January 18, 2017

Reading over the artist’s shoulder, you know who the hero of the occasion is at Monday’s Martin Luther King Day Community Event at the Arts Council of Princeton’s Paul Robeson Center. It was a day of live performances, interactive improv, listening, learning, sharing, and making art. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

Despite impassioned appeals on both sides, along with expressed commitments to work together, Princeton Charter School (PCS) and Princeton Public Schools (PPS) remain entrenched in their opposition over the question of a PCS expansion.

Princeton Charter School’s board voted unanimously last Wednesday to support their application to the State Department of Education for expansion, and Princeton Public Schools continued their efforts to block that move.  more

IT’S ALL ABOUT COMMUNITY: Princeton Councilman Lance Liverman delivered a positive message at a prayer breakfast held in memory of Martin Luther King, at Princeton University’s Carl A. Fields Center. Bob Durkee, the University’s vice president and secretary, looks on at far left. (Photo by Denise Applewhite, Courtesy of Princeton University)

This year for the first time, Princeton University designated Martin Luther King Day a school holiday. That gave students and faculty the day off on Monday, January 16, and many of them joined members of the local community to remember the late civil rights activist at a special prayer breakfast in the University’s Carl A. Fields Center. more

Advocating the benefits of recycling to residents of Princeton can be like preaching to the choir. But there is more to creating a truly sustainable community than even the most dedicated recyclers may be aware. more

MOVING ON: Potter John Shedd, a fixture in Rocky Hill for decades, is relocating his shop and studio to Hopewell. The stalled bridge repair work on Route 518 has kept customers away for too long, making a major dent in his important holiday sales season. Look for John Shedd Designs this spring in Hopewell’s Tomato Factory. 

For John Shedd, the idea of moving his pottery studio from Rocky Hill to Hopewell is nothing new. He has mulled it over for years. more

Leticia Fraga has announced she will make another run for Princeton Council in the next election this year. The terms of Bernie Miller and Jo Butler will become available. Mr. Miller has said he will not run for another term, while Ms. Butler has yet to make a decision. more

Rutgers Master Gardeners, who recently received Awards for Excellence at a conference of the Rutgers Master Gardeners Association of New Jersey.  Pictured with Barbara J. Bromley, Mercer County Horticulturist (far right) are front, Greenie Neuburg, Princeton; and standing rear from left to right Louise Senior, Princeton; Kay Danbury, Lawrenceville; and Pat Lagunas, Princeton.

Annie Isaacson, 47, yoga teacher and founder in 2014 of Rise Power Yoga on the second floor at 80 Nassau Street, believes in balance. She realizes that Rise Power Yoga is a successful business, but more important to her is leading a balanced life and providing a service to the community. As she explains it, “It becomes a space for a lot of people to show up and discover their radiance and deal with whatever they’re going through, whether it’s physical or emotional.” Annie lives in Princeton off Mount Lucas Road with her 13-year-old son. Here, in her own words, she talks about her journey to Rise Power Yoga. more

On Saturday morning, February 11, people across 33 cities in 10 states will participate in the ninth annual Cupid’s Chase 5K run, presented by Community Options, Inc. The Princeton run starts at Princeton Shopping Center on North Harrison Street, with registration at 8 a.m. and the race beginning at 10 a.m. more

If at first an idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it. — Albert Einstein

I’m thinking of two Lears. Edward is the author of “The Owl and the Pussy-Cat,” one of the happiest poems ever written. The other Lear is Shakespeare’s mad king who brings the world down on his head because he only hears what he wants to hear no matter how evil the source and when he hears something he doesn’t want to hear, even when it’s spoken by an angel, he banishes the angel, opens the door of his kingdom to evil, and is lost. It’s our good fortune that Shakespeare makes great literature out of all that madness and misery. It’s our absurd fortune that someone with the failings of the mad king is about to take the throne. more

The Arts Council of Princeton is nominated for Favorite Gallery, Favorite Adult Art Classes, and Favorite Art Camp in the Discover Jersey Arts People’s Choice Awards. Pictured here is their building, Paul Robeson Center for the Arts.

For one semester, Princeton University’s Music 219, an opera performance class in the music department, put its small class through the paces of preparing operatic excerpts for public performance. The students and faculty selected the music to be prepared, and the class culminated last Saturday night in an evening of operatic selections accompanied by an orchestra.  more

BURIAL BATTLE: Laertes (Edmund Lewis, on bottom) and Hamlet (Eric Tucker) fight over the corpse of Ophelia (Andrus Nichols) in the graveyard, as Hamlet prepares for his final revenge in Bedlam theater company’s production of William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” at McCarter’s Berlind Theatre through February 12. (Photo by Elizabeth Nichols)

A New York-based theater company founded in 2012, Bedlam, currently presenting Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Shaw’s Saint Joan in rotating repertory at McCarter’s Berlind Theatre, has received much acclaim from New York critics and others for its productions over the past four years. McCarter artistic director Emily Mann saw their Saint Joan a few years ago in New York City, and “was determined to bring Bedlam’s work to Princeton.” more

CLARINET MASTERCLASS WITH DAVID KRAKAUER: On Saturday, January 28 from 2 to 5 p.m., the Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) continues its masterclass partnership with Westminster Conservatory with a PSO BRAVO! Masterclass with clarinet virtuoso David Krakauer. Advance reservations are required via princetonsymphony.org or by phone at (609) 497-0020.

On Saturday, January 28 from 2 to 5 p.m., the Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) continues its masterclass partnership with Westminster Conservatory with a PSO BRAVO! Masterclass with clarinet virtuoso David Krakauer.  more

Jose Adan Perez

Boheme Opera NJ is delighted to present a semi-staged performance of Gioacchino Rossini’s comic opera, The Barber of Seville at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) in Ewing on Sunday, January 29 at 3 p.m. The performance will take place at the Mildred and Ernest E. Mayo Concert Hall on the campus of TCNJ. Members of the Boheme Opera Orchestra will be on stage with the cast and Boheme Opera Men’s Chorus Ensemble. Artistic Director Joseph Pucciatti will conduct, assisted by Howard Zogott as stage director. There will be a Mayo Concert Hall lobby reception for audience members directly after the production. Reserved tickets for the performance are $50 and $30, now available online at bit.ly/BONJ_Barber_TCNJ and also via TCNJ’s audience services specialist at (609) 771-2585.  more

FITNESS FOR YOU: “We offer a very personalized program. It is very customized, with both private and group classes, with only three to four students in a group.” Nikki Cifelli, owner of Studio Nikki LLC Pilates & Fitness, is shown by the Reformer Pilates equipment, which is used for many exercises.

The New Year is upon us, and if improving your fitness level is on that list of resolutions, Studio Nikki LLC Pilates & Fitness in Skillman is just the place. Offering integrated services of Pilates, Redcord, breast cancer rehabilitation, and CoreAlign; it is an ideal format for exercise, toning, and enhancing general well-being. more

January 11, 2017

Sixteen years into its progress to a stature as mighty as its 300-year-old parent, the little oak grown from a Mercer Oak acorn still occupies the symbolic heart of the Princeton Battlefield. Named for General Hugh Mercer, who was fatally wounded by British soldiers during the Battle of Princeton, the magisterial Mercer Oak fell on March 3, 2000, after a wind storm toppled its last four branches. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

PHS graduate Damien Chazelle met recently with Town Topics film reviewer Kam Williams to  talk about his latest movie, La La Land, which swept the Golden Globes Sunday, winning a record seven awards.

Damien wrote and directed the Academy Award-winning Whiplash which landed five Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay for Chazelle. The movie won a trio of Oscars in the Film Editing, Sound Mixing and Supporting Actor (J.K. Simmons) categories.

In 2013, his short film of the same name won the Short Film Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Previously, Damien wrote Grand Piano, starring Elijah Wood and John Cusack, and co-wrote the horror sequel 10 Cloverfield Lane, starring John Goodman. His screenplays for Whiplash and The Claim both appeared on the “Blacklist,” the annual survey of the most liked motion picture screenplays not yet produced.

Damien shot his first feature film, Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench, while still an undergraduate at Harvard University. The critically-acclaimed debut was named the Best First Feature of 2010 by L.A. Weekly and was described as “easily the best first film in eons” by Time Out New York. more

Princeton Charter School campus

It’s up to the State Department of Education’s Acting Commissioner Kimberley Harrington whether or not to approve Princeton Charter School’s (PCS) application to expand its enrollment by 76 students. With Princeton Public Schools (PPS) and their supporters opposing the expansion publicly, in the press, in the courts, locally and in Trenton, and the PCS strongly defending its proposal, Ms. Harrington has plenty of opportunity for input from both sides on her decision, which she is expected to render within the next two months. more

The Princeton Public Schools Board of Education last week swore in three new members and appointed a new president and vice president. Debbie Bronfeld, William Hare, and Gregory Stankiewicz, newly elected last November, joined the Board for three-year terms; Patrick Sullivan stepped up to the office of president; and Dafna Kendal assumed the position of vice president.

Priorities on the agenda for the year ahead include opposing the Charter School’s proposed expansion; pursuing the most effective, financially responsible ways to relieve overcrowding; and implementing the Strategic Plan to close the achievement gap and improve education for all. more

Institute for Advanced Study

Throughout the fall the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) continued to assert its right to proceed with its faculty housing project adjacent to the Princeton Battlefield. Despite ongoing objections from the Princeton Battlefield Society (PBS) and others, site preparation moved forward and construction seemed imminent.  more

At Princeton Council’s annual reorganization meeting on Wednesday, January 4, returning member Jenny Crumiller and newcomer Tim Quinn were sworn in. New Jersey Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker administered the oath of office to Mayor Liz Lempert, who was elected to a second term.

No official actions were taken at a meeting the following Monday, January 9, but the governing body heard a presentation about storm water management, was updated on 2017 budget goals, and was asked by a member of the public to consider creating a resolution opposing the proposed expansion of Princeton Charter School. That issue will likely be on the agenda for the Council meeting on January 23. A third gathering being held Tuesday, January 10 (after press time) is dedicated to setting goals and priorities for the coming year. more

Every now and then certain cliches become not only useful but indispensable. That’s what makes them cliches, after all. In the period since November 8, and to a lesser extent during the presidential campaign itself, “skating on thin ice” has said it best for me. The idea also describes how it is to look for Shakespeare in his play Pericles, the first two acts of which are thought to be the work of a hack named George Wilkins. Then there’s Jacques Rivette (1928-2016) and his first full-length film Paris Belongs to Us (Paris nous appartient), which puts thin ice under your feet even before it begins with an epigraph from Charles Péguy that says “Paris belongs to no one.”

As it happens, the “thin ice” sensation in both works gives them a disturbing relevance to any real-life crisis or turn of events, regardless of time, place, or context.

The greatness of Shakespeare is that he’s always with us, forever pertinent, there to be shaped or tempered or all too often twisted to flow with the currents of the time, even when the work in question is as damaged as Pericles. How “topical” is Pericles? An article by Cynthia Zarin from the New Yorker’s online Culture Desk mentions “the Middle East, refugees, perilous sea crossings, and sex trafficking.”  more

Princeton Adult School has mailed its spring 2017 brochure and opened its online registration site.

Visit princetonadultschool.org for more information.

The Adult School has focused its Lectures and Discussions to highlight change in Washington from the viewpoints of experts in key areas such as immigration, education, healthcare, and trade policy in the series “What’s Next?” on Tuesday nights starting February 28, a little more inside government talk; and “The Lives and Careers of Six of Our Most Important Supreme Court Justices” to round it off.  more

Williamson Hall overlooking the Princeton campus of Westminster Choir College.

At a packed meeting of Princeton’s Historic Preservation Commission last week, a group of students, alumni, and friends of Westminster Choir College of Rider University asked that the Westminster campus on Walnut Avenue be registered as a historic district. The request is part of an effort to keep the music school’s operations in Princeton, instead of relocating to Rider’s Lawrenceville location, a move the financially strapped University is considering. more

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