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.



“Making it” in the band biz means flying.  Success is walking through the airport with a saxophone case slung over your shoulder.

My next-door neighbor still talks about running into Yiddishe Cup on a flight back from Texas. Did he think I just played power mower?

On one of Yiddishe Cup’s first flights — Southwest to Chicago — I paid our accordion player to serenade us in the waiting area.  That was back when Southwest was offbeat.  Then our violinist joined in.  Nobody clapped and nobody booed.  Everybody was in shock.  A Hungarian czardas at 9 a.m. was crazier than Southwest wanted to be.

We rent drums, a keyboard, and sound equipment when we fly.  Everything else, we carry on board.  The instruments fit into the overhead bin.  Even the tenor sax.  You need a sleek SKB-style sax case.

Try to get in the first boarding group with Southwest.  You’ll have the overhead bins all to yourself.

You don’t need to buy an extra seat unless you’re a cello player.

At cocktail parties, I’m often asked, “Who pays for your Yiddishe Cup road trips?”

The client pays. Yiddishe Cup is not a high school glee club!

We are not  in a rock and roll fantasy camp.  We are in a klezmer fantasy camp.  We think  most of the world knows and loves klezmer music.
2 of 2 posts for 12/2/09

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1 Gerald Ross { 12.02.09 at 10:59 am }

Flying means you’ve made it as a musician.

I couldn’t agree with you more. You don’t know how much respect, envy and bragging rights I have now that these ukulele and steel guitar festivals are flying me to gigs.

Also, because I travel with two instruments on my shoulders, people in the airport think I’m some kind of famous guy. A 20-year-old kid with a guitar gig bag does not command the same respect in the airport as a 50-something guy with an instrument case.

2 Irwin Weinberger { 12.02.09 at 12:23 pm }

Flying with the band isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

I remember the shock of boarding a tiny shuttle plane to take us to Calumet, Michigan, in the U.P. Talk about claustrophobic, I turned green by the time we landed.

On another flight, we were getting ready to get off the plane, and as I opened the bin to retrieve my mandolin (which lay in a heavy wooden case), it immediately fell out and landed on the head of a young girl.

As she was crying and rubbing her head, I looked apologetically at her father, and said I was sorry.

So much for the glamour of a Yiddishe Cup road trip.

3 MARC { 12.02.09 at 2:42 pm }

At the Minneapolis airport, I had a security guard check out my clarinet. He opened the case and looked inside the pieces of the barrel. I guess in the hands of the wrong player, it could be a weapon of mass destruction.

Speaking of weapons of mass destruction, my hardware store is mentioned in Senator Lincoln Chafee’s book about the Bush administration.

Chafee was given a briefing by the CIA about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. The CIA showed him an aluminum rod they claimed was part of a weapon. Chafee told them he could buy that rod at Adler’s Hardware in Providence.

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