May 10, 2017

LESS IS MORE: “A Wonderfully Difficult Journey,” based on The ARC Mercer, is among the short films being presented May 20 and 21 at the third annual Nassau Film Festival.

It didn’t take long for word to get out about the Nassau Film Festival. In just three years, the annual spring celebration of short films has blossomed from 35 submissions in 2015 to 336 for this year’s event, which returns to the Princeton Garden Theatre May 20 and 21. more

After describing Franz Kafka’s “sharp and skeletal face” as it appears in a photograph from 1924, Philip Roth observes that “chiseled skulls like this one were shoveled by the thousands from the ovens” and that had he lived, Kafka’s “would have been among them.” He then adds, “Of course it is no more horrifying to think of Franz Kafka in Auschwitz than to think of anyone at Auschwitz — it is just horrifying in its own way.” In fact, Kafka died the year the photograph was taken, “too soon for the holocaust.” Had such a monumental literary figure actually perished in Nazi ovens it would become a horror of the horror, a legend, an historic abomination.

“Content That I Can Breathe”

According to Kafka: The Early Years (Princeton Univ. Press $35), the third and final volume of Reiner Stach’s landmark biography, Franz Kafka was “newly confronted with the problems of Jewish identity” four years before he died.

In one of the first entries in Diaries 1914-1923, January 8, 1914, however, Kafka is already asking, “What have I in common with Jews? I have hardly anything in common with myself and should stand very quietly in a corner, content that I can breathe.” Content to live, a stranger in the strange land of the self, Kafka, a Jew, asks what he has in common with Jews. Ten years later, upon asking his doctor for a lethal dose of morphine, he says, “Kill me or else you are a murderer.” more

CLASSICAL DISCOVERIES: Marvin Rosen, host of the “Classical Discoveries” program, in the WPRB studios at Princeton University.

“You know, in our world today, all over our world, there is just so much incredible talent,” Marvin Rosen says as he leans back in his seat contentedly, wire-rimmed glasses on his nose, a nest of curly brown hair atop his head. “I could never air everything that I would want to air.”  more

Programmatic coincidences do not happen often in Princeton; there is so much music out there that local ensembles usually do not program the same works for the same season. Such a coincidence occurred this past weekend when Princeton Symphony Orchestra performed the same Paul Hindemith piece as the Princeton University Orchestra did last weekend. Audiences rarely have the opportunity to hear the same work twice, compare performances, and perhaps hear something new the second time around. Princeton Symphony Orchestra closed its classical series this past Sunday afternoon at Richardson Auditorium with a concert entitled “Metamorphosis,” that not only could refer to the Hindemith work performed, but also the orchestra’s journey from the beginning of the 2016-17 season until now — a season jam-packed with concerts, educational programs, and community outreach activities. PSO Music Director Rossen Milanov led the ensemble in a performance that was both rooted in impressionistic musical style and full of precision and elegance of playing. more

For the 12th consecutive year, Chapin School Princeton music ensembles participated in the annual Music in the Parks Festival, held this year in Middletown, N.J. Chapin’s Chamber Choir, Show Choir, Wind Ensemble, and Jazz Band, totaling 83 students, were among the 19 ensembles participating on Friday, May 5. Ensembles performed before a panel of judges who assessed each performance, provided written and verbal feedback, and rated each ensemble based on a set of criteria. Chapin took home several awards, including the Overall Middle/Junior High School Vocalist Award for Gillian Bartels-Quansah. Congratulations to Chapin faculty members Bridget MacDonald, Missy McCormick, and Desi Melegrito who stewarded the choir through hours of rehearsal. 

RENEWAL AND RESTORATION: The First Church of Christ, Scientist, located at 16 Bayard Lane in Princeton, is working with the Bregenzer Brothers, a family-owned, local contracting firm known for artisan skills and attention to detail, to replace the current slate roof and steeple. Clearly pleased to play an important role in historical preservation, Mike Bregenzer states, “We have been working with the church for many years and feel privileged to be included in this significant restoration project.”

Located at 16 Bayard Lane, just a short walk from the Einstein statue and the Battle Monument, the First Church of Christ, Scientist is undergoing some architectural restoration thanks to the help of the Bregenzer Brothers, a family-owned, local contracting firm known for artisan skills and attention to detail. Clearly pleased to play an important role in historical preservation, Mike Bregenzer states, “We have been working with the church for many years and feel privileged to be included in this significant restoration project.” more

Children of all ages are invited to enjoy Rockingham’s annual Children’s Day, held this year on Sunday, May 21, from noon to 5 p.m. The site, which served as General George Washington’s final wartime headquarters in late 1783, will offer activities and demonstrations of 18th-century life with support from the Montgomery High School Live Historians Club and the Rockingham Association.  more

The English-Speaking Union presents John Burkhalter and Sheldon Eldridge in “Unheard Musick and Eighteenth Century British Literature” at The Kirby Arts Center at The Lawrenceville School on May 21 at 3 p.m. Mr. Burkhalter is a lecturer and recorder player and Eldridge specializes in the harpsichord.  more

As a prelude to its May in Montgomery: Touring the Millstone Valley National Scenic Byway event scheduled for May 21, the Van Harlingen Historical Society will present a lecture by John D.S. Hatch titled “Historic Preservation, Urban Redevelopment, and the Rural Landscape: How New Jersey Makes the Connection.” Mr. Hatch is an architect who specializes in historic preservation design and adaptive re-use of historic structures. He holds degrees in both architecture and historic preservation. His projects include the restoration of historic Morven in Princeton, the restoration of the Hunterdon County Courthouse in Flemington, and the Roebling complex redevelopment in Trenton. more

The “gold standard” of cover bands, the Dark Star Orchestra recreates Grateful Dead set lists with compelling and uncanny accuracy. Each night, this Chicago-based band decides on performing one show from the over 2,500 that the Dead performed during their 30-year tenure as the fathers of improvisational rock. Dark Star Orchestra will be at McCarter Theatre in Princeton on Monday, May 15 at 7 p.m. For tickets, visit or call (609) 258-2787. 

Attitudes In Reverse® (AIR™), a Princeton-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to save lives through mental-health and suicide-prevention education, will host its seventh annual Miki & Friends 5K Walk and Run for AIR™ event on May 20 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Mercer County Park, East Picnic Area, West Windsor. The event is sponsored by Bee Fit with Tracy, PerformCare New Jersey, and the law firm of Szaferman, Lakind, Blumstein & Blader, P.C.  more

May 8, 2017

A Night in Old Havana

Photography by Erica Cardenas

On Saturday, May 6, McCarter Theatre Center welcomed Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra to “A Night in Old Havana” Gala 2017. The evening began with a cocktail reception and dinner on McCarter’s back lawn, which was tented and decorated with 1940’s-era old Havana flare. The musical performance was held at McCarter’s Matthews Theater. The electric after-party included more food, entertainment, and dance. All proceeds benefit McCarter’s Artistic, Education, and Engagement Programs. more

Nima Arkani-Hamed, Institute for Advanced Study Professor in the School of Natural Sciences, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Other elected Members and Visitors include Alexander Beilinson; Visitor (1997–98) and Member (1996–97, 1994) in the School of Mathematics; Maury Bramson, Member (1995–96) in the School of Mathematics; David Huse, Member (2015–16) in the School of Natural Sciences and Visitor (2010) in the School of Mathematics; Kenneth Freeman, Member (1983–84, 1988) in the School of Natural Sciences; and Shigefumi Mori, Member (1981–82) in the School of Mathematics.

View the full list of newly elected members.

WILL TO WIN: Princeton Day School boys’ lacrosse player Will Brossman heads to goal in recent action. Last Sunday, senior star and Middlebury College-bound Brossman tallied four goals to help PDS defeat Albany Academy (N.Y.) 14-6. The Panthers, now 8-2, play at Newark Academy on May 3. In addition, PDS will start play in the Mercer County Tournament where it is seeded first and will host a quarterfinal game on May 6. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

For Will Brossman, doing some extensive homework four years ago helped make him into a dead-eye shooter for the Princeton Day School boys’ lacrosse team. more

May 7, 2017

Sunday, June 11 at 10 a.m.

Educational Testing Center

660 Rosedale Road, Princeton

Children in grades pre-K through 8 are invited to sign up for the 9th annual Kids Marathon, a fun way to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives.

This program is hosted by Community Education & Outreach of Princeton HealthCare and Princeton Fitness & Wellness Center.

Marathoners will begin activities on their own, striving to walk, run or roll a total 25 miles, or 2.5 miles per week, during the 10-week period from April through early June. Any physical activity—from organized sports to household chores—can count toward the total. (Click here to download a log sheet to track your progress.)

Then they will gather on June 11 to finish the last 1.2 miles together and receive their medals! Parents may run with their children or cheer them on from the sidelines.

After the race, enjoy music, face painting, kids crafts, vendors, healthy refreshments and more!

More Ways to Earn Miles:

Click here to learn about more ways to earn miles. Check out our classes such as Grow Your Own Veggie Garden or Kids Zumba and earn 1 mile for each class attended!

Cost and Proceeds:

The cost is $25 per child and proceeds support Princeton HealthCare System’s programs to promote wellness and prevent obesity and chronic disease in children.

Scholarship Opportunities:

All children are encouraged to participate. If cost is a factor, see if your child is eligible for a free scholarship. Contact: Debbie Millar at or 609.897.8982.

Sign Up Here:

Native Plants for Landscapers Series: Spring Wildflowers

Native Plants for Landscapers Series This series of courses, presented at the Preserve by Penn State Extension – Bucks County, is designed for Landscape Professionals. Learn common and underused native plants that are well suited for a variety of residential and commercial landscape applications.  more

May 4, 2017

END OF AN ERA: Princeton University women’s water polo goalie Ashleigh Johnson stymies a foe in a game this season. Last weekend, senior star and Olympic gold medalist Johnson ended her stellar Tiger career by starring in the CWPA (Collegiate Water Polo Association) Championship. She made 35 saves in three games, helping ninth-ranked Princeton advance to the title game, where it fell 5-4 to seventh-ranked Michigan. The Tigers ended the season with a 24-4 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Taking advantage of a two-week hiatus from competition between the end of the regular season and the CWPA (Collegiate Water Polo Association) Championship, the Princeton University women’s water polo team got to recharge its batteries. more

May 3, 2017

Tens of thousands of local residents and visitors of all ages gathered downtown on Sunday to enjoy the Arts Council of Princeton’s 47th annual Communiversity ArtsFest. Participants share their favorite things about the festival in this week’s Town Talk, and more photos are featured on page 24. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

The future of the Veblen house and cottage in the Herrontown Woods nature preserve remains in doubt, as the Mercer County Recreation Commission prepares for demolition and the Princeton-based Friends of Herrontown Woods (FOHW) continues to seek support from the Town Council and others to take over the property and make needed repairs. more

Though it may seem far removed from the noise of the contemporary world, the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) has a long history of combating threats to its scholars and their work. Recent executive orders by President Trump attempting to enforce travel bans and immigration orders have prompted the mobilization of an IAS History Working Group that recently published articles to provide illuminating historical reflections on the current political climate. more

NATURE MEETS TECHNOLOGY: D&R Greenway Land Trust’s new TravelStorys app enhances the experience of paddling through the Abbott Marshlands. Boaters and paddlers can go back in time as they listen to tales of the area and learn how it looked and sounded in centuries past.

The idea of using a cell phone while on a nature trek seems almost sacrilegious. But technology is the focus of a new program designed to enhance trips through the historic Abbott Marshlands and Crosswicks Creek, the scenes of early English settlements, Lenape Indian life, and even French royalty.  more

Princeton Day School (PDS) is planning an ambitious initiative to introduce a new STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) curriculum and construct a new STEAM facility for the 2017-18 school year.

The new program will focus on “integration, collaboration, innovation, and creativity,” with an interdisciplinary emphasis, blending traditional and project-based approaches to help students “to see, interpret, and understand fundamental concepts and to solve real-life problems,” according to a May 1 PDS press release. more

Members of “Team Topics” enjoyed handing out lots of copies of the latest issues of Town Topics Newspaper, Princeton Magazine and Urban Agenda Magazine at last Sunday’s Communiversity ArtsFest. The staff also held a raffle for free tickets to Morven in May at Morven Museum and Garden, which will take place May 5-7. (Photo Credit: Charles R. Plohn)

A NATIONAL HONOR: Ikon.5’s design for the Newark Training Recreation Education Center reflected the Newark Housing Authority’s goal of making it a gathering place for the fractured South Ward neighborhood. The project was among 79 awarded as part of a national program.

The Princeton-based architecture firm Ikon.5 is among the designers of 79 buildings and urban spaces to win the 2017 American Architecture Award. The national honor, which went to “Leading Edge Design for New Buildings in the U.S.,” was given to Ikon.5 for its design of the Newark Training Recreation Education Center (TREC), which opened last November. more

Leading makeup authority M·A·C Cosmetics has opened its sixth freestanding store in New Jersey and it’s in Princeton. On April 14, a grand opening “Art of the Lip” launch event drew more than 150 women to welcome the brand to Palmer Square. Each person received a free lipstick as part of the festivities.  M·A·C is known for its unrivaled expertise in makeup artistry and its community of professional makeup artists. They also celebrate diversity, individuality, and stand for All Ages, All Races, All Sexes. M·A·C is located at 11 Palmer Square West.