January 13, 2016

Art Stuart

UNIVERSAL RHYTHMS 1: This piece is one of the paintings by Alan Taback, and are part of the Painters’ Paradise Art Exhibition on display in the Considine Gallery at Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart in Princeton until February 25, 2016.

The public is invited to view the exhibit on display at Stuart’s Considine Gallery, until February 25, 2016 featuring the works of Silvère Boureau and Alan Taback. The gallery is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, when school is in session.

Silvère Boureau grew up in France surrounded by a family of artists, sculptors and writers. When he came from France in 1982, he was primarily an expressionist painter of the human form, however, he was heavily influenced by American landscape and its interpretation by nineteenth century luminists. Silvère draws inspiration from the remote wilderness, especially his experiences in the backwoods of Maine, the Adirondack Mountains and the Grand Canyon. To stand on a mountaintop and look as far as the eye can see without encountering any mark of human intervention remains an exhilarating experience for him.  more

January 12, 2016

Stuart Pic

The Co-ed Early Childhood Program at Stuart announces TOTS: Topics on Toddlers at Stuart, a free educational discussion series for parents of children ages 1 to 4 years of age. The informal gatherings, held from 9 to 10:30 a.m. on the second Tuesday of each month from January through May, 2016, will be led by Stuart’s expert teachers in the school’s co-ed Early Childhood Program (the first session will be held on January 12). Discussion topics include: understanding child development, capitalizing on early literacy and math skills, instilling the confidence to try new things, and more. There is no charge and complimentary, supervised play for children is provided. Space is limited. Parents may register at www.stuartschool.org/tots.

January 6, 2016

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A NEW HOME FOR A CONGREGATION: Mother of God Orthodox Church finally has a building to call home. The 18-year-old congregation, which has most recently held services on the campus of Princeton Day School, will cut the ribbon for its new building on January 30. Members of the church are gearing up for outreach and education programs in the permanent space on Cherry Hill Road.

The finishing touches are being put on Princeton’s newest church, an inviting wooden building with red doors and window frames on Cherry Hill Road. The Mother of God Orthodox Church expects to hold a ribbon cutting on January 30, providing a spiritual home for the more than 50 people who have been regularly worshipping at Sunday services held, most recently, at Princeton Day School. more

On Saturday, January 16 at 11 a.m., the second floor and roof beams of the new wine barn at Terhune Orchards will be constructed.

Early in December 2015, the site was cleared and the foundation was laid for the 3,500 square foot barn. Framing for the first story is now complete. The Sylvan Stoltzfus Builders from Lancaster, Pa. are building the barn in the traditional timber frame style. In 2009, they constructed another barn at Terhune that is used for cold storage of crops. This new barn will look similar to the farm’s original red barn that is close to 200 years old. It currently houses the winery tasting room.  more

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Princeton University has offered admission to 785 students for the class of 2020 from a pool of 4,229 early action applicants, the largest number in the past five years This year’s early admission rate was 18.6 percent, down from 19.9 percent last year, with the 4,229 applicants representing a 9.8 percent increase.

In 2013 the early admit rate was 18.5 percent, compared with 18.3 percent in 2012 and 21.1 percent in 2011.

The admitted students represent 33 countries, 46 states and the District of Columbia. Fifty-one percent are women, 49 percent men. Eleven percent are international students.  more

Music Rev

THE POWER OF MUSIC: After only a few months of study, young participants in the El Sistema music education program in Trenton were invited to play at a festival held last June at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. The Trenton program is the focus of a Martin Luther King Day event at the Arts Council of Princeton, at which a documentary by Jamie Bernstein, daughter of composer Leonard Bernstein, will be screened.

One day eight years ago, Jamie Bernstein was casually scrolling through Facebook when she came upon a YouTube video titled Mambo: the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra. Since “Mambo” is one of the most famous compositions from the musical West Side Story, written by her late father, Leonard Bernstein, it caught her eye.

“I thought, okay, I’ll watch this for a second,” Ms. Bernstein recalls. “And I just about fell into my screen. I had never seen anything like it. The joy these kids had! I thought, who are they? And where is my Dad?” more

Art 1 Joy

Original works by artist Joy Sacalis will be on view at The Present Day Club, 72 Stockton Street in Princeton, from January 8 through February 24. “Mind’s Eye: Landscapes of Inner Expression” includes paint, collage, and mix media artwork. A special reception for the artist will take place on Friday, January 15 from 5 to 7 p.m. When she is not painting, Sacalis works as a Holistic Health Counselor and Energy Healer. 

book revHis fearless inventions … quest after the entirety of life: he will include every emotion, every bit of evidence that has a natural claim on our attention. Contemporary life is so rich and vivid in his poetry that by contrast many of the movies and poems we are used to seem pale, spaced-out and insipid. – Robert Pinsky on C.K. Williams

In the special December 27 poetry issue of the N.Y. Times Book Review (NYTBR), after admitting that the Times “has not always treated poets well,” John Williams quotes an unsigned review from 1860 faulting Walt Whitman for seeing “nothing vulgar in that which is commonly regarded as the grossest obscenity.” Whitman is also upbraided for rejecting “the laws of conventionality so completely as to become repulsive,” although it’s noted that on occasion “a gleam of the true poetic fire shines out of the mass of his rubbish.”

Reviewing C.K. Williams’s Selected Later Poems (Farrar, Straus & Giroux $30) in the same issue, Katy Lederer finds “visceral discomfort … — a sense a human boundary has been knowingly traversed, an intimacy exploited” through “intrusions into others’ private lives” that “feel less acquisitive than desperate.” Williams, who died September 20, is also cited for “subject matter” that “could be pedestrian and at times vulgar,” giving “the impression of a writer” who is “spiritually off-balance.”  more

Art 2 ACP

The Neighborhood Portrait Quilt has joined the Arts Council of Princeton’s permanent exhibitions in the Sands Gallery at the Paul Robeson Center. Utilizing materials drawn from the collection of the Historical Society of Princeton, the quilt incorporates documents and photographs that illustrate the history of the Witherspoon-Jackson community.  more

Alumni of the Westminster Choir College CoOPERAtive Program will perform Engelbert Humperdinck’s opera Hansel and Gretel on Friday, January 15 and Saturday, January 16 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, January 17 at 2:30 p.m. in the Robert L. Annis Playhouse on the Westminster campus in Princeton. The semi-staged production will be performed with piano accompaniment and sung in English. Tickets are $25. On Sunday, January 17, children under 12 will be admitted for free when accompanied by an adult.

Originally composed for a children’s Christmas celebration, Hansel and Gretel is a setting of the classic Brothers Grimm tale, and it has found its place as a family favorite complete with enchanting fairies and an evil witch. It has long been a staple of German operatic tradition and is considered an ideal way to introduce children to the theater. Ted Taylor is music director and David Paul is stage director. The cast is composed of alumni of Westminster’s CoOPERAtive summer opera training program. more

Mummenschanz

Mummenschanz is back to celebrate its 43rd anniversary with a new show at McCarter Theatre on Wednesday, January 27 at 7:30 p.m. The ordinary becomes extraordinary in the wordless universe of Mummenschanz when common materials, everyday objects (like toilet paper) and colorful abstract shapes and forms like the famous “Clay Masks,” “Slinky Man,” and “Giant Hands” spring to life.  more

December 30, 2015

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Will this Oscar-worthy campus cameo from last February be repeated in 2016? In this week’s Town Talk, people talk about some of the year’s most important issues. (Photo by Emily Reeves) 

Art Rev

EXHIBIT HONORS GALLERY NAMESAKE: D&R Greenway Land Trust presents the artwork of three generations of Kuennes, the family that donated the funds to establish the Olivia Rainbow Gallery when the Johnson Education Center opened its doors as headquarters for D&R Greenway in 2006. The exhibit, on view through January 15, 2016, includes the image seen above, “Lake Champlain” by Peter William and Matthew Kuenne.

D&R Greenway Land Trust presents the artwork of three generations of Kuennes, the family who donated the funds to establish the Olivia Rainbow Gallery when the Johnson Education Center opened its doors as headquarters for D&R Greenway in 2006. The gallery is named in memory of the family’s gifted young daughter, Olivia Kuenne. The exhibit, on view through January 15, 2016, includes art by Olivia’s grandfather, noted painter Peter Vought; her mother, Leslie Kuenne, of Princeton; and Olivia’s brothers, Peter, William and Matthew Kuenne. The family has won prizes, awards, and had gallery displays in many media. Gallery hours are business days through January 15. Free and open to the public at One Preservation Place, Princeton.  more

Civil War Flags

The New Jersey State Museum will hold a special unveiling of 100 historic flags carried by New Jersey’s troops during the Civil War on Wednesday, December 30 at noon. The flags are some of the most distinctive in the collection and have not been on display for a number of years. Included will be the national colors of the 3rd and 15th Infantry regiments, the state colors of the 33rd Infantry regiment, a guidon from the 3rd cavalry, and a rare General McAllister’s headquarters Second New Jersey Brigade flag.  more

PugheAmong the descriptions of Princeton resident Roberta Pughe’s new book, Body as Sanctuary for Soul (White Cloud Press), is clinical psychologist and international shamanic teacher C. Michael Smith’s “a tour de force for our time” in which Ms. Pughe “weaves the practices of psyche and the sacred together in an embodied way. She diagnoses our cultural malaise and how this is reflected in much psychotherapy today.”

Roberta Pughe is a psychotherapist (licensed marriage and family therapist) and shamanic practitioner who has been practicing privately in Princeton for over 30 years. Her experience combines systems therapy, gestalt theory, and theological studies. She is the author of Resurrecting Eve.

For more information, visit www.whitecloudpress.com.

December 23, 2015

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An interactive candlelight service for children and families will take place at Princeton United Methodist Church at 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Tom Shelton will direct the children’s choir and Rev. Jana Purkis-Brash will tell the story of Christ’s birth. The church is located at the corner of Nassau and Vandeventer. For more information, visit www.princetonumc.org.

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WALLS AND WINDOWS: Repainting the exterior and reglazing windows at Nassau Presbyterian Church was a recent project for Greenleaf Painters, which counts many houses of worship among its client base. Former pastor Jonathan Shenk started the company a decade ago.

Jonathan Shenk doesn’t limit his client base to houses of worship. But churches, synagogues, and Quaker meetinghouses figure highly in the work done by Greenleaf Painters, the company he founded a decade ago. Since Mr. Shenk is a former pastor and a self-described “missionary kid” whose parents were Mennonite missionaries, it makes sense.

The Princeton Junction resident, whose company is based in Lawrenceville, recently completed work on the exterior of Nassau Presbyterian Church, to which he and his family belong. In addition to residential projects, other local jobs have included the Jewish Center of Princeton and Princeton Baptist Church. The Ewing Presbyterian Church, which was considered uninhabitable and listed as one of Preservation New Jersey’s Ten Most Endangered Sites in New Jersey, is another client, as is the Friends Meetinghouse in Trenton. more

Kiplinger has named Princeton University as first in private universities and second overall in its 2016’s Top 300 Best College Values. Introduced in 1998, the rankings combine public schools, private universities, and private liberal arts colleges into a single, comprehensive list.

Washington and Lee University took the number 1 spot on the overall list, followed by Princeton and Harvard. Princeton took first place for private universities. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was ranked best public college for the 15th consecutive time. Davidson College earned second place, after Washington and Lee, for best liberal arts college.
The full rankings are now available online at Kiplinger.com/links/college and will appear in print in the February 2016 issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, on newsstands January 5. “We start with a universe of 1,200 schools, so each school in our rankings, from number 1 to number 300, is a best value,” said Janet Bodnar, Editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine.  more

PPS Team

GREEN TEAM ON THEIR WAY: (L to R) Facilities Director Gary Weisman, Assistant Superintendent Bonnie Lehet, Athletics Director John Miranda, PPS parent Jennifer Jang, and Social Studies K-8 Supervisor Tim Charleston participate in the opening meeting of Princeton Schools’ program to achieve Sustainability Certification.

In partnership with the community to “reduce our collective carbon footprint,” Princeton Public Schools (PPS) has formed a Green Team and embarked on an initiative to achieve certification from Sustainable Jersey for Schools.

Co-chaired by Superintendent Steve Cochrane and science supervisor Edward Cohen, the PPS Green Team of approximately 20 staff, administrators, parents, community, and board members will advise and support the district’s efforts to study and adopt practices that integrate sustainability education into the curriculum, professional training, and use of resources.  more

Herrera BookRevBrian Eugenio Herrera, assistant professor in the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater at Princeton University, has received the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism for his book, Latin Numbers: Playing Latino in Twentieth-Century U.S. Popular Performance, which examines Latino representation and Latino artists in American theater and culture. The Nathan Committee took particular note of the analysis of the success and impact of the 1957 musical West Side Story.

The Nathan Award, administered by Cornell University’s Department of English, has been given annually since 1959 for “the best piece of drama criticism during the theatrical year.” Named for theater critic George Jean Nathan, the award realizes his “object and desire to encourage and assist in developing the art of drama criticism and the stimulation of intelligent playgoing.” Awardees are selected by a majority vote of the heads of the English departments of Cornell, Princeton, and Yale universities. The award carries a $10,000 prize and is considered one of the most generous and distinguished in the American theater.

“I still can’t imagine my name among that august list of Nathan honorees,” said Mr. Herrera. “It’s humbling, really. But I am just so unapologetically proud that this year’s Nathan award recognizes a Latino writer writing about the long history of Latina/o performance in this country.” more

Berti Spranger BookEva Jana Siroka has published a new novel, My Life with Berti Spranger (Jorge Pinto Books, paper, $14.95). A sequel to Maddalena (2005), it centers on the discovery of a lost memoir.

“The memoir is fictionalized,” said Ms. Siroka, who has a PhD in art history from Princeton, “but is rooted in the culture of Rudolfine Prague and Spranger’s patron’s taste for exotica and erotica.” Spranger’s paintings were recently exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. “I had been carrying his paintings and drawings in my mind for decades. He is such a fascinating character, a court painter who served a cardinal, a pope, and two Holy Roman Emperors, that I knew he’d be a natural narrator for the sequel to Maddalena, given his privileged position at the Rudolfine court.”

According to Midwest Book Review, My Life with Berti Spranger “is one of those novels that will linger in the mind and memory long after it is finished and set back upon the shelf. Certain to be an enduringly popular addition to personal, community, and academic library Literary Fiction collection…enthusiastically recommended reading.”

A professional artist with works in North America and Europe, Ms. Siroka is currently preparing two exhibitions in Princeton and Toronto. Inspired by Spranger’s original drawings and period prints, she has illustrated the current book and designed its cover.

PU Art Museum

Princeton University’s upcoming exhibition, “By Dawn’s Early Light: Jewish Contributions to American Culture from the Nation’s Founding to the Civil War,” consists of more than 160 books, maps, manuscripts, prints, and paintings, including some of the earliest novels, plays, scientific treatises, and religious works produced by Jews in the United States. The exhibition is based on the loans and gifts to Princeton University from Leonard L. Milberg, Class of 1953, as well as loans from museums, libraries, synagogues, and private collections. The exhibit will open on Saturday, February 13 and be on view through June 12. Pictured above is a work by American-born Thomas Sully, “Rebecca Gratz, 1831,” an oil on panel from The Rosenbach Museum and Library in Philadelphia.

There might be as many ways to perform Handel’s oratorio Messiah as there are to cook a holiday turkey — how many “sides” and “dressings” there are to the performance is at the discretion of the conductor from a myriad of choices in historical versions, soloists, phrasing, tempi, and ornamentation. December Messiah performances in Princeton are usually the domain of local choruses, but last weekend conductor Jacques Lacombe brought the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra NJSO) to Richardson Auditorium for a presentation of Handel’s immortal choral/orchestral work.

It was clear from the outset of the performance that Mr. Lacombe was very familiar with the work, exploring unique ideas in instrumentation and selection of arias. For Friday night’s concert, Mr. Lacombe looked back to the 1743 London performances of the piece, with an orchestra resembling Handel’s original ensemble. The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra onstage included chamber-sized contingents of strings, as well as a pair of trumpets and oboes, a single bassoon, timpani, and both harpsichord and portative organ. Conducting without a baton, Mr. Lacombe began the opening “Overture” with decisive double-dotted rhythms, yet found grace and elegance with small sweeps in the lean string playing.  more

A struggle between a family’s enduring legacy and its chance for a brighter future takes center stage in August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson, running January 8 through February 7 at McCarter Theatre.

Winner of the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Play, The Piano Lesson is set in 1930s Pittsburgh, revolving around the Charles family and the fate of an ancient piano covered in carvings. To reclaim his family’s legacy, Boy Willie (Marcus Callender) wishes to sell their priceless heirloom, but will his sister Berniece (Miriam A. Hyman) and the ghosts of their past stand in his way? more

record revA good way to go in this life is to find something you really enjoy doing and then learn to do it better than anybody. — Chet Baker

Tis the season to be jolly and celebrate Chet Baker, who was born on this date, a day short of Christmas Eve, December 23, 1929. What does the man whose trumpet and voice put West Coast jazz on the map have to do with Christmas? You could ask the same of the weather, with 72 degrees predicted for Christmas Eve, or of Bob Dylan, whose album, Christmas in the Heart, was reviewed here on the same day of the month six years ago.

Online you can join the patrons of an Amsterdam jazz club watching Chet Baker play “Auld Lang Syne” on the last New Year’s Eve of his life, December 31, 1987. He begins in a tentative, almost desultory way before the momentum of the moment moves him and he makes a gesture to the rhythm section, as if to say really play it, take it to the limit, give it the full measure of your devotion, and with that he dives into the second chorus, bending the notes just so, as only he can do, each one as bright and simple as the lights on a Christmas tree.  more