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Bar Mitzvah Disco: The Music May Have Stopped, but the Party's Never Over Hardcover – November 1, 2005
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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." —HEEB Magazine
"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." —Blackbook Magazine
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Top Customer Reviews
The people who wrote the Foreword are perfect for the job. They've probably played a part in every Bar or Bat Mitzvah since the '70s: The Village People, the group behind "Y.M.C.A." Though short, the Foreword kicks off the book nicely.
Those embarrassed by their Bar or Bat Mitzvah pictures will feel better and maybe even proud after flipping through Bar Mitzvah Disco's hilarious photo album as the book represents "every Jewish teen" who hit puberty in the '70s, '80s, or early '90s.
Anyone wishing to have a Bar or Bat Mitzvah that reflects one of these decades has a great source in this book. If not for inspiration, the reader will get plenty of ideas of "what not to do" in party planning and those famous bar and bat mitzvah photo poses.
Be prepared for poofy dresses, high hair, Benetton, Vuarnet glasses, Day-Glo necklaces, dancing with a crush, boys shorter than girls, boys in fancy suits, sign-in boards, socks, food, giant shoulder pads, DJs, the money machine, lines from '80s songs, and break dancing.
Whether or not you've gone through the Jewish rite of passage, if you've attended a Bar or Bat Mitzvah between the '70s and early '90s, expect to flash to the past and laugh as you see the infamous styles from those decades and memorable moments.
The book comes with photos from over 90 bar and bat mitzvahs, commentary from the teens behind the pictures, short essays from celebrities and the unknown, and photos with the famous and infamous including O.J. Simpson, Michael Jackson, and a few cheesy impersonators. While 90+ sounds like a lot, many pictures come from the same event and more photo variety would enhance the book.
The book ends with an update on some of the brave folks who appeared in the book. These folks work on Will and Grace and The Family Guy do stand up comedy, and hold hot shot positions. They probably begged for the update section to show how successful they are as a way to save face from the embarrassing photos and stories. But seriously, it's good to know what became of those pimply kids with braces.
While reading the book, don't be surprised if you pull out your albums or start dancing to "Y.M.C.A." Children of the '70s, '80s, and '90s - especially those who enjoy VH-1's I Love the '80s series - will appreciate the stories and photos.
It takes you back to a time of Michael Jackson, Reeboks, hair gel & hours spent in temple.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Highly recommend this book.Read more