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 got a certified letter from my bank saying Yiddishe Cup’s checking account was being shut down. The bank was closing it after 19 years.  For what?

How were my musicians going to get paid?

Would I have to move my bank account to PNC?  I can’t bank at a place that is just initials.  Or Key Bank –- which is nowhere near where I live.

I was shut down for this:   “Due to continuing regulatory requirements associated with the correspondent bank account, Huntington is closing all checking and saving accounts in the name of YIDDISHE CUP KLEZMER BANK.”

Wait a minute.  What’s that mean?

I walked to my Huntington branch and sat down with Dave. I thought he was the branch manager. He read the certified letter and sent me to Sam, the actual branch manager.

Yes, a klezmer bank

Sam had a private office at the back of the bank. I didn’t know it existed. Sam was black.  Relevant.  I said, “I have to tell you this, because I remember this like yesterday — I started this account back in 1994, and the banker was Ervin Mason, a black guy in his twenties, and he knew what klezmer was. He had heard of Don Byron.  Do you know what klezmer is?”

“No,” Sam said.

“Erv knew!” I said. “It was mind-boggling. Klezmer is similar to gypsy music, with violins and clarinets.  It’s Jewish folk music. Let’s call Erv right now.  You think he’s still with Huntington?”

Erv wasn’t with Huntington.  Sam checked the roster.

“Sam, back then, Huntington misprinted my checks as Yiddishe Cup Klezmer Bank instead of Yiddishe Cup Klezmer Band.  So maybe that’s the cause of the screw-up today.  I  still use Klezmer Bank checks. My musicians think they’re funny.”

Sam called Jared, a commercial banker at HQ in Columbus, Ohio.

Jared got right to the matter: “You’re listed as a bank, as a ‘financial institution.’ That’s the problem.”

Sam said, “Yiddishe Cup would have more money in its account if it was a real bank!”

“True,” I said.

Sam hung up with Jared and said, “We got it squared away.”

I hope so.  Squared away.

Good to go.

I hope so.

It’s the bank’s fault, guys.  My musicians wouldn’t like to hear that.

Tonight, the Klezmer Guy trio is at Nighttown, Cleveland,  7 p.m.  (Tues. April 23).  $10.   216-795-0550.  Here’s a good preview article by Carlo Wolff about the show, from Friday’s Cleveland Jewish News.

Alan Douglass (L), Bert Stratton, Tamar Gray

Next week’s Kezmer Guy post will be on Wednesday morning, as usual.

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1 Steve Ostrow { 04.23.13 at 9:07 am }

Whew, that was a close call!

2 don friedman { 04.23.13 at 12:30 pm }

I don’t care if the check is from the Kiddishy Yup Blessmer Skank….just make it out to me!

3 marc a { 04.23.13 at 2:35 pm }

Is today Wednesday? You are really screwing up my calendar, Bert. What do I have to look forward to tommorrow without my Wednesday Yiddishe Cup blog?

Not much going on in Providence; however, down the road last week lots of action. My daughter’s apartment in Cambridge is 3 blocks from the mishiganer’s house. Our friend Nick in Watertown had the swat team in his apartment searching for the bad guy. My nephew, his wife and young kids were watching the marathon 1/2 block from the second bomb and has a photo on Facebook of it going off.

Other than that, it was a quiet week in New England.

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