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.



Two-thirds of the art in my house is by Irwin Weinberger, Yiddishe Cup’s singer.  Irwin is also a painter and middle-school art teacher.

He did a portrait of my kids 19 years ago.  I thought the kids — those pipsqueaks — were cute.  But their pipsqueak phase dragged on for years; I would stare at that painting and say, “Grow up already!”  Schlepping kids crosstown to gymnastics meets was not fun.  Schlepping the youngest child to an 8 a.m. hockey game in Parma Heights was not fun.  Sitting through my daughter’s swim meets was not entirely pleasant.  (The diving part was pleasant, but the swimming races — which she had nothing to do with — weren’t fun.)

<em> "Pipsqueaks." .</em>

As it turned out, the whole thing — childrearing — lasted about two weeks.

Yiddishe Cup has been in existence 21 years, and that, too, has felt like two weeks. One day — back in 1989 — we were playing a Cleveland Heights street fair, and the next day– 21 years later– we were playing a Cleveland Heights street fair.*  What’s with that?

We — the Yiddishe Cup musicians — enjoy the short drive to work.  We are in our own backyard, kind of  like the working musicians in Las Vegas or Branson, Mo.  The downside to playing Cleveland a lot is everybody has heard us a million times.

Make it new.  Or go nuts.

The newest Yiddishe Cup recruit, our drummer, has been with us 12 years.  We have new music, but not new guys.

I rarely put the musicians’ names front and center.  It’s all about Team Yiddishe Cup.  What if a Yiddishe Cup “star” leaves? That would mess up the band’s publicity.

The band’s PR photos are like my family portrait.  Same guys, basically.  Why change the photos?  We look the same as we did in the 1990s.  I think so.  It’s the same guys.

Yiddishe Cup, 1998. An outtake. The arrow coming out of Irwin's head messed up this shot.  (Photo by Charles J. Mintz)

Yiddishe Cup, 1998. An outtake. The arrow in Irwin's head messed up this shot. (Photo by Charles J. Mintz)

* Footnote: Yiddishe Cup did not play a Cleveland Heights street fair in 2010. However, the band did play Parade the Circle in University Circle — close to, but not in, Cleveland Heights. And last year the band played for the outdoor movie/concert night at Coventry (Cleveland Heights).


2 of 2 posts for 9/8/10.

L’shana tovah. (Happy New Year.)

Yiddishe Cup is at Fairmount Temple  Wed. Sept 29 and Park Synagogue Thurs. Sept. 30 for Simchat Torah.  Cleveland.

shareEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter


1 Bill Jones { 09.08.10 at 10:17 am }

L’shana tova tikatevu u’metuka for you, your mishpocha and the band, too, Bert.

2 "Kenny G" { 09.08.10 at 10:38 am }

I’ve heard you a million-and-one times and I miss most of your concerts, unfortunately…. You actually played a CH street fair this year? Does that mean a REAL street fair? Which?

Where did you perform in 1989? Perhaps that “Summer in the City” festival we used to have by the community center? That’s about the time I won a ribbon thing for my carrot cake.

3 Ellen { 09.08.10 at 11:04 am }

I could hear you a million times and a million times more — but would I invite you for shabbos and tell you not to bring the clarinet? Wow. Now I feel pressured to be a mensch.
Happy, Happy New Year to Yiddishe Cup.
What if in lieu of the shofar we had some klezmer?

4 Bert { 09.08.10 at 11:09 am }

To “Kenny G”:

Yiddishe Cup didn’t play a Cleveland Heights street fair this year. But we did play Parade the Circle — close to, but not in, Cleveland Heights.

And last year we played the outdoor movie night/concert at Coventry School.

Maybe I’ll add a footnote to the above blog post to clarify.

In July 1989 we played the Coventry Arts Fair.

Thanks for keeping me honest!

Leave a Comment