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’m related to few Strattons.  So I got a bit excited when I came across Jon Stratton, author of Coming Out Jewish.  I found him on the Internet. Another Stratton writing about Jewish matters?  Maybe I was Jon, using a pseudonym.

Jon Stratton is a cultural studies professor in Perth, Australia. His mother was Jewish and his father Christian. He grew up in England, not knowing anything about Judaism orYiddishkayt (Jewishness).

I ordered Jon’s  book on Amazon. In 2000 he “came out Jewish” in multicultural academic circles, making a mark for himself by writing about “ghetto-thinking” — Jewish anxiety, basically.  He said he had been slightly different from his friends in England because his mother had made him “ring home” whenever he went out, while his chums never had to ring home.  Jon’s mother was an angst-ridden Jew from the Continent, he said.

My mother, on the other hand, was from the Delta (the Mississippi Delta) and didn’t worry much.  My mother left me off at freeway exits to hitchhike.  One trip I made a left on I-80 and wound up in South America.  She was even OK with that.

In 1990, at the Cleveland airport, I waited for my mom to arrive on the “snowbird” flight from Florida, and I let my then 9-year-old son run around the airport.  I told him, “If you wander off too far, you’re going home on the Rapid.”

He wandered off and I left him.

A Cleveland policeman called me a half hour later, and I had to go back to the airport — 20 miles one-way.  The airport cop gave me a “you’re a douche bag” smirk when I entered the airport police office.  The cop didn’t realize my son had practically memorized the Rapid Transit timetable and had ridden the complete Lee Road route.

I learned a lot about laissez-faire child rearing from my mom.  The only thing Continental about her was her airline.

If I ever get to Australia, I’ll buy Jon Stratton a beer, and we’ll talk about our mothers, I hope.  We’re  mishpocha.

Footnote: I’m related to  few Strattons because my father changed the family name from Soltzberg to Stratton in 1941.

Jack Stratton’s latest project. Also, check out the interactive map at Vulfpeck, which shows you where Vulfpeck’s fan base is.

Yiddishe Cup is at Park Synagogue, Cleveland Heights, 7:30 p.m. Saturday  (March 15)  for Purim.  Gonna have Tamar Gray, soul singer extraordinaire, with us.  Free and open to the public.

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1 Ken G. { 03.12.14 at 4:28 pm }

I couldn’t understand a word of Jack’s video, but thanks anyway. Do you know where the scene near the end with the hill and houses photographed?

2 marc { 03.12.14 at 4:55 pm }

I like the drawing of the English phone booth.
I was in England a number of years ago. There is a phone booth in front of the Albert and Victoria Museum, a very proper part of London. I went into the phone booth and saw that the interior was literally covered with little pieces of paper advertising escort services.

3 Bert Stratton { 03.12.14 at 5:06 pm }

To Ken G.

The outdoor scene is from Echo Park, Los Angeles.

To Marc:

I’ll tell Ralph Solonitz, the illustrator, you like his phone booth.

4 Ken G. { 03.12.14 at 5:54 pm }

marc – Presumably they were all very proper escort services. I recall small replicas of the red phone booths were among the most common London souvenirs in the shops – almost like Eiffel Towers in Paris. I miss phone booths and public phones in Greater Cleveland. The London ones have class, anyway. The Victoria and Albert was basically my favorite museum in London. A lot of social history.

5 Mark Schilling { 03.13.14 at 5:56 am }

My last name is also not “original” — my grandfather added a “c” for reasons unknown, maybe to avoid the negative connotations of “Shilling.” Some German film folks I know thought I was a compadre because of the “c” — I was sorry to disabuse them.

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