The Guest List EXPOSED!


Who should I invite?

OK, I made my first list for my son’s bar mitzvah.  I had a small heart attack, then started to ask around to figure out where to “draw the line”.  This is what I learned….

Your family and your family’s friends are who should make the first list of invitees.  Your attendees should be made up of people who are a part of your child’s life, in some way or another.  While its nice to consider inviting colleagues, just remember they most likely do not know your child.  By inviting colleagues, you have now obligated them to give your child a gift.


Keep your guest list to close friends and their kids.  Remember, if you have more than one child….stick to families who have kids that child’s age.  Not friends of the younger sibling. They will make the list next time.

To review:

Family, Family Friends with kids,  Child’s friends.

Those are my thoughts, I’d love to hear yours!  Tonight I will make my list again.  I’ll be sure to tell you by how many it shrank!


Becca Schlussel



Becca’s Beat – LESSON ONE

June 30, 1984.  I became a Bat Mitzvah at Congregation Beth Abraham Hillel Moses (now called Beth Ahm).  For those of you that are Michigan natives you may remember that the synagogue caught fire just a few months prior to that date.  My bat mitzvah service was held upstairs in a makeshift chapel.  I have pictures of my family outside of the synagogue, some even included pictures of the rubble.

I was to become a bat mitzvah no matter the look or location of the bimah or the Torah I was to read from.  The entire experience was amazing!  I remember how I felt as if it were yesterday….

The pictures of me in a knee length white cotton and lace dress with feathered hair are hysterical.  My mom’s perm.  My brothers teal blue suit.  My dad’s beard.

I was the 3rd Jasgur to celebrate their mitzvah.  The entire weekend was so special.  First was the Friday Night gathering of relatives and out-of-towners at our house.  We ate (of course).  Fried chicken, I think.  My dad’s first cousin, Gail Adler (of blessed memory), lead us in song.  She could belt Somewhere over the Rainbow like no other.  Our Cousin Russel Ginns, played guitar and taught us the lyrics to his own silly uptempo creation entitled “Reincarnation” (“…I once was a seat belt, I once was a shoe…”).  Our entire clan aged 5 to 75 stood and danced to the camp classic “Deep Down in the Jungle Where Nobody Goes….”

I have pictures from the evening.  Recalling the night now is making me so happy!  One last thing took place that night…something that we had done the eve before the party for both of my brothers.  We made Candy Apples from scratch…everyone was involved.  Poking the apples with sticks, dipping the apples in boiling red candy syrup.  Rolling the apples in coconut (we left some plain).  Placing them in clear plastic bags and twisting them shut.  It was a group effort.  A TRUE labor of love, and everyone was involved.

Oh what a night it was!

Saturday morning was the service.  My parents said I was beaming.  I remember loving being up in front of the service, sitting with the clergy.  I can still see the smiles on my parents faces.  All of the Hebrew school and studying, I was able to lead the service and read from the torah.  Amazing, right?

The party was Saturday evening at Congregation B’nai Moshe, in Oak Park.   My parents had used the kosher caterer, Sperber, for all of their events.  This would be no exception.

My theme was Oriental.  Why?  Because, I loved Chinese food, why not!  Every guest came dressed in their rendition of Oriental.  Kimono’s, robes, sumo loin cloths, black, white and red filled the room.  The food was served in Chinese take-out containers.  Hot tea at the tables for all the adults.  A rickshaw was in the room for me and my friends to sit on and take pictures.

My dad and I read the candle lighting ceremony together.  There was a slide show (yep, actual slides) of each of the guests as we called them up to be honored.  We danced (Emcee Robbie Goldstein from Joe Cornell, doing his first big party!).  I was on the dance floor all night, as were all my friends.  We ate popcorn and snow cones and RED CANDY APPLES.  We laughed and smiled until midnight.  Another AMAZING night!

I remember writing thank you notes, and looking at pictures.  So many pictures!  I am grateful for all of the pictures.  They are what keep my memory of the weekend alive.  I look at them all the time.  I have shared them with new friends and old.  My kids have seen them.  They are precious.  An amazing gift!  I smile looking at the pictures of those I shared the weekend with who are no longer with us.  Full of life.  Living in the moment.

Lesson ONE from “Becca’s beat”.  TAKE PICTURES!  Lots of them.  Hire a photographer to take pictures.  Talk to them about what you want them to capture….the raw emotion of your loved ones.  Celebrate good times with those you love as often as you can….and TAKE PICTURES!

Yikes… It’s my turn to plan my own son’s party!

Ben's 9th Birthday Party


Have a party to plan?  I do!

Weird after all theses years of being an owner of Joe Cornell (like 24, yikes).  I am in your shoes.

Don’t think I haven’t thought about it.  Where would it be?  Who would I use for what?  How many people would I have?  Giving suggestions to others is so much easier than actually determining your own wants and needs.  In all the times I considered the planning process did I really take into consideration what would be best for my kid?

Which is why I am writing this blog…getting it off my chest.

Slowly I can see my 11 year old becoming more interested in singing along to the tunes on my car’s XM radio!

The last few parties we have been invited to he has complained less about going!

He is signed up for “Joe Cornell” in the fall… (FOR SURE that will get his mind in gear for what is coming!)

We will have the meeting at Temple introducing us to our Mitzvah Tutor.   By then he will be game for a 200 person dance party, right?

I’ll keep you posted!


Becca Schlussel

Dessert Table Love: Guest Blogger

Top: A nature inspired dessert table - Bottom: Bubbie and me at the Joe Cornell Event Planning Expo

It has been about three and a half months since the Joe Cornell Event Planning Expo and Wedding Marketplace.  But here at Sweet Heather Anne we continue to be inspired by great group of clients and outstanding vendors.  As a business owner it is such a pleasure to work with people you love to give them a product they love.

And right now we are all loving the dessert table.  Why?  Because they are innovative, fun, and all-a-round fabulous; taking the typical event cake and making it the stunning centerpiece of a table chock full of desserts.

A well-designed dessert table will take the design elements of your special event and incorporate them into the colors and style of the table; lending clarity to the overall design of your event.  This is where design meets function, where each stand, each item label, and all adornments are hand-picked and arranged to create a composed tablescape that will wow your guests!

The other thing we love about dessert tables is how they get your guests up and moving around after the meal, easing the transition from dinner to dancing.

When looking for a vendor to do a dessert table for your bar/bat mitzvah, wedding, or other special event be sure to choose someone who will work with the design of your event.  A custom table is a must if you are looking for a cohesive event. Also, be sure to find someone who has experience designing, as well as a portfolio for you to look at examples.

For inspiration we recommend checking out our website, and for inspiration beyond the Michigan community we recommend Amy Atlas.  If you don’t already love the dessert table you will after you look at Amy’s impeccable designs!

Heather Anne Leavitt
owner, Sweet Heather Anne

Feel the Beat!

You can feel the bass pounding alongside your heartbeat.  It’s energizing, inviting, exciting.  It makes you want to get up and dance your heart out.  That’s what it feels like when there’s a drummer on the dance floor, in sync with a Joe Cornell DJ.


This new Joe Cornell EXCLUSIVE opportunity features a core group of talented percussionists ready to bring that sense of New York savvy to your next event.  We offered a drummer in the mix of our services years ago – and now we’re bringing it back, with great acclaim.


At our White Party this fall (which used to be the Throwback Party – we keep reinventing ourselves!), we debuted a live drummer mix that, combined with the recorded music we play as DJs, really takes a party to the next level.  Drummer


With our drummer on-site, adding live percussion to the music mix, you forget there’s a DJ and feel like you’re dancing to the spontaneous music of a live band, pouring their energy onto the dance floor.

Kids love it.  Parents love it.  Even better, when the star of the party (enter your bar/bat mitzvah kid or bride/groom here…) is handed the drumsticks and kicks into the performance, under the tutelage of our Joe Cornell percussionist, well, there’s no better feeling.


Like you’re on top of the world.


Like you’re belting out a rhythm that everyone can move to.


It’s indescribable.  Give it a try.  Come see for yourself.  You’ll love it.  Trust me.


(By the way – mention this blog and get $100 off the price of a live percussionist!)

Becca Has a 5th-Grader

Fifth grade registration just started and we were hit with the fact that Becca’s son Ben will be in our dance program next year.


The question that looms before us is…should Becca continue to teach on Tuesday night at Temple Israel and be her child’s teacher?  Or would that be awkward…prompting her to send Ben to Jared’s class on Monday nights and make his friends switch to the less convenient class?

Of course, Ben is excited for the 5th grade dance TONIGHT –  November 22nd at the JCC (7-8:30 PM, Free and open to the public!) – it’s a great night of kid-only fun among friends and future friends, as they check out what our dance program is all about and get a taste of independence at a night of partying akin to what lies ahead for them.  (Don’t worry, though, we’ll stick to line dancing and freestyle, tonight, and leave the partner dancing until 6th grade!)

But back to the question at hand.  We’re pretty sure it wouldn’t be wise for Becca and Ben to share the dance floor.  It’s an easy fix.  And an important one, as the Joe Cornell Experience prepares kids for the independence, poise and social interaction that isn’t so far away.

How cool would it be for a kid to see his mom at the head of the class?  Uhh,  maybe not.  I think we’ve decided:  Ben will take on Mondays.


The Joe Cornell Circle of Life

I knew it was coming.

My friends’ kids are taking Joe Cornell, the same friends I took Joe Cornell with in the … (ahem) 1980s.  How could a generation have grown up so fast?

Alan Taylor, Stacy Weissberg Fealk, and Jennifer Golding Silverman among others.  All the “kids” I two-stepped and “rock and rolled” with several decades ago now have tweens in my dance program.

In 1982, Stacy was my dance partner for the spring ball.  We don’t have a spring ball any longer because parents have grown concerned about the competitive air we thrived on.  So we’ve made our program more inclusive; everyone has something to gain from dancing with Joe Cornell.

Back then, Rob Fink and Jennifer Golding took first place in the spring ball, while Stacy and I came in a close second.  I know Rob hasn’t kept up his dancing.
It’s that time in life when we step to the side and let our children take center stage.  Standing in front of a group of great kids – me as their teacher, them in the awkward excitement of middle school, their whole lives stretching out in front of them – I am struck by how familiar we all are.

I was them.  They’ll be me.  They are kids of people I know well, some resembling their parents.  I own a business and help kids gain social confidence and poise.  Who knows how much of an impact these kids will make in the future…on my kids…on  my grandchildren.
Yes, it’s strange that I could be old enough to be teaching the children of my childhood friends.  That’s the cycle of life.  What goes around comes around.  And I’m just glad that Joe Cornell is going stronger than ever so that kids today can benefit from the fun and excitement that we experienced decades ago on the dance floor, with Joe Cornell.

What did you do this summer?

We are so excited to officially kick off the 2011 – 2012 Joe Cornell Entertainment season this weekend!

The Tri Community Coalition’s Dream Cruise Dance Party on the street in Berkley, marks our yearly kickoff.  For nearly 10 years (has it really been that long?) the great people of the Coalition (Berkley, Huntington Woods, Oak Park) have invited us to entertain the area’s children – furthering their mission to keep kids away from drugs and alcohol.  When you hear the music and feel the excitement – peek over to witness emcee Josh George, DJ Ben Heavenrich, and new entertainer Blake Spencer as they work the crowd!

Speaking of new entertainers, we are ready to unleash our latest, greatest crop of incredible dancers / “party perkers” onto the mitzvah circuit.  Before the kickoff of each new year, Joe Cornell Entertainment hosts auditions to fill its ranks.  Working side by side with our veteran performers, our 5 new dancers will be seeing you soon!  They are…..Nikki, Nia, Ce-Ce, Lawrence, and Robert.

Our 6th Grade Dance Program (The Joe Cornell “Experience”) commences mid September.  While we are past capacity (yep, we even had to open a new class) we could ALWAYS you a few extra boys here and there.  If you know a 6th grade boy who isn’t signed up yet, send them our way….many girls on our wait lists will thank you.  Classes and dates are viewable on our online class schedule at:

Which brings us to current 5th graders.  Mark your calendars now, and watch for information soon, about Joe Cornell’s Annual 5th Grade Dance Party. Tuesday, November 22nd at the West Bloomfield JCC from 7:00 – 8:15 PM.  Its free, its fun, and over 200 area children will join together for a night of organized dancing and entertainment.


And Finally….what new season could officially “kick off” without the annual tradition of the “Joe Cornell Event Planning Expo”.  Nine years running, the last 3 of which have seen the benefits of sponsorship support from our friends at the Detroit Jewish News (

The Wedding Marketplace

This year, we’ve expanded our show to truly reach the area’s Brides to be.  The Wedding Marketplace will run in tandem with the Expo in the the JCC’s Janice Charach Art Gallery and will feature exhibitors specific to the wedding industry.  We are thrilled to announce that ( has chosen to partner with us as a sponsor for this show.  They will be on hand – in person – helping engaged couples post their wedding announcements to their site!

Finally, watch for the 2nd edition of Plan It! Magazine which is in the final design/layout stages for a September release.  Online ( and in print, the magazine is a free publication that serves as a content rich resource guide for area families planning social events.  New this issue, in connection with The Wedding Marketplace and our new entertainment division Joe Cornell Weddings (, we’ll feature a full wedding section with newlywed profiles, bridal party gift ideas, planning tips, and more.

Wow…what did you do all summer?  🙂

Have a great year everyone, we look forward to seeing you soon!


instilling pos\aitive

Any good partnership needs a realist and a dreamer…

In all my dreams, I never imagined I’d be a magazine publisher.

Thanks to the brilliant brainstorm of my sister and business partner, Becca Schlussel, Joe Cornell Entertainment now has a new spinoff business: Plan It! Magazine. See it online for yourself at

Any good partnership needs a realist and a dreamer, and that’s us. Our business has grown so much because we play off each other with ideas, with goals, with “what-if-we-did-this…”

Plan It! Magazine was born out of the goal of creating something useful for the consumer, while helping our partner and affiliate local businesses.

Our incredible Event-Planning Expo, in its 8th year, has grown into this annual program that people flock to and know about, a real fixture in the community. We had always produced a program book for the Expo featuring the contact information for each of the exhibitors.  We billed the book as a “keepsake” and a “planning resource” – but we got to talking: Was it really useful for participants?

As much as we wanted to believe that our show program book was everything you needed to plan a party, we knew that if we added some content and opened it up to a variety of outside advertisers, it would truly be of more benefit to the consumer.  And we decided that who better than Joe Cornell Entertainment could create a sophisticated, sleek magazine to speak to the needs of today’s party-planning consumer.  Provide tips and ideas, vendors and choices, and even respond to the financial concerns of today’s economy.  That’s why the magazine is free to the public – we want it to be a keepsake, a resource that folks keep around and turn to in the throes of planning panic.

We decided to produce 2,000 copies of 24 full-color pages, yearly – to be published in time for our Expo. Lo and behold, the first one isn’t even off the presses, we’re printing 3,000 just to satisfy all our distribution sites, and we’re aiming for twice-yearly and yes, we may even add pages, too.  There’s just so much demand and so much interest from advertisers!

I know you’re waiting for me to say that we’ve had OMG moments and hit panic mode more than once in this new venture – but honestly, building a new arm to our business is just flowing along because it’s the right time and mix for us!  We hit on something that will benefit us and benefit the consumer, and jumping into any new project is just plain fun!

I look at Plan It! Magazine, at the colorful, attention-grabbing cover (which features our niece, Jaclyn Jasgur, who celebrated her bat mitzvah just last year!) and think, wow, this family business is truly moving and shaking.

You know Joe Cornell is all about community.  We have always believed that we have everything we need right here in Michigan – right down the street! – to make a fantastic party happen.  Our new magazine, which is printed here in Michigan and designed by a local graphic artist, is another step in the fight to grow our local economy.

At Joe Cornell, our new mantra is Keeping It Local – because we believe that together, we can rebuild, invigorate and expand our economy. This is home, for you and for us, and we’re here to stay.

Get copies of Plan It! Magazine at area synagogues, Studio A, Tapper’s, the JCC, Yoga Shelter and other local businesses.

So, Joe Cornell walks into my office….

So, yesterday Joe Cornell (yep, the man) walks into our office… 81 years old, fresh hair cut (courtesy of Joseph Xavier Salon), and a bounce in his step as always.   In town from Sherman Oaks California for a life long friend’s daughter’s wedding the previous weekend and an upcoming family wedding the next, Joe is making this week a whirlwind tour of old haunts, reunions, gatherings, hand shaking and hugs.

With his history of good will, and solid metro Detroit “local celebrity” status, I’m not sure the week will be enough!

When Becca and I bought the business of “Joe Cornell” from the man Joe Cornell in 1991, we knew we had a legacy to uphold, and a reputation that would open doors to new opportunities.

Flash forward almost 20 years later, while the landscape has changed dramatically, Joe Cornell Entertainment is still the leader in interactive musical entertainment for the young adult set, and now prides itself on serving as entertainers at more and more weddings (yesterday’s youth are now getting married….its a great fit!)

Additionally, the Joe Cornell 6th grade dance class program – where the business truly began – has a greater outreach, now, than it ever had during Joe’s tenure.  Aside from our traditional 13 week program, we count numerous private schools with their customized “mini programs” amongst our supporters.

Our Event Planning Expo, marking its 8th year helping families plan for their special events, has blossomed into a sell out show with over 50 exhibitors (Open and Free to the Public!)  This year’s show is Sunday, October 3, 2010 at the West Bloomfield JCC.

New this Fall, we will publish our very first issue of PLAN IT! MAGAZINE.  Set to correspond with the timing of our Event Planning Expo, the complimentary 24 page glossy magazine will also be available in area Temples, Synagogues, dance studios, and stores.  Featuring articles written by local area experts, the magazine will serve as an indispensable resource guide for families planning parties.  (Please contact our office for advertising info.)

Joe Cornell, the man, is proud.  He told me so himself.


Steve Jasgur, President

Joe Cornell Entertainment