Real Music & Real Estate . . .

Yiddishe Cup’s bandleader, Bert Stratton, is Klezmer Guy.

He knows about the band biz and – check this out – the real estate biz, too.

You may not care about the real estate biz. Hey, you may not care about the band biz. (See you.)

This is a blog with a gamy twist. It features tenants with snakes and skunks, and musicians with smoked fish in their pockets.

Stratton has written op-eds for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.



There’s no money in the arts. My old clarinet teacher told me that.  He used to eat salami sandwiches while I took lessons.  That stunk.  Mr. Golub.

He bought a building across from his music store; named the building after his daughter, The Joyce Manor; and sold it years later.  He said he regretted he didn’t move with his brother to D.C. and make an even bigger killing there in a real boom town.

Golub’s Music Center.  He had a neon saxophone on the sign.  That, alone, drew the customers.  Inside, there were bongos and guitars.

Mr. Golub couldn’t play by ear. That mystified him.

Mystifies me — playing by ear. But I can do it —  somewhat.

I’m the klezmer guy.  I go to shivas (funeral wakes) and tell the mourners that, and, yeah, they recognize me. They say, “Oh, you’re the klezmer guy.”

Everybody needs to be some kind of  “guy” (or “gal”).  Cable guy.  Computer guy.  Pool guy.  I became the klezmer guy because I put together the longest-lasting Jewish band between Chicago and D.C.  Yiddishe Cup.

No mega money in this but it keeps me from going nuts.

My day job is real estate.  I’m a landlord.  I own and manage apartment buildings.  People call me up about low-water pressure, mice, clanging radiators.  I generally don’t fix the stuff; I usually hire repairmen.  My father used to say, “I didn’t send you to college to paint walls.”  Well, I painted a few walls anyway and pointed some bricks,  but that’s not my calling.

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1 Jane L. { 05.13.09 at 7:04 am }

Hey Bert. Love the new blog. Keep up the good rant!

2 Mark Schilling { 05.13.09 at 9:27 am }

Bert, you are still the master of the Word, riffing clear and true.

Those Hopwood Awards (the U-of-M’s ultimo creative writing prizes, awarded to Arthur Miller among many others) were not wasted on you, my man.

As we say in Japan, ganbare (go for it).

3 D P { 05.14.09 at 3:16 pm }

My father says that he didn’t send me to college to go to graduate school.

4 Teddy { 05.15.09 at 1:38 pm }

Nice blog, keep up the good work. The comment above is Passner, by the way.

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