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 is an occasional contributor to the New York Times, the Times of Israel, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and City Journal. He won two Hopwood Awards.


 
 

THANKSGIVING WEDDING . . . SICK

I negotiated a Thanksgiving Day wedding. The mom thought Thanksgiving was the perfect wedding day because nobody would come. The groom’s side was from New York, so flights to Cleveland would be expensive. Beautiful. And the locals would skip the wedding to eat Thanksgiving dinner at home with their kids, who wouldn’t be invited to the wedding. Again, beautiful.

I listened to this craziness for three phone calls. Then the mom hired Yiddishe Cup. Yes! The band members rescheduled their own Thanksgiving dinners. Not an easy task.

t-day-wedding22121The mom called a fourth time and said the bride wanted a different band. I didn’t ask who. I was so mad. I usually ask who is the other band, but I was so mad, mostly at myself because I had forgotten rule number-one: it’s all about the bride. [Exception: A mom once booked us for a wedding, and the bride, from Seattle, ran up to the bandstand and said, “I hate klezmer music! How could my mother do this to me!”]

After the Thanksgiving turkey hung up, I called a second customer — a bat mitzvah mom — who was late with her contract and deposit. She said she wanted to talk more. I had already talked enough. I dislike phones. I said, “Yiddishe Cup has been around over twenty years. You’ve seen us. Everybody has seen us.”

She said her husband was sick. Pause. Sick could mean very ill. It sometimes even means dying. I’ve played simchas where dads roll down the aisle in wheelchairs. Dads who can’t talk because of strokes. Guys with half a brain left.

Yiddishe Cup has even played for dead people; we played a bat mitzvah luncheon where the bat mitzvah girl’s mom died the day before. We played in the family room instead of at the party center. Two or three people tried a hora.

Anyway, the customer with the sick husband came to my house for further discussion. I asked what her husband’s illness was. She said he was depressed. She said her husband, a doctor, had lost a patient that week. Doctors lose patients all the time, right? It turns out she wanted to change the date, the number of musicians, and a few other things. Which she did. The gig — on a new date, with fewer musicians — was surprisingly decent; everybody was upbeat and nobody bugged the band, except for Grandpa, who said to our pianist, “Do you know your fly is down?”

Our pianist — who has been around — answered, “No, can you hum a few bars?”

And nobody was sick.

Happy TG.

A version of this post first appeared 11/24/10.

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3 comments

1 Seth B. Marks { 11.23.16 at 4:44 pm }

Ah, easing back to your old style… well recycling. Longer, more schmoozy. Some humor and some contemplations. Kind of like putting on your old sweater. Good idea for a Thanksgiving. Have a good one

2 Ken Goldberg { 11.23.16 at 8:55 pm }

Yeah, the roomier style…. For a wedding, who usually hires you – the bride’s mother, bride’s father, bride, or grin groom? You’ve written a lot about a parent’s hiring you, though I know the traditional etiquette called for the groom to arrange for the “entertainment.”

3 David Rowe { 11.25.16 at 2:32 am }

I wonder if Yiddishe Cup ever plays Lutheran First Communions.

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