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.



Not all musicians have gigs on New Year’s Eve. A lot of would-be partygoers stay home for a quiet evening, or go to the movies. There aren’t that many gigs. The era of the New Year’s Eve fraternal organization dinner dance is long gone.

Sometimes people eat special foods on New Year’s Eve. I know a family that eats lobster. My family often ate oatmeal on New Year’s Eve. We picked up that habit in Akron, Ohio. Yiddishe Cup had a gig at First Night Akron for 22 years, and in the early years my family stayed overnight at the Quaker Square hotel, which was in a remodeled Quaker Oats grain silo.  The hotel served oatmeal at midnight.

Yiddishe Cup missed 2009 in Akron. The event coordinator called and said, “We’re reducing our footprint.”

We aren’t playing this year either. The event reduced its footprint again — to zero. First Night Akron is history. I might go to Peru for New Year’s.

Klezmer musicians lamented the downsizing of First Nights and various other venues. This kvetching started about 2008. First Nights had been the rage in the 1990s but were no big deal in the 2000s. In the 1990s, the director of First Night Akron told me she had just been to a national First Night conference in Boston and the word was out: “Get a klezmer band.”

Yiddishe Cup worked the boonies before playing First Night Akron. First, we played Warren, Ohio, First Night a couple times.

First Night Akron usually consisted of a Beatles tribute band, a blues band, fireworks, a couple generic American acts, and us. It was a good time and good run. Thanks, Akron.

YCKB 1998

YCKB 1998



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1 Bill Jones { 12.26.18 at 10:03 am }

You need to work with Chinese restaurants and convince them that the first one to employ a klezmer band Christmas eve and day, to the everlasting joy of their patrons (you know their religious persuasion) would really make waves on publicity alone, let alone the crowds trying to get in. Think outside the pushke, Bert.

2 Ken Goldberg { 12.26.18 at 11:14 am }

Akron, Peru…. Same difference.
Unfortunately, Quaker Square is also down to zero now, as far as retail. We used to have a lot of great times there, including looking at the displays in the Hilton lobby during the hotel period. We went there from the small beginning, 1974, to follow it getting better and better (a funky places of three floors even on a Sun. evening) and then to see it go down, down, down. There are few months ago; some of the displays and signage still up, but like a ghosttown as far as the retail area goes.

3 MARC Adler { 12.26.18 at 2:37 pm }

The Providence first night is also history.

4 Dave Rowe { 12.26.18 at 5:11 pm }

Asheville used to have a First Night Out but no longer. I’ll be at home eating Jimmy Dean sausage biscuits.

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