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.



The last Midwest klezmer conference was in Chicago in 1998.  The Challah Fame in Cleveland wants to restart the Midwest klez conference. Not in Chicago, thank you.  And not in some bubble-tea town like Madison, Wisc., either.

KlezKleveland.  Check it out.  This year.  Or maybe in 2018.  (To be announced.)

KlezKleveland will be like KlezKamp and KlezKanada, but with more letters and more heymish — with a Midwestern “hi!” attitude.

Where: my house.

Accommodations: tent camping on my neighbor’s front lawn.  Or you can camp inside his house.  There’s no plumbing; his copper pipes are gone.  Nobody lives there.

There will be shower trucks and port-a-potties in the driveway.  Don Johns — only the best.

Kosher food available. (Queen Alice’s falafel truck.)

Gentiles welcome, of course.

Do I need to play an instrument to attend?

No, we’ll supply drumpets (combination trumpet and drums) made from leftover McDonald’s packaging.  Drumpets, by the way, were invented by Dr. Craig Woodson, a former Yiddishe Cup drummer.

Do I need to know Yiddish?

No, but be familiar with at least five Yiddish words besides bagel, schmuck, meshuge, chutzpah and putz.


Yes.  Eco-friendly Midwestern teachers like Steven Greenman, violin; Adrianne Greenbaum (originally from Akron, Ohio), flute; and Yosef Greenberger, a Cleveland keyboardist.

“Klezmer Guy,” the KlezKleveland director, will lecture on klezmer biz — for instance, how to deal with bar mitzvah moms.  He will participate in a mock-u-drama with a real mom, Alice Stratton . . .

Alice:  I’m worried about my son’s bar mitzvah party.  His friends, will they like klezmer?

Klezmer Guy:  Of course they’ll like it.  Kids love klezmer! They’re sick of rap.

There will be daily aerobics and spinning sessions on the deck next door with music by KnishKnash, a NYC klez-fusion band and eatery.  Free kikhl (cookies) and wine coolers for all.

In the evening, teens perform an experimental Yiddish-inflected drama about scrap and Midwest Jews, adapted from Leonard Tennenbaum’s memoir Junk Is Not a Four-Letter Word. The teens wear turtlenecks, Speedo trunks and Groucho glasses.

Students in the fencing class wear uniforms reminiscent of prewar German Jewish sports clubs.  The outfits are black Yiddishe Cup T-shirts, provided.  Bring your own trousers.  White, please.  Not cream-colored.  White, meine Herren!

KlezKleveland fencing instructors Daniel Ducoff (L.) and Alan Douglass.

KlezKleveland fencing instructors Daniel Ducoff (L.) and Alan Douglass.

Yosef Greenberger, Cleveland’s Ortho one-man-band keyboard wizard, will demonstrate proprietary synth settings that emit odors, such as latke smells for Chanukah songs and cinnamon for Christmas carols. (Gotta eat.)

Local experts will lecture on “co-territorial” music.  Polka DJ Tony Petkovsek speaks on “Johnny Pecon and Molly Picon: Mishpocha?”  [Family.]

Cleveland accordionist Walt Mahovlich leads the hands-on Gypsy music workshop: “Doin’ the Continental.”

Yiddishe Cup plays during lunch breaks.  Attendees leave knowing at least one Mickey Katz tune, “16 Tons.”  (“You load 16 tons of hard salami, rolled beef, corned beef, and hot pastrami . . .”)

KlezKleveland ends with a fireworks display over Shaker Lakes.  Look for Chagall-like goats and Hasidic violinists in the sky.

And look for the KlezKleveland flyer in your mailbox.  Please look regularly for the next eight years.

1 of 2 posts for 8/11/10.  Please see the post below too.
KlezKanada — a good time — is Aug. 16-22 in Lantier, Quebec, near Montreal.
Thurs. Aug 19, Yiddishe Cup plays on the lawn at Wiley Middle School, University Hts., Ohio.  The concert is  free. Not only that, you get a free Klondike ice cream bar from the city just for showing up.  You’re ahead, even if you don’t like klezmer.   7 p.m.  Indoors if raining.

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1 Bill Jones { 08.11.10 at 10:38 am }

Do the fencing instructors cover what you do with your suburban property to avoid the neighbors. Privacy fencing?

Will you have your own version of Dinner for Schmucks?

Alex Machaskee is a better instructor for the “Continental” since his band is The Continentals, and they play a sanitized version of Gypsy music that everyone can relate to.

‘Nuff said.

2 Irwin { 08.11.10 at 11:44 am }

I’m really excited about KlezKleveland. Should I think about sending in my deposit? Will we provide shuttle service to Corky & Lenny’s? This could be what the city of Cleveland needs to get going. Could a reunion of the Kleveland Klezmorim be in the works as well?

3 Bert { 08.11.10 at 4:48 pm }

“David” just posted this comment:

“Bert, what is a ‘bubble-tea town,’ as in Madison, Wisc.? Is that a Midwestern Yiddish expression?”

[You can find David’s original comment at the end of the “Cousins Club” entry.]

To David:

A “bubble-tea town” is a burg with many young people who think tea with tapioca balls is cool.

Bubble tea is different than bubbah tea (sweetened ice tea) and bubbe tea.

4 Chris { 08.12.10 at 10:20 am }

If KlezKleveland is half as good as the legends I’ve heard about KlezKanada, then it should be a dream.

Why did Dr. Craig Woodson leave Yiddishe Cup? Was he swooned by the Kronos Quartet’s glamorous participation in movie soundtracks and Jimi Hendrix covers?

5 Bert { 08.12.10 at 11:50 am }

To Chris:

Craig Woodson left Yiddishe Cup because he wasn’t around enough. He was out in L.A. a whole lot. He still is out there a lot.

Lately he has been playing in Iraq (Kurdistan) and Indonesia. That’s something.

And yes, Craig played with Elvis and Kronos and the loved-in-Japan band United States of America.

6 Alice { 08.12.10 at 2:29 pm }

Please sign me up for fencing lessons. The instructors look like two “vild and crazy” guys.

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