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.



The Challah Fame announced its lecture series today:  The Art of Klezmer . . . How to Make it Hypnotic, Bruising and Revelatory.

Klez Mezzrow

Klez Mezzrow, lecture series curator

The lectures are free, but attendees must bring doctors’ permission slips. Some lectures might be dangerous, according to the brochure.

The first lecture is June 15, featuring Hankus Netsky, bandleader of the Klezmer Conservatory Band.

6/15  Hankus Netsky HOW DO I STOP THIS THING?

Should a klezmer song end with a “squirt” (quarter note) or a “pop” (eighth note)?   Or how about a simple  I-V-I chord tag?  Or  should the bandleader just scream, “It was all a mistake!”

Netsky is clear and emotive.  Expect audience participation, including hummus-smearing and firearms.

6/22  Sarah Gordon WEATHER THAT KILLS

Sarah, a singer and third-grade teacher in New York, will talk about corporal punishment.  Gordon’s punk-klez band, Yiddish Princess, is best known for “Painkiller” and “Weather That Kills.”   Gordon gives us an insider’s look at the combative multivalent New York klezmer scene.  Bring knives.  Sarah  is going to recreate the West Side Story switchblade scene in Yiddish.  Volunteers needed.

7/9  Don Friedman PRAISED BE KLEZMER!

Yiddishe Cup’s drummer, Don Friedman,  is the spiritual leader of The Churchagogue in Twinsburg, Ohio.  Donny invented the Jewish freewill offering; it isn’t free.  Donny was the recipient of Sweden’s “Little Drummer Boy” prize ($753,000) last year and invested much of that in upgrading The Churchagogue, tick-talk1which attracts more than 2,000 worshippers on a typical shabbes morning.  Free refills on the Mogen David through “Eyn Keloheynu.”  Donny delivers his most famous sermon tonight: “Time. Sometimes it passes slowly. Sometimes it flies by.”

7/29  Alice Stratton OLD-SCHOOL MATH

Alice talks about pacing and musical symmetry.  She takes us back to the days when hora tempos were T-120 (120 beats/minute) and veteran pianist Pete Sokolow‘s blood pressure was under 120.  Alice, a dance leader with Yiddishe Cup, makes her second Challah Fame appearance tonight.  In 2000 she debuted her dance “Some Kind of Cheesy Orgy” at The Challah Fame grand opening.

8/6  Daniel Kahn SLACKIN’ WITH DANNY K

Daniel Kahn, a.k.a. Danny K, chants the trope of recuperative klezmer here.  No worries, it’s all good.  How to enjoy life by playing music, singing, or just listening.  Kahn, from Berlin, does mixed-genre exploring, using ketchup, sauerkraut and clarinets.  Samples afterward.

9/15  Michael Winograd THE 2011 KLEZMER MANIFESTO

Wino, the 28-year-old klez clarinet phenom, delivers the first klez manifesto since Alicia Svigals wailed her “Against Nostalgia” rant at the 1996 Wesleyan University Klezmer Conference.

Here are some of Winograd’s key points:

1. It’s a lonely world.  Hi, everybody.
2. I’ve done many things wrong.  Sorry about that.
3. I get paid to eat at weddings. Why?
4. A scrap of paper in my wallet says I owe you.  Shut up, scrap!

10/3 Ted Stratton MUSIC THAT REPELS

Stratton focuses on life’s basics: dirt, worms, aphids, flies and klezmer music. What’s real, what’s not? What’s fake, what’s authentic? What’s cool, what’s dumb?rear-view-bert3 Stratton looks at the avant-garde in his rearview mirror; he’s way ahead of you. His latest book is The Limbo: Still Rockin’ at 50. How Long Can It Go?


Rubin leads us on a virtual eating tour deep into Europe, a la Borat.  Rubin focuses primarily on risk-taking in eating.

Rubin will be barbecuing ribs throughout the lecture and not washing his hands.  Some spitting too. Samples afterward.

11/2 Daniel Ducoff AQUA-KLEZMER

Daniel Ducoff, a swimmer and Yiddishe Cup dance leader, talks about the awe-inspiring aspects of the Jewish water experience.

What is “difficult” will be “not difficult” after Daniel’s lecture.  You will not be afraid of  the 10-meter board or the mikvah.

Mystical, glorious and powerful mayim (water). Heartbreaking too.  Bring a suit.  There will be a baby pool and high board. Expect some broken bones.


Walt‘s lecture is a split-perception event.  Half the audience wears “I ♥Yiddish” buttons, and the other half  gets
“I ♥ Roma”  badges.  Challah Fame staffers are the U.N. observers.  Let’s see what happens.  Situation report to follow.


Israeli clarinetist Moshe Berlin lectures in Hebrew on the differences between Israeli and American klezmer music.  Free Holy Land yarmulkes to all who attend. Also, Moshe will pass out learsi refrigerator magnets afterwards. “Learsi”  is “Israel” spelled backwards. The Learsi Project encourages you to read everything — even English —

Footnote: 1.3 percent of the words in this post are stolen from the Poetry Project Newsletter #226.

Enjoy the “Klezmer Guy” blog, accompanied by beer, food
and music . . .

Tues. (June 14)
7:30 p.m.

Spoken word, klezmer, rock, pop, Tin Pan Alley and alley.

Bert Stratton, clarinet, spoken word
Alan Douglass, piano, vocals
Jack Stratton, drums, beat-box

Lots of new material in this show. Your name might pop up in the script.

12387 Cedar Rd., Cleveland Hts.

Yiddishe Cup — the whole band — is at Parade The Circle, Cleveland, 11 a.m. Sat. (June 11). We’re playing a pre-parade concert.

We’ll also be at Temple Israel (Akron, Ohio) Sat. night (June 11), 8 p.m., for a concert. 330-762-8617.

Check out this funny and good 1970 Kickstarter video by Yiddishe Cup’s alternate drummer, Jack Stratton.

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1 adrianne greenbaum { 06.08.11 at 10:41 am }

Oh oh oh, I was my usual gullible self for a few minutes, wanting to be at every lecture. You’re the man, BS. (Hey, I didn’t even realize your initials describe you so well!!! But it’s fabulous BS, you know.)

Give a huge wave to my Akron Peeps at Temple Israel! (I, as a typical Jew who needs to say where she didn’t “pray,” did NOT go there, but went to the Akron version of the Ortho experience on Copley Road, Anshe Sfard.)

2 Bill Jones { 06.08.11 at 12:55 pm }

Bert, yasher koach on “learsi” and reading from right to left.

In pilpul-ing over your dense tract, I found myself unable to tell whether Friedman’s [sermon] “Time. Sometimes it passes slowly” was a reference to the “Unchained Melody” lyrics, or not. Nu?

3 Bert { 06.08.11 at 1:18 pm }

To Bill Jones:

Don Friedman’s sermon “Time. Sometimes it passes slowly” is an orginal Donny idea. He dreamt it up.

4 don friedman { 06.09.11 at 10:02 pm }

Actually, Bill [Jones], my sermon was a reference to my Unclaimed Melody. You were close.

I wrote the melody and then did the sermon. You never heard the melody because after the first 4 bars I was too out of it to play.

My next sermon is titled ‘Tempus Fugit.’ I’ll deliver it at the Friday eve service on Wednesday nite. I’ll be out of town Friday! Be sure to bring your Latin-to-English guide.

5 MARC { 06.10.11 at 1:13 pm }

I need to go to that “How do I stop this thing?”lecture.

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