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 played New York.  We rented a van at LaGuardia Airport and drove to a hotel in Elmhurst, Queens, which was like Cleveland except a lot more Asians.  The hotel was between a transmission shop and a Burger King.


New York, New York

We played the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts in 2006. Who knows why.  Who was the program director at the center.  Janet Who. (Joke.)  Maybe we got the gig because no East Coast band was doing klezmer comedy like us.  I don’t know.

In Brooklyn — on our way to the gig — I saw a fender bender. The driver called out, “Would you be a witness?”

“No, I’m from Ohio,” I said.  Shades of Kitty Genovese.

The Yiddishe Cup musicians wondered: Why my schmuck-itude, and why the ‘I’m from Ohio’?

The Ohio remark was because I was daydreaming about our imminent “Midwest Yids Blow NY Lids” headline.  Maybe a New York Post reporter was hiding in our van.  Also, I was preoccupied with not denting our ride — a 15-passenger rental van.  I was weaving through very dense borough traffic, and the last thing I wanted was to get involved with another driver’s dents.  I wasn’t going to wait around 30 minutes for the police, just prior to our New York debut.

We did Catskill comedy tunes at the concert.  The audience — primarily AKs (old people) — loved us.  I thought we were going to play for some young people. Aren’t there a lot of young people in Brooklyn?  Yes.  But they were not at our show.  No reporters showed up either, even though the New York Jewish Week music critic, George Robinson, had written: “Yiddishe Cup is a band that was made for a hip Jewish New York audience.  It’s a wildly funny amalgam of Mickey Katz, Spike Jones, PDQ Bach and straight-ahead klezmer.”


New York Jewish Week, April 21, 2006

The crowd was mostly elderly Flatbush residents.  I brought out some 1957 Brooklyn Dodgers baseball cards and gave the audience a quiz:

What was Duke Snider’s real first name?


pee-wee-reese-1957What was Pee Wee Reese’s real name?


What was Al Walker’s nickname?


The audience got every answer right.  And one man even guessed Duke Snider’s height correctly (6-1).

I talked about Cleveland. I told the crowd I had gone to high school with Eric Carmen of the Raspberries.  That’s what New Yorkers wanted to hear — who I had gone to high school with.  New Yorkers like to say “I went to Sheepshead Bay with Larry David” or “I went to Eramus with Sedaka.” If they don’t repeat that often, they feel like Midwesterners.

Yiddishe Cup felt like New Yorkers.

We did it our way. We flew to New York, got paid and got out of there.  Next stop, Columbus, Ohio.

Listen here to the comedy tunes we played in New York.

Yiddishe Cup plays the community-wide Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel Independence Day) celebration 6:30 p.m. Mon. (May 10) at Park Synagogue, Cleveland Heights.

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1 Gerald Ross { 05.04.11 at 10:23 am }

Even if Yid Cup blew away an audience of hip young “klezmer aware” NY Jews, they wouldn’t let you know it.

They are way too hip to admit they like anything that comes out of the fly-over states.

2 MARC { 05.04.11 at 2:54 pm }

Mazel tov on making it in New York.

3 Steven Greenman { 05.04.11 at 10:31 pm }

Nobody ever comes to New York klezmer gigs. Musicians and young people are way too busy even to see old colleagues. Just doesn’t happen. Last concert I did there we got 5 people in the audience and two were my relatives! It still feels good to play there though.

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