January 6, 2016

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

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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

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) 

All Lives Yr in RevAs town and University plans and projects progressed, protests helped define the year 2015. A sit-in by Princeton University students citing Woodrow Wilson’s racist beliefs drew national attention to the campus and the town. There were additional demonstrations in reaction to national events such as the murders at a church in Charleston, South Carolina and the more recent mass shooting in San Bernardino, California. On the University campus, at Hinds Plaza, and at marches through town, there were silent and not-so-silent demonstrations in support of gun control and related issues.

The town lost prominent personalities John and Alicia Nash, and Michael Graves this year. The fight continues over whether the Institute for Advanced Study can build faculty housing on land the Princeton Battlefield Society considers sacred. And a campaign to make the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood a historic district picked up steam toward the end of the year.

Three years since consolidating the former Borough and Township, Princeton has made major progress in harmonizing policies and ordinances. But some issues are still on the town’s “to do” list. According to state law, the town has until the end of 2017 to get the job done.

Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert announced in November that she will run for a second term in the next election. Council President Bernie Miller said he will relinquish that post, but will continue to serve on the governing body. Tim Quinn, former school board president, announced that he will enter the Council race. The terms of Council members Jenny Crumiller and Patrick Simon will be up for renewal. While Ms. Crumiller has said she will run for another term, Mr. Simon has not yet decided whether to run for Council or mayor. more

Mirroring the Success Achieved by Pro Women Athletes, Girls Had More Fun on the Local Sporting Scene in 2015

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SUPER SAVER: Princeton University women’s water polo player Ashleigh Johnson makes a save in a game this season. Junior goalie Johnson starred as the Tigers won the CWPA crown and took sixth in the NCAA tourney. Johnson went on to help the U.S. national team win the FINA world championship in early August. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

In a year that saw such women athletes as tennis player Serena Williams, U.S. women’s soccer star and New Jersey native Carli Lloyd, and mixed martial arts phenom Ronda Rousey dominate the headlines, it is no wonder that female athletes spiced up the local sporting landscape.

During the winter, the Princeton University women’s basketball team thrust itself into the national spotlight as it went 30-0 in the regular season, becoming the first men’s or women’s Ivy League hoops program to accomplish that feat. Coach Courtney Banghart’s squad topped Wisconsin-Green Bay 80-70 in the opening round of the NCAA tournament to earn the team’s first-ever win in the national tourney and ended the season at 31-1 after falling to Maryland in the second round. Banghart, for her part, was named United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) Women’s Coach of the Year. more

Book Rev

My wife and I celebrated Christmas Day in Simla, the former summer capital of British India. The only catch is it’s not really Simla, it’s the Masterpiece Theatre series Indian Summers, filmed on location — in Malaysia.

As it happens, Rudyard Kipling’s 150th birthday is today, December 30, 2015, and the lively, elegant nightmare of a doomed society that is the Simla Club in Indian Summers (“No Dogs or Indians”) evokes, for better or worse, the writer who put Simla on the map in 1888 in his first and most famous story collection, Plain Tales from the Hills. Half a century later in the PBS series being billed as “Downton Abbey Goes to India,” it’s 1932, Gandhi is on a hunger strike and Kipling’s “imperialist claptrap” is being mocked by two of the most likeable characters in the series, a politically passionate Parsi girl and a haplessly heroic Scotsman. They’re talking about the man George Orwell nonetheless credited for “the only literary picture that we possess of nineteenth-century Anglo-India,” something Orwell claims could be accomplished because Kipling “was just coarse enough to be able to exist and keep his mouth shut in clubs and regimental messes.” more

Art Rev

EXHIBIT HONORS GALLERY NAMESAKE: D&R Greenway Land Trust presents the artwork of three generations of Kuennes, the family that donated the funds to establish the Olivia Rainbow Gallery when the Johnson Education Center opened its doors as headquarters for D&R Greenway in 2006. The exhibit, on view through January 15, 2016, includes the image seen above, “Lake Champlain” by Peter William and Matthew Kuenne.

D&R Greenway Land Trust presents the artwork of three generations of Kuennes, the family who donated the funds to establish the Olivia Rainbow Gallery when the Johnson Education Center opened its doors as headquarters for D&R Greenway in 2006. The gallery is named in memory of the family’s gifted young daughter, Olivia Kuenne. The exhibit, on view through January 15, 2016, includes art by Olivia’s grandfather, noted painter Peter Vought; her mother, Leslie Kuenne, of Princeton; and Olivia’s brothers, Peter, William and Matthew Kuenne. The family has won prizes, awards, and had gallery displays in many media. Gallery hours are business days through January 15. Free and open to the public at One Preservation Place, Princeton.  more

Civil War Flags

The New Jersey State Museum will hold a special unveiling of 100 historic flags carried by New Jersey’s troops during the Civil War on Wednesday, December 30 at noon. The flags are some of the most distinctive in the collection and have not been on display for a number of years. Included will be the national colors of the 3rd and 15th Infantry regiments, the state colors of the 33rd Infantry regiment, a guidon from the 3rd cavalry, and a rare General McAllister’s headquarters Second New Jersey Brigade flag.  more

PugheAmong the descriptions of Princeton resident Roberta Pughe’s new book, Body as Sanctuary for Soul (White Cloud Press), is clinical psychologist and international shamanic teacher C. Michael Smith’s “a tour de force for our time” in which Ms. Pughe “weaves the practices of psyche and the sacred together in an embodied way. She diagnoses our cultural malaise and how this is reflected in much psychotherapy today.”

Roberta Pughe is a psychotherapist (licensed marriage and family therapist) and shamanic practitioner who has been practicing privately in Princeton for over 30 years. Her experience combines systems therapy, gestalt theory, and theological studies. She is the author of Resurrecting Eve.

For more information, visit www.whitecloudpress.com.

December 23, 2015

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An interactive candlelight service for children and families will take place at Princeton United Methodist Church at 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Tom Shelton will direct the children’s choir and Rev. Jana Purkis-Brash will tell the story of Christ’s birth. The church is located at the corner of Nassau and Vandeventer. For more information, visit www.princetonumc.org.

The State Senate Environment and Energy Committee at a hearing in the State House in Trenton yesterday listened to more than two hours of testimony from the Princeton Battlefield Society and its allies, and proceeded to call for the Department of Environmental Protection to issue a stay, pending a meeting with the committee, on all activity at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) proposed building site, “to prevent irreparable harm to the historic site where the Battle of Princeton occurred as well as damage to the existing wetlands.

Neither the IAS nor the DEP was represented at the hearing.

The IAS project, construction of eight townhouses and seven single-family houses for Institute faculty on a parcel of approximately seven acres, has moved forward in the ground clearing process and many truckloads of sand have been delivered to the property, but no construction has yet commenced.  more

Hate crimes against Muslims in the U.S. have risen in the wake of recent terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, and the anti-Muslim political rhetoric has persisted.

The nationwide conflict has reverberated in New Jersey, where Governor Chris Christie called on the state to turn away Syrian refugees, including children, and a Rutgers-Eagleton poll early this month said that 45 percent of New Jersey residents do not want New Jersey open to refugees from Syria. Princeton University has not been immune to concerns about Islamophobia and offensive political rhetoric.  more

Tim Quinn, a former president of Princeton Public Schools and the director of communications for Princeton Public Library, announced last week that he will seek a seat on Princeton Council in the next election.

Bernie Miller, a Council member who has served as the governing body’s president for the past three years, said Monday that he will not stand for re-election to that position in 2016 but will continue his term on Council.

Mr. Quinn, a Democrat, currently serves as an alternate on the town’s Planning Board. In making his announcement last week, he said, “I want to help build a stronger, more inclusive and sustainable Princeton, where difference is celebrated and where all share in an abundance of municipal services and opportunities. In this stronger Princeton, newcomers will be embraced, and those, like me, who have lived here for a long time can continue to enjoy all our town has to offer.” more

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WALLS AND WINDOWS: Repainting the exterior and reglazing windows at Nassau Presbyterian Church was a recent project for Greenleaf Painters, which counts many houses of worship among its client base. Former pastor Jonathan Shenk started the company a decade ago.

Jonathan Shenk doesn’t limit his client base to houses of worship. But churches, synagogues, and Quaker meetinghouses figure highly in the work done by Greenleaf Painters, the company he founded a decade ago. Since Mr. Shenk is a former pastor and a self-described “missionary kid” whose parents were Mennonite missionaries, it makes sense.

The Princeton Junction resident, whose company is based in Lawrenceville, recently completed work on the exterior of Nassau Presbyterian Church, to which he and his family belong. In addition to residential projects, other local jobs have included the Jewish Center of Princeton and Princeton Baptist Church. The Ewing Presbyterian Church, which was considered uninhabitable and listed as one of Preservation New Jersey’s Ten Most Endangered Sites in New Jersey, is another client, as is the Friends Meetinghouse in Trenton. more

Kiplinger has named Princeton University as first in private universities and second overall in its 2016’s Top 300 Best College Values. Introduced in 1998, the rankings combine public schools, private universities, and private liberal arts colleges into a single, comprehensive list.

Washington and Lee University took the number 1 spot on the overall list, followed by Princeton and Harvard. Princeton took first place for private universities. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was ranked best public college for the 15th consecutive time. Davidson College earned second place, after Washington and Lee, for best liberal arts college.
The full rankings are now available online at Kiplinger.com/links/college and will appear in print in the February 2016 issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, on newsstands January 5. “We start with a universe of 1,200 schools, so each school in our rankings, from number 1 to number 300, is a best value,” said Janet Bodnar, Editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine.  more

PPS Team

GREEN TEAM ON THEIR WAY: (L to R) Facilities Director Gary Weisman, Assistant Superintendent Bonnie Lehet, Athletics Director John Miranda, PPS parent Jennifer Jang, and Social Studies K-8 Supervisor Tim Charleston participate in the opening meeting of Princeton Schools’ program to achieve Sustainability Certification.

In partnership with the community to “reduce our collective carbon footprint,” Princeton Public Schools (PPS) has formed a Green Team and embarked on an initiative to achieve certification from Sustainable Jersey for Schools.

Co-chaired by Superintendent Steve Cochrane and science supervisor Edward Cohen, the PPS Green Team of approximately 20 staff, administrators, parents, community, and board members will advise and support the district’s efforts to study and adopt practices that integrate sustainability education into the curriculum, professional training, and use of resources.  more

Herrera BookRevBrian Eugenio Herrera, assistant professor in the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater at Princeton University, has received the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism for his book, Latin Numbers: Playing Latino in Twentieth-Century U.S. Popular Performance, which examines Latino representation and Latino artists in American theater and culture. The Nathan Committee took particular note of the analysis of the success and impact of the 1957 musical West Side Story.

The Nathan Award, administered by Cornell University’s Department of English, has been given annually since 1959 for “the best piece of drama criticism during the theatrical year.” Named for theater critic George Jean Nathan, the award realizes his “object and desire to encourage and assist in developing the art of drama criticism and the stimulation of intelligent playgoing.” Awardees are selected by a majority vote of the heads of the English departments of Cornell, Princeton, and Yale universities. The award carries a $10,000 prize and is considered one of the most generous and distinguished in the American theater.

“I still can’t imagine my name among that august list of Nathan honorees,” said Mr. Herrera. “It’s humbling, really. But I am just so unapologetically proud that this year’s Nathan award recognizes a Latino writer writing about the long history of Latina/o performance in this country.” more

Berti Spranger BookEva Jana Siroka has published a new novel, My Life with Berti Spranger (Jorge Pinto Books, paper, $14.95). A sequel to Maddalena (2005), it centers on the discovery of a lost memoir.

“The memoir is fictionalized,” said Ms. Siroka, who has a PhD in art history from Princeton, “but is rooted in the culture of Rudolfine Prague and Spranger’s patron’s taste for exotica and erotica.” Spranger’s paintings were recently exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. “I had been carrying his paintings and drawings in my mind for decades. He is such a fascinating character, a court painter who served a cardinal, a pope, and two Holy Roman Emperors, that I knew he’d be a natural narrator for the sequel to Maddalena, given his privileged position at the Rudolfine court.”

According to Midwest Book Review, My Life with Berti Spranger “is one of those novels that will linger in the mind and memory long after it is finished and set back upon the shelf. Certain to be an enduringly popular addition to personal, community, and academic library Literary Fiction collection…enthusiastically recommended reading.”

A professional artist with works in North America and Europe, Ms. Siroka is currently preparing two exhibitions in Princeton and Toronto. Inspired by Spranger’s original drawings and period prints, she has illustrated the current book and designed its cover.