July 12, 2007
Backlot parties put simchas in the spotlight
(Page 2 - Previous Page)Venue fees at Universal do not include on-site or off-site caterer, decorations or character rental (because what Universal bar mitzvah would be complete without Frankenstein's monster?).
While it's not easy being green, Henson Studios on La Brea Avenue (the former Charlie Chaplain Studios) hopped deftly onto the b'nai mitzvah scene three years ago when a former CEO called and asked if he could host a party for his child on the lot.
A Chaplin-dressed Kermit the Frog towers over the lot, which was purchased by The Jim Henson Company in 2000. The vintage soundstage, built in 1917, with its 27-foot-high ceiling, can be rented for $5,000 to more than $8,000; an adjacent courtyard costs $2,000-$5,000. The studio offers an off-site caterer, but families can bring in their own kosher caterer.
But do these mega-parties take away from what a bar mitzvah is all about? Should a rite-of-passage include rocket ships and red carpets?
Rabbi David Wolpe of Westwood's Sinai Temple says that a bar mitzvah party's size shouldn't be the deciding factor in whether the child has learned anything from the experience.
"I think it's probably true that the setting matters less than the feeling," he said. "I've been to opulent parties that were deep and ones that didn't cost much that were superficial and empty."
Wolpe speaks from experience, having recently attended a bar mitzvah party at Sony which he called a "a very beautiful and meaningful event."
"So much depends on who is involved and what they intend to say, as opposed to how much it costs to say it," Wolpe said.
For more information, visit
http://www.filmmakersdestination.com/special_events/ (for Universal Studios)
http://leasing.henson.com/events.html (for Henson Studios)
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