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 has written op-eds for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.



I moved to L.A. on December 7, 1990.  I still don’t take the weather for granted. Everyday I wake up and say thank you.  Even if it’s only 50 degrees.

I live near a gelato store,  smoothie shop, and three vegan restaurants.  I can order a tofu bratwurst at 2 a.m.

I’m too old to be a hipster! I’m 47.  I’m more retro.  I prefer the beatnik era — the real hipsters! My stereo system is so good it’s like I’m seated in the front row at Shelly’s Manne Hole.  That live.  The speakers are mounted on maple block.

Shelly’s Manne Hole is gone.  It was at Hollywood and Cahuenga.

What do hipsters listen to now?  I don’t know. I don’t talk to them. I live across the street from the “Shameless” guys.  I’m not sure what that is. A TV show?  A band?

Everyone here is in the industry.

Me too. I started off writing celebrity profiles for Us and People. I wrote for Wings. I wrote for Cheers.  I wrote for Seinfeld.

After Seinfeld shoots, we would hang at Jerry’s Famous Deli in Studio City.  Jerry once told me he liked working in L.A. because, since we had such long hours, he didn’t feel he was missing much, like if we had been in New York.

I bought my house here in 1996. It’s a double in Silver Lake.  My brother Josh the lawyer — who lives in Cleveland — visits me every January with his wife.

Most recently I  explained the word “ofay” to Josh.  Means white guy.  Pig Latin for “foe.”  I know, my “ofay” etymology is a bubbe-mayse, but I like the idea of blacks speaking Pig Latin. And I like telling Josh what’s what.

Josh calls me Moon (short for Moonbeam).  Josh is the only guy who can get away with that.  I was the beatnik at Shaker Heights High, 1984. I’m still a little “outside,” but not that much by L.A. standards.  I wear Arthur Ashe–era short shorts. Big deal.

My first year here I had a hard time making the rent nut, but I hung in. I played b-ball with other writers.  I had slow times. I’ve had fast times.

I just put a half million dollars into a gangster love story.  I directed and wrote it.  Hopefully, we’ll get it into Sundance.  A long shot, I know. Then there’s Toronto. Even if the movie goes nowhere, I’m OK.  I didn’t refinance my house for it.

I shot the movie in Cleveland.  They love me there.  The press I get there.  Right now I need about 30,000 Clevelanders to “like” my movie trailer on Facebook. Please search “Bloody Vista Boulevard” on Facebook and “like.”

My steady check  is my rental unit. I’ve got two musicians next door.  $3,000/month.  They sleep till noon and go out from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. They say they “shed” Charlie Parker, but I’ve never heard it.  (Josh, “shed” means “woodshed” — to practice.)

I’m going to die in this house.

Cleveland doesn’t have the mountains, the ocean, the sun.  Thank God I’m here.

The Seinfeld info is stolen from writer Peter Mehlman. This post is fiction.

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1 Mark Schilling { 01.16.13 at 9:07 am }

The first rule of the biz is that you never put your personal coin into your pic, as we say at “Variety.” Mortgaging your home, maxing out your credit cards and emptying your bank account are last resorts.

2 Ted { 01.16.13 at 12:39 pm }

WOW. Out there, man. Liked the Mehlman piece.

3 Charlie B { 01.17.13 at 1:24 pm }

Have you been sipping from bottles of Bruce Wagner?
Early vintage: Force Majeure– the latest: Dead Stars.

4 KenG { 01.17.13 at 3:01 pm }

So in other words this was written by Mehlman?

5 Bert Stratton { 01.17.13 at 5:15 pm }

To Charlie B.

Bruce Wagner. Should I check out his writing? Which book?

To KenG:

No, Mehlman didn’t write the post.

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