylor Road block , section 2.) Also, against the fence, Cecile Soltzberg, baby, Anna’s 3-year-old daughter, died about 1909.
Julia’s parents, Albert and Ida (Kassoff) Zalk, are at Lansing Road Cemetery, 3922 E. 57th Street, Cleveland. Here is a blog post about Bill Katz and me sneaking into that cemetery after-hours.
Ida’s parents, Morris and Sadie (Levine) Kassoff, are at Lansing Road Cemetery.
February 26, 2014 9 Comments
I check out websites of other klezmer bands to see what I can steal. For instance, clarinetist Joel Rubin’s website had this bit: “Rubin has long been considered by many to be the leading performer of Jewish instrumental klezmer music in the world today.”
I stole from Rubin.
Please disregard the bracketed material . . .
Yiddishe Cup has long been considered by many [Alice Stratton, Irwin Weinberger, Steve Ostrow] to be the leading performers of Jewish klezmer comedy in the world. Who else is doing klezmer comedy? Who? Name somebody!
Yiddishe Cup is an integral part of the music scene in Cleveland, which according to many [Lori Cahan-Simon, Steven Greenman,Walt Mahovlich] is quite vibrant. The Cleveland scene is a focal point of klezmer and Eastern European music [according to Gheorghe Trombitas, Zenon Chaikovsky and Alex Fedoriouk].
Mickey Katz is where it all started for klezmer comedy. [Somebody said that. Who?] Literary critic Leon Wieseltier called Katz the “mishugener.” In Pirket Avot, it is written “Man is born to take the plough against the unyielding earth.” That is man’s job. The counterweight to that heavy lifting is the supremely nutty Katz, said Wieseltier.
Stratton’s former rabbi, Michael Hecht, said, “Make Judaism fun.”
Somebody [Lea Grossman of Boston?] said Yiddishe Cup is the most entertaining band in the country. Yiddishe Cup is almost cool. [George Robinson wrote that, almost, in the New York Jewish Week.]
Yiddishe Cup is also a top notch simcha band [said Shawn Fink]. Let the wedding gigs roll forth! Funerals are more interesting than weddings, but Yiddishe Cup doesn’t play many funerals [zero, in fact]. Instead, the band plays parties and acts happy. You wouldn’t want musicians in mourning at your wedding.
How many bands have comedic and musical talent? Yiddishe Cup does [said Irwin Weinberger and Don Friedman].
Who else is out there? Weird Al Yankovic? Shlock Rock? They’re not as good as Yiddishe Cup [said Daniel Ducoff].
Yiddishe Cup strikes the classic Jewish outsider pose. Yiddishe Cup has long been considered a funny band. [Sanford Gordon thought so. So did Jack Saul.]
Yiddishe Cup is nostalgic and a bit corny, but in a good way. Childhood was a lot less hassle than adulthood.
Other klezmer bands aren’t that funny [said Don Friedman]. They aren’t funny at all! [Find a source for that.] There’s a pianist in Brooklyn, Pete Sokolow, who does Jewish spins on Fats Waller and Dixieland. Sokolow wrote, “We purposefully try to remain faithful to the original performances.” Does Sokolow do creative new adaptations? OK, maybe. Does Yiddishe Cup? Yes. [At least once: “Meshugeneh Mambo."]
Don Byron Plays the Music of Mickey Katz –- the album — had two avant-garde jazz pieces and the rest was verbatim remakes of Mickey Katz tunes. Make it new, Don Don!
Avi Hoffman’s Too Jewish Two album had a lot of humor, but was too schmaltzy. Sample song title: “I Love Being a Jew Blues.”
Yiddishe Cup is considered the best neo-Borscht Belt klezmer comedy band in the world [according to Alice Stratton, Jack Stratton, Daniel Ducoff, Steve Ostrow and Don Friedman].
Yiddishe Cup is the best band in the land.
[Who said that?]
February 19, 2014 7 Comments
“Cleveland is a hard town. I came near committing suicide when I lived there.” — Robert Crumb, American Splendor intro, 1986.
Crumb worked for American Greetings. My dad, Toby, worked there too.
Toby was at American Greetings before Crumb. My dad worked with Morry Stone, who eventually became a vice chairman. My dad didn’t like working for anybody, including Morry, so Toby left in 1954.
Everybody in Cleveland has worked at American Greetings, I think. Or tried to. I applied for a job at American Greetings in 1981.
American Greetings had a Creative Building at West 78th Street. I didn’t even get called in for an interview. Maybe I wasn’t sick enough to write sick cards.
Robert Crumb again, 1996, Bob & Harv‘s Comics: “Cleveland is a city that has been ravaged by financiers and industrialists . . . its population abandoned to their fate, left to freeze their ass off, standing in the dirty winter slush, waiting for a bus that is a long time coming. Somehow they go on living.”
I haven’t lived anywhere else, so I can’t complain like Crumb. I went to college in Ann Arbor (which doesn’t count) and spent a few months in Bogota, Colombia, in my twenties.
Bogota was tougher than Cleveland. That, I can testify to. Bogota was rainy, gray, and headache-inducing from the high altitude. Cleveland was simply rainy, gray and slushy.
A pilot stood in a grassy field by the Bogota airport and said, “Tell your friends to throw their packs in back and we’ll be off.”
They weren’t my friends. They weren’t even Americans.
We climbed into the cargo section of the plane. “It smells like shit in here,” a Swiss girl said.
“This is Fish Airlines,” the pilot said. (Aeropesca.)
We landed in the Amazon a few hours later.
I ran into a college friend in the Amazon! I knew him from my freshman dorm. He said, “I scamp.” That meant he sold gems, coke, pot or counterfeit bills. “I’m going to reunite with my creators soon,” he said.
“I’m going back to my parents.”
I tried to catch the ferry to Belem, Brazil. I waited several days in Leticia, Colombia, by the Amazon River dock, but the ferry didn’t arrive. I flew back to Bogota on the guppy/yuppie flight. (Guppies to Bogota, yuppies to the Amazon.)
In Bogota, I froze — even indoors. I wore two sweaters and socks-for-gloves, in a small house I shared with a widow and her maid. I taught English at a nearby private junior high. For fun at night I read Cancer Ward . I also looked at photos of beauty queens from El Espacio and El Bogotano — the tabloids. My bedroom had doggy pictures on the wall, a toy cannon on the windowsill, and a crucifix over the bed.
For mental exercise I tried to reconstruct my high school schedule: first and second periods, PSSC Physics. What was third? What was PSSC? [Physical Science Study Committee.] I didn’t know many people in Bogie.
I heard Charlie Byrd play “Bogota” in Bogota. He was on a government-sponsored tour. Byrd en guitarra, con bajo y batería. (Byrd on guitar, with bass and drums.)
I went back to Cleveland after three months.
American Greetings. I couldn’t take Bogie. The major bookstore in Bogota was run by a Nazi, I thought. The owner was German, and I fabricated a fake bio, in my head, about him. I went to the Peace Corps office to borrow more paperbacks. I got Papillon, about a prisoner in Latin America.
I played blues harp for my English class. The kids loved it but the administration didn’t.
I had to leave. Bogie was un frío horrible (a freezing cold).
Crumb should write about Bogota. I want to hear his take on a real tough town.
1. My Bogota ad venture was in 1974.
2. I didn’t meet my college friend in the Amazon. I met him in Bogota. I remembered the encounter incorrectly. My friend straightened me out in Cleveland in 2013.
February 12, 2014 5 Comments
This appeared on the Ann Arbor Observer blog last week. If you’ve already read it, please skip down to Side B.
Last year at The Ark, my klezmer show got bumped for Judy Collins. She took my slot.
Ann Arbor ukulele-master Gerald Ross, who was a sideman, emailed me then: “I saw The Ark schedule. I don’t think we’re playing Feb. 9 , because you’re not Judy Collins.”
I had a lock on that date! I emailed The Ark. The Ark said how about another date? I suggested a couple more Saturday nights. The Ark said how about a Friday night.
I don’t play Friday nights if I can help it. I like to stay home for Friday nights — shabbat. Sometimes my shabbats are just a couple hours, but they’re always on Friday night! I once heard a Reform rabbi say, “Say a prayer over your pizza if you’re out with your kids on Friday night.” I’m all for that. I “hold” by that. (“Hold” means “I follow that custom.”)
I reluctantly took the Friday night slot last year, but didn’t put Friday in my publicity.
I got up to Ann Arbor on Friday afternoon and met up with an old college friend, Charlie Burch. He had just donated his 1960-70s political buttons to an archive in the Graduate Library. I wondered who still used the library. The answer: Charlie. (His buttons were No Nein Nyet Non Lo; March on Washington; Go Michigan Beat Thailand.)
Charlie pointed out where various stores don’t exist anymore. Like Centicore Books, Borders Books, Orange Julius and Miller’s Ice Cream.
I like touring Ann Arbor. It’s the only place I’ve lived other than Cleveland. I graduated U-M in 1973.
I said a private shabbat prayer in a Mexican restaurant, Sabor Latino, before my gig. I opened the gig with “Shalom Aleykhem” (a well-known Friday night song) and wished the Jews at The Ark “shabbat shalom.”
I had a good one — a good shabbat. But playing publicly on Friday night is not optimal for me.
Yiddishe Cup plays Saturday night this year –- this Saturday, Feb. 8 . Praise the Lord!
180-degree turn . . .
MILK IS MY ILK
I shot a cow once. It was crippled and couldn’t walk. My dad sold the dead cow to the Amish for meat. We couldn’t sell it to anybody else because it wasn’t “choice” grade.
My dad loved everything having to do with cows: barns, ice cream, blintzes. He had me pitching balls against the side of our barn, like Bob Feller. My dad thought I could be the next Rapid Robert even though I was a near-midget.
I planned to go to Ohio State to major in dairy science after high school. But my high school friends — all non-dairy guys — talked me into Michigan, where I majored in diary science (creative writing). A big mistake.
I spent a year in Israel after college, at a kibbutz, milking cows in the refet (dairy barn). The kibbutzniks were impressed.
I still like unpasteurized milk, but it’s hard to find these days.
I order milk at bars. Women overhear me and say, “You’re like James Cagney!”
I hope so. I have zero tolerance for the lactose intolerant.
February 5, 2014 9 Comments
A bride asked Yiddishe Cup to play quietly at her wedding. I said, “Great! I’m in two Facebook groups: ‘I Hate Cilantro’ and ‘I Hate Loud Music.’”
I attended a wedding — as a guest — where the band blasted like they were at Noriega’s palace. Then a DJ — at an adjoining party, behind a folding wall — blasted like he was landing cargo planes.
There were about 225 guests at the wedding I was at, and I was the only one bugged?
My wife thought the band was terrific. She said, “They are like a magnet, pulling me to the dance floor.” (My wife, in turn, pulled me to the dance floor.)
The band had no keyboard player or bass player. The lead singer cued backing tracks on his laptop. The drummer faked it. And they were very loud!
I should have texted the president of the “I Hate Loud Music” Facebook group to report the band. (I think my former rabbi, Michael Hecht, is the honorary president of the group.)
Every time Yiddishe Cup played at Congregation Beth Am, Rabbi Hecht would ask us to turn it down. Yiddishe Cup’s keyboard player –- who was also our sound guy — would shake his head and mutter under his breath, “I can’t turn it down any more. The sound system is completely off!”
Somewhat scary old guy: Rabbi Hecht. Rabbi Hecht’s understudy: me.
THE JOYS OF CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING
In the 1970s, Newman-Adler Sporting Goods rented out cross-country skis from a shack in Forest Hill Park, Cleveland Heights.
It snowed like crazy in the 1970s.
Then it didn’t snow much in the 1980s. Everybody owned X-C skis by then — with several kinds of wax — but no snow. Newman-Adler stopped renting skis at Forest Hill. In fact the store went out of business.
With X-C, the snow has to be just right — not too slushy. If the snow isn’t perfect, you don’t glide right. If there is a dog or human footprint in the track, that mess things up too. Then there are ice patches.
That said, X-C skiing is a must-do at least once a winter.
Is it time?
Uh . . .
January 29, 2014 2 Comments
At a nursing home gig, a resident told me she knew my late Aunt Bernice.
Another resident remembered me from my junior high days. Her daughter had played first-chair clarinet, to my second chair, in junior high band.
A third resident said he was the former dentist of Yiddishe Cup’s drummer. “What’s your drummer’s name again?” the dentist asked. [Don Friedman! The great Donny Friedman!]
I said, “I’ll give you the drummer’s name, but first I’m going to be clairvoyant!” I guessed the dentist’s name, his approximate age (90), and what he had done that morning — three hours prior to the gig.
I got everything right, but the dentist wasn’t impressed. He wanted the drummer’s name.
I guessed everything right about the dentist because 1. I had seen the dentist playing tennis at a nearby racquet club that morning. A 90-year-old guy playing tennis is hard to forget. 2. I knew his approximate age because he used to play tennis with my dad. 3. I knew his name because I had dated his daughter in high school.
The daughter and I had gone to see Cool Hand Luke at the Vogue, then out for shakes at Manner’s Big Boy, Van Aken. It was a fix-up by our parents. It was my one-and- only date in high school.
I asked the dentist, “What’s Barbara doing?” The daughter.
“She’s a piano teacher in Boston,” he said.
I just Googled her. She teaches classical and jazz. She used to be a radio DJ.
Did I make a major mistake not asking her out for a second date?
January 22, 2014 4 Comments
I served an eviction notice on an artist — a tenant — who was late with her rent. When I handed her the eviction paper, she yelled at me, “I was going to pay the rent, but not now!”
My father had sent me. She was a painter — a real artist.
Aubrey, another tenant, wrote for an alternative weekly. Aubrey wrote my dad:
Allow me to pull your coat, Mr. Stratton, to something. Where do you get off raising my rent? I had to spend last winter in my kitchen because the bedroom ceiling caved in.
Would you like my bill for cleaning up the plaster? My services do not come cheaply, Mr. Stratton.
Aubrey was a meshugener — my dad’s take.
My dad told Aubrey to waive his privacy rights so we could get into his apartment to fix the problem.
Aubrey wrote back: “Quite bluntly, Mr. Stratton, keep out.”
But we got in and made the repairs, and Aubrey stayed another year.
I saw the painter at an artists’ party about a year later. I didn’t say hi. She didn’t recognize me. Good.
I never saw the writer again. Also good.
“Aubrey” is a pseudonym.
180-degree turn . . .
I’ve made millions in gambling. You probably know that because I’ve written about it a lot.
Nevertheless, some readers still believe I inherited my money.
I work hard for my money. I play video poker, and not at some tribal casino in Oregon. I play at Vegas casinos that offer the best margin. I demand a 99.5 JOB (jacks-or-better) edge.
I tip well and live well.
Do I play video poker all day?
Yes, and I love it.
My ex-wife didn’t love it. She tried to control my bankroll. Nobody controls my bankroll!
I’m a known quantity here in Vegas. For a while I had a radio show. I coughed so much on air, I got fired. What did the producer want? I’m in smoky casinos 12 hours a day;I’m lucky I can breathe, let alone cough.
I administer an online forum, Millionaire VP. No smoking on my site.
I’m filing w-2Gs totaling $400,000 for 2013. The ex-mayor of San Diego lost $13 million on video poker. Don’t be her. Be me.
Lots of royal flushes, everybody!
My website, VP Millionaire, is here.
(This post, Side B/The Gambler, is part of the fake-profile series.)
January 15, 2014 4 Comments
I use the name Mordecai Ham on the Internet. I post a lot of comments and don’t want cyber-nuts tracking me down.
Mordecai Ham — the actual person — was an evangelist. He influenced Billy Graham. Look Ham up. I know from Ham; I know fundamentalist Christianity. From an early age, I was taught in church to venerate Jews and Israel.
Yes, the Jews killed Jesus and cried out, “His blood be upon us and on our children.” But they did so out of ignorance. It was part of God’s plan laid out in the prophesies of Isaiah 9:6, Ezekiel and Esther. The Jews suffered mightily as God rained down Inquisitions and Holocausts to beat the band.
My daddy was about hellfire and brimstone, tongue-talking and Satan-stomping. He attended the same college I did: the Kentucky Mountain Bible College. On my graduation I ordered neon polyester suits from the same store my daddy did: Hart, Schaffner and Marx in Chicago.
I dress less showy nowadays. For one thing, I’m older. Secondly, neon is out.
Where my father pastored, he had a rack of John Birch literature next to the King James Bibles in the church foyer. Paul Harvey was our only news source. Now I get news from all over. I know what bobe mayse means, for example.
I don’t smoke a corncob pipe. I don’t have a ZZ Top beard. (Pentecostals don’t smoke, by the way.) I’m Mordecai Ham, I am. I read the Jew York Times. That’s what my father called it.
The Rev. Woody Allen said about the New York Times: “I want you to get an injunction against the Times. It’s a New York, Jewish, communist, left-wing, homosexual newspaper. And that’s just the sports section.”
My full name is Walter Terry Hamilton. Everybody calls me Sonny. I have a B.S. (Biblical Studies).
I invite you to stop by my shul, down here in the hills of beautiful Eastern Kentucky. I’ll save a piece of kichel for you.
Yes, my iPhone has a Yiddish/Hebrew-word-a-day app.
The complete fake-profiles series is here.
January 8, 2014 9 Comments
This was a witch store. Now it’s an insurance agency.
Before the witch, Fred Smith operated Smith’s Deli here, in the 1950s,1960s and 1970s. Students from St. Ed’s High, across the street, would come in and rip off Fred for candy and pops.
I ran into one St. Ed’s alum — a 55-year-old man — who thought I was God because I had known Fred on an adult level.
Fred got tired of the kids and retired. He needed more than Snickers sales to pay the rent. One Snickers sold, one Snickers lost to shrinkage/shoplifting. No gain.
After Fred left, 1977, the store went through many owners. The most famous post-Fred tenant was Angela Hicks, who founded Angie’s List.
There was also a flower shop, a tax service, sports cards shop and the witch store, Ancient Ways. The witch kept cats in the basement. She reimbursed me for the destroyed carpet when she left, but not for the five months remaining on her lease.
The insurance agency has been here five years. Five years is a decent run. That’s the proof the store was not hexed by the witch.
But the insurance guy is moving. He just called [12/31/13]. “I’m vacuuming and going to be out by 1 p.m.,” he said.
A list of tenants at 13431 Detroit Avenue, 1977-on:
Fred’s deli, moved out, 1977.
Streeter Sporting Goods, 1978-80.
Antique store, various owners for another 10 years or so.
Ka-La’s Flower Shop, 1983. (“KaLa” for Kathy and Laura.) Then various other flower shops.
Embossed stuff. Embroidery Ink, 1991.
Kayln Tax Service, 1993
For You Productions. More the embossed stuff, 1993.
Grand Slam Collectibles, 1994.
Resale shops, a couple years.
Angie’s List, 1999.
Ancient Ways, New Age, 2001-2004.
Vacant 3 ¾ years. 2004-2008.
Farmer’s Insurance. 2008-13.
2014 — ?
A version of this post is also a video (originally posted 1/21/11).
January 1, 2014 4 Comments
The former Brith Emeth temple in Pepper Pike, Ohio, looks like a clam shell or flying saucer.
My kids went to Hebrew school there. It was disorienting; I never knew which way to turn, right or left, to pick them up.
The acoustics in the social hall were bad. Everything was boomy.
Brith Emeth folded in 1986, and Park Synagogue East took over. Then Park Synagogue East sold the building to the Ratner School, a Montessori school. Now Kol HaLev — a Reconstructionist shul — rents from the Ratner School, the owner, for shabbes services.
When my band plays Kol HaLev, I tell my musicians, “We’re playing the clam shell.” I never say, “We’re playing Ratner Montessori School.” I also don’t say, “We’re playing the old Park East,” which would be confusing because there is a new Park East. I also don’t say, “27575 Shaker Boulevard,” because for a while, shrubs in front of the building obscured the address.
“We’re playing the clam shell, aka the flying saucer, guys.”
On October 17, 1969, Rabbi Philip Horowitz delivered the sermon “Is the Negro Equal?” at the clam shell.
The place still has a very sixties flare. I travel back in time every time I enter Brith Emeth. After-burners. The clam shell. The launch pad.
For the record . . .
If you get a 3 percent return, on top of the inflation rate, that’s solid, middle of the road. But right now you can only get 1 percent on a CD, with inflation around 1 percent. You can’t get 3 percent without significant risk. If you go for more than 3 percent real growth, you’re taking a risk.
Risk in business is integral, part of the equation. Can’t be avoided.
You’re a genius; the stock market is booming. You weren’t a genius in 2008.
I know a woman who lost with Madoff, and now she’s doing the 1 percent CDs. I talked to another Madoff investor who said she had found a short-term investment that paid 20 percent. But for only 90 days. Twenty percent is 20 percent, doesn’t matter how long a period. Twenty percent is crazy. “That’s a lot of risk!” I said.
I have a friend who went in for CDOs (Collaterized Debt Obligation) and lost. He said he was getting 15 percent on them. But it only lasted a month. Then the whole thing collapsed.
We are here today to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Madoff debacle . . . Another Madoff investor I know — enough with the Madoff! — this Cleveland schoolteacher said she didn’t think she was greedy when she was pulling in 10-12 percent a year from Madoff. She just thought she had made a good investment. I would have thought likewise. Madoff returned the schoolteacher’s original investment minus the paper gains. A small-timer, she got national TV attention for being a salt-of-the-earth Madoff victim.
The stock market typically clocks 9 percent per year, but that’s meaningless because the figure doesn’t take into account human behavior, known in the biz as “investors returns.” Most people buy and sell at the wrong time.
My father went all in on real estate 1965, and that’s why I’m in real estate now. He went in at the right time, luckily, and leveraged himself to the hilt. Our house was leveraged; he had second mortgages. He was gutsy, smart and fortunate. (He flopped at some other businesses.)
I’ve bought two buildings. The first building, I put down 25 percent and got a 10 ¾-percent mortgage. That was the going rate in 1987.
The second building, I put down 15 percent. I bought it from an old guy who was dying. I was dying too! The old guy lived another 21 years. The seller financed the deal; I didn’t have to go to the bank for a mortgage. I paid him off 17 years later. It worked out.
The first building — the one with the 10 ¾-percent mortgage – I paid off as quickly as possible. Took 7 1/2 years.
Win more than lose, hopefully.
And don’t chase 20 percent returns!
Hey, did my kids read this far?
December 25, 2013 7 Comments
I have this new band, Funklikht, which is so filthy. My lead singer is the shit — a Lebanese kid from Detroit who does it all, including Yiddish hip-hop. He was a shabbes goy in Oak Park. My drummer — also from Detroit — grew up next-door to Aretha in Bloomfield Hills. He’s shit-plus.
My bass player kills it. (He has a following in Norway.)
I found all these players in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I go up there regularly for cheap young talent.
We’re on fire. We play temples and Jewish arts festivals throughout the country, but we aren’t stuck in the J bag.
We have a major presence on iTunes. Our best-selling tunes are “Shvantz Tantz,” “Di Gantse Velt is a Blintz” and “Dreck II.”
We’re in discussion with a major label, but I’m skeptical; the label thinks we’re “too Jewish.” We’re not too Jewish! We’re too filthy!
This one is real . . .
I knew two Larry Davises — both Jewish landlords in Cleveland. There was Larry Davis of Solon and Larry Davis of Cleveland Heights.
Larry Davis of Solon was a Romanian immigrant who developed industrial parks in the far eastern suburbs. He loved Yiddish music and hired Yiddishe Cup for his 75th birthday party. He died shortly after that. (No foul play.)
Larry Davis of the Heights is alive, and owns property in Cleveland Heights. You’ve probably seen him around (if you live in Cleveland). He has a beard, wear shorts a lot, and has a small tattoo on his leg. Larry Heights started with a lunch counter in Lakewood and worked his way up.
I ran into Larry Heights at the grocery store and we kvetched about the real estate biz. Our kids weren’t too crazy about running the properties. Larry said, “I wouldn’t wish it on my daughter.”
I thought to myself, “Here we are, two fairly healthy guys, standing in the vegetable aisle at 2 p.m. on a Wednesday. Objectively speaking, we’ve got it made.”
Maybe I’m the third Larry Davis. Larry Davis Heights II.
Larry Davis, Heights, left / Larry Davis, Solon, right:
(Click on the drawing to make it bigger)
Footnote: “Objectively speaking, you’ve got it made” is a line I regularly steal from writer Mark Schilling.
Yiddishe Cup plays First Night Akron (Ohio), 6 p.m. Dec. 31.
December 18, 2013 7 Comments
Some thieves specialize in quarters. They pry open coin boxes on washing machines and dryers in laundry rooms.
Quarter stealers did this a couple times at one of my apartment buildings. One time the building manager ran into them, took their picture, and asked them who they were. They said they were Sarah and Michael.
Afterward, the building manager handed the photo over to the police. Sarah and Michael were then videoed pouring quarters into a coin-sorting machine at a nearby grocery store.
Sarah and Michael hit 21 buildings on the West Side, the cops told me.
About a month later, I got a letter from the county prosecutor about Paul and Erin — the crooks’ real names. They were charged with burglary, possessing criminal tools, aggravated theft, theft, tampering with coin machines and vandalism. The thieves wound up in prison.
My damages: $884.50.
That’s a lot of quarters. (For the record: 3,538.)
Not another fake profile! (The complete fake-profile series is here.)
I’m a boxer. That’s the essence of who I am.
I’m not a heavyweight so you probably don’t know me. I grew up boxing. I listened to Johansson-Patterson fights on the radio. Also, Patterson versus Clay. I boxed at the Ukrainian Club, AAU and Junior Golden Gloves.
My parents were all for it. My father encouraged boxing. In my dad’s day, Jewish fighters frequently hit the top: Jackie Davis, Benny Leonard. Locally, Harry Levine was a good light heavyweight. Levine fought with his face out front. If it got hit, his head would shake like a bobblehead. He kept hitting though.
My last sanctioned fight was in 1968 against Johnny Montello. We were from the same neighborhood. The bout was old-school, Italian versus Jew. It was a 1930s ethnic turf battle but in the 1960s! Johnny was just back from ’Nam. He had been a cook over there. He was punchy (foggy-headed). He had boxed too much in the Army.
Johnny got into my face verbally, like Ali, saying: “You’re always talking about Jewish shit.” Johnny pointed at the Star of David on my trunks.
I said, “You should know one thing about me: being Jewish is who I am. Everything I do is a part of that.” I was a college student back then. Up at Michigan, I boxed in Waterman Gym — with myself. Existential stuff.
My buddies attended the Montello fight. My friends were hippies. Montello’s friends were extras from Grease.
Montello broke my nose and gave me a concussion. After that, I promised my parents I would quit boxing. My dad, finally, thought it was a good idea and got me private tennis lessons. Tennis was like boxing, he said, but without hitting. Agassi’s dad — a boxer — said the same thing.
I miss the ring. I play tennis, but I miss the ring. I think about boxing a lot: Babe Triscaro, Jimmy Bivins, Tony Mulia.
I would like another chance. The Senior Olympics has pickleball but no boxing. What’s pickleball?
An op-ed, by yo, in the Cleveland Plain Dealer Friday (11/29). The print headline was “Klezmer Christmas? He’s actually in favor of goodwill to men.” The online headline was “Dreaming of a Green Christmas.”
December 4, 2013 2 Comments
This is KlezFiction. The complete KlezFiction series is here.
These 13 health tips are from my new e-book, The Klezmer Guy Tune Up, (which makes a great Chanukah gift!)
2. Sing the beginning of “The Star-Spangled Banner” every morning. It’s a major triad, 5-3-1. It’ll align you.
3. Prick yourself. If your blood isn’t bright red, immediately eat potato chips. Any brand. For the salt.
4. Therapy is always worth it, but don’t pay more than $150/hour.
5. Eat sardines once a week. Lightly smoked Chicken of the Sea, in oil, is your best bet.
6. You need a gum graft. Get it now!
8. Don’t knock Miller Lite. It does the job.
9. Visit a pawn shop today and buy a power tool. Get outside your bubble!
10. [For Catholics only: carry a smartphone at all times. Sainthood is hard to prove if you don’t have good documentation.]
11. Eat a marshmallow with your dark chocolate. This helps your stomach absorb the flavenoids.
12. Gamble. It fine-tunes the nervous system. Try craps first.
13. Use Arby’s Horsy Sauce on all your salads, fish and fries. It’s better for you than even tomato sauce.
There is no Klezmer Guy Tune-up book. Like I said, this is KlezFiction.
November 27, 2013 3 Comments
A college kid told my band’s guitarist he went to Columbia University, and my guy said, “Where’s that?”
That knocked the college boy back a few SAT points.
College quiz question: What college narrowly missed being in the original Ivy League football conference?
Answer: Colgate University.*
Another fact: Yiddishe Cup once shared the bill with the Colgate glee club at a Cleveland wedding.
More: Former MIT folk dancers are a solid market for Yiddishe Cup. Yiddishe Cup has played several simchas for MIT folk dancers.
Regionally speaking, I was loyal to Ohio State for many years. My dad took me to Ohio State homecoming games every year. My father lived in a corner of Ohio Stadium, in the scholarship dorm, the Tower Club, which was actually a barracks with cots. My dad often said some of the gentiles at Ohio State, back in the 1930s, thought Jews had horns.
A New Jersey woman — a potential bar mitzvah customer — called me and said, “I went to Ohio U. in the 1980s. All the kids from Mentor and Madison [Ohio] thought I had horns.”
The Buckeye marching band had horns. (Horns and percussion. No clarinets.)
The only time my father yelled at a TV was when Ohio State played Cincinnati for the 1961 basketball championship. Who won? [Cincinnati, 70-65.]
I attended a college-rejection shiva. The shiva — at Corky & Lenny’s restaurant in April 1968 — was for a friend who was rejected by every college he applied to. He got in nowhere! He was ranked fifth, or so, in our high school class, but every college turned him down because the high school guidance counselor didn’t like him and wrote a negative recommendation. (He was way too political for my school.)
We sat in the corner booth at C&Ls and drank chocolate phosphates, commiserating with our friend. We were all in somewhere, and he wasn’t.
He eventually got accepted to Ohio State on a late application. Back then, if you had a heartbeat you could get into OSU. He wound up in an OSU high-rise dorm with 16 guys per suite. It wasn’t anything like the house system at Harvard.
I knew a college counselor at University School, a private boys’ school in Cleveland. If the counselor put in a good word for you, you were in. Harvard, Yale, you name it. Harvey Mudd. Deep Springs.
The counselor didn’t believe his own myth. Go to a school that was a “good fit,” he said. (“Good fit” was the watchword of college counselors.) This counselor went to Harvard, a “good fit” for a college counselor.
Here’s a tip for high school kids: on your application, focus on something esoteric. Write: “I want to be a klezmer musician because it is the cornerstone of my existence.” Describe a setback you have faced. “My parents don’t like klezmer music. They are so wrong. I’ve been thinking about klezmer my whole life.”
No guarantees, but give it a try.
*The statement about Colgate narrowly missing out on the Ivy League football conference may be apocryphal.
OSU Tower Club residents, 1937. Click on the photo to make it bigger. “Tower Club,” a sign, is on the stadium entrance to the left of “Toby.”)
November 20, 2013 4 Comments
The downtown jail has narrow windows. The jail, from the outside, doesn’t even look like a jail. It looks like an office building with narrow windows.
Across the street, on West 3rd Street, is a law office with a sign in the window: “Inmates, call collect.”
I was at the county board of revision nearby, trying to get my property taxes lowered.
I liked the downtown government scene. When I was young, I drifted in and out of trials at the Justice Center for fun. I liked the crying and screaming, and the lawyers picking on each other. (This was before cable and reality TV.).
I would like to be a county prosecutor someday and put away bad guys, but I don’t want to go to law school.
I once sneaked into the jury assembly room to get a list of jurors’ names for a trial. (I was a reporter.) I got in some trouble with the authorities and my editor.
Now I spend my time far away from the Justice Center. I miss the action down there.
Inmates, call me collect. Not a good use of your one call, but I’d like to hear from you.
Yiddishe Cup is at Klezmerpalooza 7:30 Sat. (Nov. 16) at The Temple, Beachwood, Ohio.
November 13, 2013 3 Comments
I lost my Brooks running hat. I owned two. I lost them both. I bought them at a running store in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
I don’t usually lose things, except hats. (I’m excellent with gloves.)
I went to Dick’s in Cleveland for a replacement hat and bought an Adidas. It constricted my head. I got minor headaches from the Adidas. (Granted, I didn’t give my head much time to adjust.)
Amazon, I tried that too. Nothing appropriate. I wanted a long-bill white cap with not much writing on it. eBay had four such “old school” Brooks Infiniti running caps — just like my lost caps. (Not like the trashy Brooks hats of today, with a lot of writing.)
Thank you, eBay! I bought all four caps. That’s excessive I know. But only if I die soon. (Yiddishe Cup’s drummer, Don Friedman, has 10 pair of black jeans. Steve Jobs had at least 50 black turtleneck shirts.)
I went back to eBay a couple days later, just to cruise, to see how the world of caps was holding up. There were no “old school” Brooks hats left. I had cornered the market!
My Brooks hats arrived from Mississippi. Then my wife found my lost cap, which was in the kitchen in a basket. Somebody had put it there. Not me.
Now I have five “old school” Brooks Infiniti caps. Even better.
Check out Klezmerpalooza here. Yiddishe Cup plays Sat. Nov. 16 evening, Cleveland.
November 6, 2013 2 Comments
This is a fake profile. The complete fake-profiles series is here.
Danny Kaye watched surgery for a hobby. He hung around doctors and operating rooms.
My parents admired Danny Kaye; he could dance, sing, and do impersonations, plus the medical stuff.
My parents wanted me to be Danny Kaye — the medical part.
Instead, I majored in history and became a journalist. I wrote a 4,000-word article on open-heart surgery. I also did a story on polio. I watched some surgery.
I tried surgery. My patient –- call her Karen — took two years to recover, and I suffered financial and legal complications. I never expected to make money from operating on her but I didn’t think I would go broke, which I did. A lawyer called me a “kidnapper,” as if I had purposefully kept Karen captive for eight hours. (The surgery was only seven hours, schmuck!)
Post-op, I told Karen, “The good news is you’re alive and your aortas — two of them – are 90-percent clear. I used pipe cleaner. The bad news is the other aortas are controversial. Any sudden outburst by you now, and you might die.”
Karen screamed but didn’t die. She sued me.
Danny Kaye hosted Herman’s Hermits on his TV show in 1965, to encourage youngsters to watch. Danny’s older viewers preferred Imogene Coca, Nanette Fabrey and Jim Nabors.
Kaye experimented. He took chances. So did I.
I have mixed feelings about Kaye, to this day. My parents liked him more than me. I performed my operation on Karen so I wouldn’t have to endure more snide remarks from my parents, like “Son, you write for a suburban weekly. That’s not a living.”
Walk in my shoes. The cold rejection of my parents. I took a knife to a young woman’s heart.
I’m good at surgery. I’m not Cleveland Clinic quality but I’m good.
I’m as good as Danny Kaye.
Carlo Wolff wrote an in-depth, real profile of Ralph Solonitz, this blog’s illustrator. Click here to read it. (Cleveland Jewish News, 10/25/13.) By the way, the drawing above is a pen atop a gurney.
Yiddishe Cup is at KlezmerPalooza at The Temple, Beachwood, Ohio, 7:30 p.m. Sat., Nov. 16. $20, or $15 if you buy by Nov. 9. Call 216-831-3233. Free dessert, beer and wine.
October 30, 2013 3 Comments
Stan Herschfield paced his apartment at 3 a.m., waking up the tenants below. I asked Herschfield to ease up, and he said, “What do you want from me? I can’t fly.”
He moved out shortly after that.
About 10 years later, he called. “Stratton, you remember me — Herschfield. I want to move back in.”
“Herschfield!” I said, emoting like I was in a bad JCC play. “You painted the floor. You complained about the deaf guy across the hall blasting organ music. You complained about the people below you fornicating. You skipped out on your final month’s rent. It cost me fifty dollars to clean the place. But you did teach me some good Yiddish words.”
“I didn’t skip! Those yentzers below, they drove me out!”
“You painted the kitchen floor.”
I didn’t let him back.
Maybe Herschfield didn’t say yentzers. Maybe he said shtuppers. I only caught a fraction of his Yiddish. He talked so fast.
I’ve had a couple former tenants move back in. Usually not into the same suite, but often into the same building.
I save old records on tenants. F. Scott Fitzgerald said bookkeeping is not a sexy subject, but it is moderately interesting. I wish I hadn’t thrown out my dad’s tax returns; they would make fascinating reading now I’m older and into nuance.
I keep dossiers on ex-tenants. Nothing personal, no nude posture photos like those Ivy League colleges did. Just notes on whether the tenant paid his final month’s rent, turned in his keys and didn’t trash the place. If all’s well, I’ll let him back. Could be a decade later.
The good tenants, you don’t remember. You have to look them up.
This post was a vid first, 4/5/12. Features Alan Douglass singing “Dear Landlord.”
Yiddishe Cup is at KlezmerPalooza at The Temple, Beachwood, Ohio, 7:30 p.m. Sat., Nov. 16. $20, or $15 if you buy by Nov. 9. Call 216-831-3233. Free dessert, beer and wine.
A new vid, “You wouldn’t believe the derelicts . . . “ Forty-five seconds of real estate talk:
October 23, 2013 2 Comments
This is KlezFiction. The complete KlezFiction series is here.
Why is the Klezmer Hall of Fame — aka The Challah Fame — in Cleveland? Here’s why: Do you remember Bob Malaga, the lawyer who brought the Davis Cup to Cleveland in 1964? Bob Malaga — aka Mr. Tennis — pulled off that Forest Hills-to-Cleveland heist almost single-handedly.
Mr. Guy wrote record reviews for his college paper, the Michigan Daily, about Muddy Waters, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Mott the Hoople, and The Up. He also wrote about Buddy Guy (no relation). Mr. Guy had insights. For instance, he disliked Detroit rock and roll because it was simplistic and too loud. Guy lambasted John Lennon’s “Free John Sinclair” concert at the Michigan basketball arena in 1971. Face it, Allen Ginsberg’s harmonium was not music.
John Sinclair and his friends at the White Panther Party were not happy with Guy’s review. Those potheads were fuming. What did they want?
Not the truth.
Guy left Ann Arbor in a hurry, returning to his hometown, Cleveland, to open a nightclub. Cleveland was perfectly situated on the nightclub circuit, halfway between Chicago and New York. Guy booked quality acts into his club, which he operated out of the basement of a shul on Taylor Road. Guy told the temple gadolim (big shots) he was running a Jewish music coffeehouse, and they were ecstatic. The rent was free.
Guy rocked the gatkes (underwear) off the shul — Taylor Road Synagogue (TRS) — which was empty even back then. The shul let Guy use the main sanctuary too. “Use the sanctuary but keep it Jewish!” the TRS president said.
Guy booked the Electric Prunes, Steve Miller and Quicksilver. All Jewish acts, according to Guy. Underground radio DJs bellowed, “Go see Steve Miller tonight at TRS!”
TRS’ sanctuary was packed. So Guy said to himself, “I’m in a shul. I’m making money. Why not go for some authentic Jewish music?” Guy locked onto klezmer. Dave Tarras sold out TRS, as did Mickey Katz.
When the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opened, Guy rode the Rock Hall’s PR coattails and opened The Challah Fame.
Guy displayed his personal memorabilia: a Corky & Lenny’s T-shirt, Park Synagogue refrigerator magnet and a saxophone reed signed by Hankus Netsky of the Klezmer Conservatory Band — “Love ya! Hankus.” Guy also had a flyer from Lethbridge, Alberta, 1966: Beatnik Coffeehouse Tonight / Tim Hortons / Michael Wex. Guy had violinist Steven Greenman’s fourth grade report card (redacted).
Are you interested in this stuff?
Apparently you are. You’ve read this far.
The Challah Fame keeps irregular hours. Please call ahead.
October 16, 2013 5 Comments