Sunday, May 15, 2005

Keeping up with the Greens

Tongues are wagging across the UK about the party of the year. And surprise, surprise, it's a Bar Mitzvah. From the front page of today's London Times:
THE guest list is worth £10 billion, the after-dinner entertainers cost £1m and so many private jets have been flying into Nice airport that special airspace has had to be created.
Philip Green, Britain’s foremost high street retailer, is throwing a three-day celebration this weekend to mark his 13-year-old son Brandon’s bar mitzvah...
Brandon got his reward as the singer BeyoncĂ© Knowles stepped down from the poster on his bedroom wall to sing live for the guests with her group Destiny’s Child.
Thirty security men circled the hotel grounds between Nice and Monaco to keep out paparazzi as the group performed hits such as Bootylicious and Bills, Bills, Bills.
It was Green who was left with the £4m tab [$8m. -- MS] for throwing the bash, his biggest since he flew 200 guests to Cyprus in 2002 to celebrate his 50th birthday with a three-day Roman-themed toga party....
Technicians had worked round the clock to finish the stage on time, prompting rumours that it was being built for the wedding of the actress Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake, the pop singer.
Andrea Bocelli, the blind Italian operatic tenor, entertained guests on Friday night with a rendition of classical songs such as Ave Maria and Time to Say Goodbye (Con te Partiro)....
One guest said: “There are so many private jets flying into Nice airport that they have had to clear special air space.
“Philip has hired the [£1,000-a-night] hotel for almost a month exclusively to plan the party and deck it out."
Not to worry, though, not to worry, it wasn't all bad taste, missing the point and inappropriate:
Brandon stood up and sang unaccompanied in Hebrew for more than 15 minutes at the traditional ceremony that marks his coming of age. All eyes were on him, and Green’s wife, Tina, and several other women were in tears as he finished his chanting.
A family friend said: “Philip and Tina were very proud of Brandon. He had spent 18 months learning the chant off by heart and he did fine. He wasn’t nervous.”
And what did the poor boy get for his trouble? Rumor has it, not even a Bar-Mitzvah present.... Cheapos.

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