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.



My wife, Alice, was one of the many star-struck fans who drove to Rockside Road and I-77 in Cleveland to audition for The Avengers movie.

I asked Alice, “Did you get the part?  Did you read anything?”

Not only did she not read, she did not even audition. The traffic was so horrendous at Rockside Road, she turned around.  Thousands of people had shown up for the audition.  The line of wannabes snaked at least a mile from the building, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

There was another Hollywood movie, Fun Size, filmed a few weeks earlier, several blocks from our house in Cleveland Heights.  That’s when Alice got star struck.  Catering and make-up trucks were around our neighborhood.

I heard about it.  I didn’t want to see the trucks.  I have a bias against Hollywood.

Hollywood guys have too much fun.  They should be making radiator valves, or PVC pipe fittings, like the rest of the world.  Not blowing things up and eating from catering trucks.

My wife’s school gym (where she teaches elementary-school physical education) was turned into a vast make-up room for Fun Size.  She said the school board got $500,000 for the rental.

I didn’t believe that.  Alice’s source — the school janitor — told her the five-hundred grand figure.

Make that $50,000.  I’d accept that.  Better yet, $5,000.  Who would pay half a million to rent a school building for a couple days?  Hollywood is a funny ballpark, but not that funny.

Hollywood’s latest tax-abatement haven/heaven is Ohio.  Used to be Michigan.

I would like to be in a movie, Alice.   But I would demand some lines and star food.  No way am I going to be a man in the crowd, not at this point in my career.

I want to blow up something.  Grab a lighter, Alice.  You have a role.

Those Lips, Those Eyes, United Artists, 1980, Cain Park amphitheater, Cleveland Heights. Bert Stratton at far left.

A version of this story is crossposted today at

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1 Kenny G { 08.31.11 at 9:55 am }

Saw a lot of the [Avengers] stuff downtown, including all the Deutsch around Public Square (e.g. “Strass Hotel,” “Schlotz Platz”). Burnt-out and terra-cotta-appearing pieces of bldgs and shells of cars still around as of yesterday…. Didn’t stay around to watch for hours or take pictures, though.

Traffic jam [at Rockside and I-77] would have been worse, but for some of casting taking place downtown, like in the Halle Bldg.

Saw the temporary fast-food places on Carnegie too for Fun Size, and Coventry Village closed off to cars. (At first, I was afraid it was part of the curfew stuff….)

So did B&J serve the freebie bars at Wiley? The world needs to know.

Incidentally, it’s “movie” – not “move” (I think….).

“In Her Shoes” film of 2005. I highly recommend it!

2 Bert { 08.31.11 at 10:19 am }

To Kenny G:

There were free Klondike bars at the Yiddishe Cup concert at Wiley Middle School last week.

Thanks for the correction on “move.” Now reads “movie,” as in “I would like to be in a movie, Alice.”

3 Don Friedman { 08.31.11 at 1:45 pm }

I actually did have a roll at The Avengers movie set. It was topped with cinnamon. Take that, Alan!

4 Marc Adler { 08.31.11 at 8:47 pm }

They filmed the movie 27 Dresses in Providence. Some scenes were down the street from my hardware store.

They actually rented an empty storefront and bought stuff from my hardware store to recreate a hardware store. They rented my old key machine.

They could have rented my whole store and me too!

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