October 27, 2016


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


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


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

Princeton Council passed an ordinance Monday night to re-establish a Civil Rights Commission. The proposal to form the Commission, which previously existed from 1968 to 1998, was officially introduced last month.

Before the vote was taken, there was considerable discussion among Council and members of a subcommittee of the town’s Human Services department about the intake process for those registering complaints of discrimination, and the setting up of outside mediation should an issue not be internally resolved. The subcommittee has worked on the issue for the past two years. more


FUN WITH DONALD AND HILLARY: The Second City comedy troupe pokes fun at the presidential campaign with a show at NJPAC on October 29. Princeton-bred Carley Moseley, fourth from left, is a member of the cast.

The current presidential campaign is a gold mine for Carley Moseley and her fellow performers from the Chicago-based comedy troupe, Second City. Please Don’t Feed the Candidates, the title of their touring show at Newark’s New Jersey Performing Arts Center this Saturday night, October 29, says it all.

“I’m sitting here watching part of the speech Trump gave laying out his first 100 days in office,” said Ms. Moseley, who grew up in Princeton. She spoke last weekend from a hotel in Michigan, where the troupe was appearing as part of its current tour.  more

The Mary Jacobs Memorial Library Foundation will host its 11th annual food and wine fundraising event at the Mary Jacobs Memorial Library, 64 Washington Street, Rocky Hill, on Saturday, November 5, from 7 to 10 p.m.

This year, the evening will feature a menu highlighting cuisine richly inspired by Italy, and thoughtfully paired with Italian wines. Live music by Acoustic Road, Jeff Friedman and Matt Robinson, a silent auction, and a wine pull. Sponsorships are still available and include two tickets to the event. more


STAR OF THE SHOWPLACES: Part of the original Moses Taylor Pyne estate, this house at 505 Mercer Road has a dairy barn with floor-to-ceiling tilework by Rafael Guastavino, whose work is in some New York City subway stations. The 1901 home is among five on this year’s Historical Society of Princeton House Tour. (Photo by Izzy Kasdin)

Every fall for the past 15 years, The Historical Society of Princeton has searched out eye-catching residences to feature on its annual fundraiser, the House Tour. This year’s crop of five, the first since Izzy Kasdin took over as executive director last May, combines the historically significant with the adaptively re-used. The tour is Saturday, November 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. more

“Road to Roma” will be the topic of a lecture by architect and automobile enthusiast Lawrence Tarantino at Dorothea’s House on Sunday, November 6, at 5 p.m.

Those attending can follow the Mille Miglia, an Italian vintage road rally, as Mr. Tarantino takes the audience on an illustrated tour of Italy’s beautiful cities, villages, and countryside along the route. Having attended the event multiple times as spectator, journalist, photographer, and participant, Mr. Tarantino will explain the history of the race and display memorabilia. more


KEEPING PRINCETON HEALTHY: Jeff Grosser, Princeton Health Officer, is always on the go in his “constantly evolving job” of overseeing the Municipal Health Department.

Jeff Grosser, 32-year-old New Jersey native, came to head the Princeton Health Department in April 2014. He lives in Burlington County with his wife and three daughters, ages five, three and eight months. In his scarce free time, he loves going to the beach and surfing on Long Beach Island (LBI, where his parents live), playing soccer and coaching his daughters. He almost chose a career in professional soccer over public health. more

book-revThere again was my lost city, wrapped cool in its mystery and promise. — F. Scott Fitzgerald

The singer songwriter Rosanne Cash was 14 when she recognized New York City in her own image. The moment of truth came at a leather goods store in Greenwich Village where she’d been taken by her father, “who had a lifelong love affair with the city and kept an apartment on Central Park South.” She was standing in front of a mirror trying on the green suede jacket he’d had made to order for her, “light pouring in the windows from busy Bleecker Street” when everything clicked. “That was my real self there in the mirror …. I belonged here. It was more than an idea; it was a sharp ache and a calling that tugged at me … until I pulled my entire life apart to come home.”

She made the move 23 years later, in 1991. She’d been living in Nashville for most of the 1980s, frustrated because she wasn’t writing the songs or making the records she really wanted to make; then she recorded Interiors, which she thought was “the best work” of her life, and the record label “utterly rejected it.” At the same time, her marriage was falling apart, she was despondent: “Only one thing made sense: New York.”  more


COMING TO SEMINARY: Called “America’s favorite poet” by The Wall Street Journal, Billy Collins will be reading from his work and conversing with Princeton Seminary President M. Craig Barnes at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, November 2, in the Iain R Torrance Atrium, Princeton Theological Seminary Library.

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins will appear at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, November 2, in the Iain R Torrance Atrium, Princeton Theological Seminary Library, 25 Library Place in Princeton. He will read from his new book of poems and engage in a conversation with Princeton Seminary President M. Craig Barnes about the nature of poetry, the task of writing, and connections between poetry and faith.  more


BEST BOOKS: “When I buy books, they become my friends. But if I don’t read them again, the Little Free Library is a wonderful way to share and pass them on.” Laura R. Jacobus is shown by the Little Free Library she installed by her home on Edgehill Road.

In case you haven’t heard, in addition to Princeton University’s Firestone Library and our own outstanding public library, Princeton is now home to the Little Free Library (LFL) movement.

A series of mail box-sized structures, placed in front of the homeowner’s property near the street, can be seen around town. They are filled with books for passersby to borrow, take home, return, or pass on to other readers, if they wish.  more


PRINCETON FESTIVAL WINE TASTING: The Princeton Festival held its annual wine tasting event on Saturday, October 15 where Richard Tang Yuk told the assembled guests of the plans for the Festival’s 2017 season beginning in June. A good time was had by all, including a surprise visit by Ludwig von Beethoven (Lance Channing). Beethoven posed for a picture with Marie Miller, costume designer for the Festival. The 2017 season’s opera is Beethoven’s “Fidelio.” (Photo Courtesy of The Princeton Festival)

The word “October” is evocative of various images. For children it means Halloween costumes and trick-or-treat candy. For many adults it means harvest time and Oktoberfest beers. For Princeton Festival aficionados it means the Festival Guild’s annual wine tasting and the announcement of the upcoming 2017 season’s performance offerings. more


“MAKAH I”: Michael Madigan will be exhibiting his paintings, like the one pictured here, at Morpeth Contermporary Gallery in Hopewell alongside sculptor, Donna McCullough. Their works are on display until November 13.

Painter, Michael Madigan and sculptor, Donna McCullough are exhibiting at Morpeth Contemporary Gallery and Frame Studio, located at 43 West Broad Street in Hopewell, until November 13. Gallery hours are Wednesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.–6 p.m. and noon–5 p.m. on Sunday. more


“MY NASSAU STREET”: Over 100 completed pages like Anne Brener’s “My Nassau Street” will be on display at the Arts Council of Princeton’s Taplin Gallery as part of “Interwoven Stories,” a community-based stitching project, from October 29 through November 30.

The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) presents Interwoven Stories, a culminating exhibition of the community-based stitching project created by ACP Anne Reeves Artist-in-Residence Diana Weymar. Visitors can expect to view more than 100 fabric “pages” — designed to look like traditional 3-holed line paper — hand-stitched with places, people, and memories. more


“OCTOBER”: D&R Greenway Land Trust will benefit from the artworks sold in their exhibit, “Our Countryside: Paintings, Photographs, and Prints by Mary Waltham,” at Chambers Walk Café on Main Street in Lawrenceville. Pictured here is one of Waltham’s oil paintings, which like most of her work, is inspired by nature.

D&R Greenway Land Trust both inspired and will benefit from the sales from Our Countryside: Paintings, Photographs and Prints by Mary Waltham, at Chambers Walk Café, 2667 Main Street, Lawrenceville, November 1 through December 30. Much of the artwork was made on D&R Greenway’s preserved lands in central New Jersey. Fifty percent of sales will support D&R Greenway’s preservation and stewardship mission. The exhibit is on view during café hours: 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. daily, and 6-9 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. more

The Princeton University Orchestra opened its 2016-17 season this past weekend with a performance of music both rooted in the theater and revolutionary in its innovation. Princeton University Orchestra conductor Michael Pratt described Saturday night’s concert at Richardson Auditorium (the performance was repeated Sunday afternoon) as two 20th-century works “sandwiched” around a composer Mr. Pratt defined as the cornerstone of 19th-century orchestral invention, but the three works performed could be viewed as programmatic — telling stories of theater and life in general. With a very full stage of players to open the season, Mr. Pratt also shared the conducting podium in the second half of the program with Ruth Ochs, no stranger to heavy-duty symphonic works herself.  more


SHIRLEY: The Lewis Center for the Arts and Princeton Garden Theatre present a special screening of Gustav Deutsch’s “Shirley: Visions of Reality,” based on painter Edward Hopper’s work. The event will take place at Princeton Garden Theatre on Thursday, October 27 at 7:30 p.m.

The Program in Visual Arts in the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University and the Princeton Garden Theatre will present a special screening of Gustav Deutsch’s Shirley: Visions of Reality, based on painter Edward Hopper’s work, as a part of the new collaborative film series Cinema Today. Followed by an in-person discussion with director Deutsch and the film’s scenic artist Hanna Schimek, the screening will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 27 at the Garden Theatre. Tickets are available to the public at princetongardentheatre.org. Princeton students, faculty and staff may reserve a free ticket at http://arts.princeton.edu/cinematodaymore


SAVE will host their 11th Annual Holiday Boutique at The Bedens Brook Club in Skillman on Saturday, November 5. Guests will have the opportunity to jump-start their holiday shopping, mingle with friends, and enjoy tasty food and refreshments. Vendors include A Bit of This, Hopewell Pottery, Macjac, J. McLaughlin, Maverick Pet Partners, and Orvis. Author Jacki Skole will be selling and signing copies of her award-winning book, Dogland: A Journey to the Heart of America’s Dog Program. Proceeds will support the shelter’s adoption and spay/neuter programs. To purchase tickets, call (609) 309-5214 ext. 204.

October 23, 2016


MAKING IT EASIER TO TALK ABOUT RACE: Princeton High School seniors Priya Vulchi, left, and Winona Guo, right, have spent the past two years creating a teacher-tool textbook to help encourage dialogue in the classroom about race and ethnicity. The second edition, recently released, is 224 pages and a third is in the works.

Between them, Priya Vulchi and Winona Guo have grown up in seven different countries. Priya, who is Indian American; and Winona, whose first language is Chinese, know first-hand about feeling like an outsider because of race and ethnicity. more

October 19, 2016


A two-story family scene from Saturday’s Friends of the Princeton Public Library Book Sale. In this week’s Town Talk, browsers reveal their most surprising finds. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

The Princeton Public Schools Student Services team laid out their plans for the coming year for a group of about 50 in the John Witherspoon School Academic Conference Center (ACC) on Monday night in a forum sponsored by the Special Education PTO.

In setting the tone for the evening, special ed PTO co-chair Joan Spindel emphasized the value of communication, “learning from each other’s stories” and providing feedback to”help shape the agenda of the Student Services team.”  more


Just a few days before it was headed to trial, a case in which 27 Princeton residents were suing Princeton University over property tax exemptions was settled last Friday. The school will pay out $18.2 million over the next six years to help lower-income residents of the town pay their property tax bills.

The plaintiffs had claimed the school was profiting from research and development in certain campus buildings and should therefore be taxed. The University maintained that educational purposes were the focus. The suit has been dropped. more

In an ongoing battle against the infestation of a tree-killing insect known as the emerald ash borer (EAB), town officials will be voting next week to grant Princeton property owners the right to cut down ash trees without paying the usual $40 permit fee or replacing trees that are removed.

Municipal arborist Lorraine Konopka pointed out that the town wanted to alleviate the burden on residents, particularly those with numerous ash trees on their property, though they will still be required to notify her when removing ash trees of eight inches or more in diameter. “We’d like to know when that work is happening,” she said, “in case neighbors get upset or we need to help keep everything running smoothly.”  more