March 9, 2016

BOOK PIC51i+IIjLn0L._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_-1Patrick K. O’Donnell, a bestselling military historian and the foremost authority on America’s elite fighting units, will discuss his new book, Washington’s Immortals (Atlantic Monthly Press $28) on Monday, March 14, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at a benefit for The Princeton Battlefield Society at Princeton’s Metro North Grill, 378 Alexander Rd.

For $50 per person, guests will receive an autographed copy of Mr. O’Donnell’s newly released book, appetizers, and a complimentary ticket for wine/beer. The author will talk about his book and answer questions. The novel is seen through the eyes of the Maryland Regiments, whose actions at key battles from Brooklyn, Trenton to Princeton, and from Cowpens to Yorktown, “changed the course of American history.” Grounded in “an unprecedented access to unpublished primary sources and personal accounts,” Washington”s Immortals presents, “for the first time, a Band of Brothers-style account of the Revolutionary War.”

O’Donnell is a bestselling military historian and the critically acclaimed author of 10 books, including Beyond ValorDog Company, and First SEALs. He served as a combat historian in a Marine rifle platoon during the Battle of Fallujah. An expert on espionage, special operations, and counterinsurgency, he is a frequent contributor to several prominent national publications.  more

book revFrom a gang land point of view, it makes more sense to put a body in the Pine Barrens than in the Hudson River. — John McPhee

I’m beginning a column about Mickey Spillane (1918-2006) with a quote from John McPhee to note the fact that yesterday, March 8, the author of The Pine Barrens celebrated his 85th birthday. While it may be difficult to imagine two writers with less in common, I have no doubt that McPhee could sit down tomorrow, do a month of research, and produce an essay or even a book that would stand as the go-to work about pulp fiction, the mass market paperback revolution, the McCarthy Era, and the author of Kiss Me, Deadly, who once admitted he’s not sure which side of midnight 1918 he was born on (he went with March 9).

Reading McPhee, who grew up in Princeton, you are in the company of a renowned master of non-fiction prose. Reading Spillane, who grew up in Elizabeth and made his fortune writing about the world of buried bodies, you are partaking of an experience that has been compared to eating take-out fried chicken. He himself once used a beloved American snack to tease “those big-shot writers” who “could never dig the fact that there are more salted peanuts consumed than caviar.” Besides creating Mike Hammer, the last word in brutal, sex-crazed private eyes, Spillane sold the equivalent of 200 million packs of “salted peanuts” worldwide, and as of 1980, seven of the top 10 all-time fiction best-sellers in America were written by him.  more


“THE SEASONS”: “June, or What I Thought I Knew,” the oil on linen featured above, is one of the works by Deborah Rosenthal included in the solo exhibit “The Seasons” at the Rider University Art Gallery from now through April 10.

The Rider University Art Gallery’s exhibition titled “The Seasons,” featuring the work of Deborah Rosenthal, is on view now through Sunday, April 10. An artist’s talk will be held in the gallery on Thursday, March 10 at 7 p.m. Admission for all events is free. more



FIRESTONE’S PHOTOGRAPHY AT PEAC: Pennington photographer Arthur Firestone will have his photos on display at PEAC Health & Fitness for the month of March as part of their monthly Art on Display program. His above photograph, “Greek Columns,” was shot near the Parthenon on the Athenian Acropolis in Greece.

As part of its Art on Display program, PEAC Health & Fitness will display original works of art from Pennington photographer Arthur Firestone for the month of March 2016. more

Each year, the Princeton University Orchestra holds a concerto competition, allowing student performers to select their own repertoire and challenge themselves for a chance to perform with the orchestra. Some students might play it safe and choose music of the old masters, but not this year’s winners. Soprano Solène Le Van, violinist Jessie Chen, and pianist Evan Chow selected works of the 20th and 21st centuries, showing musical diversity and a deep range of curiosity. Led by conductor Michael Pratt, the University Orchestra presented these three winners this past weekend in Richardson Auditorium. more


Grammy-nominated mandolinist Avi Avital presents an adventurous program at McCarter Theatre on Sunday, March 13 at 3 p.m. Accompanied by accordionist Ksenija Sidorov and percussionist Itama Doari, Avital will perform works spanning from Bach concertos to Bulgarian and Turkish folk tunes. To purchase tickets, call the box office at (609) 258-2787 or visit (Photo by Harald Hoffmann/Deutsche Grammophon)


FINAL DRIVE: Princeton University women’s basketball player Annie Tarakchian drives to the basket. Last Friday, senior forward Tarakchian scored a career-high 24 points and had 11 rebounds to help Princeton defeat Harvard 79-69 to start her final home weekend. A night later, she scored nine points and had 11 rebounds as the Tigers routed Dartmouth 68-42. The win improved Princeton to 23-4 overall and 12-1 Ivy League and set up a winner-take-all Ivy League title showdown with Penn (23-4 overall, 12-1 Ivy) slated for March 8 at Jadwin Gym. Tarakchian, for her part, was named the Ivy Co-Player of the Week for her weekend heroics along with Penn sophomore forward Michelle Nwokedi. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

The emotions were swirling for Annie Tarakchian as she took the court last Friday to start her final home weekend with the Princeton University women’s basketball team. more

Les Noces de Jeannette (Jeannette’s Wedding Day) is a two-person opéra-comique composed by Victor Massé in 1853 to a libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré. The opera, which some consider to be Massé’s best work, revolves around the wedding ceremony of Jean and Jeannette, two villagers in 19th-century France, that goes horribly wrong when Jean runs from the altar, leaving Jeannette as the laughing stock of the village.  more

March 3, 2016


FUN RUN: Princeton Day School girls’ hockey player -Madison McCaw enjoys the moment during a game this season. Freshman forward McCaw helped the Panthers enjoy a superb season as they won seven of their last eight games, placing third in the WILHMA (Women’s Interscholastic Hockey League of the Mid-Atlantic) playoffs and finishing with a final record of 15-8-1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Opening its season with a trip to Wyoming Seminary in northeastern Pennsylvania in early December, the Princeton Day School girls’ hockey team hit a roadblock as the bus broke down and the team never made it to the game. more


From home decor to clothing, shop the hottest accessories for that special guy in your life.


In light of the decision by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s office to close their independent review of the traffic stop and arrest of Princeton University Professor Imani Perry, finding that the arresting officers were “to be commended, not criticized,” Mayor Liz Lempert and five members of Princeton Council have issued a statement praising the “professional, compassionate conduct” of the town’s police officers.

Ms. Perry was stopped February 6 for speeding on Princeton Pike. The police officer running her license discovered it was suspended in Pennsylvania. She could not provide her car registration, and she had an outstanding warrant for failure to pay two parking tickets in Princeton. Following policy, the officer arrested her. She was handcuffed and taken to headquarters. On social media, Ms. Perry accused the officers involved in her arrest of inappropriate and racially motivated behavior. more

See below for the March 3, 2016 Planning Board Meeting.

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

March 2, 2016


On the second day of March it seems reasonable to read signs of spring in the mellow light falling on the Princeton University Chapel. Though no one mentions it in this week’s Town Talk on favorite museums, our local treasure, the Princeton University Art Museum, open free of charge six days a week, is only a short walk away. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

The Stony Brook Bridge on Route 206 near Quaker Road, believed to be New Jersey’s oldest bridge, will likely remain closed through next week while damage to the historic span is assessed by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.

The state of the bridge was among the issues brought up at a meeting of Princeton Council on Monday. Among the additional topics of discussion were a possible solar array plant atop the municipal garage, the end of July 4th fireworks, and the formation of a youth advisory committee to advise the governing body.

Princeton’s engineer Bob Kiser reported to Council that the cracks in the Stony Brook Bridge’s stone arches, found during an inspection, are worse than originally thought. Mr. Kiser and assistant engineer Deanna Stockton were to meet with the DOT on Tuesday to discuss making a temporary fix, and later a permanent repair, to the bridge. more

At Princeton Council’s January meeting devoted to setting goals for 2016, addressing the continuing problem of wage theft was voted a high priority.

The governing body had adopted an ordinance in 2014 specifically geared to the issue in the landscaping industry, giving the town the ability to revoke a landscaper’s license if they violate state and federal wage laws. But the illegal practice of not paying workers for all of their work persists in other areas С most notably, the restaurant industry.

A recent case involving Soonja’s restaurant on Alexander Street illustrates the situation. “It involved two workers who were owed money,” said Lou Kimmel, of the New Brunswick-based organization New Labor, which strives to improve working conditions for immigrants. “We tried to resolve it informally, but couldn’t. It was formally resolved with the state Department of Labor. The judge decided in favor of the workers, so they got paid.” more


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ML7, a real estate investment, development, management, and construction company headed by Jeffrey Siegel, has purchased two adjacent properties on Witherspoon Street, one currently occupied by Small World Coffee and the other formerly occupied by the Princeton Army & Navy Store, according to Jessica Durrie, owner of Small World, and David Newton, vice president of Palmer Square Management.

ML7, with offices in Princeton and New York City, purchases and redevelops commercial real estate assets throughout the state and in the city. According to their website, ”We are an opportunistic buyer, focusing on acquiring special situation properties or properties experiencing some level of distress, whether in their existing capital structures, as a result of mismanagement or physical distress. ML7’s expertise is in repositioning real estate assets and unlocking value.” more

See below for the February 29, 2016 Princeton Council Meeting.

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


A TWO-WAY STREET: An inmate at Albert Wagner Correctional Facility in Bordentown works towards his GED in weekly sessions under the guidance of a Princeton University student tutor as part of the Petey Greene Prison Assistance Program. The program has expanded rapidly over the past eight years and now boasts 120 student volunteers from Princeton and many more throughout New Jersey and beyond. (Photo Courtesy of Petey Greene Prison Assistance Program)

The United States has more people in prison than any other country in the world — upwards of 2.2 million, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. And the experience and consequences of incarceration leave formerly imprisoned people even more likely to remain poor and marginalized.

Although the U.S. spends more than $86 billion on corrections each year, it provides limited resources to facilitate re-entry. Ninety percent of incarcerated people will be released, but 40 percent will return to prison within three years. High recidivism weakens families and communities, perpetuating social and economic equalities. more

3-2-16 profiles in ed swainIn the fall of 1969, as a sophomore, I walked into the Princeton University Office of Teacher Preparation to investigate the possibilities for a career in teaching. Mrs. Swain was presiding. Last week, a 41-year teaching career behind me, I walked into the Teacher Prep Office again. Mrs. Swain is still presiding.

The Office has moved, from West College to William Street. The program has seen five different directors, many changes in personnel and about 1000 University students gaining New Jersey Teacher Certification. Jacqueline L. Swain remembers, and has helped, all of them. “She is Teacher Prep,” said current program director Christopher J. Campisano. “If you want to know, Jacqui’s the one to talk to. She’s the heart and soul of the program. It’s the extraordinary program it is because of her work, because of Mrs. Swain. Anybody who walks through that door, regardless of whether they’re graduating or they were here 10 or 20 years ago, Jacqui will know their name.”

Jacqui Swain was born in Princeton, where her parents, grandparents, and great grandparents lived in a rambling old house on Clay Street near Witherspoon. Her parents moved to Rahway, where she went to school. She attended Rider College, graduated with a degree in Commerce and returned to Princeton, where she still lives.  more

FukushimaLabyrinth Books will host a discussion of two new books at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 9: Noriko Manabe’s The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Protest Music After Fukushima (Oxford 2015) and Jonathan Pieslak’s Radicalism and Music (Wesleyan 2015).

According to Michael K. Bourdaghs, University of Chicago, “Contrary to widely held stereotypes, Japan has a long and loud history of public protest. As Noriko Manabe shows in her important new book, the massive demonstrations in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster belong to this tradition but also have produced their own distinct soundscape. Her detailed ethnographic and musical analysis of the parts numerous musicians have played in the movement vividly captures the sonic dimensions of this latest chapter from the history of Japanese street democracy.”

In Radicalism and Music (Wesleyan 2015), Jonathan Pieslak discusses music’s transformational impact on the radicalization, reinforcement, and motivational techniques of violent political activists in four radical groups: al-Qa’ida, racist Skinheads, Christian-affiliated radicals, and eco-animal rights militants.
Benjamin J. Harbert, co-editor of The Arab Avant-Garde: Music, Politics, Modernity, calls Radicalism and Music “a well-argued foil to the notion that music is a universal language that brings people together. The subtheme of music and its relationship to the Internet provides important groundwork for thinking of music as a particular ‘information technology’ without divorcing it from its ritual function.”  more

The Garden Club of Princeton, member of Garden Club of America, Conservation Committee recently constructed a “Solar Suitcase,” a stand alone complete solar electricity system that fits into a rugged, weather and dust proof plastic suitcase suitable for travel to remote destinations, to help provide electricity to women at a birthing home in Sierra Leone.

The entire club supported the endeavor, allocating civic project funds to purchase the suitcase kit from the We Share Solar program. We Share Solar typically provides the kits to schools around the country, enabling students to learn about the science of solar electricity and international philanthropy. It also chooses and is responsible for delivery to communities without access to reliable electricity, which include schools, orphanages, community centers, and libraries.  more


“BEAUTY AND THE BEAST”: This photograph by Olivia Nini, grade 10 — Ken Lockwood Gorge, High Bridge, New Jersey is part of the “Beauty and the Beast — the Fall and Rise of the Raritan River” exhibit at the D&R Greenway Land Trust’s Olivia Rainbow Gallery on view through March 30.

D&R Greenway Land Trust’s Olivia Rainbow Gallery presents Beauty and the Beast — the Fall and Rise of the Raritan River,” fine art photography by Princeton Day School students of Eileen Hohmuth-Lemonick, head of Upper School photography. Focusing on the historic Raritan River, the images are on view through March 30, 2016.

The Beauty section evokes the river’s course through stunningly beautiful New Jersey locations, home to many species of birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and mammals — many threatened and endangered. The “Beast” segment of the exhibit chronicles effects of the river’s use for transportation; as an energy source for crucial industries; and, tragically, receptacle for toxic wastes.

“We have canoed and photographed the Raritan from New Brunswick to Edison,” says Hohmuth-Lemonick. The Raritan is New Jersey’s longest river and includes the state’s largest contiguous stretch of wildlife habitat. D&R Greenway was founded to preserve land adjacent to waterways such as the Raritan River. more

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EVERY FIBER OF MY BEING: Diana Weymar’s “Telegraph Creek: Tanning a Moose Hide” is part of the Arts Council of Princeton’s new exhibition, “Every Fiber of My Being,” on view in the Taplin Gallery, March 5 – April 17.

The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) presents Every Fiber of My Being, a group exhibition featuring textile and contemporary embroidery. Visitors can expect original works from artists Maira Kalman, Amy Meissner, Cassie Jones, Diana Weymar, Caroline Lathan-Stiefel, Danielle Hogan, and Katie Truk. 

Every Fiber of My Being is curated by the Arts Council’s 2016 Spring Anne Reeves Artist-in-Residence, Diana Weymar. Growing up in the wilderness of British Columbia, Diana learned the importance and practical value of a vivid imagination. In her artwork, she is interested in how to interact with existing materials — photographs, clothing, text — to address issues of storytelling, identity, narrative, and documentation. more

art rev

“London, Waterloo Bridge” by Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980)

To D.H. Lawrence, who died on March 2,1930 at 45, a “painted landscape is the background with the real subject left out.” It’s also where “the English exist and hold their own.”

Clearly, this is a novelist speaking, as well as a poet, philosopher, essayist in many realms, revolutionary, and a painter for whom landscape is the “background to an intenser vision of life.”

Some Serious Fun

As I make my way to the Princeton University Art Museum, I imagine Lawrence by my side looking the way he did to the doctor he hosted for tea and toast only weeks before he died, “a colorful figure with bright blue coat, red hair and beard and lively blue eyes” who “made the toast himself treating the operation as though it were a serious matter and at the same time great fun” — which is how I’d like to treat the subject of this column and the current exhibit, “Pastures Green & Dark Satanic Mills: The British Passion for Landscape.” more