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.



I wrote an essay, “The Rust Belt Rides Again,” about traditional Midwestern values — how Midwesterners have good manners, don’t raise their voices, and don’t care about college credentials.  I also threw in LeBron’s return and the Republican National Convention coming to Cleveland in 2016.

liner notesThe Plain Dealer ran the story, as did a lot of other papers.  It even appeared in Malta.  Apparently a lot of people can relate to being an underdog and/or provincial.

Back story: the article was a complete con.  Yes, I’m a Midwesterner, but I could become a fast-talking New Yorker in about ten minutes. I could get the New York accent too if I tried. In the Plain Dealer article I mentioned The Drive, The Fumble and The Shot.  I played up my “Bert Stratton/Ohio boy” persona.  There’s another Ohio Jewish writer who plays my game: Bob Greene. He grew up in suburban Columbus  — Bexley, the Shaker Heights of Columbus.  He’s small town like I’m small town.

rust belt chic

I live and die with the Browns and Indians (on paper), and miss the steel mills, and I work with my hands. Clarinet counts!

Maybe I should act more like a real Midwesterner.  I might live longer.

Can I help you?

This is a fake profile.  Sorry about that.  I didn’t write about Midwestern values for the Plain Dealer or anybody else.

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1 Ted { 09.10.14 at 10:25 am }

This is getting a little too meta.

2 Nancy Kane { 09.10.14 at 10:36 am }

Hmmm….it seems we have to wait until the punch line to see if it’s real or fake. You had me fooled this time….how ’bout some more entertaining landlord stories (real or fake).

3 Mark Schilling { 09.10.14 at 10:49 am }

I worked with New Yorkers for two summers and got as far as saying “soda” for “pop.” I drew the line at “stand on line” and never picked up the accent. It didn’t sound tough to me — it sounded funny. Too much Henny Youngman?

4 Bert Stratton { 09.10.14 at 3:31 pm }

To Nancy Kane:

I’ll write more landlord stories. But just for the record, have you read all 94 of my archived landlord stories? They’re here:

5 Seth { 09.10.14 at 4:50 pm }

I like it…sort of cubist

6 Ken G. { 09.10.14 at 8:06 pm }

Fake? I really did believe the folks in Malta are very interested in our convention in 2016 and LeBron….
Bexley is okay but it’s a poor man’s Shaker Heights. (Just outside the border of Shaker Heights doesn’t count, either….)

7 William Jones { 09.11.14 at 10:30 am }

Bert, You didn’t write yet on Jewish celebrity funeral customs. I thought you’d be stimulated by Rivers’ funeral with the busby-hatted highland band marching out of the service instead of a Klezmer band or bands. Then there was the lights off on Broadway for Rivers. I know Jewish girls from Brooklyn are keenly aware of their perceived lack of shekels, but since Rivers wasn’t paying the bill, what for.

Maybe you’ll reminisce about the end of KlezKamp and the founder’s relocation to the Midwest. No doubt your pioneer work (and I thought that was only for NaAmat) here in the Midwest makes it feasible. Or is this just Eastern chauvinism for Netsky to go to Madison, WI.

8 Bert Stratton { 09.11.14 at 11:16 am }

To William Jones:

I’m going to write something about Jewish funeral customs. One of my special interests.

As for KlezKamp going west to Madison, Wisc., (or south, so to speak, i.e. shutting down), that’s another good subject. I hear KlezKamp will hold mini-sessions (like one-day events) throughout the country. The Forward had an article about it. The “klez revival” never caught on with the post-baby boomer gen. Will have to wait another generation for klezmer to come on strong again.

9 Dave Rowe { 09.17.14 at 3:29 am }

As a former Clevelander who immigrated south, I drink sweet tea, pay attention to Nascar and play the banjo(badly) but haven’t lost track of my roots — if the Cavs win the title, I’ll turn over some 4 by 4 trucks.

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