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.



I have this new band, Funklikht, which is so filthy. My lead singer is the shit — a Lebanese kid from Detroit who does it all, including Yiddish hip-hop. He was a shabbes goy in Oak Park. My drummer — also from Detroit — grew up  next-door to Aretha in Bloomfield Hills.  He’s shit-plus.

My bass player kills it.  (He has a following in Norway.)

I found all these players in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I go up there regularly for cheap young talent.

We’re on fire. We play temples and Jewish arts festivals throughout the country, but we aren’t stuck in the J bag.

We have a major presence on iTunes.  Our best-selling tunes are  “Shvantz Tantz,” “Di Gantse Velt is a Blintz” and “Dreck II.”

We’re in discussion with a major label, but I’m skeptical; the label thinks we’re “too Jewish.” We’re not too Jewish! We’re too filthy!


This one is real . . .


I knew two Larry Davises — both Jewish landlords in Cleveland. There was Larry Davis of Solon and Larry Davis of Cleveland Heights.

Larry Davis of Solon was a Romanian immigrant who developed industrial parks in the far eastern suburbs. He loved Yiddish music and hired Yiddishe Cup for his 75th birthday party. He died shortly after that. (No foul play.)

Larry Davis of the Heights is alive, and owns property in Cleveland Heights. You’ve probably seen him around (if you live in Cleveland). He has a beard, wear shorts a lot, and has a small tattoo on his leg. Larry Heights started with a lunch counter in Lakewood and worked his way up.

I ran into Larry Heights at the grocery store and we kvetched about the real estate biz. Our kids weren’t too crazy about running the properties. Larry said, “I wouldn’t wish it on my daughter.”

I thought to myself, “Here we are, two fairly healthy guys, standing in the vegetable aisle at 2 p.m. on a Wednesday. Objectively speaking, we’ve got it made.”

Maybe I’m the third Larry Davis. Larry Davis Heights II.


Larry Davis, Heights, left / Larry Davis, Solon, right:

(Click on the drawing to make it bigger)

Footnote: “Objectively speaking, you’ve got it made” is a line I regularly steal from writer Mark Schilling.

Yiddishe Cup plays First Night Akron (Ohio), 6 p.m. Dec. 31.

shareEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter


1 Ken G. { 12.18.13 at 9:48 am }

Larry Heights has one of the Great Houses of Cleveland Heights. Nothing to compare in Solon, though there are some attractive areas (way the hell too far out from civilization, though).

2 Mark Schilling { 12.18.13 at 10:36 am }

Thanks for the credit. I’m starting to think that “Objectively, you’ve got it made” is going to be on your tombstone. BTW, there’s a movie “Filth,” based on Irvin Walsh’s novel of the same title. Funklikht is not on the soundtrack, though.

3 Seth { 12.18.13 at 12:43 pm }

Back in the day when my hair was dark and I had a bit more heft, people would stop me and think I was Larry Davis Heights. No such luck. Now, I run into him mostly at the Siam Cafe, one of the city’s best restaurants, showing that he’s a man of taste and fame.

4 Irwin Weinberger { 12.18.13 at 8:07 pm }

Dear Landlord, back in the days of my tenanthood, Larry Davis was my landlord at two different addresses where I lived. I used to enjoy talking to him, but never liked it when he kept raising the rent on me. Dire Gelt!

5 Garry Kanter { 12.23.13 at 9:09 am }

Hate to be *that* guy, but you left off the “ly” in the first occurrence of “objectively”.

6 Garry Kanter { 12.23.13 at 9:10 am }

Small world. Ralph Solonitz and I were just discussing his old apartment last week.

7 Bert Stratton { 12.23.13 at 2:13 pm }

To Garry Kanter:

Corrections always appreciated.

Leave a Comment