January 4, 2017

CONTEMPORARY PIANO MINIATURES: Westminster Conservatory’s faculty recital series continues with a performance  by pianist Marvin Rosen of works by contemporary women composers on Sunday, January 8 at 3 p.m. in Bristol Chapel on the campus of Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton.  Admission is free.

Westminster Conservatory’s faculty recital series continues with a performance by pianist Marvin Rosen on Sunday, January 8 at 3 p.m. in Bristol Chapel on the campus of Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton.  Admission is free. more

Cirque Éloize Saloon visits the State Theatre of NJ in New Brunswick on Wednesday, January 11 at 7:30 p.m. and Thursday, January 12 at 7:30 p.m. Through gravity-defying acrobatic prowess, inventive choreography, and live music (including renditions of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” and “Crazy” by Patsy Cline), Montreal’s Cirque Éloize brings the rollicking world of Saloon to the stage, inspired by stories of America’s Wild West. To purchase tickets, visit www.statetheatrenj.org or call (732) 246-7469. State Theatre of NJ is located at 15 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick.

The life of the mind is celebrated at the Princeton International School of Mathematics and Science (PRISMS). Located at 19 Lambert Drive (off Rosedale Road), the independent international boarding and day school opened in 2013, and offers a unique study and research program to a multi-cultural student body.

Executive Principal Matthew Pearce has been with PRISMS since 2014, and involved in STEM education for more than 20 years. Starting his career in London, he taught physics for students in an upper school in grades six through 12, also serving as head of physics. Coming to the U.S. in 2004, he worked for 10 years at the prestigious Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJ), which was named the number one high school in America by U.S. News & World Report.  more

December 28, 2016

The first issue of Town Topics appeared in March 1946. In the early years, founders Dan Coyle (left) and Don Stuart wrote all the copy and sold all the ads for their timetable-sized publication.

AS IT HAPPENS: This is how the site of Princeton University’s Arts & Transit complex looked last January. Much progress has been made on the buildings designed by architect Steven Holl, and the project is still scheduled to be completed in 2017. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

The rapid pace of teardowns and the often out-of-scale houses that replace them was an issue that dominated discussions in Princeton throughout 2016. The town’s changing character was the theme in the platforms of nearly every candidate who ran for local office in 2016. Midway through the year, moved to take action by the presence of bulldozers all over town, Princeton Council formed a Neighborhood Character and Zoning Initiative. more

Kelsey Review, Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) literary journal that went to a fully online quarterly format this fall has just posted its Winter 2016 issue. The latest issue features art, poetry, and prose from contributors who live or work in Mercer County. more

GOLD STANDARD: Star goalie Ashleigh Johnson makes a save for the U.S. national team at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Rising Princeton University senior Johnson helped the U.S. go on an undefeated run to the gold medal at the Rio Games. (Photo Courtesy of U.S.A. Water Polo)

Across the sporting landscape, 2016 was a year of turbulence and unpredictability featuring such startling developments as the Chicago Cubs winning their first World Series since 1908, the Cleveland Cavaliers rallying from a 3-1 deficit to win the NBA Finals and earn that city’s first major pro title since 1964, and Villanova capping an unlikely run to the NCAA men’s basketball title with a buzzer beater for the ages. Of course, on the political scene, Donald Trump’s stunning win in the U.S. presidential election was the shocker of shockers. more

I should like to be a free artist and nothing more …. — Anton Chekhov (1860-1904)

Time for a premature New Year’s Eve toast by way of Chekhov’s “Champagne,” a story from the 1880s narrated by a “young, strong, hot-headed, giddy, and foolish” man in charge of a small railway station in the vast desolate remoteness of the steppe. His only diversions are getting wasted on vodka and watching the windows of the passenger trains for a glimpse of a pretty woman, for which he “would stand like a statue without breathing and stare … until the train turned into an almost invisible speck.” He and his wife are getting ready to see in the New Year. The fact that she adores him only magnifies his boredom. He has two bottles of champagne, “the real thing,” Veuve Clicquot, and as the hands of the clock point to five minutes to twelve he begins uncorking a bottle, which slips from his grasp and hits the floor, but he manages to grab it, fills two glasses, and delivers a toast, “May the New Year bring you happiness,” oh-oh, his wife’s upset, a dropped bottle is unlucky, “a bad omen,” she says. “It means some misfortune will happen to us this year.” more

Mauricio Gutierrez, president and CEO of NRG, is the speaker at the January 5 Monthly Membership Luncheon of the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce. The event will take place at the Princeton Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, 100 College Road East, in Plainsboro, from 11:30 to 1:30 p.m. more

“CALIFORNIA DREAMING”: This oil on canvas by Jeaninne Honstein will be on display at Stuart Country Day School’s Considine Gallery for their winter gallery exhibition, “Of Shape and Space.” Honstein, who is a Princeton painter and sculpture, will be exhibiting alongside award-winning architect, artist, and author, Lauri Matisse. The show will run from January 29 to February 21.

Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart announces the winter gallery exhibition in Stuart’s Considine Gallery will include the works of artists Jeaninne Honstein and Lauri Matisse. “Of Shape and Space,” a new exhibit at the Considine Gallery in Princeton, explores the spatial relationship between human figures on the canvas and the sculpted forms of painted vessels and urns. The human figures suggest living vessels while the artistic rendering of colorful urns creates warmth and liveliness.  more

PHILLY COMES TO PRINCETON: The January 2017 Meeting of the Princeton Photography Club will include a talk by Philadelphia street photographer, Susan Nam. An example of her work is shown here.

Susan Nam is a documentary and street photographer who has lived in Philadelphia since 2007. Raised by a single mother and growing up as a Korean-American, Nam’s photographs reflect her strong interest and appreciation for different cultures and unique family dynamics. Nam’s work has a huge emphasis and focus on community — not only documenting it, but more importantly being part of it. more

The American Boychoir had busy weeks in December, performing its annual holiday concerts at Richardson Auditorium in Princeton (December 18) and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City (December 19). Both concerts included performances of Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols with harp, a piece they performed in Princeton earlier in the month for the popular series “What Makes It Great?” with host Rob Kapilow. Interspersed between movements of the Britten work were other popular carols, including “Ding Dong Merrily on High,” “Silent Night,” and “The Holly and the Ivy.” The Boychoir led the audience in a sing-along of “O Come All Ye Faithful” — many of the boys in the choir said that this was their favorite part of the concerts. more

Photo Credit: Sydney Becker

The Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater at Princeton University will present Mad Forest by Caryl Churchill, with set and lighting design by senior Sydney Becker and directed by junior Nico Krell, on January 12, 13, and 15 at 8 p.m. and January 14 at 2 and 8 p.m. Performances will take place in the Marie and Edward Matthews ’53 Acting Studio located at 185 Nassau Street. A discussion with Associate Professor of English Tamsen Wolff will follow the January 12th performance.

Mad Forest offers a personal look into the events of the 1989 Romanian Revolution as two families witness the radical collapse of their entire way of life. The play’s three acts occur shortly before, during, and after the revolution. Through these personal stories the play paints an incisive portrait of a society in turmoil to reveal what life is like under a totalitarian regime and what results when that regime is gone. When rebellion brings down a dictator, the characters are left to grapple with what is left in the void and how they will use their newfound freedom. more

Playwright Naomi Iizuka

Award-winning playwrights Naomi Iizuka and Sarah Ruhl have been selected by the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University and McCarter Theatre Center as the next Roger S. Berlind ’52 Playwrights-in-Residence. Both writers will engage with Princeton students in the coming year through teaching, master classes, or workshops and will write and develop a new play.

This program, made possible by the support of Roger S. Berlind, Princeton Class of 1952, recognizes exciting established playwrights whose work has had significant impact on the field.

“I’m delighted in welcoming back to Princeton two artists we worked with when they were still ‘emerging,’” commented Michael Cadden, Chair of the Lewis Center. “Naomi was a Hodder Fellow at Princeton in 1998 and our Program in Theater produced Sarah’sMelancholy Play as its Fall Show in 2002. It’s been a pleasure to see them evolve into two of the best playwrights in America today.” more

 

FASHION FRIENDLY: “You can find a complete wardrobe here. Things at the casual end, with jeans and tops, but also dressy items for the holidays. Basically, it’s comfortable, wearable clothing.” Janice Mintz, owner of Poppy Boutique in Pennington, looks forward to introducing everyone to her new women’s boutique.

A love of fashion runs in the family of Janice Mintz, owner of Poppy Boutique in Pennington.

“My grandmother was a seamstress, my mother loved fashion, and my brother became a fashion designer,” explains Ms. Mintz. “And I have always loved fashion, from the time I was a girl.” more

“Life Is Calling. Horizon Helps You Answer.”

This reassuring sentiment defines Horizon Audiology’s goal: helping people to hear better so they can enjoy a full life free of the isolation severe hearing loss can cause.

Opened in 2007, the company fulfills the mission of its owner and director Jane Brady AuD. It has now expanded to two locations, the original at East Windsor Medical Commons, 300A Princeton-Hightstown Road (Route 571) in East Windsor, and since 2015, at Investor’s Bank Building, 84 Route 31 North In Pennington. more

December 21, 2016

SERENADING THE SEASON: Members of the Princeton High School Choir singing on Palmer Square Sunday. Between carols, several singers described their favorite holiday gifts for this week’s Town Talk. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

To the relief of several residents and the consternation of some local architects, Princeton Council voted Monday evening to approve an ordinance that revises the town’s land use code regarding single family residential development. The ordinance adjusts or creates new parameters for porches, prevailing front yard setback, and the measurement of cathedral ceilings. more

Among the topics of a closed session that preceded Monday night’s meeting of Princeton Council was potential litigation by AvalonBay Communities, developer of the rental complex on the former site of Princeton Hospital.

A letter mailed to Princeton’s administrator Marc Dashield by AvalonBay senior vice president Ronald S. Ladell advised Mr. Dashield that the development company wants to be reimbursed the $100,233 paid to consultants from the escrow accounts created by AvalonBay for work during construction. Mr. Ladell claims that invoices from the Whitman company, the environmental consultants hired to oversee the construction, are incomplete. more

Calling on police departments to “embrace reform,” Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole emphasized how her priorities had changed completely in her 35 years in law enforcement. “Everybody wants to talk about guns and drugs, and, yes, we need to talk about crime and crime rates, but my most complicated issue right now is first of all equity and social justice in our policing, in our community. And also it’s the intersection of public safety and public health.”  more

ALWAYS MOVING FORWARD: Derrick Wilder, a natural-born performer and teacher, spent many years dancing professionally before taking over the Lawrenceville School dance department, which has flourished under his leadership over the past 11 years.

Derrick Wilder, who came to Lawrenceville School in 2005 as director of dance, became chair of the performing arts department (including dance, theater, and instrumental and vocal music) two years ago. Under his leadership, the dance program has flourished and grown rapidly over the past 11 years, with a range of ballet, modern, and jazz classes for students of all levels, a host of student-led dance companies, and an abundance of performance opportunities, most notably the fall musical and the annual Spring Dance Concert. Before coming to Lawrenceville, Mr. Wilder enjoyed a successful career as a dancer, choreographer, administrator and dance educator.  more

Foul play has been ruled out in the death of 19-year-old Wonshik Shin, a Princeton University sophomore. Mr. Shin was found dead in his dormitory room at Forbes College on Sunday, December 18.

At press time Tuesday, the cause of death had yet to be determined by the Mercer County Medical Examiner’s office. more

REMEMBERING THE BATTLE: Re-enactors dressed as American soldiers celebrated the Battle of Princeton last January.  Beginning on the night of January 2, 2017, a week of living history events, sponsored by the Princeton Battlefield Society, the Princeton Historical Society, Morven Museum, and others will commemorate the 240th anniversary of the historic battle and related events. (Photo by Meredith Barnes of Molly Picture Studio)

At this point in 1776, still in the early days of America’s war for independence, American troops were installed in winter quarters at Valley Forge, but General Washington was already planning his Christmas night crossing of the Delaware and attack on British headquarters in Trenton that would lead to the pivotal Battle of Princeton on January 3, 1777. more

A new traffic signal at the intersection of Mountain Avenue and Great Road is now in operation.

“This new traffic signal will help drivers make safer turns and help provide a safer pedestrian and bicycle link, connecting the Mountain Avenue path to the Johnson Trolley Line path,” said Mayor Liz Lempert. more

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Let me not mar that perfect dream…. — Emily Dickinson

The four-line poem ends with the Belle of Amherst planning to “so adjust my daily night” that the perfect dream “will come again.” The far from perfect dream that follows has been adjusted to permit me a dreamer’s freedom of movement regarding time, space, life, death, and documentary authenticity. The main thing to know is that many of the celebrated somebodies and occasional nobodies who come my way happen to have been born in the year 1916.  more