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.




Yiddishe Cup’s keyboard player doesn’t like to play in direct sunlight.  He wants our contract to say “We will not play in direct sunlight.”

I ignore him.  At summer concerts, I try to set up outside.  This has cost the band one loudspeaker, damaged by heavy rain.

Yiddishe Cup has played on the Wiley Middle School lawn, University Heights, Ohio, for 16 years and has moved inside the school three times.  (Thus, there is a 19 percent chance we’ll get rained out in Cleveland on an August night.)

At private parties, clients sometimes rent backyard tents just so they can have something extra thing to worry about — whether the tent will blow down or not.  Some Jews will pay extra for another worry.

Yiddishe Cup played a tent in Dayton, Ohio, where it rained so hard, busboys poked holes in the canopy to collect rain into garbage cans.  I thought the band might get electrocuted, the floor was so damp.

At a Shaker Heights tent, the air was so hot and humid, my clarinet slid apart at the cork joints.  Biloxi, Miss., had nothing on Shaker that night.

Yiddishe Cup played poolside in a Shaker backyard.  We were like Catskill mambo kings.  At the Akron (Ohio) JCC, we also played poolside, and the kids tried to splash us with belly slams and cannonballs.  That was Family Fun Day, a.k.a. Let’s Destroy Professional Musical Instruments Day.

Yiddishe Cup’s keyboard player doesn’t like it when I vacillate between indoors and outdoors.  Mr. Keyboard Player, who are you going to trust, AccuWeather or your leader?

I avoid indoors if possible.  Granted, outdoor sound is mediocre, but the breeze is good and the kids get to run on the grass, and summer is so brief.

Last summer at University Heights, we moved the band’s equipment indoors at the last minute.  The storm knocked down a chain-link fence and several trees.  That was one of my better calls.


Here’s a video clip from last year’s concert.  (The stage patter at the end of the song, at 1:58 min., is amusing.)



Eli “Paperboy” Reed played at University Heights with Yiddishe Cup the night the power went out throughout Ohio, then Michigan, Ontario, and the entire Northeast.  Maybe Eli caused the Northeast Blackout of August 2003.  Eli, not FirstEnergy.  We continued the concert with a battery-powered amp.

Eli “Paperboy” Reed doesn’t need, or probably want, a middle-aged klezmer guy saying nice things about his new album, Come and Get It. (Klezmer Old Dude = Kiss of Death.)  I’ll keep it low-key. Ta-da . . .


Eli “Paperboy” Reed sings and writes original, yet classic-sounding, R&B/soul.  No, “Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed” is not a pseudonym for my son the drummer.  My son-the-drummer’s pseudonym is DJ Paradiddle.

Reed, 26, is big in Europe.  Like on The Ed Sullivan Show (the modern-day Brit equivalent) and the cover of Rolling Stone (the Brit equivalent).  Look for Come and Get It on Capitol Records and for Eli everywhere.  He was on NPR “Weekend Edition” [hear] several days ago.   He’ll probably be on late-night American TV soon.

I know a couple klezmer guys who are big, too, who played with Yiddishe Cup.  Years ago the bass player for the Klezmatics did a gig with us in Toledo.

Ipso facto, there is no such thing as “big” in klezmer.

Eli Reed doesn’t play klezmer, though.  When he performed with Yiddishe Cup, he did soul/R&B.

Reed and his band, the True Loves, have a gutsy Stax-like sound, which provides the core support to Reed’s emotive lyrics, which are rabbit punches to the solar plexus of young love.  Example: “You went from name calling to calling my name. You went from school-yard teasing to all night pleasing.”  That is clear-cut sawing in the coming-of-age forest.

Eli — they love him in España and France.  I hope Eli “Paperboy” Reed becomes huge in America, and says in passing, “Yiddishe Cup is all right,” and Yiddishe Cup gets more gigs.

When you buy Eli “Paperboy” Reed’s Come and Get It, tell them — Reed, Capitol, iTunes, et al. — Yiddishe Cup sent you.


1 of 2 posts for 8/18/10.  Please see the post below too.


See Yiddishe Cup 7 p.m. tomorrow (Thurs. Aug. 19) at Wiley Middle School, 2155 Miramar Blvd., University Hts., Ohio.  Free.  Indoors if raining.

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1 Bill Jones { 08.18.10 at 11:24 am }

A note of caution on outdoor concerts this summer:

I’ve been to two concerts that had trees some distance from the stage. The audience opted for the shade, rather than being up close and personal with the band. Even when at one concert, there was a small canopy with chairs set up for the audience, the audience opted for the trees’ shade. The performers lost a lot by having many of their audience some 300 feet or more away. Audience sizes were around 100 people.

Moral of the story: the band needs to set up in the shade if they want their audience around them. I’ll let you figure out how to accomplish that with a sound system, though.

2 Ellen { 08.18.10 at 2:07 pm }

So, nu? What’s a little rain after all we’ve been through?
Here’s to a bright, clear and shady evening tomorrow night!!!!

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