Camp Paris

By Nathaniel Popper

Published March 16, 2007, issue of March 16, 2007.
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For The Shmooze, it has been a source of both shame and pride that Paris Hilton has never given us a reason to write about her.

A gossip page without the hot hotel heiress is a bit like a circus without a clown. Recently, though, Hilton gave us our big chance when she took up residence at a Jewish summer camp in Los Angeles.

No, Hilton is not spending her nights singing Hebrew songs around a campfire. Rather, she is at Camp JCA Shalom for the filming of her reality television show, “The Simple Life.” The camp, which is located in the mountains just above Malibu, is quick to assure callers that no Jewish campers are being used in the making of Hilton’s show. The program’s production company is simply renting out the grounds while camp is not in session.

This is not the camp’s first starring role. The sitcom “My Name Is Earl” shot an episode among the bunk beds, and parts of Eddie Murphy’s 1998 movie “Dr. Dolittle” were filmed there, too.

“The Simple Life” is now shooting its newest version, “Camp Simple Life,” which is set to appear on the E! Network later this year. As in past seasons, Hilton and her sometimes-friend Nicole Richie are put in a novel situation without their usual amenities — and hijinks ensue. Early reports suggest that this season, Hilton and Richie will be counselors at a fat camp and at a couples camp.

The location of the series might have gone unnoticed if it were not for Hilton’s recent foibles. After the heiress’s birthday party in Las Vegas last month, rocker Courtney Love made an online posting about seeing “a big pile of white powder” in the bathroom. This elicited a gossip item in the New York Daily News in which the head of the Foundation for Jewish Camping, Jerry Silverman, was quoted as saying that camp counselors should be held to higher standards.

It turns out that the quote actually came from a press release issued before the party. In the end, however, Silverman has no regrets: He said that his comments gave Jewish camps some extra publicity. As for the actual goings-on at JCA Shalom, Silverman said that Hilton’s show is a great way for the camp to make some money for its scholarship fund. The cast has even done some painting and has set up a few new structures so that future campers can remember the famous blonde who made camp history without even taking part in color war.


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