June 22, 2016

The girl from L.A. had just arrived in Venice and was sitting at a cafe on Piazza San Marco being hassled by a Yugoslavian when she noticed a bedraggled individual shuffling across the great space, probably on his way to the American Express office to check for mail. His hair was long and scraggly and his jeans were baggy and halfway falling down, as if he had recently lost a great deal of weight. For the better part of a year she’d been exchanging letters with a guy she’d met in Berkeley; they had arranged to meet at the foot of the campanile on the evening of June 21.  more

Theater rev

Princeton Summer Theater’s (PST) 2016 season opener, Assassins, is chilling in its timeliness.

Just five days after a gunman assassinated 49 people in Orlando, the opening-night audience watched as nine characters — all wannabe assassins of U.S. Presidents — paraded across the Hamilton Murray stage, brandishing an array of firearms.  more

Art McCurry

“AFGHAN GIRL”: This iconic photograph by Steve McCurry will be on display at the Michener Art Museum starting July 16 as part of the exhibit, “Unguarded, Untold, Iconic: Afghanistan through the Lens of Steve McCurry.”

In an exhibition that opens on July 16, 2016, the James A. Michener Art Museum will present a collection of photographs by Steve McCurry, the photographer whose iconic image “Afghan Girl” captivated the world in 1985.  more

Art Ellarsie Open 33 6-22-16

Now is the chance to visit the Ellarslie Open 33 Juried Exhibit that will close on June 26. This painting by Sheila Grabarsky titled “Orange Segment” won the Douglas H. Palmer Award for Best in Show Overall and is part of the exhibition. Along with this piece are more than 180 artworks from area artists that are currently on view at the Trenton City Museum. 

This season Princeton Festival has undertaken one of the most complex and challenging operas in the repertory with Benjamin Britten’s dark but poetic Peter Grimes. Like the World War II years in which the opera was composed, Peter Grimes has many levels, reaching back to 19th century morality while drawing on fears and suspicions still prevalent today. The date of the opera’s premiere, in London’s first few post-war months, makes the genesis of this work even more remarkable.  more

Theater Frozen 6-22-16

State Theatre of NJ in New Brunswick will host a free screening of Disney’s “Frozen” on Tuesday, July 12 at 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. The event is part of a Free Summer Movie Series at the State Theatre. Upcoming films include “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial,” “Despicable Me 2,” “Babe,” and “Monsters University.” For more information, visit www.statetheatrenj.org

Music PSC 6-22-16

SUMMER COURTYARD CONCERT SERIES: Soul R&B artist Lindsey Webster will perform at the Princeton Shopping Center on Thursday, July 7 at 6 p.m. as part of the Summer Courtyard Concert Series.

The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP), in partnership with the Princeton Shopping Center and Edens, presents the Summer Courtyard Concert Series every Thursday from June 23 to August 25 at 6 p.m. in the Princeton Shopping Center Courtyard, 301 North Harrison Street.  more

Dark Star Orchestra - Publicity Images - 2016

Dark Star Orchestra – Publicity Images – 2016 – Suzy Perler

The Mercer County Park Commission announces that “Dark Star Orchestra: Continuing the Grateful Dead Concert” is coming to Mercer County Park Festival Grounds on Friday, August 12. The concert will start at 6 p.m., with doors opening at 5 p.m. Tickets are $27 for general admission and are available now for purchase through the Sun National Bank Center box office. To purchase, call (800)-298-4200 or visit www.sunnationalbankcenter.com

Piano Winners

Over 120 young pianists competed in this year’s Princeton Festival Piano Competition. The 2016 Young Artist Winners are (l to r): Mia Huang, Petrina Steimel, Stephen Joven-Lee, Isabella Florendo, Kyle Huang, Angeline Ma and Linsy Wang. Jacobs Music was again the sponsor for the Young Pianists Competition, which has been a highly anticipated feature of The Princeton Festival since 2008. Lois Laverty and Glenn Smith were Masters of Ceremonies and Randy Brown from Jacobs Music Company presented the awards. (Photo Credit: Pia Ruggles) 

June 15, 2016

movie rev 6-15-16It’s been three years since we saw the world’s greatest illusionists — known as the Four Horsemen — playing a game of cat-and-mouse with the FBI. Now, the master magicians have resurfaced for a mesmerizing adventure that ups the ante in terms of both audacity and visual effects.

This sequel wows the audience with a combination of spectacular stunts and an array of exotic locales. However, if you don’t expect a coherent plot, then this globe-trotting fantasy will not disappoint you.

Directed by Jon M. Chu (Jem and the Holograms), the movie co-stars Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, and Dave Franco who reprise their lead roles as Merritt, Daniel, and Jack respectively. Lizzy Caplan rounds out the principal cast as Lula, replacing Isla Fisher as a member of the Four Horsemen. The ensemble cast also includes Academy Award-winners Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine, as well as Daniel (Harry Potter) Radcliffe and Sanaa Lathan.

After filling in a bit of backstory from 1984, the movie fast-forwards to the present where we find our heroes being blackmailed by Walter Mabry (Radcliffe), a billionaire bad boy who is bent on world domination. He has designs on “The Stick,” a special computer chip that will give him unfettered access to the back door of every computer on the planet.

Of course, the quartet proves adept at staying a step ahead of the megalomaniacal misanthrope. Instead of accommodating Mabry, they proceed to use their seemingly supernatural powers in displays of hocus-pocus.

Although the group is worried about restoring its tarnished reputation, that concern takes a back seat to staging a series of implausible magical acts.

There’s also a competition among the four with each one endeavoring to outdo the other. The ensuing feats make for an eye-popping blockbuster, even if what’s on the screen is computer generated special effects.

Excellent (***½ stars). Rated PG-13 for violence and some profanity. Running time: 115 minutes. Distributor: Lionsgate Films.

Though a quarrel in the Streets is a thing to be hated, the energies displayed in it are fine ….

—John Keats (1795-1821)

All the great poets should have been fighters.

—Muhammad Ali (1942-2016)

Courtesy of a live feed from the BBC, we’re driving through the streets of Louisville under bright blue skies with the hearse carrying the body of Muhammad Ali to Cave Hill cemetery. As the procession passes through modest neighborhoods like the one Cassius Clay grew up in, past his school, Central High, crowds on both sides of the street are throwing flowers, waving, shouting, chanting “Ali! Ali!” The flowers have fallen so heavily on the windshield of the hearse, it’s a wonder the driver can see where he’s going. more

Art Edrman Gallery 6-15-16

“FUNKY COLOR WHEEL”: This 19” x 14” artwork by third grader Gabriel Contreras will be featured in the exhibition “The Many Colors of Christina Seix Academy” at the Erdman Art Gallery. Each of the artworks on display was created by a third grader from the Academy, which serves children from single-parent homes in the greater Trenton area.

Princeton Theological Seminary’s Erdman Art Gallery presents “The Many Colors of Christina Seix Academy,” an exhibition of still life paintings, etchings, sculptures, mosaics, and rock art, created by third grade students of the academy. The exhibition at the gallery, located at 20 Library Place, opens Saturday, June 18 from 10 a.m. to noon. The exhibit, which runs until August 19, is free and open to the public. more

Pennington School Play 2016

“THE PLAY’S THE THING”: “We thought this was an opportunity for Pennington School graduates to continue to work in the theater. They might not have been able to do this after graduation, and found they missed it. It’s also an opportunity to work together with alumni who were not classmates. We have graduates from the Class of 2016 and one from 2011.” Henry Sheeran (left) and Tim Secrest, Pennington School Class of 2014, have started a new theater company, which will have its first production June 23.

CLARIFICATION: The Pennington School production of “Charlie and Bruno”  will be performed on Thursday and Friday, June 23 and 24 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, June 25 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

The curtain is going up on a brand new production at The Pennington School. Charlie and Bruno, a one act play, written, produced, directed, and acted by former Pennington School students, will be performed at the school June 23rd and 24th. more

Princeton Festival has placed a special emphasis on the music of 20th-century British composer Benjamin Britten this year. The cornerstone opera of the Festival’s 2016 season is Britten’s Peter Grimes, and this past Friday night, Concordia Chamber Players offered some of Britten’s more charming works for voice and instruments as the festival concluded its first week. more

Music Prima _2

The Prima Trio will perform at Richardson Auditorium on Tuesday, June 28 at 7:30 p.m. as part of the Princeton University Summer Chamber Concerts series. Founded in 2004 while its members were studying at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio, the Trio triumphed at the 2007 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, winning the coveted Grand Prize, as well as the Gold Medal in the Senior Division. In addition, the Prima Trio was awarded a Midwest Winner’s Tour and a European debut at Italy’s Emilia Romagna Festival. more

Music Lawrence 6-15-16

Soprano Dominika Zamara and classical guitarist Stanley Alexandrowicz will perform arias, songs, and solos at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, August 10, at the Lawrence Headquarters Branch of the Mercer County Library System. The program will highlight Romantic-era songs by Croatia’s preeminent 19th century composer-guitarist Ivan Padovec (1800-1873), Baroque and contemporary guitar solos, as well as famous operatic arias by Vincenzo Bellini (“Casta Diva” — from the opera “Norma”), and Georges Bizet (“Habanera” — from the opera “Carmen”).  more

June 8, 2016

movie revX-Men: Apocalypse is the ninth movie in the Marvel Comics series that was launched in 2000. This episode is the fourth directed by the series’ originator, Bryan Singer, whose sophisticated touch gives the audience a relatively cerebral experience.

The movie not only includes action sequences that feature exhibitions of spectacular superpowers, but it also has an absorbing plotline. The result is a film for all age groups that’s memorable for more than its special effects.

The story begins in Cairo in 1983, where we we see the ancient mutant Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) rising from the dead. Disenchanted with the world’s current state of affairs, he decides to destroy civilization and start over.

Although Apocalypse is the most powerful mutant, he recruits four allies to assist him in his mission. Dubbed the Four Horsemen, the group is comprised of Magneto (Michael Fassbender), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Psylocke (Olivia Munn), and Archangel (Ben Hardy), who represent War, Famine, Pestilence, and Death, respectively.

By the time the forces of good understand the extent of Apocalypse’s diabolical scheme, it is almost too late because cities from New York to Sydney are under attack. Fortunately, after the X-Men leader Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) falls under Apocalypse’s spell, Professor Xavier’s protege — shape-shifting Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) — rises to the occasion and rallies the next generation of mutants in the battle to save the besieged planet.

She is helped by telekinetic Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), teleporting Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), supersonic Quicksilver (Evan Peters), brawny and brilliant Beast (Nicholas Hoult), laser-eyed Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), and CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne). Initially, they prove no match for Apocalypse, who has been harnessing an assortment of powers over a period of several millennia.

However, by pooling their skills and resources very effectively, the protagonists prove themselves able to conquer evil, save the world, and thereby survive for another sequel.

Excellent (***½). Rated PG-13 for violence, action, destruction, suggestive images, and brief profanity. In English, German, Polish, Arabic, and Ancient Egyptian. Running time: 144 minutes. Distributor: 20th Century Fox.

1NathansonJeff Nathanson will be stepping down as executive director of the Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) at the end of 2016, the ACP announced yesterday.

The Arts Council on Witherspoon Street has experienced a significant transformation in the 11 years since Mr. Nathanson took the helm in 2005.

“Jeff successfully led the Arts Council through an exciting time of tremendous growth for the organization,” stated Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert. “He’s been an effective and effusive champion for the role of the arts in building community. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have worked with him, and am very sad to see him move on.”

ACP Board of Trustees President Ted Deutsch echoed the mayor’s praise, describing Mr. Nathanson as “an outstanding leader not just for the arts community, but for the Greater Princeton community as a whole. His in-depth experience in arts program development and management helped the organization dramatically expand and improve its arts-related offerings over the past decade. At the same time he has kept the ACP focused on its historic mission to serve the local community through free, accessible and inclusive events and scholarship programs for children and families.” more

Four British authors will discuss their novels June 25 in the intimate setting of an 18th-century literary salon at Morven Museum & Garden, 55 Stockton Street, and the Center of Theological Inquiry’s Luce Hall, 50 Stockton Street, with their friend across the Atlantic, Gladstone’s Library in North Wales.

The authors are Stella Duffy, James Robertson, Sarah Perry, and Andrew Nichol. The moderator is the well-known BBC broadcaster Sally Magnusson.  more

Khalil Gibran

Executive Director of New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture Khalil Gibran Muhammad, the author of “The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime and the Making of Modern Urban America,” will be appearing at Friend Center 101, Olden and William Streets, in Princeton at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 8. The program will be moderated by Rhinold Lamar Ponder. Admission is free, though registration is suggested.

20.1996

FOREST IN THE MOUNTAINS (Forêt dans la montagne): Edgar Degas, ca. 1890, monotype in oil on paper, 11¾ x 15¾ inches. (Museum of Modern Art, New York, Louise Reinhardt Smith Bequest)

Degas was another wonder painter. I’ve never seen a bad Degas. — Ernest Hemingway

Thanks to a press pass that permitted me into “A Strange New Beauty: Edgar Degas” ahead of the paying public, I had the exhibit galleries more or less to myself for one precious, quietly hallucinatory hour. What follows should be about what I saw during a Sunday morning early opening at the Museum of Modern Art. But when the task of commenting on monotypes by Degas (1834-1917) coincides with the death of Muhammad Ali (1942-2016), all bets are off.  more

TT Art 2

“DADDY’S ARMS”: This artwork by Nategna L. is part of an upcoming exhibition at the Hunterdom Art Museum featuring work done by clients of HomeFront, an organization that aids the homeless in central New Jersey. The show runs until September 4.

The Hunterdon Art Museum (HAM) and HomeFront have partnered to create an exhibition that aims to empower the homeless. The opening reception for the exhibit called “The Many Meanings of Home” is Saturday, June 11 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the museum, 7 Lower Center Street in Clinton. Hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. and suggested admission is $5.  more

TT Art 3

This collage painting is one of 50 artworks by Meredith Remz on display at Triumph Brewing Company until August 7. Among Remz’s art inspirations are industrial design and nature.

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The 25th annual garden tour in this Trenton neighborhood of brick brownstones and tidy townhouses is offering up 26 spaces this year, in a range of shapes, sizes, and styles. The event will be held Saturday June 11, from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 in advance; $15 the day of the tour and includes a pre-hour talk at Artworks, on Everett Alley, with Jim Simon, Isles Deputy Director of Urban Agriculture. “Tiny, Tasty and Attractive: Ornamental and Edible Gardening for Small Spaces” is from 11 a.m. to noon. Plenty of free parking is available.

Visit trentonmillhill.org for full information.

June 6, 2016




Photography by Erica Cardenas

The Historical Society of Princeton’s Concert Under the Stars took place on Saturday, June 4 at Updike Farmstead in Princeton. Guests enjoyed wine and dined outdoors while exploring the property’s six acre estate. This year’s fundraiser featured a 90-minute live performance by The Samples, an indie rock band formed in 1985. The event proved to be one of the most memorable nights of the summer.