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.



During the dying days of burlesque, I was a stripper in Toledo, Ohio. I dressed like a hippie — bell-bottoms and long hair — and went by the name Tzippy the Hippie. I did New Burlesque, which we called “burlesque” back then.

tzippy the hippie stripper

I worked throughout the Midwest. The main burlesque guy in Detroit was Herman the Head. He liked to drink. I think he was a beer bottle in a previous life. I lived with Herman for six months. He also liked talk radio a lot. He listened to that shit so much he was a radio before he was a beer bottle. I  didn’t get my name, Tzippy the Hippie, from Herman; I got  it from a U. of Toledo professor. Yes, I have some college!

I dyed my hair blond, wore tie-dyed rags, and didn’t shave my underarms. One night, when I was supposed to be in Fort Wayne, I was in Toledo with my professor, and Herman found out about it. I said to him on the phone, “I’m not coming home. There’s this party here in Fort Wayne and I’m so drunk I’m going to crash here.” Herm knew I was lying.  He went directly to the prof’s house, and I ate out of a straw for six weeks. (The prof suffered three broken ribs.)

Now I’m 70 and my health is real bad. It’s awful — diabetes, heart condition and arthritis.  Every cent, to me, is precious now. A vintage strippers website says I’m dead. Not quite, kids! Next week I’m in Denver for a New Burlesque conference. I’m getting $200 plus expenses. I have cool 1969 photos for sale (only $10). Hope to see you there!

This post is based 0.1 percent on Pat Oleszko the Hippie Stripper — a 1960s performance artist from Ann Arbor. This post is fiction, I think.

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1 David Korn { 03.30.16 at 9:16 am }

Thanks, Bert, for the “this is fiction” disclaimer. My wife gets concerned. Just what constitutes 0.1% non-fiction? I’m guessing it’s the tie-dye, which I’ll bet you still wear. I do too.

2 Mark Schilling { 03.30.16 at 12:16 pm }

I went into a strip bar in Winnipeg after a two-month hitchhiking odyssey that started in Riverside, CA. Businessmen were enjoying the show while sipping a noon-time beer. A Canadian thing?

3 Bert Stratton { 03.30.16 at 1:14 pm }

To Mark Schilling:
Recently? re: Winnipeg.
To David Korn:
Very funny. Made my hour.

4 Mark Schilling { 03.30.16 at 9:24 pm }

This was after our hitchhiking trip out West, 1971. I went from SF to Riverside to see if I could get a long-haul trucker job (thankfully, they weren’t hiring), then thumbed up to Vancouver, across Canada to Winnpeg, south to Missouri and east to Ohio.

5 Dave Rowe { 03.31.16 at 3:39 am }

Sounds like she’s like a lot of people — didn’t learn much worthwhile in college.

6 Dave Rowe { 03.31.16 at 3:42 am }

A belated congrats to Bert on the New York Times piece – even from a tenant’s point of view it made for enjoyable reading.

7 Ken Goldberg { 03.31.16 at 11:04 pm }

Fiction? Sounds a lot to me like the Bert Stratton I used to know….

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