May 25, 2016

movie rev 5-25-16Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell) was a working class guy from Queens who never had enough money to play the stock market until his mother died and left him $60,000. The truck driver put every penny of that inheritance into IBIS Clear Capital, a stock that was promoted by TV money guru Lee Gates (George Clooney) as being “safer than a savings account.”

Gates is the glib host of Money Monster, an investment advice show on the mythical FNN Network. The clownish character played by George Clooney was obviously inspired by Jim Cramer of CNBC’s Mad Money.

Unfortunately, in less than a month, Gates’s “stock pick of the millennium” goes bust, leaving Kyle frustrated, broke, and at the end of his rope. So, he crashes the set of Money Monster while it is being broadcast, and forces Lee Gates to put on a vest filled with explosives, while Kyle holds the detonator switch for the vest in one hand, and a gun in the other. Producer and director Patty Fenn (Julia Roberts) has no choice but to give in to Kyle’s demand that the show continue to broadcast.

With his finger on the trigger, he demands answers from Lee about why the stock collapsed while ranting and raving about how “The system is rigged!” Kyle is sure that Gates knew that the stock was going to tank, and demands that all of the IBIS shareholders be reimbursed for their $800 million in losses.

Meanwhile, the police descend on the set, led by Captain Powell (Giancarlo Esposito) who summons a hostage negotiator. During the ensuing standoff, the truth about IBIS emerges in front of millions of viewers, and the company’s CEO, Walt Camby (Dominic West) is shown to be involved in a shady manipulation of his company’s stock.

So unfolds Money Monster, a thriller directed by Jodie Foster. The movie is also a modern morality play that levels some serious accusations at Wall Street. Credit goes to George Clooney and Julia Roberts for committing fully to a production that rests on a farfetched premise that could’ve very easily proved unconvincing in less talented hands.

Excellent (****). Rated R for profanity, brief violence, and some sexuality. Running time: 98 minutes. Studio: Smokehouse Pictures. Distributor: Sony Pictures.

Ever since Einstein revealed his special theory of relativity, we’ve known that time travel — at least moving forward through time — is possible. Einstein didn’t pull this theory, or even the notion that time travel is possible, out of thin air. Rather, he took the knowledge of the day, saw an inconsistency — a piece of a puzzle that didn’t fit, so to speak — and thought about possible explanations. — PBS, Nova Online

Viewers immersed in the Starz series Outlander, where a feisty English nurse is transported from 1945 to the mid-18th-century Scottish Highlands, will know why I’m time-travelling back to January 3, 1777, and Brigadier General Hugh Mercer. The most sympathetic figure to emerge from the Battle of Princeton, Mercer might as well have been a time-traveller himself, given the shape-shifting sweep of his story.  more

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Harriet Coulter Joor, decorator, Joseph Meyer, potter, Vase with a Design of Daffodils, ca. 1903. Ceramic. Newcomb Art Collection, Tulane University 2012.6.2.

“Women, Art, and Social Change: The Newcomb Pottery Enterprise” is on view at the Princeton University Art Museum until July 10, 2016. The free exhibit features over 100 objects including pottery, textiles, metalwork, jewelry, graphic arts, and bookbinding.  more

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ART THAT “WOWS”: This artwork by Princeton artist Priscilla Snow Algava exemplifies the talented work by local artists that are included in her new Pop-Up Art Gallery, “Wondrous on Witherspoon” (WOW).

Princeton artist Priscilla Snow Algava will open “Wondrous on Witherspoon” (WOW), a PopUp Art Gallery in downtown Princeton. Former student and current colleague of Algava, Shannon Rose Moriarty, will curate the exhibit.  more

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A PRESTIGIOUS PRIZE: Max Azaro and his mother, Kathy Azaro, attended the opening of American Ballet Theatre at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House. As part of the festivities, Max was presented with the coveted Northern Trust Scholarship. (Photo Courtesy of ABT Jackie Kennedy Onassis School)

Max Azaro was already studying gymnastics when he first took his place at the ballet barre at Princeton Dance and Theater Studio in Forrestal Village. For the energetic 10-year-old, there was something about this different way of movement that grabbed his attention. He has never looked back.

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Princeton Pro Musica closed its 2015-16 season with a concert of Americana this past weekend. In this election year, Pro Musica Music Director Ryan James Brandau chose to program Sunday afternoon’s performance at Richardson Auditorium in the hope that the spirit of American classical music might effectively ground people amidst the political flurry. With a sampling of 20th and 21st-century choral works, the 100-voice Pro Musica ended their season in uplifting fashion. more

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The Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) is pleased to be partnering with the Princeton Festival and Princeton Garden Theatre to present Voices of Light, an oratorio by Richard Einhorn with the 1928 silent film classic The Passion of Joan of Arc, on Thursday, June 9 at 8:30 p.m. at the Princeton University Chapel. It is a first collaboration of the orchestra with the festival, made possible through the generous support of long-term PSO patrons Enea and Dave Tierno.

PSO Executive Director Marc Uys elaborated on the benefits of the new partnership, “The PSO is always looking for opportunities to work with other arts organizations in the community. This partnership with the Princeton Festival is ideal as it provides patrons and new audiences the chance to experience the excellence of PSO musicians in a unique setting, accompanying beautiful vocals with the added element of a classic film.”

The Princeton Festival’s General and Artistic Director Richard Tang Yuk is equally pleased with the collaboration. He said, “We are thrilled to be collaborating with the PSO on this very engaging and moving multi-media project.”  more

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Princeton Day School (PDS) Director in Residence Stan Cahill announced that Austin Phares ’16, star of the fall production of Our Town, was named Outstanding Actor in a Drama at the 2016 New Jersey Theatre Awards held at Montclair State University on May 16, 2016. The cast of Our Town was also named Outstanding Acting Ensemble. Productions from 57 schools across New Jersey were eligible.  more

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Many dance schools place students in classes based solely on age. At Princeton Ballet School, age is only one factor in determining a student’s placement. Entering students with prior dance training for 1st through 5th grades, and grades 6 and up are welcome to audition. Open enrollment for all other students is underway, as well.

For more information, visit www.americanrepertoryballet.org. (Photo Credit: Theresa Wood) more

May 23, 2016

Theater Rev

MOTHER-DAUGHTER MATTERS: Ruth (Caroline Aaron, left) and her daughter Miranda (Stephanie Janssen) are completely bonded, and in conflict on almost every possible issue, in Sharyn Rothstein’s world premiere family “dramedy,” All the Days, at McCarter’s Berlind Theatre through May 29. (Photo by T. Charles Erickson)

Dysfunctional families have always provided material for great literature and theater. From the ancient Greeks—Odysseus and the battling family of Olympian gods, the Trojan War, the families of Agamemnon and Oedipus—though the great tragedies may have played out in the global, public sphere, the issues always had their roots in family conflict. more

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By Sarah Emily Gilbert

Like the diamonds she uses in her timeless designs, Yanina Fleysher is equal parts elegance and strength. As the founder and owner of Yanina and Company in Cedar Grove and Basking Ridge, Fleysher is one of New Jersey’s premiere jewelers. But before her baubles attracted the likes of Caroline Manzo and Kim Kardashian, Fleysher was catering to a far more humble crowd. more

May 18, 2016

book rev

Charles Mingus and his music gave the impression of howling assurance and terrifying emotions. His bass echoed like a giant’s threat, to be soothed by his balmy melodies…He was dogmatic, pensive, demagogoic, irreverent, furious, nostalgic…He is the best example we have of disciplined turmoil.

—Gary Giddins, from Visions of Jazz

On midwest radio nights around the middle of the previous century teenagers up past their bedtime could pull in clear-channel stations like CKLW in Toronto, WLS in Chicago, and WLW in Cincinnati which, legend had it, beamed a signal so powerful it could be picked up on backyard fences and, some said, on the fillings in your teeth. In a college town 200 miles south of Chicago, a high school sophomore listening to a station in Dallas/Fort Worth on “a little crackerbox AM radio” picked up the music that changed his life. more

Art Rev

ALL-STAR ARTISTS AT PRINCETON: Pictured above is a large-scale painting by senior Veronica Nicholson, one of the artists to be featured in the Senior All-Star Show at the Lewis Center’s Lucas Gallery at Princeton University. (Photo by Veronica Nicholson)

The Program in Visual Arts in the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University will present an exhibition of recent work in a wide range of media by graduating seniors in the program. The exhibition, Senior All-Star Show, will highlight work by students completed as part of their senior thesis projects and will be on view until Tuesday, May 31 in the Lucas Gallery at 185 Nassau Street. The exhibition is free and open to the public. more

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On Friday, May 20 at 8 p.m., The Arts Council of Princeton presents Tom Tallitsch in a CD Release concert for his newest work entitled “Gratitude,” an energetic journey of original compositions and arrangements of well-known classic rock songs in an acoustic quartet setting. Paul Robeson Center for the Arts is located at 102 Witherspoon Street, Princeton. Admission is $12 general audience and $10 for ACP members, students, and seniors. Tickets are available at the door 30 minutes before show time on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, visit artscouncilofprinceton.org or call (609) 924-8777.

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THE SKY IS THE LIMIT: On May 10, the Princeton Symphony Orchestra’s (PSO) BRAVO! education program presented “The Sky is the Limit!,” a concert designed to get the imaginations of over 2,000 area school children soaring with works ranging from Ottorini Respighi’s “The Hen,” Nikolaï Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumblebee,” Daniel Dorff’s “Blast Off!,” and Gustav Holst’s “Mars.” These works, plus an unofficial world record, a surprise narration from a school teacher, and an unexpected composer’s visit combined for a fun field trip for the orchestra.

On Tuesday, May 10, at 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 1:15 p.m. at Richardson Auditorium, the Princeton Symphony Orchestra’s (PSO) BRAVO! education program presented “The Sky is the Limit!”, a concert designed to get the imaginations of over 2,000 area school children soaring with works ranging from Ottorini Respighi’s The Hen, Nikolaï Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee, Daniel Dorff’s Blast Off! and Gustav Holst’s Mars. Music Director Rossen Milanov conducted as he guided the students through the upper stratosphere and beyond. more

May 12, 2016

Humane Economy

On Monday, May 23rd jaZams will host Wayne Pacelle, President & CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, and Patrick McDonnell, author of the MUTTS comic strip, in coversation about Mr. Pacelle’s new book The Humane Economy. The event will be held at 6:30 p.m. at jaZams’ pop-up event space at 30 Nassau St. (next to lululemon).

During his 17 years with The HSUS Mr. Pacelle has transformed the organization from what was once regrded as simply a protector of dogs and cats into a dynamic public force and voice for all animals. He is amplifying that voice through the publication of The Humane Economy: How Innovators and Enlightened Consumers Are Transforming the Lives of Animals. In it Mr. Pacelle describes a revolution in American business and public policy that is changing forever how we treat animals and conduct commerce.

This informal conversation led by Mr. McDonnell, an avid animal lover and board member of The HSUS, will explore how companies as varied as Walmart and Chipolte as well as government entities like the National Institutes of Health are transforming the way they see and use animals.

Copies of The Humane Economy can be preordered from jaZams (ph. 609.924.8697) and will available at the event. Mr. Pacelle will be available to sign books and answer questions both before and after the conversation.  more

May 11, 2016

movie rev 5-11-16After an Avengers mission that went horribly wrong in Lagos, Nigeria results in a terrible toll in collateral damage, the U.S. Secretary of State (William Hurt) calls the team of superheroes on the carpet. He proceeds to chew them out for behaving like vigilantes with unchecked power, and then makes them agree to be supervised in the future by a United Nations panel.

While Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) is willing to submit to the Anti-Hero Registration Act, Captain America (Chris Evans) is much more suspicious of these Sokovia Accords that were ratified by 117 nations. As a result, the Avengers have split into factions that takes sides as to whether or not they should abide by the regulations in the Sokovia Accords.

What ensues is a visually captivating battle in which the former allies fight each other instead of resolving their differences civilly.

Among those siding with Iron Man are Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), War Machine (Don Cheadle), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Vision (Paul Bettany), and Spider-Man (Tom Holland). Captain America’s freedom lovers include Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd),

Fans of the series are delighted to see so many of their favorite superheroes together in the same episode. Regrettably, that is both the primary strength and weakness of this 13th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe series. Co-directors Anthony and Joe Russo (Captain America: Winter Soldier) have cluttered the screen by introducing and then failing to develop over a score of prominent characters.

It’s too bad that they couldn’t come up with anything more interesting for the Agents of the S.H.I.E.L.D. confederacy to do besides battling each other. After 2½ hours the eye-popping special effects tend to get a little tedious once the wow factor wears off.

Fair (*). Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of violence, action, and mayhem. In English, German, Russian, Romanian, and Hausa with subtitles. Running time: 146 minutes. Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures.

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Board Member photo: From Left to Right: Paula Chow (Gala Co-chair), Cheryl Goldman (co-chair), Emily Mann (Artistic Director), Victoria Hamilton (co-chair), Timothy J. Shields (Manager Director)

Photography by Erica Cardenas

On Saturday, May 7, McCarter Theatre hosted its annual Gala Benefit, that supports McCarter’s artistic and educational programs in Princeton. This year’s event was fashioned on the theme of Truman Capote’s 1960s “Black & White Ball,” with a silent auction, a post-concert party, music, and dancing.  more

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On Wednesday, May 18 at 7:30 p.m., the Arts Council of Princeton presents the Goldberg Lecture in architecture featuring architect Shirley Blumberg. The lectures in architecture are held in memory of Bunny and David Goldberg. more

A little over a year ago, the morning after Donald Trump announced his candidacy, a Photoshopped image of his red-nosed circus-clown face filled the front page of the Daily News next to the massive headline CLOWN RUNS FOR PREZ. A little over a week ago, the day after Trump won the Indiana primary and became the presumptive Republican nominee, the front page of the same newspaper showed a piggy-bank-sized GOP elephant in a coffin with the words “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to mourn the death of a once-great political party, killed by epidemic of Trump.”  more

Harvard sociologist and MacArthur “Genius” Matthew Desmond will be discussing his new book, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City at Labyrinth Books on Wednesday, May 18 at 5:30 p.m.

Based on years of embedded fieldwork, Evicted tells the story of eight families and their landlords in the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee. Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare. But today, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing, and eviction has become ordinary, especially for single mothers, and disproportionately for minorities. more

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Captain Leland Emerson will recount his life aboard a whaling ship and encounters with the infamous “Mocha Dick” as part of the Friends of the Lawrence Library’s Open House at 2 p.m. on Thursday, May 12 at 2751 Brunswick Pike, Lawrenceville. For more information, call (609) 989-6920.

The Capital City Book Fair is a two-day literary explosion in downtown Trenton. Organized by Classics Books and the Trenton Downtown Association, the Book Fair will line the streets with authors and booksellers, and feature events including signings by Pulitzer Prize winning authors, a poetry slam, a literary-themed tour of Trenton, live music, Scrabble, and free books for Trenton kids. more

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“BIG FAT HAIRY DEAL”: The Hunterdon Art Museum’s basketry exhibition features creations made with unconventional materials like the hardware cloth, hair curlers, and cable ties that Emily Dvorin used in her basket, pictured here.

The works created by the 22 artists highlighted in the Hunterdon Art Museum’s (HAM) exhibition, “Interconnections: The Language of Basketry,” include everything from stapled paper to fabricated metal. Some employ found objects; others utilize clay, linen, or wire. Works range from a large interactive floor sculpture to a small intricate construction of metal and paper, but all are united by an inventive approach to an ancient craft. more

The Hunterdon County Historical Society announces a rare opportunity to view the quilt collection on Saturday, May 21 at 11 a.m. at the state-of-the art climate-controlled archive building located at 67 River Road in Flemington. Dana Balsamo, certified quilt appraiser and quilt historian will pull quilts from the collection to explore the fabrics, designs, and history of the textiles and their relationship to the County’s history.  more