November 9, 2016

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The Princeton Clergy Association warmly welcomes all to the annual Community Thanksgiving Day Service at Princeton University Chapel from 11 a.m. to noon on Thursday, November 24.

A Thanksgiving tradition for over 65 years, the service is open to the Princeton area community. Many faiths and traditions are included in leading the service.  more

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BIRTHDAY SURPRISES: (L to R) Matt (Grant Shaud), Jill (June Ballinger), Carol (Leslie Ayvazian), and Dan (Ken Land) leave the city for a weekend at a bed-and-breakfast in the Poconos to celebrate Carol’s 60th birthday, and they find themselves in unexpected, unsettling emotional territory in Passage Theatre’s production of Leslie Ayvazian’s “Out of the City,” playing through November 20 at the Mill Hill Playhouse in Trenton. (Photo by Michael Goldstein)

At least since A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare’s “out-of-the-city” play set in ancient Athens and the surrounding forest, leaving the structured, rule-bound urban world for a sojourn in the unconstrained world of nature has been a risky proposition, bringing about all sorts of romantic upheavals, shifting relationships, and surprising transformations of identity. more

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STRING SECTION: Students at Grace A. Dunn Middle School in Trenton are learning the violin from José Gregorio Sanchez Rodriguez, who is a product of the highly successful El Sistema program in Venezuela. Rodriguez also teaches at Westminster Conservatory in Princeton.

In a cluttered classroom at Trenton’s Grace A. Dunn Middle School, seven girls and one boy stand in a circle, violins in hand. It has been barely a month since they began learning the basics of the instrument. But “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” which they are playing along with their teacher, is sounding pretty good. more

November 2, 2016

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Members of the Princeton Day School field hockey team celebrate after they defeated Stuart Country Day 2-0 in the state Prep B championship game last Sunday. It marked the program’s first state title since taking the Prep A crown in 1998. The triumph gave PDS a final record of 16-4 and culminated an impressive reversal of fortune from 2015 when the squad went 6-13-1. See page 37 for more details on the title game. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

250px-princeton_battlefield_state_park_princeton_njThe Princeton Battlefield Society (PBS), with a grant from the American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP) and guidance from archeologist Wade Catts and historian Bob Selig, is preparing to launch an extensive investigation of property that may contain a mass grave, located on the north side of Mercer Road behind the iconic colonnade.

According to the PBS, an earlier ABPP grant, for which Mr. Catts and Mr. Selig were also consultants, led to the discovery of considerable new information and the realization that the D’Ambrisi property, which is not located in the Battlefield Historic District, actually played a significant role in the Battle of Princeton.

The PBS, along with Green Acres, the Municipality of Princeton, Friends of Princeton Open Space, and the Civil War Trust, arranged to purchase property from the D’Ambrisi family almost two years ago, and is currently in the process of purchasing additional property nearby. The current ABPP grant, according to PBS vice president Kip Cherry, calls for “a robust archeological investigation, detailed historical research using original documents and careful interpretation, GIS mapping, laboratory work on artifacts that may be found,” and preparation of a final report that may lead to applications for annexing the site to national and local historic districts. more

As Princeton University recently recast its motto from “in the nation’s service” to “in the nation’s service and the service of humanity,” Sustainability Office Founding Director Shana Weber noted that the University’s “focus on the ethos of service aligns perfectly with the objective of sustainability. It’s all part of the same desire for healthy systems for people and planets.” more

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A driving rain didn’t keep residents of the neighborhood surrounding the Patton Avenue home of late architect Michael Graves from attending a meeting last Thursday evening about the future of the property. Dawood Farahi, president of Kean University, told neighbors that the three buildings, which Kean University purchased for $20 from the Graves estate, will remain much as they are. more

The Amateur Astronomers Association of Princeton is pleased to announce that their monthly lectures will continue on Tuesday, November 8 at 7:30 p.m. in Peyton Hall on the Princeton University Campus. The lecture this month is “From Accreting Black Holes to Merging Galaxies: Using Computers to Study Astrophysics” by Dr. James Stone, the new Chair of the Department of Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University. more

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A 77-YEAR STREAK: At 95, an age when most people are taking it easy, Laura Wooten is still working the polls. She’s been at it since just after graduating from Princeton High School in 1939, and she is raring to go on November 8.

Last June 7, Laura Wooten was waiting for a ride from her Lawrenceville home to the polling station at the local firehouse. It was the day of the New Jersey primary, and her driver was a few minutes behind schedule. So Ms. Wooten, who is 95, decided to walk. It was 4:30 in the morning. more

Housing Initiatives of Princeton (HIP) would like to call attention to National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, November 12-20, by tapping into the generosity of local Princeton realtors and real estate professionals.

HIP, a tax-exempt, all-volunteer organization that assists low-income working families in avoiding homelessness, is asking realtors to contribute some portion of their earnings in the month of November to HIP, and thus help families in the Princeton area who are less fortunate than many of the clients served by Princeton’s realtors.  more

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“WHERE HOPE LIVES:” Good Grief, a childhood bereavement organization, has recently purchased this Mapleton Road building as its Princeton headquarters. The nonprofit, in expansion mode with a $2 million capital campaign underway, provides free programs to hundreds of grieving children and families.

Looking to ensure a permanent presence in Princeton, Good Grief, which provides free programs to hundreds of children after the death of a family member, has purchased a home for its expanding operations at 5 Mapleton Road.  more

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The portrait of Emily is by her brother Branwell, as restored by Michael Armitage.  It was originally painted around 1833-34 when she would have been 15 or 16. It is on view in The National Portrait Gallery, London.

Imagine a neighborhood dominated by bookish types who costume their children in the garb of their dark favorites every Halloween. Not for them the everyday Draculas, Darth Vaders, Freddy Krugers, and Norman Bateses. No, this is the domain of wee Lady Macbeths and Crookback Richards. more

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ADDING C.K. WILLIAMS TO THE POETRY TRAIL: At the dedication ceremony for the C.K. Williams poem, “Garden,” recently added to the Scott and Hella McVay Poetry Trail at D&R Greenway Land Trust, from left — D&R Greenway Board Chair Phyllis Marchand, Gary Mailman, Jessie Williams-Burns, Catherine Mauger, Robbie Namy, Scott McVay, Lynn Williams, Michael Burns, Jed Williams, Elaine Pagels.

A new addition to the Scott and Hella McVay Poetry Trail, “Garden” by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet C.K. Williams (1936-2015), has been dedicated. Published in the collection Vigil (1997), the poem was written from le Parc de Bagatelle, in Neuilly, France, but the place “whose serenity lifts and enfolds me, as a swirl of breeze lifts the leaves and enfolds them” could also describe the trail that begins behind D&R Greenway Land Trust’s Johnson Education Center off Rosedale Road.  more

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CAREGIVING OPTIONS: “We feel that as part of our mission as a senior center for aging well, we want to educate members of the community about aging, and give them information about resources and opportunities. This is the focus of our annual fall conference, providing topics of interest to seniors and their families.” Susan W. Hoskins, LCSW, executive director of the Princeton Senior Resource Center (PSRC) (left), is shown with her mother JoAnn Woodman at a PSRC holiday event.

Caregiving in the U.S. is at an all-time high. According to the AARP report “Caregiving in the U.S.,” an estimated 43.5 million adults in the country provided unpaid care to an adult or child in the prior 12 months. Eighty-five percent care for a relative, nearly one half of whom are over age 75. 10 percent care for a spouse, and 10 percent of the caregivers are themselves over age 75. 60 percent of the recipients have at least one chronic health condition, and nearly one quarter have dementia. more

Photographs by Charles R. Plohn 

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In its season opener at Richardson Auditorium this past weekend, Princeton Pro Musica returned to its roots in the great choral masses of music history. Pro Musica Artistic Director Ryan James Brandau centered Sunday afternoon’s concert on one of the more dramatic masses of Franz Joseph Haydn, combined with smaller choral works similarly grounded with Classical melodies and clear-cut structures. Dr. Brandau combined the 100-voice Pro Musica with a Classically-sized orchestra and the established Polydora Ensemble, whose members doubled as soloists for the Haydn mass. more

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Growing up in Princeton, Brian Sanders was captivated by two things: ballet and gymnastics. The 1984 graduate of Princeton High School divided his time between Princeton Ballet School and Alt’s Gym.

Initially, ballet won out. Mr. Sanders spent several years studying at Princeton Ballet with the late Alexei Yudenich, who was a principal dancer with The Pennsylvania Ballet. So there is something gratifying about the fact that a piece by Mr. Sanders, now a choreographer with his own company, is being performed by the Pennsylvania Ballet next weekend. Chicken Bone Brain shares a program with works by George Balanchine and British choreographer David Dawson at Philadelphia’s Merriam Theatre November 10-13. more

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“ONCE”: Seniors Sam Gravitte and Maddie Meyers in rehearsal for the Lewis Center for the Arts’s production of the musical “Once.” The show runs November 11, 12, 17, 18, and 19 at 8 p.m. in the Berlind Theatre at McCarter Theatre Center. Tickets are available at (609) 258-2787 and online at arts.princeton.edu/once. (Photo Credit: Graham Phillips)

The Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University presents the Tony Award-winning musical Once, directed by senior Graham Phillips and featuring seniors Sam Gravitte and Maddie Meyers, on November 11, 12, 17, 18 and 19 at 8 p.m. in the Berlind Theatre at McCarter Theatre Center. more

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The Westminster Choir, conducted by Joe Miller, will present a concert titled “A Thousand Years to Live” on Sunday, November 6 at 3 p.m. in Bristol Chapel on the campus of Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors. To order call (609) 921-2663 or go to www.rider.edu/artsmore

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Princeton Folk Music Society presents Kevin Burke, virtuoso traditional Irish Fiddler in a solo acoustic performance of “The Naked Fiddle” on Friday, November 18 at 8 p.m. at Christ Congregation Church located in Princeton at 50 Walnut Lane. Burke’s family hailed from Sligo and his first musical influences were Michael Coleman and Paddy Killoran. Burke took up the fiddle when he was eight and by the time he was 13, he was playing in local pubs.  more

October 28, 2016

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DEFENSIVE FORCE: Princeton University football player Kurt Holuba heads upfield in recent action. Last Saturday, junior defensive end Holuba recorded a career-best 10 tackles and three sacks in a losing cause as Princeton fell 23-20 in overtime to visiting Harvard. Holuba was later named the Ivy Defensive Player of the Week for his performance The Tigers, now 4-2 overall and 2-1 Ivy League, play at Cornell (3-3 overall, 1-2 Ivy) on October 29. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

With the Princeton University football team trailing Harvard 14-0 at halftime last Saturday in a clash of Ivy League unbeatens, it got a spark from an unlikely source. more

October 27, 2016

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William G. Bowen, who died last Thursday at his home in Princeton at the age of 83, not only shaped Princeton University, where he served as an economics professor, provost, then president for 15 years, but also the world of U.S. higher education, which he wrote about and influenced significantly throughout his long, productive career.

Mr. Bowen was Princeton University’s 17th president during an often tumultuous period from 1972 to 1988, overseeing the first admission of women and major expansions in academics. From Princeton he moved to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, where he served as president from 1988 to 2006, leading its support for the humanities, undergraduate and graduate education, the arts, and culture.  more

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HOSPITALITY TO HOSTILITY: (L to R) Amir (Maboud Ebrahimzadeh), Emily (Caroline Kaplan), Isaac (Kevin Isola), and Jory (Austene Van) enjoy a cordial dinner before resentments surface and the mood turns dark in McCarter Theatre’s production of Ayad Akhtar’s 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama “Disgraced,” at McCarter’s Matthews Theatre through October 30. (Photo by T. Charles Erickson)

If Ayad Akhtar’s characters had followed my grandmother’s warning, “We never discuss politics or religion at social occasions,” his 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Disgraced would never have been written.

Now playing in a riveting production at McCarter’s Matthews Theatre, the 90-minute uninterrupted, four-scene exploration of identity, Islam, and what it means to be Muslim in contemporary America, as seen through the interwoven lives of five New York City characters, was the most often produced play in the United States in the 2015-16 season.  more

October 26, 2016

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Finding the Great Pumpkin was the theme Saturday at the Princeton Shopping Center, which featured pumpkin painting and carving, cookie decorating, and live music. The Halloween event was hosted by the Shopping Center and the Arts Council of Princeton. Favorite costumes are discussed in this week’s Town Talk. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

In working to first assess then improve the health of the community, Princeton Future (PF) is creating a Princeton Health Corps as it embarks on a long-term project in collaboration with the Board of Health.

At an opening public gathering in the Library Community Room on Saturday morning, participants discussed: “How does the Princeton community’s lifestyle impact the health of its citizens?” With a focus on dietary habits and physical activity, Princeton Future set forth its plan to help “collect, manage, analyze, and disseminate health-related data for decisions about all of us: the residents, the students and the employees of our community.”  more