The Miller family from East Hills, New York, celebrated their son Max’s Bar Mitzvah on May 18, 2013.
Anyone who knows the Miller family can tell you that they march to the beat of their own drum. With a reputation for throwing over-the-top theme parties, it was inevitable that their son Max’s Bar Mitzvah would be very unique.
Dad David turned to his business partner Gil Aldad of PBG Miller Immersive Environments to help create a Bar Mitzvah that would be unique, creative and non-traditional.
The service and celebration were held at Sunrise Day Camp, the only dedicated day camp in the nation for children with cancer. The theme was surprisingly simple. Son Max is obsessed with computers and technology so it was an Apple Computer “iMax” theme!
Pictured left: Top Row, Dad David with Bar Mitzvah boy Max. Bottom Row, Mom Vicki and younger Brother Miles
The photographer was Felicia Lebow and the rest of the vendors are listed at the end of the spotlight.
The Bar Mitzvah was held in the newly constructed Pavilion at Sunrise Day Camp. The Havdallah service was upbeat, fun and non-traditional and held in a tent in the parking lot of the camp.
As guests arrived they were handed a yarmulke
Circles of Life created these yarmulkes made of seed paper in keeping with the green theme of Max’s Mitzvah Project. Read more about his Mitzvah Project here
Guests were given sachets filled with spices made by Mom Vicki who runs a spice company
Children in the front rows were handed percussion instruments to play along
Dad David was the party planning parent and says, “Part of planning a memorable event is getting your guests excited and involved.” This started with Max’s invitation. The Miller family had received so many beautiful invitations that ended up in the garbage, so they wanted to give their guests something they could reuse. They decided to make every invitation by hand! Each guest received an iPad (look-a-like) and pen set!
The outside of the box mimicked the packaging for an iPad, complete with images of an iPad featuring apps that represented Max’s hobbies and interests (i.e. iDrum, iSki, iDJ, etc). Inside the box, the invitation was wrapped in paper with Matrix code designed with the date of the Bar Mitzvah (05182013), sealed with a round “Max’s Genius Bar Mitzvah” sticker, and a combination pen/stylus/flashlight attached, which was custom imprinted with the iMax logo
For the actual invitation, they created a custom note pad that looked like an iPad, with an email inviting their guests. To get the guests involved, they created a Mac-themed color dress code of white, silver or black
While guests wore silver, white or black, Mom Vicki and Dad David glowed in their EL Wire trim clothing.
EL Wire also created glowing corsets for the dancers too
When it came to decor, David turned to his business partner, Gil Aldad, from PBG Miller Immersive Environments. Having worked together on many other projects in the past, he knew that together they could create custom decor elements that would bring the theme to life.
Projection artist Dutch Masterson helped transform this space into a fully immersive high tech lounge environment. The room was pulsing with Matrix code scrolling down the walls and sound reactive light up computers on all the bars and tables
Cocktail tables were decorated with iPads with chocolate candy apps. Chemistry beakers and graduated cylinders were filled with candy to tie-in the Genius bar Mitzvah theme
Cameras were placed around the room with signs asking guests to take pictures with them or post their own, on Instagram
For the centerpiece of the room, a 70” plasma TV was turned into a giant computer and speakers, which was used for the breakout and the montage
The digital iSign board, created by Simon Elliot Events, looked like a giant “MaxBook” Pro computer.
Guests left messages for Max on this giant Max Book Pro digital iSign
All of Max’s special messages were compiled into the iSign Guestbook with a custom cover
Food buffets and other passed hors d’oeuvres were designed by caterer Andrea Correale of Elegant Affairs.
Taco Station for guests
Creative meatballs & spaghetti!
Mini grilled cheese and soup along with other “apps” were served on trays that looked like giant iPads
The adult guests were served shots from servers wearing illuminated backpacks, with clear tubes filled with two different signature drinks. Waiters wandered the room wearing shirts designed to look like Apple store employees
Guests were offered cookies & milk and Twinkies imported from Canada
(Note: Twinkies were not available in the US at the time of this celebration)
When it came time for dessert, a donut wall was created by PBG Miller Immersive Environments. The sign read, “iGoNuts For Donuts” and was rolled out onto the dance floor
Cool Haus was there to create handmade ice cream sandwiches in unique flavors that were served in an edible paper wrapper with the iMax logo and caricature image printed on them
PBG Miller Immersive Environments created custom logos which were affixed to the bars, cocktail tables and even the center of the round white dance floor. The cool t-shirts, worn by staff and guests, were created by Gotham T-shirt.
T-shirts, like the one above, were handed out to all of the guests
Printed on the inside of the shirts upside down was a caricature of Max
When the bottom of the shirt is flipped over your head, it creates a mask of Max
More Than Music provided the music entertainment with MC Genady.
The More Than Music crew poses with the Miller family
Two males break dancers entered the room dressed in EL wire illuminated costumes and performed a robot dance
Dad David enjoying his son’s celebration
Max’s younger brother Miles was carried into the room by the male dancers on a custom made illuminated horah chair-chariot, followed by Mom and Dad also dressed in EL wire-illuminated outfits
Miles entrance created a diversion so the guest of honor could hide behind the giant computer. As the MC announced “DJ Max Trax” the female dancers pulled away the keyboard on the giant computer to reveal Max, who was wearing an EL wire jacket and a sound reactive “Daft Punk” mask, standing behind his own DJ mixing board. He performed a mix of his favorite dance songs that he produced and the crowd loved!
There were many activities for all their guests during this celebration!
During the cocktail hour, guests were encouraged to look into the “Maxtrix,” a “Punk” booth with a hidden camera that captured them peering in. Later these awkward images of the guests were incorporated into the projections on the ceiling, creating the illusion of them looking in on the party below
Kids played games and activities provided by Simon Elliot Events, including this Candy Drop game above, a video game station and Stick A Pic photo favors below, along with airbrushed neoprene iPad cases
The video game station
Stick A Pic photo favors were available for all guests
Simon Elliot Events also provided a custom Beatz Box station
Each of Max’s friends received their custom headphones in a customized box
Guests were entertained by the extreme magic of Eric Wilzig
The iMax candle display was created by Name with Flame.
Candle lighting display
As Max invited guests to light candles the ceiling was engulfed in breathtaking images of realistic flames
When it came time to make his speech, Max’s Dad announced that he asked a celebrity to speak on his behalf. Using voice-to-text software, Dad held his iPhone up to the microphone, and Siri delivered his speech in the form of a humorous rhyme and introduced the montage video.
The montage created by dad, with help from Genius Bar staff of the Apple store, featured family photos, home movies, TV and movie clips, all creatively tied together with a soundtrack of classic rock and current hits
Max’s friends each had a cubby with a logo’d bag for all their party swag!
Bar Mitzvah Bouncer provided the security for this celebration.
At the end of the night when guests departed they were given retro telephone iphone handsets with cartoon labels saying “Thanks for dialing, you’ve left us smiling” on them, and bottled water labeled iRecycle and the Max Cent’s 4 Sunrise logo.
The retro phone handsets
We wrote about Max’s terrific Mitzvah Project called, Max Cents 4 Sunrise. He collected recyclables and donated the deposit money to Sunrise Day Camp, a camp for children with cancer, where Dad David has been involved since it’s inception and sits on the advisory board.
Read more about Max’s Mitzvah Project and how you can do something similar in your town here
Max’s Dad has produced many events in his career. Here’s some advice:
“What an awesome night! From the minute Max was born we knew he would become a Bar Mitzvah, but it wasn’t until he was eleven that we began to really talk about what type of experience we wanted for our son. A night of tradition and celebration does not happen without a lot of thought, preparation and coordination. My wife stayed focused and organized throughout the entire process. She kept detailed notes and files for every step, including the guest list, vendor contracts and payments, reply cards, gifts and thank you notes. You can prepare all you like for the perfect evening, but there is no event that goes smoothly or without a hitch. There will always be hiccups and things that do not go exactly as planned, but keep in mind that you are the only ones who will know; we had our share. But don’t sweat the small stuff.”
The following vendors helped to make Max’s celebration special. If you give any of them a call, please let them know you read about their services on MitzvahMarket.com.
Venue: Beth Fetner, Sunrise Day Camp, 516-766-4341
Party Planner/Decor/Donut Wall: David Miller, PBG Miller Immersive Environments, 516-358-0800
Video Projection: PBG Miller & Dutch Masterson Designs, 516-358-0800
Service Music: Percussionist George Hooks & Guitarist, Eric Komar, Komar Music, 718-344-0440
Music Entertainment: MC Genady, More Than Music, 516-626-9400
Invitations: The Miller family
T-shirt Favors: Howie, Gotham T-shirt, 516-676-0900
Magician: Eric, The Extreme Magic of Eric, 516-944-4792
Photographer: Felicia Lebow, Photography By Felicia, 516-242-1947
Caterer: Andrea Correale, Elegant Affairs, 516-676-8500
Seed Yarmulkes: Circles of Life, 978-2-KIPPOT
iSign, Beatz Station, Stick A Pic: Michelle Collins, Simon Elliot Events, 516-586-6822
Candle Lighting Display: Name with Flame, 609-933-0887
Ice Cream Sandwich Station: Amy McCullaugh, Cool Haus, 818-694-5733
Mom’s dress: Calvin Klein Custom Couture Dress
Suits for male family members: Glow City, 877-562-4569
Dancer Corsets: Electric City
Custom made sound reactive EL Mask: Jorge Pong
Security: Bar Mitzvah Bouncer, 631-367-1519
Valet Parking: Jeffrey Shapiro, Solutions, 516-432-7275