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.




I was a guest at a wedding where the band’s sign was bigger than LeBron James. The banner was eight-foot, like something you might see on a telephone pole announcing “125 years of excellence in education.”

The wedding reception was elegant, but the band’s sign was totally Bedford Auto Mile.  The sign read “More Acts, Better Music, Higher Standards.”

Higher Standards?  The bandleader was Italian.  I knew him.  Roman standard bearers?  The bandleader said to me, “It’s better to be a guest than to work, huh?”

What?  I always prefer playing over schmoozing.

When Yiddishe Cup does weddings, I hand out business cards.  Nothing gaudy.  And I don’t shovel them out.   These cards are almost collectors’ items.  I’m not going to pass them out willy-nilly.

Everybody already knows Yiddishe Cup.  If you say “klezmer band” in Ohio, it’s us.  Now, if we’re in Buffalo, N.Y., for example, I might go heavier on cards.  But I don’t put out a tray.  That’s too dental office.

Granted, we feature Yiddishe Cup’s logo on our bass drum.  Our logo is cool, whimsical and tasteful, and it gets us some gigs.  (Ralph Solonitz designed the logo.)

At the “Higher Standards” wedding, I met a businessman who did music production as a sideline.  I asked for his card.  He didn’t have one.  And he had 100 employees, he said.

He had achieved placid-plus status: no card.

My goal is to be him.



A Yiddishe Cup musician went ballistic when he saw a college football game, or so he thought, off in the distance.  He said, “I’m so through with this country’s obsessions with sports!”

Yiddishe Cup was loading-in at a student union by a college stadium.

The Yiddishe Cup musician had fouled.  Here’s why: (1.) The college kids were playing lacrosse, not football.  (2.) It was a Division III game.  The stadium was small, with no crowd to speak of.  (3.) The kids were getting some exercise; this was not a big money, faux-pro game.

Yiddishe Cup musicians, for the most part, are not up on today’s sports scene.  For instance, I just learned a basketball shot “from downtown” means a three-pointer.  And I’m wondering what “the post” is.  I watched several basketball games lately.

I have an agreement with my cousin George, a serious sports fan, to go to the Cavs victory parade. I want to be there.  Depends on my Depends though, because I’ll be very old.  Also, depends if it’s raining.  I’m fair weather.

Last Sunday Yiddishe Cup had a gig, a pre-Shavuot Torah dedication/celebration, which was almost postponed to accommodate LeBron James’ reading of the Book of Kells.  The Cavs were scheduled to play the Celtics then.  (Cleveland lost prior, on Thursday, so the playoff series ended, and everything worked out fine for the Torah dedication.)

About championships . . . My father, Toby, promised to take me to the World Series, but the Tribe never made it when I was growing up.  My dad, instead, took me to Ohio State homecoming games.

I took my kids to the 1992 OSU homecoming game.  The Ohio Stadium scoreboard lit up: This Sat. at the Wexner Center, Don Byron Salutes Mickey Katz.

What next, Bucks?  “Fight the Team Across the Field” in Yiddish?

Don Byron played OSU, I think, because Columbus resident Les Wexner, the billionaire owner of The Limited, paid Byron’s band to entertain Wexner’s elderly mother, who probably requested the Mickey Katz show because she didn’t want to fly to New York.  That’s the only logical explanation.  Don Byron never played any other Mickey Katz–tribute shows in Ohio.

Go Mickey.

Go Katz.

Go ‘Cats.

Go Cavs.

If you’re a Cubs fan, or whatever, be quiet about your sports-induced suffering.  You don’t know anything.

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1 Teddy { 05.19.10 at 9:44 am }

He should have taken you to the ’54 series. I sure he would have if he had known it would be the last time they would go in his lifetime.

Is it true you were at the Browns’ ’64 NFL championship game? Jeff Rich claims he was there.

The post is the thing that holds up the basket. So post is another way off saying “next to the basket.”

2 Bert { 05.19.10 at 10:08 am }

To Teddy:

I wouldn’t have appreciated the ’54 Series. (1.) I was only four. (2.) The Indians lost in four straight.

Yes, I was at the 1964 Browns-Colts NFL championship game. (That was the last time a major Cleveland sports team won a championship.) Toby, my Uncle Al and I went. Maybe Toby knew that game was Cleveland’s best shot, even though the Colts were a heavy favorite.

Toby was not a Browns fan. I went to two games, including the championship, as a kid.

Go Buckeyes!

3 David { 05.19.10 at 1:44 pm }

For the benefit of the sports-terminology challenged: A shot “from downtown” is not just any three pointer. It’s one that’s from so far out that it’s like shooting it “from downtown.”

They rarely put the goal on a post any more, Ted. It’s usually either suspended from above, or attached to a hydraulically damped structure that extends the goal and backboard out over the court.

The “post” is the position formerly called the center, who usually plays under or around the goal. The big guy in the middle is the “post” player.

Here is an example of proper usage of those terms in a sentence: Lebron is not a post player, and if he had hit more from downtown the Cavs would still be playing, and Bert might have attended the victory parade.

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