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November 03, 1989 - Image 65

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-11-03

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

several times. "Oh man. I've been tak-
ing on too many gigs. Oaky, you're the
bar mitzvah, 2 to 4 tomorrow"
Lainie felt a panic known only to
the mothers of bar mitzvah boys — a
sense of profound dread based upon a
vision of 30 13-year-olds with nothing
to do. "No. That's not right;' she said
firmly. "It's 12 noon to 4 p.m. I wrote
it down for you. Remember?"
"Whatever you say;' mumbled
Elton. "But if you want me for two ex-
tra hours, I'm going to have to fill in
with some tapes. My voice is going.
And I've got a recording session in the
Lainie felt a volcano rumbling in-
side her, but knew it was not the time
to erupt. "I'll expect to see you 12
noon as we planned," she said, trying
to sound like General Patton. Then
she hung up the phone and cried like
Shirley Temple might if the Good
Ship Lollipop was sunk.
Would he show up or wouldn't he?
Lainie got her answer the next
day when she walked into the ban
quet room. Behind the small dance
floor stood Elton Z., wearing a black
tux and a forced grin. With both
hands he waved at her, like a kid
showing off on a bike saying, "Look
ma, no hands."
Lainie felt relieved but not entire-
ly reassured. There was music all
right. But it was coming from a tall
tape deck. Elton's guitar lay dormant
on a silver stand while he fiddled with
some knobs on the big tape machine.
Lainie tried to reassure herself.
Perhaps this was just "preliminary
music"until the party began.
In a few minutes, guests started
arriving. Lainie glanced over in
Elton's direction. Her star entertainer
was still fiddling with knobs. And

while Elton fiddled, Lainie burned.
The room was flooded with record-
ed pop Muzak. Even as people took
their seats, Elton had not so much as
approached his guitar. Lainie's
glances now became glares. Had she
paid $350 for what you could get free
in any elevator?
At one of the tables, someone else
was also casting an unfriendly eye on
the overly laid-back musician. It was
Harvey Kleinman, wearing a dark
blue suit and a look of contempt.
`loon, the luncheon reached the
dessert phase. The fruit parfaits were
pretty and sweet, but Lainie tasted
only the grapes of wrath. Uninspired,
the guests weren't dancing and soon
they'd all leave. Lainie tossed her
napkin on the table and prepared to
do battle with the no-good Elton Z.


Then it happened ...
one of those
turnarounds when a
plot is reversed in a
few heroic moments.

Then it happened . . . one of those
Hollywood turnarounds when a plot
is reversed in a few heroic moments.
Rising abruptly from his seat, Harvey
Kleinman strode defiantly to the
dance floor, coming face to face with
Elton Z.
"Mind if I borrow your guitar?"
Harvey asked. Before the surprised
Elton Z. could answer, Harvey had
picked up the instrument, put the
guitar strap over his head and posi-
tioned himself at the mike.
Lainie, and eventually all the
others, turned to watch. It was the
first time all afternoon that anyone's
attention had been directed toward
the dance floor.
"Turn that stuff off:' Harvey com-
manded. And Elton obeyed. "Ladies
and gentlemen," Harvey said into the

mike, cool and confident. "We are
gathered here in honor of Glen's bar
mitzvah and we are going to help him
There was a round of applause.
Lainie looked at the man who'd said
he'd strut no more. She marveled at
the transformation. As if he'd jumped
into a phone booth and switched iden-
tities, Harvey had changed from
Clark Kleinman to SUPERHARVEY!
. . . a man of shpiel, able to leap tall
shticks in a single bound.
In true-vampire Transylvanian
accent, he serenaded the audience
with "Besame Mucho." People laugh-
ed and clapped.
Then it was gag time. "Doctor,
doctor," Harvey complained into the
mike. "Sometimes I feel like a
wigwam. Sometimes I feel like a
teepee. What's wrong with me?
`That's easy; says the doctor. 'You're
two tents!' Get it?" Harvey asked.
"Too tense." They got it. They liked it.
They cheered.
Thrrrrum! A giant chord on the
guitar. "Hava nagila, hava nagila,"
Harvey sang. Quicker than you can
say "nova lox" they were up on their
feet and dancing a multigenerational
horah, kids pulling the circle faster
and faster as mothers and grandmas
kicked off their high heels.
When the last limbo was limboed,
and the last sher had been shared,
Harvey handed the guitar back to
Elton Z. who'd watched the whole
thing. Lainie came up to give Harvey
a hug before he returned to his seat.
"That guy's pretty good," Elton
said to Lainie, a bit sheepishly.
Harvey overheard. Turning to Elton,
he smiled. "Kid, when it comes to bar
mitzvahs, I'm still the King." 0



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