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 New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.



I play house concerts; I perform in people’s living rooms and sleep in their bedrooms. I play guitar, sing and tell stories.  I’ve taught a class or two at old-timey music camps in West Virginia.

The house-concert scene is my Airbnb, except I get paid; I don’t pay.  And I usually sell a handful of CDs.

I wish the  house-concert scene was bigger.  Fifty people in a living room is my best draw.

I saw the movie Inside Llewyn Davis recently and thought to myself “that’s me!” except I’m happier than that guy.  Right now I’m doing a Bix Beiderbecke transcription in a bedroom in Columbus, Ohio, and enjoying myself.  I’ll  be in Pittsburgh tomorrow. I live cheaply and save money, so when I’m 65 — three years from now — I’ll stop this train and settle down.  I’m thinking about Austin.  I’m tired of sleeping in other people’s beds.


The  post above is a fake profile. This one is true.


In my refrigerator, I had Golden Herring (Brampton, Ontario), Ma Cohen’s (Detroit) and Ducktrap River (Belfast, Maine). In wine sauce, not in cream sauce. Must say “tidbits.”

Ma Cohen’s was the best. It was lower in sodium and sugar than the others. They all had omega-3s.

I bought my Ma’s at Corky & Lenny’s, my Ducktrap at Whole Foods, and Golden at Heinen’s. For a while I thought “Golden” might be the owner’s name, like in Al Golden, my late uncle. I Googled the company; Golden is owned by Lorne Krongold of Brampton, Ontario.

I stopped by a Polish deli in Slavic Village, Cleveland. The place had a ton of herring, even matjes herring, which I had only seen previously at KlezKamp.

Here’s an interesting tidbit:  1) Herring was a major source of protein for impoverished Jews in Eastern Europe.  2) Don’t take herring to a hunger center.  They’ll refuse your donation.  They’ll say, “We can’t even give this stuff away.”

If you don’t get it — herring — you probably think this subject is idiotic. But listen,  you can acquire herring love. Start out on sardines and move up. A third way: anchovies.

My sister and I used to eat anchovies right from the can, straight. My sister isn’t that crazy about herring. I don’t get that.

I’m down to a jar of herring a month.  Something bad about salt, my doc says.

An earlier version of this post is a video.

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1 Nancy Kane { 05.07.14 at 9:16 am }

You might want to acquire a bit of your ‘side A’ persona and go stay at an airbnb spot in Belfast ME. Fabulous town, and the actual Duck Trap River is lovely. Plus it’s a music town–you could play in a festival or two…

2 Ken G. { 05.07.14 at 10:05 am }

Herring, gefilte fish, halvah – sort of aquired tastes.

I’m glad you’re spreading your business around. Are you referring to the great Seven Roses on Fleet Avenue? They’re particularly enjoyable toward the end of the week and on weekends, when they have their fantastic – though costly – desserts.

As for the first segment here, if the age is going to be an untruth, I note it’s in the younger direction…. Does your character perform in men’s rooms, too? That might be appropriate venues.

3 Bert Stratton { 05.07.14 at 11:52 am }

To Ken G.:

Yes, Seven Roses on Fleet Avenue.

4 don friedman { 05.07.14 at 1:11 pm }

Excuse me….my herring is not very good…could you repeat that!

5 Ken G. { 05.07.14 at 2:51 pm }

Bad herring is really, really bad ….

6 marc { 05.08.14 at 9:24 am }

My best herring, Heidelburg, Germany. I went into a sandwich shop for lunch and ordered a herring sub, big slices of herring on a sub roll. Delicious.

7 David Korn { 05.08.14 at 2:29 pm }

I’m sorry to see that the ‘side A’ was fake, because I’d love to hear the Bix transcription. He is truly of blessed memory, every bit as great as Louis Armstrong and now, sadly, little-known.

Re herring: Agreed, Ma Cohen’s is great, maybe even best. Worst ever: Noon Hour. Google it — The most frequent post is about the company being found in violation of some health code, or something like that. I think their fish is radioactive.

8 Seth { 05.09.14 at 2:33 pm }

I went through a chopped herring phase years ago…very hard to find nowadays. Lately, I have been getting mine from Giant Eagle, of all places, tidbits with dill. Always have a jar in the refrigerator. Whenever I open a new jar, I squeeze a wedge of fresh lemon into it and then leave the wedge in the jar.
As for fresh creamed herring…Jack’s, hands down…easy on the onions, please.

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