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.



Downtown Detroit has a lot of detour signs.  Just when you think you’re heading back to Ohio, you’re not.  You’re on your way to Detroit Metro airport and points west.

Don’t play for peanuts in Detroit.  You’ll feel like a fool if you’re lost and underpaid at two in the morning.

In Yiddishe Cup’s van, each musician has an assigned role. Our drummer is in charge of windshield fluid levels.  He’s big on that.  Our dance leader supplies the bottled water. Our keyboard player loads the van; he knows the secret order of the gear.  We like to watch.

Van life smells.  It reeks of six guys in a metal container, topped with a cherry-scented spray, courtesy of the van rental company.

One Yiddishe Cup musician plays his iPod so loudly there is aural seepage.  Not everybody is into Bob Dylan’s basement tapes.  The icing: scents from Krispy Kremes and Cinnabuns.  Our driver eats that stuff like he’s on death row.

The bandleader’s job is to monitor the musicians’ word output.  Everyone has a certain quota of words for the day, and after he has used that, he should shut up and read, according to the van guard.

Luckily, nobody in Yiddishe Cup is a motor mouth.  Really, nobody wants to hear about your stock portfolio, your computer, your illness, your day-job boss, for too long.  Only exceed your word quota for safety reasons, like if the driver might fall asleep from drowsiness.

That, unfortunately, is a possibility. You know how boring it is to drive I-71 to Columbus, or the Ohio Turnpike to Detroit?

Little known fact: you can get lox and bagel at milepost 100 on the Ohio Turnpike.


Yiddishe Cup’s worst milepost ever: 213, on I-71 near Medina, Ohio.  We had a flat tire and waited for a tow truck at 3 a.m.  Our drummer kept repeating, “Here comes a truck with lights on top.”

I said, “Most trucks have lights.”

The tow truck was a heavy-duty model — especially equipped for jacking up vans — and it arrived very late.

I had a lot of time to replay our night’s gig, a Columbus bat mitzvah.  After the hora, the mom had said, “It wasn’t a freylekhs!”  [Hora.] And I had said, “It wasn’t Latin music!”  Apparently, she had wanted to be lifted in a chair, and I had cut the music before.  I wasn’t clairvoyant.

Bat mitzvah moms don’t always goes up on chairs.  Maybe half the time.

1 of 2 posts for 11/25/09

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1 Shawn Fink { 11.25.09 at 9:25 am }

In case you missed this back in September, here’s a link to an article in The Forward all about lifting chairs at weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, brisses, pidyon habens, and the occasional office Christmas party.

2 Ellen { 11.25.09 at 9:49 am }

ahhhhh — such adventures, as you guys schlep from shtetl to shtetl….!

“Rabbi, is there a blessing for the klezmers?”

3 Don Friedman { 11.25.09 at 2:42 pm }

Thanks for reminding me about the windshield washer fluid. I need some for my car!

4 roblou10 { 11.26.09 at 12:25 am }

I love your way with words… ‘aural seepage’ is a good one!

5 bill jones { 11.29.09 at 12:54 pm }

Mazel tov! With EZ Pass accepted on the OTP, you can now decrease the time spent on the pike between Cleveland and Toledo, and vice versa, by at least 10 minutes; more at rush hour.

As for chairs in the sky during simchas, the guests love it, and those in the chair and haShamayim-bound see their lives pass before their eyes.

Some chuchim should come up with a special conveyance that insures the safety of those hoisted by another’s petard; Chinese sedan chair, maybe.

You, on the other hand, should considering offering the party underwriters a side deal on insurance in the event of an unanticipated ejection from a chair, or, worse yet, the collapse of a chair holder for all manner of reasons.

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