January 13, 2016

After the mass shooting at Emmanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C. last June, a group of parishioners from Trinity Church began to meet regularly to explore the history and meaning of white supremacy. Those discussions led to another eight weeks of study, this time on the roots of white supremacy in the history and theology of Christianity.

Now, those parishioners, led by Associate Rector Nancy J. Hagner, have decided it is time to do more than talk. Beginning Saturday, January 16, in commemoration of Martin Luther King’s birthday, a weekend-long prayer vigil will be held. The focus is on the issue of mass incarceration and solitary confinement. To bring that reality home, a replica of a solitary confinement cell will be on display, courtesy of the Trenton/Princeton chapters of the Campaign to End the New Jim Crow “Out the Box” initiative. more


MOVING FORWARD: Princeton High girls’ hockey player -Maggie Herring controls the puck in recent action. Junior forward Herring has triggered the offense this winter for the Little Tigers. She tallied four goals and an assist in PHS’s 5-3 win over Pingry in late December. PHS, now 1-6, plays at Princeton Day School on January 14. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

When the Princeton High girls’ hockey team fell behind Pingry 3-1 after one period in its final game of December, it looked like the Little Tigers were headed to their fifth straight loss to start the season. more

book revLet’s say I’m sitting on a bench in Central Park thinking about long-ago weekend afternoons playing catch with Florence Victor, a tall, lean, motor-mouth poet with long black hair tied back in a pony tail, who stopped talking only when she was throwing the ball and did she throw it, crack! every time it hit my mitt. Being truly, proudly, deeply neurotic, she was usually talking about her various ailments and anxieties, which tended to be interchangeable with her poetry.

So as I’m sitting there smiling, remembering how Florence and I sometimes kept the ball flying between us until twilight and beyond, along comes this tall guy in a hoodie with a camera in his hand, asking if he can take my picture. Ordinarily I’d say “no thanks” and find another bench, but since this is an imaginary encounter I know right away that this guy is Brandon Stanton whose book Humans of New York: Stories has been my constant companion, along with the fiction of Chekhov, ever since the new year began. In fact, the more I read the two together, the more I realize how many subtle unexpected things the humans of New York have in common with the humans of late 19th-century Russia. Before he can get started, I explain that his book was a party gift from a friend at work. “It’s addictive,” I tell him. “It lights me up every time I look inside.”  more

Art Groya

GETTYSBURG: An artist reception for Cynthia Groya’s “150 Years After the Civil War: A Contemporary Perspective,” will take place on Sunday, January 24 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Nassau Club, located at 6 Mercer Street in Princeton. Groya taught at Bucks County Community College and Newtown Friends School before founding C.A.P.S. (Cultural Arts in Progress), an interdisciplinary art school in Yardley. She resides in Princeton.

The Nassau Club will host an artist reception for Cynthia Groya’s “The Civil War: A Contemporary Perspective” on Sunday, January 24 from 3 to 5 p.m. The exhibit will be on view through March 6.

Groya’s “Civil War” exhibit, expresses a conversation about the struggle for equal rights, which can be traced back to the Civil War, which ended 150 years ago. The outcome of that war preserved the Union, but the struggle for equal rights continues. The abstract landscapes, exteriors, and interiors of Groya’s paintings are done on multiple surfaces of plexiglass. The hope is that these works inspire reflection amongst viewers.  more


Metuchen-based Raconteur Radio presents a staged radio play of Gaslight Sunday, January 24, at 3 p.m. in the Community Room at Princeton Public Library. The production is adapted from the 1938 Patrick Hamilton play about an opera singer whose husband attempts to drive her insane and the Scotland Yard detective who intervenes on her behalf.

Featuring Laurence Mintz, Jason Jackson, and Danielle Illario, the 55-minute production includes theatrical lighting, period costumes, Golden Age radio equipment, sound effects, and vintage commercials.  more

Art Stuart

UNIVERSAL RHYTHMS 1: This piece is one of the paintings by Alan Taback, and are part of the Painters’ Paradise Art Exhibition on display in the Considine Gallery at Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart in Princeton until February 25, 2016.

The public is invited to view the exhibit on display at Stuart’s Considine Gallery, until February 25, 2016 featuring the works of Silvère Boureau and Alan Taback. The gallery is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, when school is in session.

Silvère Boureau grew up in France surrounded by a family of artists, sculptors and writers. When he came from France in 1982, he was primarily an expressionist painter of the human form, however, he was heavily influenced by American landscape and its interpretation by nineteenth century luminists. Silvère draws inspiration from the remote wilderness, especially his experiences in the backwoods of Maine, the Adirondack Mountains and the Grand Canyon. To stand on a mountaintop and look as far as the eye can see without encountering any mark of human intervention remains an exhilarating experience for him.  more

January 12, 2016


HOT STREAK: Princeton University women’s hockey player Kelsey Koelzer heads up the ice. Last weekend, junior defenseman Koelzer came up big. On Friday, Koelzer scored three goals in a 6-1 win over Brown for her first career hat trick and then chipped in a goal and an assist in a 5-1 victory over Yale a day later as the Tigers posted their eighth straight win. Princeton, now 13-4-1 overall and 7-4-1 ECAC Hockey, plays at Union on January 8 and at Rensselaer on January 9. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski).

Taking a six-game winning streak into the holiday break, the Princeton University women’s hockey team was determined to keep its foot on the gas when it resumed action last weekend with games against Brown and Yale.

“We had 20 days off so we worked super hard this past week,” said junior defenseman Kelsey Koelzer.

“It was like we never left, we just picked up where we left off. We have a good streak going, which is awesome to keep morale up. It is exactly the way we know we can play. We have a lot of skill, we have a lot of talent but, most importantly, we work really hard.” more

Stuart Pic

The Co-ed Early Childhood Program at Stuart announces TOTS: Topics on Toddlers at Stuart, a free educational discussion series for parents of children ages 1 to 4 years of age. The informal gatherings, held from 9 to 10:30 a.m. on the second Tuesday of each month from January through May, 2016, will be led by Stuart’s expert teachers in the school’s co-ed Early Childhood Program (the first session will be held on January 12). Discussion topics include: understanding child development, capitalizing on early literacy and math skills, instilling the confidence to try new things, and more. There is no charge and complimentary, supervised play for children is provided. Space is limited. Parents may register at www.stuartschool.org/tots.

See below for the January 11, 2016 Princeton Council Meeting.

Town Topics Newspaper will be posting videos of all future municipal meetings.

January 7, 2016


According to the AvalonBay website, apartments and townhomes are expected to be offered for lease starting in the summer of 2016: “This is not just apartment living. This is living up.” For more information, visit www.avaloncommunities.com. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

See below for the January 4, 2016 Princeton Council Meeting.

Town Topics Newspaper will be posting videos of all future municipal meetings.

January 6, 2016

Speaking to a packed room of citizens and representatives of local, county, and state government, Mayor Liz Lempert ushered in 2016 at Princeton Council’s official reorganization meeting Monday evening by going over accomplishments of the past year and touching on some plans for the new one.

Starting with a look at consolidation three years after the merger was put in place, Ms. Lempert told the audience, “Today I’m happy to report that it is working, and working well.” She touted net savings of $2.77 million since Princeton Borough and Township were made into one entity, and said more savings can be expected in coming years. more

Vasen PicClose to 300 family members, friends, colleagues, and members of the Princeton community gathered Sunday in the James M. Stewart ’32 Theater at 185 Nassau Street on the Princeton University campus to remember and celebrate the life of Timothy Vasen.

Mr. Vasen, 51, lecturer in theater and director of the Program in Theater at Princeton, died on December 28 following an accident at his home in Brooklyn, New York.

The gathering also included current and past colleagues from the Yale School of Drama and Baltimore’s Center Stage. More than a dozen speakers shared memories of Mr. Vasen as a dedicated family man, an avid outdoorsman, a food aficionado and cook, a world traveler, a talented theater director, and a generous colleague, teacher, and mentor.

“Some of us have lost a very dear friend, one of the finest human beings we have known,” said Michael Cadden, chair of the Lewis Center last week. “All of us have lost one of the world’s finest teachers of theater — an intellectually voracious, physically vital, and imaginatively daring practitioner of the art form he cherished above all others.”

Mr. Vasen directed plays and taught classes at Princeton part-time starting in 1993. He went on to direct plays in New York, Philadelphia, and at theaters throughout the country. From 1997 to 2003 he was resident director at Center Stage in Baltimore, then joined the Princeton faculty in 2003 and in 2012 became director of the Program in Theater.  more

Simon Levin, Princeton University professor of biology, ecology, and evolutionary biology, will receive a National Medal of Science, the country’s highest honor in science, at a White House ceremony in early 2016.

“It was a delightful surprise,” Mr. Levin said. ”For me, there is no more meaningful recognition than the National Medal of Science, and I am grateful to so many for their support С family, mentors, colleagues, and students. Princeton University has been a wonderful place to pursue the interdisciplinary work that is essential for dealing with the challenges of managing our environment sustainably.” more


A NEW HOME FOR A CONGREGATION: Mother of God Orthodox Church finally has a building to call home. The 18-year-old congregation, which has most recently held services on the campus of Princeton Day School, will cut the ribbon for its new building on January 30. Members of the church are gearing up for outreach and education programs in the permanent space on Cherry Hill Road.

The finishing touches are being put on Princeton’s newest church, an inviting wooden building with red doors and window frames on Cherry Hill Road. The Mother of God Orthodox Church expects to hold a ribbon cutting on January 30, providing a spiritual home for the more than 50 people who have been regularly worshipping at Sunday services held, most recently, at Princeton Day School. more

On Saturday, January 16 at 11 a.m., the second floor and roof beams of the new wine barn at Terhune Orchards will be constructed.

Early in December 2015, the site was cleared and the foundation was laid for the 3,500 square foot barn. Framing for the first story is now complete. The Sylvan Stoltzfus Builders from Lancaster, Pa. are building the barn in the traditional timber frame style. In 2009, they constructed another barn at Terhune that is used for cold storage of crops. This new barn will look similar to the farm’s original red barn that is close to 200 years old. It currently houses the winery tasting room.  more

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 1.28.59 PM

Princeton University has offered admission to 785 students for the class of 2020 from a pool of 4,229 early action applicants, the largest number in the past five years This year’s early admission rate was 18.6 percent, down from 19.9 percent last year, with the 4,229 applicants representing a 9.8 percent increase.

In 2013 the early admit rate was 18.5 percent, compared with 18.3 percent in 2012 and 21.1 percent in 2011.

The admitted students represent 33 countries, 46 states and the District of Columbia. Fifty-one percent are women, 49 percent men. Eleven percent are international students.  more

Music Rev

THE POWER OF MUSIC: After only a few months of study, young participants in the El Sistema music education program in Trenton were invited to play at a festival held last June at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. The Trenton program is the focus of a Martin Luther King Day event at the Arts Council of Princeton, at which a documentary by Jamie Bernstein, daughter of composer Leonard Bernstein, will be screened.

One day eight years ago, Jamie Bernstein was casually scrolling through Facebook when she came upon a YouTube video titled Mambo: the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra. Since “Mambo” is one of the most famous compositions from the musical West Side Story, written by her late father, Leonard Bernstein, it caught her eye.

“I thought, okay, I’ll watch this for a second,” Ms. Bernstein recalls. “And I just about fell into my screen. I had never seen anything like it. The joy these kids had! I thought, who are they? And where is my Dad?” more

#12 mixes it up with a Q piac player

PUTTING UP A FIGHT: Princeton University men’s hockey player Mike Ambrosia, left, tangles with Devon Toews of Quinnipiac last week. Princeton dropped both games of the home-and-home set with the No. 3 Bobcats, falling 6-0 at Baker Rink on December 29 and then losing 4-3 a day later at Quinnipiac. Last Saturday, senior captain and forward Ambrosia tallied a goal as the Tigers lost 4-3 at Holy Cross to move to 4-12 overall. Princeton hosts Rensselaer on January 7 and Union on January 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Hosting No. 3 Quinnipiac last week in its first game since December 12, the Princeton University men’s hockey team looked like it was still on holiday break in the early stages of the contest.  more

Art 1 Joy

Original works by artist Joy Sacalis will be on view at The Present Day Club, 72 Stockton Street in Princeton, from January 8 through February 24. “Mind’s Eye: Landscapes of Inner Expression” includes paint, collage, and mix media artwork. A special reception for the artist will take place on Friday, January 15 from 5 to 7 p.m. When she is not painting, Sacalis works as a Holistic Health Counselor and Energy Healer. 

book revHis fearless inventions … quest after the entirety of life: he will include every emotion, every bit of evidence that has a natural claim on our attention. Contemporary life is so rich and vivid in his poetry that by contrast many of the movies and poems we are used to seem pale, spaced-out and insipid. – Robert Pinsky on C.K. Williams

In the special December 27 poetry issue of the N.Y. Times Book Review (NYTBR), after admitting that the Times “has not always treated poets well,” John Williams quotes an unsigned review from 1860 faulting Walt Whitman for seeing “nothing vulgar in that which is commonly regarded as the grossest obscenity.” Whitman is also upbraided for rejecting “the laws of conventionality so completely as to become repulsive,” although it’s noted that on occasion “a gleam of the true poetic fire shines out of the mass of his rubbish.”

Reviewing C.K. Williams’s Selected Later Poems (Farrar, Straus & Giroux $30) in the same issue, Katy Lederer finds “visceral discomfort … — a sense a human boundary has been knowingly traversed, an intimacy exploited” through “intrusions into others’ private lives” that “feel less acquisitive than desperate.” Williams, who died September 20, is also cited for “subject matter” that “could be pedestrian and at times vulgar,” giving “the impression of a writer” who is “spiritually off-balance.”  more

Art 2 ACP

The Neighborhood Portrait Quilt has joined the Arts Council of Princeton’s permanent exhibitions in the Sands Gallery at the Paul Robeson Center. Utilizing materials drawn from the collection of the Historical Society of Princeton, the quilt incorporates documents and photographs that illustrate the history of the Witherspoon-Jackson community.  more

Alumni of the Westminster Choir College CoOPERAtive Program will perform Engelbert Humperdinck’s opera Hansel and Gretel on Friday, January 15 and Saturday, January 16 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, January 17 at 2:30 p.m. in the Robert L. Annis Playhouse on the Westminster campus in Princeton. The semi-staged production will be performed with piano accompaniment and sung in English. Tickets are $25. On Sunday, January 17, children under 12 will be admitted for free when accompanied by an adult.

Originally composed for a children’s Christmas celebration, Hansel and Gretel is a setting of the classic Brothers Grimm tale, and it has found its place as a family favorite complete with enchanting fairies and an evil witch. It has long been a staple of German operatic tradition and is considered an ideal way to introduce children to the theater. Ted Taylor is music director and David Paul is stage director. The cast is composed of alumni of Westminster’s CoOPERAtive summer opera training program. more


Mummenschanz is back to celebrate its 43rd anniversary with a new show at McCarter Theatre on Wednesday, January 27 at 7:30 p.m. The ordinary becomes extraordinary in the wordless universe of Mummenschanz when common materials, everyday objects (like toilet paper) and colorful abstract shapes and forms like the famous “Clay Masks,” “Slinky Man,” and “Giant Hands” spring to life.  more

December 30, 2015

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Will this Oscar-worthy campus cameo from last February be repeated in 2016? In this week’s Town Talk, people talk about some of the year’s most important issues. (Photo by Emily Reeves)