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.



The father of the bride wanted to meet me a week before the wedding, at the country club, to go over the plans.  I wasn’t driving 35 minutes one way to a country club I’d been to a million times! I said, “Come over to my house.”  My usual M.O.

I prevailed. The dad came over with his daughter and wife. The daughter asked if  Yiddishe Cup could play “B’shem Hashem” for the processional.

We didn’t know it.

The mom said, “You don’t know it?  Everybody knows it.”

Never heard of it!  [Neshoma Carlebach recorded the tune.]

At the wedding, the dad yelled at the event planner because the cocktail bar opened late, supposedly.  The wife came up to me five minutes before the band’s starting time and said play.  “Start the music!” as if we were late.

During the cocktail hour, the band took a short break.  The dad said, “Why aren’t you playing?”   Yes, sir, right away, sir!

The dad said nobody could hear us.   Maybe we should have been louder.  I like quiet music but most people don’t.  He said,  “It’s like you’re not even here.”  Our keyboard player fetched another speaker.

Gig over, at last. The dad said he’d mail the check.  This happens.

But I didn’t get the check; I got an email.  “I want to express my . . .”  joy?  No.  “Disappointment” about your break, your starting time, etc.

I called the dad for the money.

He said, “In my business I like to know when my customers are unhappy.  If they’re unhappy I give them a discount.  I want you to know I’m unhappy.  I’ll mail you the check.  It’s not about the money.”

It’s always about the money.

Mazel tov on the wedding,” I said.

No check.

I sent a statement a month later.

No check.

I called his business.  His secretary paused about five seconds before she said, “He’s not in.”

I asked my son the lawyer to draft a document.  My son said it wasn’t worth suing the dad.  “OK, I’ll go small claims,” I said.  “I have his bank account number.  I’m ready.”

About a month later I got a check in the mail with a Post-it note: “Sorry this was so late.”

What?  I’m still wondering. If the dad wanted me to squirm for a couple months, he succeeded.

I had an op-ed in the New York Times on Sunday, 4/13/14.  “Jazz and Real Estate.”  

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1 Mark Schilling { 04.16.14 at 10:16 am }

Dadzilla. And when I heard you guys, you were plenty loud. Maybe this guy was a recovering heavy metal fan.

2 Ken G. { 04.16.14 at 10:57 am }

Sounds like band abuse. I’ve still got many insurance -related complications related to what went on since 8/12.

As for the second subject here, why don’t you just post an ad in the NYT asking readers to drop their subscriptions to that rag and join your blog instead. I’m sure you’ll get a lot of new subscribers!

3 Bert Stratton { 04.16.14 at 11:29 am }

To Ken G.

What happened 8/12? I can’t remember.

To Mark Schilling:

“Dadzilla” is a good title for this post. Better than “Father of the Bride” (original title). I’m gonna change the title right now to “Dadzilla” with your permission. Actually, without your permission. Sue me.

4 don friedman { 04.16.14 at 12:30 pm }

As the drummer on that gig, I know we were loud enough. Two of the guys in the band told me to play softer! (you should fire them!) Hey, I would have played just for the salmon if I knew you were not going to be paid.

5 Irwin Weinberger { 04.23.14 at 9:18 am }

Wow Bert, this blog is a classic. Definitely in your top five. I think it’s even worth a short story.

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