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.




Yiddishe Cup has shared the stage with the Hungarian Scouts, Ukrainian Kashtan dancers, and Csardas, a Hungarian troupe. These groups draw fans to local festivals, and the dancers perform in difficult odd meters. Yiddishe Cup doesn’t draw many fans to these multicultural shows. The typical Jew doesn’t want to watch Ukrainians, Poles, or Hungarians dance.

At one festival, some of the folk dances had sappy English titles, like “My Little Cherry Tree” and “I Love You, Shepherd Boy.” I took the printed program home and looked up the real titles:

“Tylko We Lwowie” (Let’s Get Out of Lviv)

“Frogisic Sie Pani” (My Bagpipes are Soggy)

“Jaz Pa Ti” (Dad is Tipsy)

“Pytala Sie Pani” (Pierogis With Butter, Senator)

“Llactosi Nyasa Pilsenioya” (I Hate Milk and Like Beer)

“Jak Szybko Hund Chwile” (Jacko’s Chili Dog Is Outstanding)

“Nasza Jest, Noc Tylko” (Not Tonight, Not Tomorrow.)



I bought a raffle ticket for the St. Mary’s Church (Collinwood) fundraiser, Catholic Order of Foresters, Court #1640.

I bought the ticket from Stan. Stan’s father was Stan too.   Stan — my friend  Stan – got married at St. William’s Church, not St. Stan’s.  (St. Stan’s church is  Polish.  Stan is Slovenian.)

Stan’s wedding reception was at the big Slovenian National Home on  St. Clair Avenue at E. 65th Street. Stan hired his uncle’s polka band.  At the  wedding, we danced Slovenian-style polka — not the same as Polish-style polka.  (If you don’t know the difference, please see Harvey Pekar’s “Polka Wars” American Splendor, issue #16.)

Yiddishe Cup can play Slovenian! We’ve done Yankovic’s “Just Because” and “Blue Skirt Waltz,” and some charts from polka musician Joey Tomsick.

I won $20 in the St. Mary’s raffle.  I haven’t seen the money yet.

Slovenians are tight with a buck.  That’s their in-group reputation. Amongst themselves, Slovenians brag about their frugality, and they like to trash Lithuanians, who are even tighter.  Stan told me all this.

The St. Mary’s Church raffle was three years ago.  Stan, you owe me $23 — that’s $20 plus interest.   Pay up, Stan.  Any Stan.

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1 Ken G. { 09.25.13 at 9:40 am }

1. I’m one who always loves nationality dances and dance festivals. In my youth, we used to go every year to the bandstand at Charlotte, the big park on Lake Ontario in Rochester, and watch a series of dances performed by many nationality groups in some sort of nationality costume.

2. That large building with cultural center/museum, the Catholic church, and perhaps one or two shops seem to be about all that’s left of the St. Clair Slovenian/Lithuanian/Estonian/Croatian/Latvian? (any more?) community. Too bad. I used to like Nosan’s Bakery there. Then they moved to Euclid and closed.

Then there was that other one — (Wojilla?) also in Euclid — which closed.

2 Ken G. { 09.25.13 at 9:42 am }

You’re not the only one waiting. I’m still waiting for gifts from a great uncle who promised us prizes for finding the afikomen — from over 50 years ago.

We used to ask for jewelry rings. He died a few years ago, but who knows? Anyway, he still owes us.

3 marc { 09.25.13 at 1:27 pm }

Those song title translations made be laugh out loud!This has to be one of your funniest posts.

On another Eastern European topic, I signed up for a trip to Poland in March, a Chabad tour that spends a short week there, then a week in Israel. We will go to Krakow, Warsaw, Auschwitz and some other places. I’m thinking of bringing my clarinet.

Since I’ve been playing this Klezmer music for over 10 years, I thought it might be nice to play it where it came from. What do you think?

4 Bert Stratton { 09.25.13 at 1:53 pm }

To Marc:

Bring your clarinet. You can play for zlotys on the corner in Krakow.

5 alice { 09.25.13 at 10:17 pm }

Ditto on the song translations-LOL

6 Marjorie Foulk { 09.27.13 at 2:56 pm }

Given your remarks about Slovenians and Lithuanians, perhaps that explains why the Scots (Caledonian Pipe Band) fit in when they practiced at the Slovenian Home lo, these many years ago when I used to go there to watch them. The Scots do have a reputation for penny pinching.

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