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.



I told my dad I couldn’t do pre-med because of the Revolution. How could I do eight years, minimum, of science and medicine during a revolution? My dad did not think I was nuts. (This was 1969.) He believed a revolution was coming, too. He read the papers and Newsweek, and followed Cronkite.

In Ann Arbor, the extremely radical Jesse James Gang splintered from the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). The Jesse James Gang leaders were Diana Oughton, Bill Ayers and Jim Mellon. These gedolim wore work boots (J.C. Penney), wire rims, and were Hollywood handsome. These leaders were several years older than undergrads like me. These radical kids’ “maturity” made them seem a lot more worldly. Seven years older is a big deal when you’re 19. Wire rims, plus long hair, and you got some looks, at least outside of Ann Arbor. You could get “hassled.”

The leader of the U. of Michigan student government was Marty McLaughlin, who wore Oxford-cloth shirts and was handsome too, but high school-y.  (I should have been a fashion writer.) Meanwhile, the Jesse James Gang met in U. buildings and encouraged us to take it to the streets. Protestors threw rocks through store windows and carried NLF flags. An acquaintance, John Gettel, threw a rock through the Ann Arbor Bank. I was next to him. I was always “next to” somebody. I was Zelig, curious about revolution.  I was at Kent State the night before. I didn’t want a revolution — and still don’t — and I knew it wasn’t going to be televised, so I tried to be there.

A couple years after college I saw Gettel on a street corner in Cleveland, passing out leaflets for Lyndon LaRouche. Gettel and his girlfriend were in Cleveland on assignment, mingling with the working class. I was on my way to my job managing apartments. I honked, said hi, and got out of there, and went to my job with the working class, who by the way hated the hippies.

Donald “Ducks” Wirtanen, a Finn from the U.P. and a college acquaintance of mine, got his jaw broken in a fight outside Hill Auditorium. I don’t remember why. I went to Cobo Hall to protest George Wallace. The funny thing, George Wallace was a good speaker, other than he was a racist.

In 1968 the Michigan Daily endorsed Hubert Humphrey and was criticized by Morris R., another acquaintance, for not endorsing Eldridge Cleaver of the Peace and Freedom Party.

The revolution was over by the end of 1970. Diana Oughton got blown up in her bomb factory in Greenwich Village. All politics were personal . . . “But the Man Can’t Bust our Music!” (Columbia Records). Marketing schemes and inner peace. Co-opt me, baby. Ecology was the next big thing. Back to the land. I didn’t do very well in Organic Chemistry. I blame it on the Revolution.

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1 Mark Schilling { 06.17.20 at 9:18 am }

You were with Gettel when he threw the rock through the window of Follett’s bookstore? I was too — and remember some guy trying to tackle him — a plainclothes cop? Anyway he escaped — and I ended up working at Follett’s as a stock boy, my first post-grad job.

2 David Korn { 06.17.20 at 9:26 am }

Thank you for the stroll down memory lane, even with the tear gas residue. I remember my favorite SDSer at my college (a beautiful girl from my home neighborhood, a senior, who fed me (a freshman) dinner (and I remember what she served, every detail). She adored Bill Ayers and considered the Port Huron Resolution, the SDS combined Declaration of Independence and Constitution, to be holy writ.

3 Ken Goldberg { 06.17.20 at 9:53 am }

As Lillian was at Michigan at the time I wonder what she knew about this stuff….
I disagree, Bert; no way in hell should you have ever even considered being a fashion writer!

4 marc adler { 06.17.20 at 2:30 pm }

I wore blue chambray shirts and army surplus jackets at Boston University in 1969. I was at the student mobilization in Washington DC. In a march down Commonwealth Ave in Boston I saw people throw rocks through the windows of the Bank of Boston in Kenmore Square. The revolution was over for me when I went to grad school to get my MBA.

5 Dave Rowe { 06.17.20 at 4:21 pm }

Steven Stills got it right back in 1966 – “there’s something happening here………

6 Kenneth Goldberg { 06.18.20 at 9:04 am }

All the guys were supposed to carry a knapsack so it would look like they were always on the move.

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