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



My dad, Toby, was a big fan of California. He and every other Ohioan in the 1960s.

His cosmetics company, which he started in the basement, was Ovation of California.  It was a franchise.  The franchisor, based in California, was simply “Ovation.”  Toby added the “of California.”  Toby sold moisturizers, shampoos, eyebrow pencils, lipsticks and bases.

Bases were war paint for women.  My mother, who wore the stuff on sales pitches, looked like a Claymation figure.  My parents gave presentations at Cleveland hotels, trying to recruit women to do home sales parties.  Better yet, become sub-franchisees.  My parents had a carousel-tray slide show with an LP sound track that synched to the slides.  Beep.

Ovation went bust. Avon Products was the powerhouse back then.

Californian dreamin’ . . . it’s part of  the Midwestern mentality.  My family took the station wagon trip to California in the sixties.  Our “station wagon” was a 1961 Pontiac Catalina sedan with no A/C.  Bobby Vinton’s “Roses Are Red (My Love)” was on the radio.

We wound up in San Francisco — the home of Daniel Ducoff, Yiddishe Cup’s dance leader.  I didn’t even know that!

Daniel’s father was a rabbi in Frisco. While I was growing up in standard-issue Ohio, Li’l Danny was being raised in the Haight, or more exactly, three miles from it.  To this day, Daniel wears a T-shirt that says “What if the Hokey Pokey really is what it’s all about?”  Daniel is Cali Man.  He has many different sun glasses.

Daniel — when he’s out in California for a high school reunion or something — will phone me: “They’d love Yiddishe Cup’s bizarre humor here!  Why aren’t we playing here?”

Daniel played several tracks from Yiddishe Cup’s Meshugeneh Mambo CD for Grateful Dead guys.  Not exactly Grateful Dead musicians.  It was for Mickey Hart’s ex-wife and the Dead’s ex-manager.  They danced to “K’nock Around the Clock.”  Nothing came of it.

Daniel does not have the Midwesterner’s sense of limited possibilities.

Get real, Daniel.  Get us a gig in Kentucky.  Get us a gig in Columbus, Ohio.
1 of 2 posts for 8/26/09.  Please see post below too.
Yiddishe Cup concert:  7:45 p.m. Sun., Sept. 6 at Orange Village (Ohio) gazebo.
Watch a new YouTube video of Yiddishe Cup singing the Barry Sisters’  “Zug es mir nokhamol.”  Good harmonies.

shareEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter


1 Harvey Kugelman { 08.26.09 at 11:22 am }

On subject of Cleveland v. Calif. ethnic sensibilities:

As my late Uncle Bubby used to say, “True story”:

Met up with some of my California cousins at a bat mitzvah in Austin, Texas, a few years ago. Cousins are Calis from birth, uber cool, terminally ’60s, anything goes.

But Austin seems to unnerve them. Reform temple service featured the requisite female cantor and her guitar, which I believe are both non-negotiable requirements of the Reform liturgy. Also featured an old guy playing piano in the sanctuary, accompanying cantor and her guitar.

Moment the service is over, cool cousins run right at me — their right-wing, medieval, religious fanatic relative. “Can you believe that?!” they sputter. “What?” says me. “The … the … piano in the sanctuary!!” I can’t help it, I bite: “So the guitar is OK, but not the piano?” They look at me like I’m an imbecile. “The guitar is TRADITIONAL!!!”

2 Teddy { 08.26.09 at 12:59 pm }

This blog is turning into Patrimony.

I have two free tickets to see Bobby Vinton on Oct. 10th. You interested?

3 Bert { 08.26.09 at 2:26 pm }

Re: Harvey Kugelman’s Uncle Bubby

“Bubby” is correct. No typo. The Klezmer Guy fact checker looked into this.

Leave a Comment