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.



Klezmer music was popular for a second in the mid-1990s.  I protected talent — the klez stars.  The klezmer scene had stars back then.   Andy Statman, for instance.  Small stars.

For security, I hired Cleveland toughs.   I didn’t import Israelis from New York.  I had Albanians and Ukrainians from Cleveland’s West Side.  One of my guys — a goy from Lvov — had Yiddish tattoos and played tuba in a klezmer band back home.

I’m still at it — security work.  My office is on Mercantile Road in Beachwood.  No sign.  We’re in back of Pella Windows.

I tore down a Royal Castle hamburger stand and had the tiny orange crown tiles (like on the Ontario license plate) inlaid in my company’s lunchroom floor.  I’m putting in an indoor sliding board.  My place is one of the “Top 10 best places to work in Ohio.”   I chose it.

I do collections — rent collections.  Tenants scream at my Ukie boys: “You can’t put my shit out on the street!”  And my boys scream back: “You break law.  You no pay rent.  Now we break law!”

I’ve got ’tude, but I’m also a nice guy.  I’m involved in the community.  I hire summer interns from the Beachwood High wrestling team, like Sam Gross 112, Alec Jacober 130, Ryan Harris 125.  These guys can squeeze through small openings.

“You Want to be a Jewish Cop?” — that’s the title of my annual lecture at Beachwood High career day.  I say: “Be a cop, kids, but don’t be a wussy cop.  Don’t be like that cop at Heinen’s parking lot with the Harpo Marx Jewfro.”

I still listen to klezmer.   I like the music.  I’m friends with Bratton — Steve Bratton — the leader of Klezmer Cup.

I know every yidl by name in Cleveland.

Call me.  I’m in back of Pella Windows.



This one, on the other hand, is real.


Scott Raab, a writer and former Clevelander, carries a ticket from the 1964 Browns-Colts championship game in his wallet.

I have a ticket to that game too.

Retrieved from my attic . . .

Raab’s ticket was part of an story about how Cleveland sports teams haven’t won a championship lately. This story — or a version of it — is recycled regularly. Raab put his ticket on the cover of his new book, The Whore of Akron, about LeBron James ditching Cleveland.  (Read the book.)

The Cleveland Browns beat the Colts 27-0 in 1964. My Uncle Al, my dad, and I went to the championship game. Maybe my dad knew Cleveland would never win another championship. He was just a lukewarm Browns fan.


I have this ticket too, Scott Raab:

The 1964 Davis Cup finals in Cleveland.

Chuck McKinley was short. Roy Emerson was short. I was short. I was at the Davis Cup tournament. My mother bought me the ticket (which was expensive — in today’s dollars $72), and I went by myself.

In Cleveland Heights, a temporary 7,500-seat tennis stadium appeared next to a junior high in 1964. Fred Stolle and Emerson from Australia played America’s Dennis Ralston and McKinley. (Stolle and Ralston weren’t short.)

The Australians won 3-2. The score was beside the point. The 1964 Davis Cup was the best sporting event ever.


I have  an essay, “And What’s That on Your Head?”, in the current issue of CJ: Voices of Conservative /Masorti Judiasm,  the house mag  of Conservative Judaism.  (A version of the story appeared on this blog 1/5/11, titled “Yid Lids.”)

Yiddishe Cup plays Parade the Circle this Sat. (June 9), noon, University Circle.  Best arts event in Cleveland ever.  Ride your bike down there, locals.

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1 Bill Jones { 06.06.12 at 9:58 am }

The swipe at the University Hts Heinen’s security guy is uncalled for and especially for the graphic description you use, even in satire, and in contrast to your ethnic stereotyping of Slavs. Even in jest it’s not helpful.

2 Steven Greenman { 06.06.12 at 10:02 am }

I like the University Heights Heinen’s cop! Nice guy, don’t rip him!

Also, Cleveland seriously has to get over LeBron. The whole city made a messiah out of him, and when he failed (one time), and then when he left the city, everyone poured all their hatred on him and forgot that he was the greatest player the team ever had. He left, get over it, Cleveland!

3 Kenny G { 06.06.12 at 10:36 am }

“Office” in a Jewish neighborhood? No wonder you need the toughs.

That cop at Heinen’s on Sundays always intrigued me – a cop so Jewish looking. It seems I’ve seen him standing there like 30 years.

4 Garry Kanter { 06.06.12 at 7:35 pm }

Yeah, I’ve always had a vague memory of that Davis Cup, it just didn’t seem possible.

Otherwise, I’m not sure what to make of today’s column. Art works like that sometimes.

5 jack { 06.07.12 at 1:26 pm }


6 Robert Knecht Schmidt { 07.01.12 at 12:27 pm }

My dad was a ballboy in that Davis Cup. It stretches the imagination to think of my dad running after anything, but there you go.

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