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.



Cleveland is in the middle of the cereal belt.  Shredded Wheat of Niagara Falls, New York, is to the east, and to the west is Kellogg’s of Battle Creek, Michigan.

Shredded Wheat moved from Niagara Falls years ago, but the cereal belt remains.  Cleveland is the buckle.

Clevelander Marty Gitlin just published a cereal encyclopedia, The Great American Cereal Book  (Abrams Images), featuring “hundreds of images of vintage cereal boxes and spokes-characters — Tony the Tiger, Snap, Crackle, Pop, and Lucky the Leprechaun.”

Test-marketed in Cleveland

I had a prospective store tenant who wanted to open a cereal store.  He opened down the street and went under almost immediately.  He was Cereal Central, aka Cerealicious.   Nobody in Cleveland wanted to eat cereal in a store.  (He also had a store in Columbus near Ohio State.  Apparently,  OSU students were willing to eat cereal in a restaurant.)

Most people like to eat cereal alone and not talk about it.  That’s my guess.

In my temple bulletin, no bar mitzvah kid’s profile reads: “Jacob is interested in cereal.”  More often it’s “Morgan enjoys  Sudoku and chatting online, and is a member of the recycling club.”

What is Morgan’s cereal?

Marty Gitlin and I want to know.


Musicians — at least one — eat cereal at home after late-night gigs.  Musicians can’t fall asleep after gigs.  Musicians’ heads are filled with fruit loops of “Simon Tov” and “Hava Nagilah.”  (Klezmer musicians’ heads, that is.)

Shredded wheat choices at 1 a.m.: Barbara’s shredded wheat or Quaker shredded wheat.  (Shredded wheat is not trademarkable.)  I mix Barbara’s with Autumn Harvest (Kashi).

I wrote an “advice column” for the Ann Arbor Observer (February 2012).  Check it out: “Hit the Road, Jack . . . A dad’s advice.”   

Click here to hear what junior (Jack) is up to today:  “Louder Naftule.”  The latest in klezmer.

Drummer Jack Stratton, backed by clarinetists Merlin Shepherd and Lucy Stratton. KlezKamp, 1993. (Photo by Al Winn)

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1 Gerald Ross { 02.08.12 at 9:43 am }

After-gig eating is a long-honored tradition amongst performing artists.

When I was actively touring with the Lost World String Band in the early 80’s, our typical after-gig chow was donuts and chocolate milk. Pretty decadent, eh? That was if we were in small-town Midwest.

If we were in a major city, it was usually Chinese food or mile-high deli sandwiches. (Nothing compares to sleeping on somebody’s too-short couch after eating 1/2 pound of pastrami at 3:00 AM.)

2 Bert { 02.08.12 at 10:16 am }

To Gerald Ross:

Speaking of touring, I hear you’re coming to the Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland, this Sun. (Feb. 12) at 7 p.m.

I plan to be there. Make sure you play some Hawaiian guitar.

3 Mark Schilling { 02.08.12 at 12:32 pm }

To cure 3 a.m. insomnia, I toast peanut butter on a slice of bread or a bagel and down it with a glass of milk. It works — sometimes.

4 Bert { 02.08.12 at 1:20 pm }

To Mark Schilling (of Tokyo):

I didn’t know they had bagels in Japan. What’s the world coming to?

I remember when bagels first came to the shores of the Lakeside Association (the Lake Erie Methodist, Chautauqua-style retreat).

Yiddishe Cup played a gig there. All the food shops had signs in the windows: “We have bagels!” Must have been around 1995.

5 Garry Kanter { 02.08.12 at 3:45 pm }

[re “Hit the Road, Jack” story]

NYC and San Fransisco? No, the boys weren’t going to be happy in that city in that state up north..

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

6 jack { 02.08.12 at 6:53 pm }

go blue

7 alice { 02.08.12 at 8:25 pm }

One theory of why Caucasians are white: after Baltic people started cultivating grain and eating bread/cereal, they lowered their consumption of fish with vitamin D. People’s skin got whiter so they could absorb more vitamin D from the sun. Bert’s love of cereal after a gig is why his skin, hair, eyes are so light.

8 Kenny G { 02.09.12 at 10:22 am }

The most appropriate cereal for at least the Jews in your little band would be “Kashi.” At least that’s the way many would pronounce it in Rochester for, as they say, “groats.”

They also say in Rochester, or least many did 50 years ago, “yarmulky,” “kishky,” “alky” (aka “knaidelach”), “chally,” etc.

Something about where many of the Rochester Jewish community came from in the “Big Migration” period….

9 Mark Schilling { 02.09.12 at 11:14 am }

The first one to make decent bagels in Japan, at least in the time I’ve been here, was a dude from Chicago named Lyle Fox. When he started in the early ’80s, most of his customers were in the gaijin (foreign) community, but as his business grew, the Japanese bakeries started to take notice of him — and one finally bought him out, I believe. In any case, he’s long gone.

I get my bagels now from Costco. The Japanese versions taste like bland chewy bread.

10 Seth { 02.17.12 at 6:03 pm }

Great Ann Arbor column.

I just started eating surreal again…only cause it’s a reasonably easy way to get calcium…better than drinking the milk straight…yuck.

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