June 19, 2019

“BEST MOUNTAIN, COMMUNE, GUILIN”:  This brush painting by Thomas George is just one of his works on display at the Princeton Public Library through June 30 in conjunction with the Princeton Festival’s modern opera “Nixon in China.” The paintings will also be shown in the lobby of the Matthews Theatre in the McCarter Theatre Center during performances of the opera on June 23 and 30.

The Princeton Public Library, in collaboration with the Princeton Festival, is hosting a display of paintings of scenes in China by Thomas George (1918-2014). The internationally-celebrated artist and Princeton resident created the brush paintings in the wake of the opening of U.S. relations with that country by President Nixon in 1972. more

June 12, 2019

By Anne Levin

With former McCarter Theatre Producing Director Mara Isaacs the winner at Sunday’s 2019 Tony Awards for the Broadway musical Hadestown, and several other alumni of the Princeton theater honored in various categories, Artistic Director Emily Mann is a proud mama of sorts.

“We’re so thrilled for everyone. It’s really exciting,” Mann said Tuesday, two days after the annual awards ceremony at Radio City Music Hall. Hadestown, which Isaacs co-produced, won eight awards including Best Musical. “Mara — what an amazing grand slam home run she’s made,” Mann continued. “She’s been working on it for years, and what a job she’s done.”


Author Diane Ciccone will discuss her new book, Into the Light: The Early African American Men of Colgate University Who Transformed a Nation, 1840-1930 on Thursday, June 20 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the West Windsor Arts Council in the Florence B. Hiller Studio, 952 Alexander Road.

On the eve of the bicentennial of Colgate University, Into the Light details years of research into the lives of the early African American men who attended Colgate when it was an all-male school. The book examines the lives of more than 50 African American Colgate men, including, Jonas Holland Townsend, a friend and confidante of Frederick Douglass and the first African American to attend Colgate; Samuel Archer, president of Morehouse; and Adam Clayton Powell, the Harlem Congressman.

A member of the first class of women at Colgate as well as a former councilwoman and the former director of the West Windsor Arts Council, Ciccone will be on hand to sign copies of her book. She now works as a practicing attorney and arbitrator in New York City, and was the producer of the award-winning documentary, Acts of Faith, which documents the first integrated planned housing development in New Jersey.

By Stuart Mitchner

Anne Frank was born 90 years ago today. When she turned 13 on June 12, 1942, she was given a diary. A week later, after a long entry about her birthday and her friends and before she and her family began life in the “secret annex,” she imagines “that later on neither I nor anyone else will be interested in the musings of a thirteen-year-old schoolgirl.”

Writing about the schoolgirl’s musings in Anne Frank: The Book, the Life, the Afterlife (2009), Francine Prose meditates on the fact that “the most widely read and enduring masterpiece about that brutal era [1942-1945] was written by a girl between the ages of 13 and 15.”

In The Ghost Writer (1976), Philip Roth calls Anne Frank “a marvelous young writer,” comparing her to “some impassioned little sister of Kafka’s.” C.K. Williams says “I thought of you at that age, Little Sister” in his poem “A Day for Anne Frank,” which begins with children running back and forth in a filthy alley, “the girls’ screams suspended behind them with their hair … their feet pounding wildly on the pavement.”


By Nancy Plum

For close to six decades, the Greater Princeton Youth Orchestra has been offering a comprehensive range of orchestral training programs to young musicians in the area. This past Saturday night, GPYO presented its Senior Division Spring Concert, showcasing the winner of the Orchestra’s annual Concerto Competition. This year the competition was won by oboist Michael Chau, a senior at South Brunswick High School, who demonstrated musical talent and composure well beyond a student just graduating from high school. Chau easily mesmerized the Richardson Auditorium audience with his versatility and technical skill, performing one movement from a Mozart oboe concerto with GPYO’s flagship ensemble, the Symphonic Orchestra.


“SHE LOVES ME”: Performances are underway for “She Loves Me.” Directed by David Kellett, the Princeton Festival’s production of the musical runs through June 30 in the Matthews Acting Studio at Princeton University. Coworkers Georg (Tommy MacDonell, left) and Amalia (Amy Weintraub) have a contentious relationship, but they unknowingly have exchanged love letters. (Photo by Jessi Oliano)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

The 15th anniversary Princeton Festival includes the Broadway musical She Loves Me. Directed by David Kellett, this presentation of the charming romantic comedy boasts exquisite musical performances, as well as elegant choreography and production design.


SUMMER CHAMBER MUSIC: The Horszowski Piano Trio returns to Princeton University Summer Chamber Concerts at Richardson Auditorium Thursday, June 20 at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free.

On Thursday, June 20, at 7:30 p.m., the Horszowski Piano Trio performs at Richardson Auditorium as part of Princeton University Summer Chamber Concerts. Selections by Haydn, Schumann, and Shostakovich are on the program in this free concert.


Sarah Stryker

Shakespeare ’70 returns to Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) Kelsey Theatre for its annual tribute to The Bard. This year the celebrated company presents Macbeth Fridays, June 21 and 28 at 8 p.m.; Saturdays, June 22 and June 29 at 8 p.m.; and Sundays, June 23 and June 30 at 2 p.m.


SWING, MARCHES, AND MORE: At the Mercer County Symphonic Band’s concert at Mercer County Community College’s Kelsey Theatre on Wednesday, June 12, the program will range from Stravinsky to swing music from the 1940s. The annual spring concert ends with the traditional Sousa march, “The Stars and Stripes Forever.” Admission is free. Visit mercerband.org.


Art All Night Trenton will return to the Roebling Wire Works June 15 and 16, following months of hard work by the event’s staff and volunteers, and lots of community support. Art All Night 2019 will be the same free and open-to-all event, full of art, music, food trucks, live mural painting and more, but the full event footprint will be fenced off, with many important new security measures in place to ensure the event is safe and trouble free.

Art All Night will begin at 3 p.m. Saturday, June 15, and end at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 16, but no new entries will be allowed after midnight Saturday, with the event fully closed to the public between the hours of 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. Sunday, when public entry resumes.


TOP PRIZE: Jerry Cable of Stockton was awarded the top prize for his painting “Time Out” at Hamilton Jewelers’ “The Art of Time Exhibition,” presented in conjunction with its 20th annual Watch Fair event on June 1. Cable is shown with Hamilton Vice President Donna Bouchard.


“TULIPES `A FRENCHTOWN”: This photograph by Laura Orbine of Frenchtown was chosen as the winner of the Delaware River Basin Commission’s Spring 2019 Photo Contest. The contest’s purpose is to highlight photography representing the beauty, diversity, function, and significance of the water resources of the Delaware River Basin.

The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) has announced that Laura Orbine’s photograph, titled Tulipes `a Frenchtown, was chosen as the winner of the commission’s Spring 2019 Photo Contest. Thirty-five photographs were submitted by 11 individuals for the contest.


“FIRST STONE”: This color lithograph by Helen Frankenthaler is featured in “Helen Frankenthaler Prints: Seven Types of Ambiguity,” on view June 29 through October 20 at the Princeton University Art Museum. The exhibit will feature more than 50 prints by the artist, spanning five decades and more than a dozen printmaking processes, including lithography, woodcut, etching, and engraving.

One of the most influential artists to emerge from the mid-20th century, Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011) may be best known for her innovative abstract paintings in which she poured washes of color over great expanses of raw canvas. She was also the most prolific printmaker of her generation. Frankenthaler’s print works are remarkable for the diversity of techniques she employed, the number of studios with which she collaborated, and the ways in which her engagement with printmaking could parallel — simultaneously independent and in sync with — her practice as a painter.


“SING”: This work by Beatrice Bork will be featured in “Breathing In,” a joint exhibition with Laura Rutherford Renner. It will be on view at Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville July 4 through August 4, with an opening reception on July 6 from 5 to 8:30 p.m.

“Breathing In,” on view July 4 through August 4 at Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville, will feature the work of artists Beatrice Bork and Laura Rutherford Renner. It is a visual ode to the everyday inspirations that life continually gifts us. Working in their respective mediums of watercolor and oil, the fine art displayed will include, according to the Gallery, “the “canine and feline friends who entwine themselves into our hearts and make every day a little better” — along with birds, animals, and contemporary life that both artists are well known for.


June 5, 2019

By Stuart Mitchner

Tell me a story of deep delight.
— Robert Penn Warren

On the heels of the controversially rushed, truncated final season of Game of Thrones, HBO has released Deadwood: The Movie, the final chapter of David Milch’s “story of deep delight,” the series brought to an equally untimely and even more unfortunate end in 2006.

While the distinguished novelist/poet/critic Robert Penn Warren (1905-1989) may seem an unlikely godfather for such a work, the depth of his influence is made clear in Mark Singer’s recent New Yorker article, “David Milch’s Third Act.” Anyone who has kept faith with Deadwood during the long wait for this moment should read Singer’s piece, as well as Alan Sepinwall’s outstanding appreciation in Rolling Stone. Far more significant than the revelation that Milch has Alzheimer’s is what Singer’s profile shows about how the lessons Milch learned from his mentor at Yale have given Deadwood the literary magnitude that sets it apart from other HBO masterworks like The Sopranos, The Wire, and Game of Thrones.


Princeton University Concerts’ 126th season will be a celebration of American musicians and composers. At the opening in October, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center presents a program entitled “New World Spirit” which explores the lineage of American classical music. The season continues through to the spring when the Dover String Quartet makes its Princeton University Concerts debut.


In its final concert of the season at Richardson Auditorium on Friday, June 7 at 8 p.m., the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, led by Music Director Xian Zhang, will perform selections from Mendelssohn’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2. Visit njsymphony.org for information. (Photo by Fred Stucker)

SUMMER AT THE BARRE: Princeton Ballet School, the official school of American Repertory Ballet, is offering Summer Intensive Junior and Intermediate programs in Princeton and Cranbury. All classes begin June 24. Registration is now open.

Princeton Ballet School begins its Summer Intensive Program this summer with a variety of courses at different levels. Classes begin June 24.


“AURA”: Glazed earthenware by James Jansma and paintings and sculpture by Mare McClellan are on exhibit through June 23 at Morpeth Contemporary in Hopewell. The two artists are inspired by the natural world.

Morpeth Contemporary in Hopewell presents an exhibition featuring work by Mare McClellan and James Jansma — two artists inspired by our natural world.

McClellan’s pieces — a mix of paintings and sculptures — recall images of excavated root systems that she encountered in her youth. Since then, as a gardener and plant observer, as well as artist, she has been fascinated by the coexistence of roots and soil organisms and how they share resources.


“GOLDFINCHES”: Megan Serfass’s work, which includes the frame within the painting, is featured in “Mercer County Artists 2019,” on view at the MCCC Gallery through July 8. The show includes works by 36 county artists.

The talents of 36 Mercer County artists are on display at the Gallery at Mercer County Community College (MCCC) in “Mercer County Artists 2019,” which runs through July 8. The Gallery at Mercer is located on the second floor of the Communications Building on Mercer’s West Windsor Campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road.

The show features work in a variety of media including oil, acrylic, graphite, mixed media, ceramic, and wood. More than 100 artists submitted work for the jurying process.


A diverse group of artists from both Hunterdon and Bucks counties will exhibit at Steinbeiser’s Farm, 718 County Road 519, Frenchtown, over two weekends in the art show Hobart 2019. Explore the grounds and antique barn while discovering paintings, sculpture, photography, ceramics, and more. Shown here is “Polished Purple Birdbath” by Steven Snyder. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 8, 9 and June 15, 16. An opening reception is Friday, June 7, 6 to 8 p.m., with refreshments.

May 29, 2019

By Stuart Mitchner

Meantime, in Washington, among the great persons and their entourage, a mixture of awful consternation, uncertainty, rage, shame, helplessness, and stupefying disappointment,” with “the worst not only imminent, but already here.”

When he wrote those words, Walt Whitman, born 200 years ago Friday, was not casting a prophetic glance toward Memorial Day 2019, he was responding to the calamitous aftermath of the Battle of Bull Run on July 22, 1861, Union forces having “exploded in a panic and fled from the field.” Writing in Specimen Days in America (1881), Whitman describes defeated troops pouring into the city over the Long Bridge — ”a horrible march of twenty miles, returning to Washington baffled, humiliated, panic-struck.” The sidewalks of Pennsylvania Avenue are jammed with “lookers-on” as “swarms of dirt-cover’d return’d soldiers (will they never end?) move by; but nothing said, no comments.” Half the lookers-on are confederate sympathizers “of the most venomous kind—they say nothing; but the devil snickers in their faces.” There is “loud and undisguised” talk around Washington “for yielding out and out, and substituting the southern rule, and Lincoln promptly abdicating and departing.” If the Rebel officers and forces “had immediately follow’d, and by a bold Napoleonic movement had enter’d Washington the first day (or even the second), they could have had things their own way, and a powerful faction north to back them.” It was a “bitter, bitter hour — perhaps proud America will never again know such an hour. She must pack and fly — no time to spare. Those white palaces — the dome-crown’d capitol there on the hill, so stately over the trees — shall they be left — or destroy’d first?”

With America facing “a bitter, bitter hour” amid presidential stonewalling and the targeting of the free press, it’s worth recalling  Whitman’s tribute to “the great New York papers” whose headlines “rang out over the land with the loudest, most reverberating ring of clearest bugles, full of encouragement, hope, inspiration, unfaltering defiance,” especially “those magnificent editorials! they never flagg’d for a fortnight…. They came in good time, for they were needed.” more

An electric harp, flamenco dancing, and improvisation were on the programs when the Princeton Symphony Orchestra performed recently for hundreds of school children at Richardson Auditorium as part of the PSO Bravo School Day Concerts. Dancer Griset Damas-Roche and harpist Jacqueline Kerrod were the guest artists. PSO Music Director and Conductor Rossen Milanov encouraged students to let their fingers do some marching, taught students to waltz onstage, and looked for volunteers to time the orchestra’s performance of the “Flight of the Bumblebee.”

“UNSAID”: Paintings by Anna Berghuis are featured in “Final Runnings Before the After,” an exhibition of recent work in a wide range of media by graduating seniors in the Visual Arts Program in the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University. The exhibition runs through June 5 at the Hurley Gallery on campus, and is free and open to the public.

The Visual Arts Program in the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University now presents “Final Runnings Before the After,” an exhibition of recent work in a wide range of media by graduating seniors in the Program. The exhibit highlights work by students completed as part of their senior thesis projects, and is on view through June 5 in the Hurley Gallery in the Lewis Arts complex on Princeton University campus. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

The work featured in the exhibition has been selected by faculty member Nathan Carter from among photography, paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, photography, film, video, and multimedia installations created by students majoring in visual arts or earning a certificate in visual arts in addition to a degree in their major. Each presented a solo exhibition or a screening of new work during the past semester as a requirement of the program. more

TEACHER ART: An exhibit by members of the New York City United Federation of Retired Teachers Art Group will be on display at Gourgaud Gallery in Cranbury June 2-28. It features works from the Manalapan branch of the program. An artist reception is Sunday, June 2, from 1-3 p.m.

Gourgaud Gallery in Cranbury Town Hall, 23-A North Main Street, Cranbury will host an exhibit by members of the New York City United Federation of Retired Teachers Art Group June 2 through June 28. The works include paintings in variety of styles and sizes. 

An artist reception will be held on Sunday, June 2, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Gallery. The exhibiting artists will be present, and light refreshments will be served. more