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 Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post.



Philip Roth was envious of Primo Levi. Levi was a chemist and had something to write about. Roth had nothing. Levi dealt with businessmen and scientists, plus he had his concentration-camp experiences. All Roth had was the occasional lecture at colleges, like Bard or Penn, where he interacted with young women.

Solution for Roth: He decided to do research. He would approach taxidermists and say, “I’m a novelist. You’ve probably heard of Portnoy’s Complaint. Maybe not. Can I watch you skin that cat?” Roth learned about taxidermy for I Married a Communist.

Roth and Levi and me. (It’s my blog) . . .

I used to write about nothing. No research. Sometimes I wrote about my parents or asthma. I wrote a whole novel about wheezing. I also wrote a detective novel (unpublished — like my wheezing book) about a Slovenian cop. I did the Slovenian-cop thing before novelist Les Roberts did. I once saw Roberts at a lecture at a temple. (Roberts is a lantsman.) I told him I had written a Slovenian-cop book, which had failed miserably. Roberts said, “I’m glad.” Funny. Roberts was a producer for Hollywood Squares before he moved to Cleveland. He should have stayed in California. (Roberts wrote novels about a Cleveland Slovenian cop, in case you’re lost here.)

I recently booted a tenant for nonpayment of rent, plus he was scaring other tenants by banging on the walls and swearing loudly. He said to me, “I don’t have to tell you this, because of HIPAA, but I’m bipolar and I don’t have any place to live but my car.”

I patiently listened to his story and finally said, “I wish you the best.”

“Don’t wish me anything, man. I’ve worked three jobs and now nobody will hire me. I don’t want your wishes.” He moved. More real than Roth? Less real than Levi? It is what it is, to quote somebody.

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1 Kenneth Goldberg { 05.11.22 at 9:04 am }

….And it ain’t what it ain’t, Grandpaw!….

2 Dave Rowe { 05.16.22 at 4:37 pm }

While in high school I saw Truman Capote give a reading at
TRI – don’t think any of it rubbed off.

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