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 is an occasional contributor to the New York Times, the Times of Israel, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and City Journal. He won two Hopwood Awards.


 
 

COPS ARE FUNNY

 


Cleveland cop Tommy Alusheff moonlighted as a comedian, using the stage name Morey Cohen — a conflation of Morey Amsterdam and Myron Cohen (two of Alusheff’s favorite comedians).  Morey Cohen worked at Hilarities and other regional comedy clubs, plus he did some out-of-town gigs, like in Los Angeles.

Morey Cohen’s father, Chris Alusheff, owned the Baker Candy factory in Collinwood.  Chris Alusheff  once told me Jews like dark chocolate more than gentiles like it.  Why?  Kashrut?  (Kosher dietary laws?)   Probably.   The Alusheffs were Macedonians.   Their best-selling product was chocolate-covered whipped candy eggs, sold at Easter time.

Tommy Alusheff (Morey Cohen), about 2009

Morey Cohen died last year.  I didn’t go to the funeral; I only knew him by reputation.  Morey wasn’t in the Sixth District, which had been my police beat.  (I was a  reporter in the 1980s.)

The top comedy cop at the Sixth District had been Paul Falzone, a stand-up guy, but not a stand-up comedian.  Falzone was almost ready for prime time.  I hung out with Falzone in the burglary unit at the East 152nd Street station, aka The District, the cop shop.  The building had few windows.  It was a fortress, built after the 1967 Hough riots.  When the A/C went out in the building, it was a real sweat shop.  Falzone said, “I have eight minutes of material to Morey’s twelve.”

Falzone asked me, “How are the Jewish holidays treating you?”  It was September.

“Fine.”

“You’ve got to watch for neo-Nazis,” he said.

“Why?”

Mob makeover

“Everyone has to watch for somebody.  Italians, they got to watch out for other Italians; you start your car and it goes ba-boom instead of vroom.  The Irish, they got to watch for Jack Daniels.  Hey, how can you tell Ronald McDonald at a nudist colony?”

“How?”

“He’s the one with sesame seed buns.”

Falzone ran for county sheriff,  and president of the patrolmen’s union.  He didn’t win either.  He eventually became police chief of Bratenahl, a suburb.  Now he’s running for mayor of Bratenahl.

Paul Falzone, 1982, at the Sixth District

Two years ago Cuyahoga County tried to put Falzone in jail for theft.  Something about drugs and guns missing from the Bratenahl property room.

Falzone was acquitted.  Now he’s suing Bratenahl for “humiliation.”  Doesn’t sound funny, but Falzone can probably get some jokes out of it.  Bad jokes. He needs only four more minutes to match Morey Cohen . . .

“So I’m on patrol, and I walk into the Viking bar.  I see a 16-year-old punk with a Miller’s.  I say, “When’s your birthday, kid?”

He says, “October 10.”

“What year?”

“Every year.”


Footnote: The Sixth District became the Fifth District  in 2008, when the Cleveland Police Department reapportioned the districts.

From illustrator Ralph Solonitz’s Parade of  Nations collection:

Ireland

Italy

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5 comments

1 Kenny G { 09.28.11 at 12:07 pm }

You can’t trust dark chocolate at being “pareve” by a long shot. BEWARE!

2 marc { 09.28.11 at 1:17 pm }

Thats a switch, someone changing their name from goyishe to Jewish.

3 Kenny G { 09.28.11 at 6:44 pm }

One of my mother’s first cousins’ husbands, who was Jewish, changed his name to Italian – thought it would do him well in his business (of which I have forgotten)….
The indie ice cream parlor I knew best in Rochester was Livadas, on Monroe Avenue near downtown. The lady who ran it, Carolyn, took it over from her father; they were Greek Americans and she had gone to h.s. with my mother. She came to a compromise with her parents – they didn’t have to pick her husband but he had to be Greek. Guy she married much older, but Greek.
They had the ice cream concoctions with many kinds of candy – no counter, that I recall, but many tables. Sometimes we went after a concert at the Eastman, for example.

4 Kenny G { 09.28.11 at 6:45 pm }

Re this Falzone character – You must have hung around him a lot, Bert, because I can see where you got some of your (hehe) sense of humor….

5 Seth Marks { 10.04.11 at 6:05 pm }

During the Hough riots, I was in law school and the Law Students Civil Rights Committee sent people out to the various police districts to monitor activities and to make sure those arrested were given their rights.

I was “assigned” to the Sixth District, and I went over there around 8:00pm and found a parking spot right next to the precinct. I was immediately treated as a pariah. The cops made a joke out of my being there, my “long” (by those days’ standards) hair, the audacity of thinking anything they would do could be suspect. I was more afraid of them, their attitude re me, and the bragging about what they would do with their personal weapons that they had brought to the precinct, than the riots going on blocks away.

When I finally got to my car several hours later, my rear tires were slashed.

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