January 16, 2019

ON A “LOVE TRAIN”: Princeton University Professor Emeritus Cornel West addresses the crowd on Saturday in Palmer Square. Originally announced to be a march in Princeton by a white supremacist group, the event turned into a rally against hate, bigotry, and racism, and a call for solidarity. West and others gave short speeches after the hundreds of participants marched around the square, carrying signs and chanting. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin

Originally anticipated as an event that would spread hate, bigotry, conflict, and possibly violence, a rally in Princeton last Saturday turned into an expression of solidarity and harmony, as the white supremacist group that had said it was coming to town didn’t show up and hundreds of counter-protestors joined “a love train,” in the words of Princeton University Professor Emeritus Cornel West.

Signs of all sizes proclaimed such messages as “Love Not Hate Makes America Great,” “Hate Has No Home Here,” and “Princeton Stands Against Hate and White Supremacy,” as the crowds paraded around the perimeter of Palmer Square chanting “Not in Princeton, not anywhere,” “No hate, no fear, Nazis are not welcome here,” and other expressions of solidarity in opposition to the originally planned white supremacist message. more

By Anne Levin

Princeton’s new parking rates, regulations, and technology dominated a meeting of the governing body on Monday night, January 14. At Witherspoon Hall, several downtown merchants aired their concerns to Princeton Council about the new system. But some also thanked the town for their efforts and said they understand that rates needed to be raised.

In addition, the meeting included the announcement that the town’s Food Waste Program is being put on a three-month hiatus. Mayor Liz Lempert also reported that there is no date yet for restarting the Dinky train line, which has been out of service for the past three months. Local high school students Aidan York, Brendan Bucceri, and Ryan Neumann were presented with an award of recognition by former Councilman Lance Liverman for their efforts helping stranded motorists during the unexpected snowstorm last November. more

By Anne Levin

On Monday, January 21, communities across the country will commemorate the life and legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. Locally, numerous events are planned, on and around that day. King, who was assassinated on April 4, 1968, was actually born on January 15, 1929. But the tradition is to honor him each year on the third Monday in January.

The Baptist minister and activist is one of only three people to have an American national holiday named after him (the others are George Washington and Christopher Columbus). Legislation designating the federal holiday in his honor wasn’t passed until 15 years after his death, and the day wasn’t officially commemorated until 1986. Since then, it has become a tradition to remember King by attending services, lectures, films, concerts, and — most of all — volunteering. Following is a sampling of local events and opportunities. more

MUSIC OF THE SOUL: Cantor Jeff Warschauer of The Jewish Center of Princeton and his wife Deborah Strauss, known as The Strauss/Warschauer Duo, will bring an evening of klezmer music and culture to the synagogue on Saturday, January 26.

By Anne Levin

Jeff Warschauer spent years playing bluegrass, country, folk, rock, soul, and rhythm and blues before he discovered the music that spoke to him. It was klezmer, a musical tradition of the Ashkenazi Jews of Eastern Europe, and he was hooked.

“I was playing everyone else’s ethnic music but my own,” said Warschauer, who has been the cantor at The Jewish Center of Princeton since last July. “Then one night I went to a concert by the Klezmer Conservatory Band, and I thought, ‘Oh my God, this is my music.’ I had my ‘aha’ moment.” more

By Donald Gilpin

Emily Mann

“A provocateur, a nurturer, and a creator, a fierce and brilliant woman,” according to her colleague Adam Immerwahr, Emily Mann will be moving on from McCarter Theatre following the upcoming 2019-2020 season. She has served as artistic director and resident playwright at McCarter since 1990.

Widely acclaimed as a champion of works by women and people of color, Mann, whose play Gloria: A Life, a bio-drama based on the life of Gloria Steinem, opened off-Broadway in October, looks forward to entering “a new personal and professional chapter of writing and directing opportunities,” after her final year at McCarter.

“As a producer, she championed several generations of artists whose work has gone on to shape our industry,” said Immerwahr, former McCarter associate artistic director who now serves as artistic director of Theater J in Washington, D.C., the nation’s largest Jewish theater.  more

LEADER OF THE PACK: Aaron Burt is co-director of a camp for local children in the summers — a change of pace from his main job teaching math to third, fourth, and fifth graders, and coaching cross country, girls’ basketball, and girls’ lacrosse at Princeton Charter School.  (Photo courtesy of Aaron Burt)

By Donald Gilpin

Among the driving forces in the life of Princeton Charter School (PCS) math teacher and coach Aaron Burt are his passions for math, coaching, working with elementary and middle school kids, and his hometown of Princeton. 

“I’ve always enjoyed the energy that kids have,” he said. “I enjoy working with that energy. I always thought I’d like to be a teacher. Especially at the elementary level, the kids’ love of learning, their eagerness to be at school, to be with friends, to be with teachers, is great. It’s so much work, but the energy and excitement make every day exciting and fun. I wake up every morning and I’m excited for another day.” more

By Stuart Mitchner

Had the trump of judgment blown, they could not have quivered more; yet still they felt no terror, rather pleasure.

—Herman Melville, from Moby-Dick.

The T-word again! I’ve been trying to think which great writer’s works are most evocative of the twilight zone we entered when Trump shut down the government rather than give up his fantasy of a border wall.

2019 being the 200th anniversary of Melville’s birth, I’ve just finished reading The Confidence Man (1857) and “Bartleby the Scrivener” (1853), both of which contain eerie intimations of the twilight zone. Not so nuanced are the closing walls pressing the victim of the Spanish Inquisition to the brink of the abyss in Poe’s “The Pit and the Pendulum,” with its last-second Hollywood ending as the French army enters Toledo. Given the ever-deepening menace of a foreign adversary, with twilight shadows verging on the depths of night, the present-day reality needs a writer who can suggest the subtle nightmare presence of powerful autocratic forces, like those, say, in Franz Kafka’s The Castle and The Trial, though what’s happening here begins to call for a variation on “The Metamorphosis” in which an entire country wakes up one morning to find itself transformed into a giant insect giving off an odor of kvass and speaking in a voice with a distinctly Russian accent.  more

By Nancy Plum

In the second installment of his year-long residency through Princeton University Concerts, Los Angeles Philharmonic Music Director Gustavo Dudamel returned to Princeton last week for several days of music-making, panel discussions, and educational activities focusing on the theme “Music and Faith.” Bracketed by a master class with the El Sistema-inspired Trenton Music Makers Orchestra and panel discussions on music education and music’s role in social change, the keynote concert last Monday night in Richardson Auditorium featured musicians from the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Violinists Bing Wang and Rebecca Reale, violist Teng Li, cellist Ben Hong, and clarinetist Boris Allakhverdyan, joined by Princeton University pianist and faculty member Juri Seo, presented a concert featuring music of 20th-century Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, a world premiere of a piece by Seo, and a solid gold standard from the master of chamber music — Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.   more

“BLUE BIRTH”: Close-up nature photography by Tasha O’Neill is featured in “From a Child’s Perspective.” The exhibit is at D&R Greenway Land Trust’s Olivia Rainbow Gallery at One Preservation Place in Princeton through February 7. Admission is free.

D&R Greenway Land Trust’s Olivia Rainbow Gallery presents “From a Child’s Perspective,” close-up nature photography by Tasha O’Neill, through February 7. The artist focused macro-lenses on rare minuscule plants and other species, giving D&R Greenway visitors the experience of the late Olivia Kuenne’s own enthusiasms outdoors. Whimsical titles add to the sense of having entered an enchanted forest. The Gallery was founded in this young artist’s memory.

O’Neill discovered some of her subjects on guided walks with Jim Amon (former director of stewardship) on Greenway preserves. Some species were introduced on daylong photo-safaris in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens, with Princeton Photography Club fellow members. Others presented themselves to the artist near her summer home, close to Maine’s Acadia National Park.  more

“OCELOT #6”: This hand-knitted textile is featured in “Ruth Marshall: Knitting the Endangered,” at the Hunterdon Art Museum through April 28. A textile-knit artist, Marshall hopes that her replications of endangered animals will remind people of the threat that animals face and the importance of wildlife conservation.

Ruth Marshall’s creations weren’t inspired by visits to art galleries or a university class, but by working at the Bronx Zoo.

Marshall is an Australian-American contemporary textile-knit artist, whose vivid hand-knit replications of endangered animals remind viewers of the threat the animals face and the importance of wildlife conservation. Her work is now spotlighted in a solo exhibition at the Hunterdon Art Museum (HAM).  “Ruth Marshall:  Knitting the Endangered” runs until April 28.

Marshall worked at the Bronx Zoo as an exhibition sculptor for 14 years and became very concerned about the plight of endangered animals. While on the job, she had a daily reminder of one such threatened creature. more

Xiaofu Zhou

On Sunday, February 3 at 1:30 p.m., violinist Xiaofu Zhou and pianist Yuan Ping will perform at Miller Chapel on the campus of Princeton Theological Seminary, 64 Mercer Street. The program will include works by Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, Debussy, and DeFalla.

Zhou is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Jascha Brodsky and Arnold Steinhardt. He did graduate studies with Dorothy DeLay at The Juilliard School. Zhou has been active both nationally and internationally, performing at Avery Fisher Hall, Carnegie Hall, the Kimmel Center, and the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. Ping has won prizes in numerous international piano competitions, and he often performs with leading orchestras and conductors in China and abroad.  He has also played accompaniment for different soloists.

Tickets are $30 ($15 for students). Visit http://nj23.eventbrite.com or xfPrinceton@gmail.com.

A NEW HOME: Animal shelter volunteer Lucas (Jonah Hauer-King) and receptionist Olivia (Alexandra Shipp) celebrate his adoption of puppy Bella. But Bella is later separated from Lucas and his mom, and embarks on an eventful 400-mile journey home. (Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures)

By Kam Williams

Life has proven to be quite a challenge for Bella (voiced by Bryce Dallas Howard) right from the start. Soon after birth, the puppy was separated from her mother, though she was lucky enough to be nursed back to health by a stray cat. 

The lovable mutt eventually lands at an animal shelter, where receptionist Olivia (Alexandra Shipp) introduces her to a volunteer, Lucas (Jonah Hauer-King). Lucas decides to adopt Bella, hoping she might help lift the spirits of his mom Terri (Ashley Judd), a military veteran suffering from PTSD. more

PHILLY SPECIAL: Princeton University men’s basketball player Jerome Desrosiers puts on the defensive pressure in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday, sophomore forward Desrosiers contributed nine rebounds to help Princeton to defeat Penn 62-53 in Philadelphia. The win gave the Tigers, now 9-5 overall and 2-0 Ivy League, a sweep of the season series with the Quakers. Princeton is currently on exam break and returns to action when it hosts Division III foe Wesley on January 27.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Jerome Desrosiers didn’t have a point, an assist, a block or a steal, but the Princeton University men’s basketball team wouldn’t have beaten Penn last weekend without him.

The sophomore forward contributed nine rebounds to the Tigers’ staggering 55-34 rebounding edge as they swept the season series with a 62-53 win over Penn last Saturday in Philadelphia before a crowd of 6,179 at The Palestra.

“It feels great,” said Desrosiers. “They’re our rivals, so getting those two wins to start the year feels good. The guys are happy. We have the momentum going. We just want to keep it going.” more

RICHE AND FAMOUS: Princeton University men’s hockey player Alex Riche looks for the puck in a game earlier this season. Last Friday, senior forward Riche scored a goal to help Princeton defeat Harvard 4-2 for its first win over the Crimson since 2013. The Tigers, who fell 5-0 to Dartmouth a night later to move to 6-11-2 overall and 4-7-1 ECAC Hockey, are currently on exam hiatus and return to action when they play at St. Lawrence on February 1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton University men’s hockey team prepared to host Harvard last Friday, Ron Fogarty decided to shake things up.

“We switched up lines a little bit,” said Princeton head coach Fogarty, whose team was looking to snap an 11-game winless streak against Harvard.

“It made them not assume. It was just ‘do your job and make sure that the plays were there when making them.’” more

IN SYNC: Princeton High girls’ basketball player Erin Devine puts up a shot in a game earlier this season. Senior star Devine scored 17 points in a losing cause as PHS fell 40-37 to Hillsborough last Saturday. The Little Tigers, who moved to 8-3 with the setback, play at Allentown on January 18 and at Nottingham on January 22. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton High girls’ basketball team hosted Hightstown last week, it didn’t waste any time setting the tone.

Excelling at both ends of the court, PHS jumped out to an 11-0 lead in the January 8 contest.

“I don’t think we played our best on Saturday against New Egypt (a 32-13 win on January 5) so coming in we thought we were just going to put our best foot forward,” said PHS senior forward and team co-captain Erin Devine.

“We wanted to get going in the beginning to get momentum and keep going from there. We definitely wanted to get to the line more this game and we wanted to get layups.” more

TAKING HIS SHOT: Princeton High boys’ track thrower Paul Brennan gets ready to unload the shot put in competition last spring. Senior star Brennan has been enjoying a big winter season, recently hitting a mark of 54’11.5 in the shot, the top throw in the state so far this season. In upcoming action, PHS will be competing in the State Relays on January 19 and the county meet from January 25-26. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It has been a rough ride for the Princeton High track program so far this winter.

The boys’ team has been hit with the injury bug, with such star performers as Nils Wildberg, Acasio Pinheiro, and Matt Perello currently sidelined.

While that has made the squad less formidable in the short term, it could have long range benefits.

“It has given a chance for our younger guys to step into the void and get some really good experience, which actually has been a silver lining,” said PHS head coach Ben Samara. more

CHIPPING AWAY: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey player Chip Hamlett controls the puck in recent action. Senior star defenseman and assistant captain Hamlett has been a stalwart as the Panthers have started 9-7-1. PDS, which topped Bishop Eustace 10-1 last Monday, hosts LaSalle College High (Pa.) on January 16 before playing at Holy Ghost Prep (Pa.) on January 17. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Over the last month, the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team has been tested by a gauntlet of quality foes.

In mid-December, PDS headed up to New England for the Barber Invitational at St Mark’s School (Mass.), where the Panthers lost to Vermont Academy (Vt.) 2-1, defeated Worcester Academy (Mass.) 7-1, and tied Kents Hill (Me.) 1-1.

The team started 2019 by playing at Don Bosco (a 4-1 loss on January 2) and then hosted Albany Academy (a 6-1 loss on January 4) and Vermont Academy (a 2-1 win on January 5) in its annual Harry Rulon-Miller Invitational.

As PDS came into its Mid-Atlantic Hockey League (MAHL) matchup against visiting Hill School (Pa.) last Wednesday, senior defenseman and assistant captain Chip Hamlett believed the squad was battle-tested. more

UP IN ARMS: Hun School girls’ basketball player Jada Jones puts up a shot in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday, senior guard and team captain Jones scored 18 points in a losing cause as Hun fell 51-42 to visiting Mercersburg Academy (Pa.). Jones moved to 989 points in her high school career with her output against the Blue Storm. The Raiders, who dropped to 3-7 with the setback, play at Hightstown on January 16, host Freire Charter School (Pa.) on January 17, play at Hopewell Valley on January 19 and host Nottingham on January 21. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Jada Jones knows that she has to be the offensive catalyst for the Hun School girls’ basketball team.

“If my shot is not falling, it is hard,” said Hun senior guard and two-time team captain Jones. “I try to make sure that everyone is involved. You feel better when you are scoring.”

Last Saturday again visiting Mercersburg Academy (Pa.), Hun fell behind 10-6 and Jones started hitting shots, tallying eight points in the second quarter as the Raiders found themselves down 23-18 at the half. Jones chipped in seven points in the third and hit a bucket early in the fourth to draw Hun to within 36-34. But the Blue Storm responded with an 11-1 run to pull away to 51-42 win.

“It has been a long week for us, we have been having games back to back,” said the 5’8 Jones, who ended up with 18 points in the game as the Raiders dropped to 3-7. more

By Bill Alden

It hasn’t been easy for Liam Gunnarsson to get on the court this winter in his first season with the Hun School boys’ basketball team.

The junior transfer guard, who previously played for Glen Ridge High, was sidelined for the first 10 games of the season due to back and rib problems.

As Gunnarsson prepared for his return to action, practicing with his new teammates helped get him up to speed.

“With how deep we are and how talented we are, I see a lot of improvement in myself,” said the 6’1 Gunnarsson. “I work every day in practice to be able to perform with the best of the best.” more

January 11, 2019

The Princeton Police have issued a statement prior to an expected march by a white supremacist group this Saturday at noon in Palmer Square. Princeton Police remind the public that groups taking part in planned protests need to obtain a permit. Princeton Police also plan to close several streets in and around the Palmer Square area on Saturday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Motorists are asked to avoid the area.

Princeton Police Chief Nick Sutter is urging groups to obtain a permit. The purpose of the permit is to give Princeton Police the opportunity to assist people in safely organizing peaceful protests. Protestors may carry signs that are not attached to poles or sticks. No weapons of any kind, glass, or plastic water bottles will be allowed in designated protest areas on Palmer Square.

Palmer Square and Hulfish Street will be closed to all motor vehicle traffic beginning at 5 a.m. on Saturday. Nassau Street will be shut down between University Place and Witherspoon Street at 10 a.m.

January 9, 2019

A lively flamenco performance by Lisa Botalico’s Fiesta Flamenca dance group was a highlight at Sunday’s Fiesta del Día de Los Reyes Magos, or Three Kings Day, event at the Arts Council of Princeton. The last day of the Christmas season, Three Kings Day is celebrated throughout the world by many different cultures. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

Donald Gilpin

The Princeton Public Schools (PPS) Board of Education (BOE) is off and running in the new year with major plans, priorities, and challenges for Princeton ’s schools — but is in no rush to advance another facilities referendum in 2019.

Calling for a primary emphasis on the students, newly-elected BOE President Beth Behrend noted, “There has been lots of robust discussion about the schools in the past year, but not enough time to focus on students and their needs.”

Despite the scaling back of referendum plans last year from $137 million to $26.9 million with the PPS seeking additional funds to combat overcrowding and renovate aging buildings, Behrend suggested that the BOE would not be rushing to seek another bond issue. more

By Anne Levin

At the January 3 reorganization meeting of Princeton Council, Mayor Liz Lempert swore in new members Eve Niedergang and Dwaine Williamson. Jenny Crumiller, who is in her final year on Council, was named the governing body’s president for the third year in a row.

The annual meeting at Witherspoon Hall is a celebratory event of sorts. The room was filled with friends and family of Williamson and Niedergang, as well as interested community members. Two representatives from the office of Governor Phil Murphy were in attendance, along with New Jersey Assemblymen Andrew Zwicker and Roy Freiman; Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes; and Mercer County Freeholders Andrew Koontz and Ann Cannon.

Former Council members Heather Howard and Lance Liverman, who were in the audience, were given standing ovations and praised by several members of the governing body. more

By Anne Levin

As the climate has become increasingly volatile, Princeton residents have grown familiar with power outages, flooding, downed trees, and other potential disasters. The town has tried to keep an eye on those who are especially vulnerable, due to medical conditions or age, by establishing a database, and offering Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) to anyone who is interested.

Princeton Councilman David Cohen wants to take that preparedness a step further with a program called the
Neighborhood Buddy Initiative. Residents who participate would be a backup system, in their individual neighborhoods, to first responders who might be overwhelmed with calls for assistance during an emergency.

At more than one public meeting including Council’s January 3 Reorganization Meeting,  Cohen has asked that residents invite him to neighborhood gatherings so that he can make them aware of the program. “A lot of neighborhoods in town are already sort of
organized, mostly around the issues of opposing development and just having a social network,” he said. “So I thought that the fact that they already exist offers a great opportunity to do outreach. If they are willing to give me ten minutes to talk about this at one of their gatherings, it would be a good way to get the word out.” more

LEARNING FROM THE MAESTRO: Gustavo Dudamel, shown here with members of the Trenton Youth Orchestra last month, returned to Princeton University this week for the second phase of his three-part residency on campus. This time, he visited with younger students from the Trenton Music Makers program. (Photo by Nick Donnoli/Princeton University Concerts)

By Anne Levin

In a first floor classroom at Princeton University’s Woolworth Music Building on Monday, a string orchestra made up of fourth to ninth-graders played for someone they might never have imagined they would meet. But there was Gustavo Dudamel, the internationally renowned conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, listening intently and nodding as violinists, violists, and cellists of the Trenton Music Makers program made their way through Rossini’s William Tell Overture.

As artist-in-residence this academic year in celebration of Princeton University Concerts’ 125th anniversary, Dudamel has made sure to schedule significant chunks of time with youngsters from music programs in Trenton and elsewhere. A big part of his agenda, he said in a press conference earlier in the afternoon, is dedicated to social change through music. Dudamel is a leading proponent of the El Sistema program, on which Trenton Music Makers is based and in which he participated as a child in Venezuela. more