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Everyone's a Critic

The Observer's culture blog

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

BUMPED FOR JUDY COLLINS, by Bert Stratton

Bert Stratton, leader of YIddishe Cup klezmer band

Last year at The Ark, my klezmer show got bumped for Judy Collins. She took our slot.

Ann Arbor's ukulele-master Gerald Ross, who was a sideman emailed me then: "I saw The Ark schedule. I don't think we're playing Feb. 9 [2013], because you're not Judy Collins."

I had a lock on that date! I emailed The Ark. The Ark said how about another date? I suggested a couple more Saturday nights. The Ark said how about a Friday night.

I don't play Friday nights if I can help it. I like to stay home for Friday nights - the Jewish Sabbath (Shabbat). Sometimes my Shabbats are just a couple hours, but they're always on Friday night! I once heard a Reform rabbi say, "Say a prayer over your pizza if you're out with your kids on Friday night." I'm all for that. I "hold" by that. ("Hold" is a Jewish verb for "I follow that custom.")

I reluctantly took the Friday night slot last year, but didn't put "Friday" in my publicity.

I got up to Ann Arbor on Friday afternoon and met up with an old college friend, Charlie Burch. He had just donated his 196070s political buttons (No!/Nein/Nyet/Non/Lo, March on Washington, Go Michigan Beat Thailand) to an archive in the Graduate Library. I wondered who still used the library. The answer: Charlie.

He pointed out where various buildings don't exist anymore. Like Centicore Books, Borders Books, Orange Julius and Miller's Ice Cream.

I like touring Ann Arbor. It's the only place I've lived other than Cleveland. I graduated U-M in 1973.

I said a private Shabbat prayer in a Mexican restaurant, Sabor Latino, before my gig. I opened the gig with "Shalom Aleykhem," a well-known Friday night song, and I wished the Jews at The Ark a "Shabbat shalom."

I had a good one - a good Shabbat. But playing publicly on Friday night is not optimal for me.

Yiddishe Cup is playing on a Saturday this year Feb. 8 [2014]. Praise the Lord!


posted by John Hilton at 5:58 p.m. | 0 comments


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