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.



Uncle Bob sat in his backyard in Athens, Georgia, and talked about Cleveland. He told me he had had dreams about long-gone Cleveland streetcars. And he said he periodically checked out the Cleveland obits to see who died. (Bob was born in Cleveland in 1924 and died in Atlanta in 2011.)

Bob Kent, 1962, Mill Valley

Bob said he had wanted to join the Haganah. But for some reason that never happened. He did, however, serve during World War II and Korea. Bob was an artist and one of the first gringos to head down to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico — around 1949. San Miguel was an artists’ colony packed with former GIs. Then Bob taught art at Tamalpais High School (Mill Valley, California) in the 1950s and early 1960s. He said he saw Kesey in the Haight but never saw Kerouac in North Beach.

In his youth, Bob was a bit of a brawler and had a broken nose to prove it. He said he had regularly crashed Jewish weddings at the Cleveland Jewish Center on East 105th Street and the Temple on the Heights on Mayfield Road. High-class shuls. Bob grew up in Kinsman — working class. He married my mother’s sister Celeste Zalk, also of Kinsman.

Bob got a PhD while teaching high school in California and wound up as an art-education professor at the University of  Georgia. Athens — in the mid-1960s — was no San Francisco, but it was a job. Bob was adept at slinging the prof lingo: “existential,” “seminal,” and “cognitive.”

Bob changed his last name from Katz to Kent. I don’t know when. I think my father had something to do with the name change. Speaking of Kent, I knew a Winston who had previously been a Weinstein. Are there other Jews named after ciggies? Old Gold? (Herb Gold.) I miss cigarettes — the names. Tareyton, Benson & Hedges.

This isn’t the whole story of Bob. Bob’s children — my first cousins — know more, and they ain’t going to tell it!

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1 Ken Goldberg { 05.01.24 at 10:30 am }

By far the most famous Winston who had been a Weinstein was the world-famous jeweler, Harry Winston! He changed it around 1920, so perhaps that had some influence on your uncle’s decision, too….

2 Bill Katz { 05.01.24 at 12:07 pm }

Bob always said it was on account of Bert’s dad Toby’s experience being quota-ed out of med school, despite being an Ohio State honor roll student, that Bob vowed he wouldn’t likewise be stymied from an advanced degree.

3 Bert Stratton { 05.01.24 at 12:41 pm }

Bill: My dad wasn’t quota-ed out of med school, as least not directly. He just never applied. And hey, Toby was a Phi Beta Kappa chemistry major at OSU. I think Toby was deterred from applying because his oldest brother, Sol, might have been rejected from med school. Sol wound up getting a PhD in chemistry and working for Atlas Chemical in Delaware.

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