September 19, 2018

George Street Playhouse’s Educational Touring Theatre, courtesy of support from The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey and RWJBarnabas Health, will premiere a new musical about the opioid crisis and its impact on teens and families. Developed in response to the devastating impact prescription opioid misuse, heroin, and fentanyl have had on communities throughout New Jersey, Anytown will premiere on September 25 at George Street Playhouse as part of a special Spotlight Conference on Opioid Abuse. 

The Spotlight Conference will feature a keynote address from New Jersey State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal along with workshops for educators, school administrators, and public health professionals conducted by experts in the field from RWJBarnabas Health’s Institute for Prevention and Recovery.  more

September 12, 2018

The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) hosted its annual Fall Open House on Saturday afternoon, which included an opening reception for the “Members Exhibition” in the Taplin Gallery. Participants share their favorite art forms in this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

BACK ON THE AIR: John Weingart returns to WPRB radio on September 16 to begin his 45th year of the unique folk music program “Music You Can’t Hear on the Radio.”

John Weingart’s Sunday evening show on WRPB radio begins its 45th year on Sunday, September 16, from 7 to 10 p.m. Music You Can’t Hear on the Radio is broadcast live from Princeton on 103.3 FM and streamed worldwide at WPRB.com.

The program is notable for the well of often little-known music from which Weingart draws and the sets he creates around varied themes that may be topical, humorous, poignant, beautiful, or just great music. The show generally includes old and new country blues and string band music, bluegrass, singer-songwriters, and other music loosely classified as folk or Americana that was recorded as long ago as the 1920s, and as recently as this month.

Weingart, a former assistant commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and chair of the New Jersey Highlands Council, is currently associate director of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers. He started Music You Can’t Hear on the Radio in February 1974 while a graduate student at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School.

“SUN RIZING”: More than 50 artists who have exhibited their work in small group or solo shows at the Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie during the past 40 years will be featured in “Pushing 40,” running September 15 through November 10. An opening reception is on Saturday, September 15 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

The Trenton Museum Society has announced “Pushing 40,” a “reunion” exhibit celebrating 40 years of promoting fine art by artists in the greater Trenton region. More than 50 artists who have exhibited their work in small group or solo shows at the Trenton City Museum during the past 40 years are returning to the Ellarslie Mansion in Cadwalader Park from September 15 to November 10. An opening reception is on Saturday, September 15 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.  more

PLAINSBORO PUBLIC LIBRARY ARTS FESTIVAL: Sheela Raj of Plainsboro will again demonstrate painting on textiles at this year’s event on Saturday, September 15 from 12-4 p.m. at the Plainsboro Public Library. Other Plainsboro artists, as well as members of the Plainsboro Library Artists’ Group, will also show their work, demonstrate their techniques, and help festivalgoers develop their own artwork.

You can learn everything you ever wanted to know about fabric painting, Chinese knotting, sketchbook journaling, face painting, henna, Chinese and Marathi calligraphy, clay jewelry, and much more when local artists take center stage at the Plainsboro Public Library on Saturday, September 15, for the library’s annual Arts Festival. The event is scheduled from 12-4 p.m.

A disc jockey will be on hand throughout the festival; and members of the West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North a capella group Out of the Blue will perform, as will the high school’s string orchestra, Nonet.

Funded by the Friends of the Plainsboro Public Library, the festival will take place rain or shine, and will feature Plainsboro artists as well as members of the Plainsboro Library Artists’ Group. In addition to showing their work, they will demonstrate their techniques and will help visitors develop their own artwork.

Celebrate the centennial of Plainsboro Township, which will take place in 2019, by participating in the creation of a centennial banner during the Arts Festival. Plainsboro artist Sangeeta Vinoth will distribute patches on which festivalgoers may write their names in paint, ink, or other media. The patches will be glued to a large banner, which will hang in the library art gallery next May, in conjunction with an exhibit commemorating the centennial.

CUBAN ROOTS: Aydmara Cabrera, shown here in “Swan Lake,” hopes to bring her experience at National Ballet of Cuba into the curriculum of Princeton Ballet School.

Former National Ballet of Cuba principal dancer Aydmara Cabrera has been named school director of Princeton Ballet School (PBS), the official school of American Repertory Ballet (ARB).

According to Julie Diana Hench, executive director of American Repertory Ballet and Princeton Ballet School, “Ms. Cabrera is already a beloved teacher and ballet master at PBS, and will be an incredible member of the leadership team. She has impressive professional experience and an inspiring vision for the School that will provide students even greater opportunities. Ms. Cabrera’s passion for the art form is infectious and we are thrilled to have her lead Princeton Ballet School into an exciting new era.” more

By Stuart Mitchner

We are stardust

We are golden

And we have to get ourselves

Back to the garden

I’m not a big Joni Mitchell fan. She never moved me the way Kate Bush does when she becomes the spirit of Cathy singing outside Heathcliff’s window in “Wuthering Heights” or the spirit of Emily Brontë herself in all her untapped wildness when she makes albums like The Dreaming and Hounds of Love. But those lines from Mitchell’s “Woodstock” not only capture the best spirit of the Sixties, they speak to the here and now of Princeton in September 2018, where we have a Garden to get back to, and on Hollywood Nights it’s not just a refuge from the breaking-news madness of our time, it’s an escape route to the days when a B-movie gangster became Humphrey Bogart. My wife and I took our time getting to the Garden to see Nicholas Ray’s In a Lonely Place (1950), one of the lesser known Bogarts. But Bogart is Bogart, the house was packed, and we were lucky to find seats together. more

“NEWSIES”: Performances are underway for PinnWorth Productions’ presentation of “Newsies.” Directed by LouJ Stalsworth, the musical runs through September 16 at the Kelsey Theatre. Katherine Plumber, a mysterious reporter (Bridget Hughes, left) interviews Jack Kelly (Rob Ryan), who leads the delivery boys on strike after Joseph Pulitzer increases the cost of the newspapers to them. (Photo by Robert A. Terrano)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

On July 23, 1899, the New York Herald printed the following headline: “Newsboys’ Strike Promises Success.” That promise is fulfilled by PinnWorth Productions’ presentation of the Broadway musical Newsies, which is playing at the Kelsey Theatre. Directed by LouJ Stalsworth, this polished, energetic production demonstrates why the unsuccessful 1992 film succeeds on stage.

Having rejuvenated the genre of animated musicals with blockbusters such as The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, Disney attempted to do the same for live-action musical films. However, Newsies was commercially unsuccessful in its theatrical release. more

SHOCKING NEWS: Sergeant Darren Hill (Liam Matthews) was just finishing up a tour of duty in Afghanistan when he was killed during an ambush of his unit.

By Kam Williams

Sergeant Darren Hill (Liam Matthews) was just days away from finishing up a tour of duty in Afghanistan when he died during an ambush of his unit. The shocking news devastated his wife, Amber (Lindsay Pulsipher), and their young daughter, Bree (Makenzie Moss).

In fact, Amber was so embittered she stepped down as her church’s choir director, saying, “Look where my faith in God got us.” And pep talks from Pastor Williams (LaDainian Tomlinson) and her friends, Bridgette (Jordin Sparks) and Karena (Robin Givens), fail to bring her back into the fold. more

September 5, 2018

FROM PAGE TO STAGE: Helen Cespedes and Andrew Veenstra star in Douglas McGrath’s play adapted from Edith Wharton’s classic novel “The Age of Innocence,” at McCarter Theatre Center starting Friday. (Photo by T. Charles Erickson)

By Anne Levin

Fans of Edith Wharton find plenty to love in The Age of Innocence, her novel about a New York love triangle in the stultifying high society of the Gilded Age. But when they were younger, playwright Douglas McGrath, who wrote the theatrical adaptation that opens at McCarter Theatre Center on September 7, and Doug Hughes, who directed the production, did not count themselves among those fans. more

By Stuart Mitchner

The image of Emily Brontë on the cover of Robert Barnard’s contribution to The British Library Writers’ Lives series is a retouched detail from the portrait of the three Brontë sisters, Anne, Emily, and Charlotte, painted by their brother Branwell. Two years ago at the Morgan Library’s Charlotte Brontë bicentennial, I stood in front of the original painting (circa 1834), with its folds, creases, and marks of wear. The contrast between the spectral Emily I saw then and this radiant girl is eerie. There’s color in the cheeks and brow and lips and the light of thought in the eyes. What had seemed a neutral expression now appears appealingly impertinent. It’s incredible to think this fresh-faced human being aglow with attitude was born 200 years ago, July 30, 1818, and died at 30 in 1848, a year after the publication of her only novel, which came into the world with its author concealed behind the pen name Ellis Bell. Wuthering Heights has been synonymous with mystery ever since.

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“HARRY”: Artist Alan Taback’s dog Harry was the inspiration for many of his paintings. Taback’s recent works will be on exhibit in “Inspired by Love,” at the Blawenberg Café Gallery from September 16 to November 12. An opening reception is Sunday, September 16 from 2-4 p.m.

Blawenburg artist Alan Taback will be showing his paintings from this past spring and summer at the Blawenburg Café Gallery. The opening reception for the exhibition will be held on Sunday, September 16 from 2-4 p.m. The Café is located at 391 Route 518 in Blawenburg.

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TWIN GRINS: “Walter Chandoha: A Lifetime of Photography,” opens September 23 at the Hunterdon Art Museum. The exhibit showcases the animal photography of freelance photographer Walter Chandoha, along with still lifes of vegetables and fruits and vintage images of New York City. An opening reception is September 23 from 3 to 5 p.m.

The Hunterdon Art Museum focuses on the freelance photography of Walter Chandoha in a solo exhibition opening this fall. The exhibition, “Walter Chandoha: A Lifetime of Photography,” showcases his cat photography, taken long before the days of Instagram; his vibrant still lifes of vegetables and fruits, and his New York City candid images of the late 1940s and early 1950s.

A reception celebrating the show’s opening will be held September 23 from 3 to 5 p.m. The museum will host a gallery talk with Chandoha on Sunday, October 7 at 11 a.m. Everyone is welcome at both events.

In a storied career spanning seven decades, Chandoha is best known for capturing the personalities of thousands of cats and dogs, and he became the go-to person whenever a Madison Avenue advertising director needed the perfect eyecatching pet photo.

Chandoha’s photos have appeared in newspapers, magazines, and trade journals around the world. He has authored numerous books, and at one time you could walk down the pet food aisle of any grocery store and more than half of the cat and dog photos on the packaging were taken by Chandoha.

The exhibition runs until January 6, 2019. HAM is giving a free signed poster of Chandoha’s famous photo of five kittens to the first 40 new or renewed museum members during the run of this exhibition.

The Hunterdon Museum is at 7 Lower Center Street in Clinton. For more information, call (908) 735-8415 or visit www.hunterdonartmuseum.org.

This photo by Paul Michael Bergeron is the winner of the Delaware River Basin Commission’s (DRBC) Summer 2018 Photo Contest. It was chosen by a judging panel of DRBC staff members and will be featured on the commission’s website, social media sites, and annual report.

SWIM FOR YOUR LIVES: The huge prehistoric shark called a megalodon, or Meg for short, is threatening the lives of people who are vacationing at a popular beach where people were enjoying themselves in the water.

By Kam Williams

Five years ago, Captain Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) managed to save half his crew when his research submarine was crippled by a massive 75-foot-long shark (a megalodon) that was thought to be extinct. Because the Navy brass were skeptical about the existence of a megalodon, Taylor was dishonorably discharged and lost his career, and his wife, because he wasn’t able to save more members of his crew.

Ever since, he disappeared from public view, and was rumored to be drinking heavily in Thailand. That’s where former colleague, Dr. Minway Zhang (Winston Chao), found him after the prehistoric creature attacked again, and left another submersible sitting on the floor of the Pacific Ocean.

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August 29, 2018

There’s too much in my head for this horn— Charlie Parker (1920-1955)

By Stuart Mitchner

And there’s too much in my head for this column.

One of the pleasures of writing a piece every week is being able to put fresh-in-the-moment impressions in play even if they don’t always mesh with the subject. Like when the pennant race is heating up and the St. Louis Cardinals suddenly come back from the dead with a new manager, an injection of young talent, and the magical properties of their hottest hitter’s homemade salsa. Being attached to a team is like being lashed to a runaway train; full speed ahead one day, off the rails the next. I was so blitzed by the too-muchness of last week’s after-midnight sweep of the Dodgers in L.A. that I almost forgot we were coming out on Charlie Parker’s birthday. more

“RAE SEATED (GREEN DRESS)”: This painting by Ben Solowey is one of more than 50 works of American art featured in “30 Years: Art at the Michener, 1988-2018,” running September 16 through January 6, 2019 at the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pa.

Beginning September 16, the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pa., will present “30 Years: Art at the Michener, 1988-2018,” a major exhibition of American art that showcases more than 50 works from the museum’s permanent collection and commemorates the museum’s 30th anniversary.  more

By Kam Williams

The first two movies of this popular animated series were set in a hotel that created a safe space for monsters to unwind. But what happpens when the resort owners themselves need a break? That’s the question being answered at the outset of Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, an animated film about proprietor Count Dracula (Adam Sandler) and his company’s getaway on a luxury cruise for ghouls. At the point of departure, we find Dracula’s daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) making reservations for the family aboard the Legacy, a boat headed for the Bermuda Triangle to search for the mythical island Atlantis. more

August 22, 2018

By Stuart Mitchner 

The guest list for this week was set for Debussy and Dorothy Parker until the news of Aretha Franklin’s death. The upside of an open-ended column is that there’s seemingly room at the last minute even for someone of Aretha’s magnitude. It’s like a variation on the who-would-you-invite-to-a-dinner-party question people get asked every week in the New York Times Book Review. At this one, you can be sure the piano would get a work-out and the music would be amazing, but what would they talk about? One obvious thing the Queen of Soul and the Dark Lady of the Algonquin Round Table have in common is that both received lavish front-page Times obituaries, with last Friday’s edition running an inventory of Franklin’s “essential songs” not unlike the June 8, 1967 issue’s extensive sampler of Dorothy Parker’s “rapier wit.” more

ACP FALL OPEN HOUSE: The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) will host its annual Fall Open House on Saturday, September 8 from 1-3 p.m. Attendees of this free, family-friendly event can expect lots of hands-on activities, including the creation of a community mural. Chris Rollins of Chris and The Crew from 94.5 WPST will also be on hand for the festivities.

The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) will host its annual Fall Open House on Saturday, September 8 from 1-3 p.m. Attendees of this free, family-friendly event can expect hands-on art activities, including a community mural; meet and greet instructors; and learn about the Arts Council’s fall community programs, events, membership, and volunteer opportunities. Plus, meet Chris Rollins of Chris and The Crew from 94.5 WPST.  more

On Friday, August 24 through Sunday, August 26, Rago Arts and Auction Center will hold a three-day Unreserved Auction of early 20th century art and design, modern and contemporary art and design, Scandinavian furniture, garden décor, and more. Included are period and modern works of Arts and Crafts design; American and European mid-century furnishings; a broad selection of rugs, lighting, and estate goods; prints, duplicates, and works on paper; and antique and contemporary art glass.

“We are always excited by the diverse mix of property in Rago’s Unreserved Auction,” says Michael Ingham, director of Rago’s unreserved department. “Perfect for that first home or updating your style, all the property is attractively priced and ready to go. We’re also pleased to present a substantial collection of outdoor and garden items at the end of Sunday’s sale. There’s truly something for everyone.” more

This painting by Aileen D. is featured in “Healing in Nature,” an exhibit at D&R Greenway Land Trust’s Marie L. Matthews Galleries in the Johnson Education Center at One Preservation Place, Princeton through August 31. The exhibit showcases artwork created by people who have benefited from HomeFront’s ArtSpace program. The public is invited to a closing reception to meet the artists on Tuesday, August 28, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. The reception is free, but rsvp@drgreenway.org to attend.

By Kam Williams

number of years ago, after his wife and daughters were slaughtered during a period of civil unrest in his African homeland, Wilson (Cake-Baly Marcelo) escaped to Hungary. The 50-something widower chose to seek political asylum in Budapest instead of continuing on to Western Europe like most of his fellow refugees.

He soon found a nice apartment and steady work as a supermarket security guard and liked living in the city. However, the only thing standing in the way of his staying in Hungary permanently was that he repeatedly flunked the country’s tough citizenship test.

His boss Eva (Tunde Szalontay) did not want to lose her reliable “Employee of the Year,” and suggested that Wilson take history and language lessons from her sister Mari (Agnes Mahr), a teacher. However, sparks flew between Wilson and Mari, who was in an unhappy marriage. Their tutorial sessions soon turned into a whirlwind romance that included dancing, swimming, and dining together. more

August 15, 2018

PLANES AT THE PLANT: The former GM Fisher Body Plant in Ewing was converted to build torpedo bombers for the U.S. Navy during World War II. This photo and others are featured in “Changing Face/Changing Place: A Look at the Architectural History of the Trenton Area,” celebrating the 100th anniversary of FVHD Architects-Planners. The exhibit runs September 15 through January 11, 2019 at the Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie in Cadwalader Park.

The Trenton Museum Society and FVHD Architects – Planners have announced an exhibit celebrating the 100th anniversary of the full-service architectural design firm founded in Trenton in 1918 by PL Fowler. “Changing Face/Changing Place: A Look at the Architectural History of the Trenton Area,” will feature historical and architectural photographs, drawings, and artifacts from FVHD history. The exhibit will be in the second-floor galleries at the Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie in Cadwalader Park from September 15 through January 11, 2019. An opening reception is Sunday, September 16 from 2 to 4 p.m. more

“FOUR SHADES OF GREY”: The work of photographer Jamel Shabazz is featured in “Love is the Message,” on display through September 22 at the BSB Gallery in Trenton. An opening reception is scheduled for August 25 from 5 to 9 p.m.

The Trenton Downtown Association has announced the third exhibit at BSB Gallery with the launch of “Love is the Message,” featuring the work of photographer Jamel Shabazz. A special opening reception with the artist is planned for August 25 from 5 to 9 p.m. Shabazz is also scheduled to conduct an Artist Talk on Saturday, September 8 from 3 to 4 p.m. “Love is the Message” will be on display through September 22.  more