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 audiotaped a family dinner in April 1973.  I told my dad I was doing “cinema verite.”  (Don’t knock it. Louis Armstrong did a lot of audiotaping.)

In 2010 I played the audiotape for my adult children. They thought I sounded like my then college-age son Jack.  My parents had asked me questions about my college roommates.

My mother said What’s So-and-So from your dorm doing?

Doing what?  I stonewalled my mom, like a good college kid.

My son Ted, listening to the tape in 2010, said, “You’re weird, recording everything.”

Weird?  No.  Wired?  Yes.  You can never have too much documentation. (“This is the age of investigation and every citizen must investigate” — Ed Sanders.) For instance, I wish my mother had saved my dad’s letters from Fort Benning, 1941.  My mother threw nearly everything out.  When she moved to assisted living, I cleaned out her apartment in about two hours.  Two hours, not days.

My audiotape is boring.  “I don’t want any dessert” — that kind of thing. I hope somebody throws it out.  Maybe I will.  For one thing, there’s a horrible sax solo after the dinner recording, and I sound like a jerk — on sax and at dinner:

Dad:  “What the hell you got it [tape recorder] on for?  There’s nothing going on.”

Mom: “He likes to do it.”

Bert:  “I don’t listen to them anyway, so what do I care.”


I had an essay in Belt Magazine last week.  Belt is online dispatches from the Rust Belt.  “On Lee Road.”

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1 Ken G. { 05.28.14 at 10:51 am }

I don’t know what you’re talking about. Statements like “I don’t want any dessert” spoken 41 years ago are terribly intriguing and certainly worth everybody’s listening time.

Like when someone now has to mention what he or she ate for breakfast.

As an aside, I saw that article about the South Russell synagogue closing, and I couldn’t help myself submitting a letter to the CJN. It may well be in this Friday.

2 Mark Schilling { 05.28.14 at 11:06 am }

You recorded our AA [Ann Arbor] bar crawl postmortems, as I recall. All long since consigned to the dust bin, I suppose. Too bad — a precious slice of American lit history, gone forever…

3 Seth { 05.30.14 at 4:58 pm }

“On Lee Road” was very good, Bert. Mawby’s could take its own column.

Having cleaned out some post-mortem situations, it’s relative to how much a relative you are. Immediate family deserves more than two hours, but not two weeks. Whittling down possessions sensibly should be a course taught in one’s 30’s. Ya gotta know when to throw ’em. I don’t have it down yet.

4 Ted { 06.02.14 at 3:21 pm }

Kind of surprised you didn’t post the audio up here. Don’t you have the technology to do that?

5 Bert Stratton { 06.02.14 at 3:50 pm }

To Ted:

I have the technology but not the overriding interest to embarrass myself.

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