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.


Egos Bruised, Teeth Jarred

Yiddishe Cup played a wedding in a backyard in Connecticut where the floor partially collapsed.  The ground became soggy underneath the tent, which was built into the side of a hill.  The tent grid work — which supported the plywood floor — sunk.  About 50 semi-drunken partygoers did athletic hora steps and pogo-ing, and the floor buckled.

The groom’s mom told me to stop the music.

I  didn’t. You can’t stop the hora at a wedding; it’s bad luck for the marriage.  I said, “Two more minutes.”  She said no, and jumped onto the bandstand and yanked the saxophone from my mouth. Luckily, I wasn’t playing clarinet (different embouchure, more likely to damage my teeth). I said, “Don’t ever do that again!”  She was oblivious to me.   She frantically dialed her phone for a repairman.

The tent-repair crew arrived shortly, and during a break the crew crawled under the tent and put in extra supports.  The mom had the band playing only background music. We sounded like a string quartet at a funeral.  We didn’t want anybody to dance, because the floor would collapse even more.   We had traveled 500 miles to play tepid tunes like “Jerusalem of Gold” and “Tumbalalaika,” and have my ax yanked.  What a letdown.

The dancing picked up after the repair crew fixed the support grid work.  Lots of ruach (spirit), and no more assaults on my teeth.



Watch out,  literature here . . .



13 Jews are in line
for omelets


A woman says
“Do I want the mushroom omelet?”
Is she talking to me?
To herself


The beauty of the East Coast
Red maples in Connecticut
We’ve come a long way


Why do I imagine everybody at this wedding
is thin and wearing black?
Because everybody is thin and wearing black


“You’re from somewhere near Hungary,” I say
“Finland,” the woman says
“Don’t they share a language bond?”
I’m on a losing streak with accents


Where is the euphony?
This band is loud
This band is Yiddishe Cup
Turn it down, guys!


We are in the Berkshires
The leaves are falling
So are we

The tent and Yiddishe Cup, Lakeville, Conn., 2010

I wrote this op-ed, “Main Street’s Landlord,” for the New York Times, 9/30/12. (Illustration by
Rebecca Mock.)

Yiddishe Cup plays for Simchat Torah 7 p.m. Sun., Oct. 7, Fairmount Temple, and 7:15 p.m. Mon., Oct. 8, Park Synagogue. Cleveland.

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1 Irwin Weinberger { 10.03.12 at 10:22 am }

Ah yes, the collapsing dance floor. What a night to remember. But you handled it like a pro that night. Like most gigs the problem was resolved and the bride and groom lived happily ever after.

2 don friedman { 10.03.12 at 12:49 pm }

AH yes…..the value of a beer… that what happened on that gig?!

3 Kenny G { 10.04.12 at 10:41 am }

Is that you in the first illustration, Bert? I don’t see no “crystals” [eyeglass frames]


As for landlord TV shows [see “For New York Times Readers Only! post below], a few immediately come to mind: “Julia” and “I Love Lucy.” If building managers are included I believe the Nortons were at least managers, if not building owners.

I’m sick of all the medical, law and crime shows. It’s high time for a serious TV series based on the life of librarians and other library staff!

The library/information world offers all sorts of potential for high drama…. A network should give it a try, and probably the ratings would soar!

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