Bar Mitzvah Disco: The Music May Have Stopped, but the Party's Never Over

Roger Bennett, Author, Nick Kroll, Author, Jules Shell, Author , foreword by the Village People. Crown $23.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4000-8044-1

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. Agents, Kate Lee and Richard Abate. (Sept. 13)

Reviewed on: 06/27/2005
Release date: 11/01/2005
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