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. So maybe he’s really Klezmer Landlord.
 

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 is an occasional contributor to the New York Times, the Times of Israel, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and City Journal. He won two Hopwood Awards.


 
 

THE THING I DO WITH MY HANDS

The thing I do with my hands — no joke — is play the clarinet.  I have the same clarinet I had when I was 13.  Selmer Signet X.  I like pushing the keys and hearing the pads snap shut on the black wood.  My clarinet is pretty indestructible.  I once heard an expert say clarinets “get blown out” after a couple years.  Not mine.  It works fine.

Landlord and musician . . . I’m a hyphenated guy.  Depends what kind of cocktail party I’m at, whether I say “landlord” or “musician” first.

I don’t try to hide the landlord part.  I should!  Everybody hates landlords.  Nobody paid rent as a child, so people think they should live free as adults too.  The walls, heat and water — that should be free, like the wind, rain and baby food.

I used to feel guilty about charging rent.  I hadn’t really done anything to deserve the rent, other than to maintain a building —a building which I hadn’t even built. Now I’m middle-aged, and, hey, I feel fine collecting rent.  Somebody has to keep these old buildings from falling down.

Landlord-musician.  I know one more in Cleveland.  He’s a self-described “dago.”  Tough guy.  Wears a toupee, plays accordion and trumpet, and tells dirty jokes.  He’s got a strip center on the West Side.

Strip center — weird term.  Short for shopping strip center.

I don’t have any strip centers.  I have about 25 storefronts: Main Street-style.  The stores are on street level, with apartments above.  Like Disneyland’s Main Street.  But with mice.  Not Mickey.

There’s no money in the arts: I’ve rented to art galleries.  They all go under.  Things that don’t go under: bars, beauty parlors, tanning salons and flower shops.

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