KLEZMER GUY: Rust Belt Chic

By Bert Stratton

I’m a coastal elite. That’s not easy, living in Cleveland.  But I manage it.

Rust Belt chic-ness is a challenge. My dad was not a Cleveland cop who got killed in a car accident right after attending an Indians game.  That, unfortunately, happened to Richey Piiparinen’s dad.  Richey is the co-editor of  the recently published Rust Belt Chic anthology.  (My dad was a landlord  who died in the Cleveland Clinic of leukemia.)

I told Richie I like his anthology because it is so lunch bucket — so blue-collar.  I said, “It’s all about booze, Browns and broads.”

He said, “That’s good!”

My problem:

1. Booze . . .  I’ve had a couple Great Lakes Christmas Ales.  No more than 10.  But I’m 100-percent behind Great Lakes Brewing and heavy drinking!

2. Broads?  In 1976 I met a girl at the Last Moving Picture Company downtown. She’s probably near-dead by now, or dead, from too much beer.

3. Browns? Bring back Jimmy Brown.  And what happened to Blanton Collier?

I do like Cleveland’s  monolithic gray skies. I want to be Rust Belt chic. I live here! Not there.

Footnote: Another good Rust Belt book is Mike Polk Jr.’s  Damn Right I’m from Cleveland. Also about booze, Browns and broads.

 

[Illustration by Ralph Solonitz]

Yiddishe Cup’s bandleader, Bert Stratton, is Klezmer Guy. He knows about the band biz and — check this out — the real estate biz too. So maybe he’s really Klez Landlord. You may not care about the real estate biz. Hey, you may not care about the band biz. His blog Klezmer Guy (http://YiddisheCup.com/blog) has a gamy twist. It features tenants with snakes and skunks, and musicians with smoked fish in their pockets. Klezmer Guy was a reporter for Sun Newspapers. He has written for Rolling Stone, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the New York Times. He won two Hopwood Awards.

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