6 degrees (no Bacon): Jewish celebrity roundup
Madonna’s bar mitzvah boy
NEW YORK (6NoBacon.com)—Madonna reunited with her ex-husband and director Guy Ritchie to celebrate their son Rocco’s bar mitzvah on Saturday. The coming-of-age celebration took place at The Kabbalah Centre in New York and included a small gathering the previous night. Madonna has been known for her involvement in Kabbalah studies since the 1990s.
The singer posted a photo on her Instagram of Rocco completing the writing of a Torah scroll with the caption, “ ‘We finish the last letter of the Torah for Rocco’s Bar Mitzva! Lucky 13! Happy Birthday! Potential ……… responsibility!!!!’—Madonna.”
The festivities continued at Bklyn Beast, New York City’s training facility for Parkour, Capoeira and Dance.
Mazel tov, Rocco!
Michele pleas for privacy
In the wake of her boyfriend Cory Monteith’s tragic death, Lea Michele released a statement requesting to be left alone.
“We ask that everyone kindly respect Lea’s privacy during this devastating time,” a rep for the actress told People.
The Jewish “Glee” star, 26, was in Mexico when she learned that Monteith was found dead in a Vancouver hotel room on Saturday. “She was shaking when she heard the news,” a friend told the Daily News.
While the Canadian-born Monteith, 31, who co-starred with Michele on “Glee,” openly struggled with substance abuse (his last rehab stint was in April), the cause of his death is still unknown.
“We have interviewed everyone he was with the night before,” Vancouver Police Constable Brian Montague said July 14. “For the most part, it has been turned to the coroner’s office, who will be determining the next steps with respect to establishing cause of death.”
Rivers’ writers want justice
The writers on “Fashion Police” have had plenty of practice taking swipes at big-name stars. Now they’re using the expertise to go after their own boss, Joan Rivers.
In a three-minute video called “Dear Joan: Can We Talk?” the disgruntled writers come down on Rivers for not taking their side in a labor dispute with the E! television network. In April the writers went on strike “seeking the basics: health insurance, a pension plan and fair pay consistent with industry standards,” according to the video.
“Joan Rivers is not just a star but a member of the Writers Guild, and that she won’t support her fellow Writers Guild members is astonishing,” one writer said. “To me it’s just a basic fairness issue.”
The group claims they attempted to sit down and talk it over in person, but that Rivers was unreceptive. They believe the veteran Jewish comic has the power to get their demands met and are frustrated by her lack of support.
It’s convincing stuff, but as they say, there are two sides to every story. We’re hoping Rivers finds some new writers to draft her response.
Aly and Amar’e at Maccabiah
Jewish gymnast extraordinaire Aly Raisman are among the 1,100-strong U.S. contingent at the 19th Maccabiah Games, which started July 18. Some 8,000 athletes from around the world are descending on Israel for the quadrennial event known as “Jewish Olympics.”
Another big-name American to look out for at the Games is Amar’e Stoudemire. The New York Knicks star, who traveled to Israel a few years ago to explore his Jewish roots, won’t be lacing up his Nikes but rather is serving as an assistant coach for the Canadian team.
The Games run through July 30.
Catskills comedy school
For decades, the hundreds of hotels and bungalow colonies in the Catskill Mountains offered Jews a summer getaway experience and provided a venue for Jewish entertainers to gain an audience.
Now a new documentary hitting theaters at the end of July explores the birth of modern standup comedy in the so-called Borscht Belt—what the film calls “a boot camp for the greatest generation of comedians.”
“When Comedy Went to School,” co-directed by Ron Frank and Mevlut Akkaya, and written by Lawrence Richards, paints a picture of the rise of Jewish comedians amid the expansion of a classic Jewish-American summer destination.
Robert Klein narrates the documentary, which features accounts of their upstate New York exploits from Jerry Lewis, Sid Caesar, Jackie Mason, Jerry Stiller, Mort Sahl, Mickey Freeman and Dick Gregory, a non-Jew who happens to be black.
There are interviews as well with family members of the Kutshers and Grossingers, two families whose hotels laid the groundwork for the booming Catskills business.
As Lewis observes in the film, the Borscht Belt was a place that offered freedom of expression for young, talented Jews.
“It was,” he said, “a place to be bad.”
Weiner featured in MoSex
Remember the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal? What, you say, the money shots and sexy messages that once were burned into your brain have pretty much been erased now that he’s running for mayor? Well, the New York Museum of Sex will gladly refresh your memory.
The Universe of Desire exhibit currently on view at MoSex features a Facebook exchange between Weiner and Las Vegas blackjack dealer Lisa Weiss in which the Jewish former congressman brags about his sexual prowess, The Huffington Post reports. The museum’s curator, Sarah Forbes, describes Weiner’s words as “artifacts of sexuality.”
The exhibit, an exploration of how “desire has gone viral,” runs through September. Hopefully it omits any of those photos we’ve worked so hard to forget.
For the latest Jewish celebrity news, visit JTA’s 6 degrees (no Bacon) blog.