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.



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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1 Gerald Ross { 05.25.11 at 9:40 am }

I blatantly rip off a lot of my “Late Night” material from the website “Old Jews Telling Jokes.”

By “Late Night,” I mean the jokes I tell at music festivals at 2:00 AM, when I’m sitting around socializing and drinking with my fellow musicians.

Here are the ones that always get a laugh from the non-Jews in attendance (most of my fellow musicians). I will just give you the punch line – you know the setup….

1. And when he rubbed it, it turned into a suitcase.
2. The rabbi’s a goner.
3. I’m a mohel, what should I hang outside my shop?

2 Bert { 05.25.11 at 10:13 am }

To Gerald Ross:

You’re cruel — telling punchlines without the jokes.

3 diddle { 05.26.11 at 12:00 am }

love me some folkloric cuban perc. it’s a groove thing

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