From Publishers Weekly
The Jewish rite of passage into adulthood is more than simply a ritual, according to Bennett, Shell and Kroll. The bar and bat mitzvahs of their youth evoke reminiscences that had been "left to languish in suburban rec rooms and the darker recesses of our memories—the unmistakable smell of the smoke machine... and the sound of Lionel Richie." This collection of essays and photos is the offshoot of their Web site of the same name, on which they solicited photos from the late 1960s through the 1980s displaying the peculiarities of their times. The book is structured as a professionally photographed bar mitzvah album, starting with awkward portraits and ending with the requisite "waving good-bye" shot. In between, the authors give short, humorous recollections of each aspect of the event, from the elaborately designed sign-in board to the chair-lift tradition. Well-known contributors, such as author Jonathan Safran Foer, comedian Sarah Silverman and Will & Grace
creator David Kohan, add what seem to be hastily crafted but amusing short commentaries. While deeper observations would've made this more sustaining fare, the photographs alone make it a delicious bite of pop culture.
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"A collection of more than 30 photographs culled from bar and bat mitzvahs from the 70s to the early 90s with essays by friends of the authors like Sarah Silverman and A.J. Jacobs, Bar Mitzvah Disco
…is at first glance a nostalgia tour through an era of unprecedented bourgeois tackiness. But…it is also a cultural history, albeit one with a Duran Duran backbeat." —New York Times Styles
"For a delicious buffet of glitzy, pubescent ostentation, check out Bar Mitzvah Disco
"Bar Mitzvah Disco
puts on a brand-new suit and congalines through that sometimes wild religious rite of passage. Manhood never looked so pubescent. Or fun." —GQ
"An entertaining collection of personal essays and anecdotes about the coming-of-age celebrations." —Esquire
"There is a very special place where the chosen people and The Village People braid together like a half-baked challah, and that place is Bar Mitzvah Disco
. More than a nostalgic romp through an ill-defined time, BMD
isolates and stares in blushing wonderment at the fashions, rituals, and music of an era that looked at feathered hair and rhinestone scrunchies and thought, Awesome