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 Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post.


Posts from — May 2011


A Jew Grows in Brooklyn, Jake Ehrenrich’s one-man Broadway show, was unadulterated nostalgia.  Jake even flashed photos of his bar mitzvah on the big screen on stage.

The show came through Cleveland recently.  The audience, for the most part, loved the sentimentality and obviousness of the play.  Did you know Jake and other Brooklynites played stickball?  Did you know Irving Berlin was born Isadore Balin?  Did you know Jews wrote many popular Christmas and rock songs?

This just in: Jews like baseball.

What about bark mitzvahs?  (Bar mitzvahs for dogs.)  Aren’t those (fake) events outrageous and cute?  Jake projected dogs in yarmulkes and tallism (prayer shawls) onto the screen.

There are acceptable levels of schmaltz and shtick.  Jake exceeded those levels.

I know, Yiddishe Cup is not exactly schmaltz-free.  And Yiddishe Cup gets negative reviews too.  We’re schmaltzy. We play “Romania” at the end of most of our shows.  That is the imprimatur of a klez shtick band.  But we also play original comedy tunes and regularly rip off the great Mickey Katz.

We would gladly add more high-brow material to our shows if we could play our instruments better.  But we wouldn’t add too much high-brow.

Some high-brow bands are monotonous, repetitive and monotonous.  No names here; I don’t want to alienate any of my musician friends.  OK, I’ll name one group . . .

Los Muñequitos de Matanzas.

These drum-crazed Cuban dudes play rhythm patterns on four drums for 45 minutes.  And that’s just the first set. Very little melodic or harmonic variation.  No chording instruments.  No talking between songs.

Yiddishe Cup talks.  We explain our tunes and ad lib asides. I might say, “Ladies and gentlemen, on keyboards, Winston Churchill.”  That’s class.

Jake Ehrenrich, in his show, lifted many old Jewish jokes. That was the best part of his show — his Catskills routine.  (And he’s a good singer and musician.)

Jake’s best joke:

Two Jewish men are walking by a church sign:


Abe says, “I’m thinking of doing it — converting.”

Murray says, “What? Are you crazy?”

Abe goes into the church and comes out ten minutes later.

“So?” Murray asks. “Did you get the $500?”

Abe says, “Is that all you people think about!”

Hurray for Oy Vey.  There’s a market.  And I want the T-shirt concession in the lobby.

Say "No Vey" to "Oy Vey"

For “inside baseball” blog talk, please check out the post below.

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May 25, 2011   3 Comments


interrupt-this-blogBeen doing this blog for two years.

Special thanks to our major donors (commenters).  We could have done it without you, but it wouldn’t have been as much fun.

In no particular order, thanks to Marc, Jessica Schreiber, Gerald Ross, Seth Marks, Teddy, Adrianne Greenbaum, Bill Jones, Mark Schilling, Harvey Kugelman, Terri Zupancic, Ellen, Susan Greene . . .

David, Margie,  Irwin Weinberger, John Urbancich, Jane Lassar, Zach Kurtz, Ben Cohen, Alice, Alan Douglass, Diddle, Steve, Dan, Jack, Don Friedman, Kenny G,  and Steven Greenman.

Get your name on this list next year by contributing at least $2,500 or writing many comments.

"Substandard paragraphs!  Ten cents!"

"Substandard paragraphs! Ten cents!"

Also, a special thanks to Ralph Solonitz, the blog’s illustrator.  He adds a lot.  When I write substandard paragraphs, I encourage Ralph to throw in as many pics as possible.  Works out well.

I first met Ralph about 20 years ago when he designed Yiddishe Cup’s logo.

Several people have recently asked when they’re going to get in the blog.  They want in!

On the other hand, many more people say, “Don’t put me in your blog, whatever you do.”

Google Analytics — a spy op — says there are “Klezmer Guy” readers in every state except South Dakota, plus many foreign countries.  (The five most popular countries are Canada, Israel, Germany, the United Kingdom and France.)

Google Analytics, for your information, zeroes in on readers by their hometowns, not their names.  For instance, somebody in Chico, California, reads this blog.

Thanks for hanging in with this blog.  Without you — the reader — I’d be writing for the drawer, which I’ve done and it’s no fun.

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May 20, 2011   3 Comments


You aren’t going to read this entire blog.  I know that.  You have other things to do. Like working out . . .

Benching the Sunday NY Times

Mr. Mentsh benches the Sunday NY Times

Here’s a good idea.  Check out this “best of” list:

1. The three best blog posts are . . .

SEARCHING FOR GALICIA, about the Alter Heym (Old Country); has a photo of my mother;

FECES HAPPENS, about a building manager cleaning up excrement;

and YID LIDS, about a yarmulke collection.

This  site — Klezmer Guy — is primarily an amusing word pile, accompanied by Ralph Solonitz‘s illustrations, original Klezmer Guy videos and Yiddishe Cup music.   And no recipes.

2. The best video is about a beat-boxing drummer (guy in yellow shirt with tie):

3. The best Yiddishe Cup recording is Meshugeneh Mambo — a klezmer comedy album. mambo-final You can buy and/or listen to it at CDBaby, Amazon, or iTunes. (Yiddishe Cup’s Web site is We play all over the country. We also do a duo act.)
Here’s our best song:

Meshugeneh Mambo (Crazy Mambo) by Yiddishe Cup

4. The blog’s illustrator, to repeat, is Ralph Solonitz. His best work is Yiddishe Cup’s logo at the very top of this page.

herring-boat5. Please sign the mailing list at the lower left of the screen. You’ll get a fresh post delivered to your door every Wednesday morning by herring boat. You will receive one — just one — email a week. (We don’t sell your email address to others.) Or you can “like” us on Facedeath and get a weekly blog post there.

Once again, welcome. Please read the posts below and come back here on Wednesday mornings. Nobody — and that includes the New York Times — covers the klezmer/
landlord scene like we do.

Lox on,

Bert Stratton

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May 7, 2011   7 Comments