The rag trade: peddling band T-shirts

I sell basic-black Yiddishe Cup T-shirts.  Tees with the band’s logo superimposed in white.

East Coasters buy the tees just for the look.

The tee is a limited edition.  Probably about 750 of them in the world.  I don’t advertise. You have to be invited to wear one.

Sometimes I get a photo from, say, Mount St. Helens, Wash., of a man in a Yiddishe Cup T-shirt.  I had played his wedding.  Or a photo of a Missoula, Mont., man wearing a Yiddishe Cup T-shirt.  He works on a cattle ranch.

I give the T-shirts to newlyweds and bar mitzvah moms.  Or the bat mitzvah kid, herself, if I think she’s woman enough to handle the  peer harassment.

I once saw a young man on Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights, in a Yiddishe Cup T-shirt, with black jeans.  A Cup-head.   I asked him where he got the tee.  He said at a thrift store for $1.

Think ethnic
About the Author
Bert Stratton is a musician and landlord in Cleveland, Ohio. He is an occasional contributor to the New York Times, Jerusalem Post, Cleveland Plain Dealer and City Journal. Byliner chose his essay "The Landlord's Tale" as one of the best magazine articles of 2012. He blogs at "Klezmer Guy: Real Music & Real Estate."