April 19, 2017

The public has used the Internet to empower bargain shopping in many different areas, but one realm particularly resistant to transparency and equity is the funeral industry, according to Josh Slocum, nationally-known consumer advocate and expert on funeral issues.

In a talk on “Bringing the Funeral Industry into the 21st Century” at Princeton Abbey on Sunday, April 23 at 2 p.m., Mr. Slocum will advise audience members on how to protect themselves from paying too much for a funeral. He will also describe his plans to bring transparency and fairness to the funeral business. more

“NASSAU INN”: This charming oil painting of the Nassau Inn is among the 27 works by James McPhillips currently on view on the second floor Reading Room of the Princeton Public Library. The exhibit titled, “Nassau Hall to Hoagie Haven,” includes familiar scenes of Princeton along with McPhillips’ pop rebus images. The paintings are on display and available for purchase until July 31.

If you don’t already have James (Jay) McPhillips’ Princeton rebus on your car, you’ve likely seen the bright orange bumper stickers around town. Mr. McPhillips’ pop rebus graphics have certainly made their mark on Princeton, and most recently, the Princeton Public Library (PPL). In conjunction with the redesign of the library’s second floor, Mr. McPhillips debuted his biggest art show to date, “Nassau Hall to Hoagie Haven.” On display in the Reading Room until July 31, the body of work features paintings of Princeton and the surrounding areas, along with the pop rebus graphics synonymous with Mr. McPhillips’ name.  more

ARTJAM 2017: ArtSpace, the art therapy program at HomeFront, is welcoming sponsors for this year’s ArtJam. Opening in May, the art show and sale brings together established artists and HomeFront client-artists to celebrate community, creativity, and the love of art. Pictured here is a piece by one of the HomeFront artists titled, “Mountains.”

HomeFront’s ArtJam, a fun and funky pop-up art gallery, will open Friday, May 19 at 19 Hulfish Street, Princeton and run for three weeks. The 7th annual event brings together professional artists and HomeFront client-artists in a celebration of creativity. It will feature a rotating collection of art for sale and meet-and-greets with the artists.  more

The Lewis Center for the Arts is presenting Into the Woods in the Berlind Theatre at McCarter. In this musical, fairy tale characters undertake individual quests, encountering temptations — and each other — along the way. The music and lyrics are by Stephen Sondheim, and the book is by James Lapine. An imaginative directorial concept and strong performances reward audiences for joining these characters on their journey.

This production, which celebrates the launch of Princeton University’s Program in Music Theater, is part of a spring semester course that provides students with rigorous experience in creating theater under near-professional circumstances. The students have worked with a professional director (Ethan Heard), design team, and stage manager either performing an onstage role or serving on the production team. more

THE FIRST COUPLE OF THE BANJO: Abigail Washburn and Béla Fleck played material from their Grammy-winning 2014 album at Princeton’s Richardson Auditorium. (Photo by Jim McGuire)

Finishing their second or third piece of the evening, Abigail Washburn and Béla Fleck rose from their seats to acknowledge an appreciative full house in Princeton University’s Richardson Auditorium on Thursday. “Clapping sounds really good in here!” Ms. Washburn exclaimed, eliciting laughter and a further wave of applause. But if, superficially, her remark sounded like preening, it was also true. Every sound reverberated warmly in the intimate, wood-lined hall. Clapping did indeed sound good there. But more to the point, the space wonderfully supported each note of the banjo duo’s engrossing performance that evening. more

I love poetry. I love rhyming.

—Chuck Berry (1926-2017)

If he had not become such an extraordinary director, Jim would now be a rock star.

—Wim Wenders on Jim Jarmusch

Several times a week I drive up the hill into Kingston, always with music on the stereo. One morning it’s Ella Fitzgerald singing “Lush Life,” and I take the hill nice and easy, true to the late-night flow of the lyric about “those come-what-may places/where one relaxes on the axis of the wheel of life/to get the feel of life.” But when Chuck Berry’s singing, the axis is tilting, the wheel of life is spinning, the come-what-may places have gone south, the car’s “rocking like a hurricane,” Beethoven’s rolling under the wheels, Tchaikovsky’s running for his life, and my CRV is a Coupe de Ville with mad Maybellene in the passenger seat urging me on (“go, go, go!”) as Chuck comes up from behind in his Ford V8. Now we’re side by side, Kingston’s turned into Cape Girardeau, and we’re motorvatin’ down I-55 on our way from Chuck’s St. Louis to Elvis’s Memphis, the setting of Jim Jarmusch’s Mystery Train. The method behind my vehicular madness is simple: one of the wisest, most interesting, most humane filmmakers in the world is in town today, Wednesday, April 19, and will be appearing on campus at 4:30 in McCosh 50. more

Princeton resident Victor Ripp will be at Labyrinth Books Tuesday, April 25 at 6 p.m. to read from his book Hell’s Traces: One Murder, Two Families, Thirty-Five Holocaust Memorials. (Farrar Straus and Giroux $25), which has been described by André Aciman as “vast and deep in its fiercely unsentimental consideration of how we remember the Holocaust.”

In July 1942, the French police in Paris, acting for the German military government, arrested Victor Ripp’s 3-year-old cousin, Alexandre. Two months later, the boy was killed in Auschwitz. Mr. Ripp examines this act through the prism of family history. In addition to Alexandre, ten members of his family on his father’s side died in the Holocaust. His mother’s side of the family, numbering 30 people, was in Berlin when Hitler came to power. Without exception they escaped the Final Solution.

According to Anna Bikont, author of The Crime and the Silence, winner of the National Jewish Book Award, “The Axis of Exile and the Axis of the Holocaust—the two axes that define the space of the Jewish Museum in Berlin—also define the fate of the family of Victor Ripp’s family.  more

On Saturday, April 8, Jasna Polana was transformed into a sizzling milonga (tango club) for the Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) gala “Under the Stars in Buenos Aires.” Tango music performed by violin virtuoso Daniel Rowland and PSO musicians, professional tango dancers, and exotic décor evoked a sultry summer night in the city. The evening raised funds for the orchestra and its PSO BRAVO! education programs, particularly for a new initiative to bring the PSO’s music into the Trenton Public Schools. Pictured from left: Dave Tierno, Stephanie Wedeking, and Daniel Rowland. (Photo Credit: Princeton Symphony Orchestra) 

Princeton Day School received nine nominations from the Montclair State University Theatre Awards Committee for the fall production of Macbeth. Two of the student performers, Hope Ammidon ’18 (Princeton), as Lady Macbeth, top, and Emily Trend ’18 (Pennington), as Macbeth, were both nominated for awards. The awards will be held on Monday, May 15 at Montclair State University.

This year’s Princeton Festival Gala will go beyond its usual helping of fun, good food, dancing, and auctions to include a demonstration of the new Steinway Spirio piano, a breakthrough in technology that accurately recreates live performances in the listener’s own living room.

The gala will take place on Saturday, April 22 at 6 p.m. at Greenacres Country Club in Lawrenceville. Cocktails only and full-dinner reservations can be made at princetonfestival.org/event/2017-gala until April 20.  more

On Wednesday, May 17 at 7:30 p.m., the Kingston Greenways Association will welcome Jim Wade, former archivist and researcher at the New Jersey State Museum. Wade will discuss the significance and importance of the Indian way of life during the spring season. Emphasis will be on community activities, such as fishing, crop planting, gathering, hunting, and village life. The presentation will also examine the local Indian villages that once existed in the Kingston region and Lenape family names. Actual New Jersey stone artifacts will be on display. The event is free to attend and will take place at the Kingston Firehouse, 8 Heathcote Road in Kingston. For more information, call (609) 750-1821.

OPEN THROTTLE: Members of the Princeton University women’s open crew varsity 8 power through the water in a race earlier this season. Last Saturday, Princeton’s top boat edged Yale to win the Eisenberg Cup. The sixth-ranked Tigers, now 7-0, row at Dartmouth on April 22. (Photo Courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

It didn’t take long for the Princeton University women’s open crew varsity 8 to make a statement this spring.

Opening the season by hosting nemesis Brown and Michigan State in late March, the Tigers posted an impressive victory covering the 2,000-meter course on Lake Carnegie in 6:28.5 with the Bears taking second in 6:30.9 and the Spartans coming in third at 6:31.5.  more

GREEN WAVE: Princeton University men’s lacrosse player Charlie Durbin unloads the ball in a game earlier this season. last Saturday, sophomore midfielder Durbin scored two goals to help Princeton rally to a 16-6 win at Dartmouth. The Tigers trailed the Big Green 5-3 at halftime before going on an 8-1 run in the third quarter to take control of the game. The 17th-ranked Tigers, now 8-4 overall and 3-1 Ivy League, host Harvard (5-6 overall, 1-3 Ivy League) on April 22 in their final regular season home game. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

After falling 15-10 to Lehigh to start the week, the Princeton University men’s lacrosse team had cause for concern as it trailed Dartmouth 5-3 at halftime last Saturday. more

ON THE BALL: Hun School softball player Julie Fassl hones in on the ball last week against Lawrenceville. Senior star catcher Fassl went 2-for-4 with a triple, a run, and an RBI to help Hun top Lawrenceville 9-1 in the April 11 contest, The Raiders, who improved to 3-1 with a 20-0 win over Rutgers Prep last Thursday, play at Lawrenceville on April 20, host Academy of New Church (Pa.) on April 22, and play at Princeton Day School on April 25. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

The temperature soared into the 80s as the Hun School softball team hosted Lawrenceville last week.

Not having played in eight days before the April 11 contest, the Hun players came out on fire with their bats, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first inning. more

April 12, 2017

With this week’s warm weather, now’s the perfect time to enjoy a peaceful moment amidst the blooming Yoshino cherry trees at the Princeton Battle Monument. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

Amidst legal challenges and widespread conflict over expansion plans, the Princeton Charter School (PCS) is moving forward with a record number of applicants for admission and a weighted lottery that is expanding its population of economically-disadvantaged students.

According to Head of School Larry Patton, 320 students entered the lottery for 96 available places, a 25 percent rise in the number of Princeton students registering for the lottery. Nine of the available seats were awarded to economically-disadvantaged students.   more

Princeton has hired a consultant to undertake a parking study, and input from the public is a key component of the project. On Wednesday, April 19, members of the community are invited to attend a workshop and share views about how to solve the downtown area’s ongoing parking issues.

The focus includes making parking more available, and deciding how much to charge and in which locations. Residents can take an online survey, attend public events, or send written comments about changes they would like to see implemented. more

Accepted? Rejected? Wait listed?  With college letters now in hand, many high school seniors will be making decisions by May 1.

“Ivy Day” was March 30 for many college letters to be sent, and acceptance rates were down from last year at six of eight Ivy League colleges. Princeton University accepted just 6.1 percent of its record 31,056 applicants for next fall’s freshman class, down from 6.46 percent last year. Princeton has offered admission to 1,890 students, 770 in December through early action, with 1,308 expected to matriculate in the class of 2021. Among the Ivies, only Harvard at 5.2 percent and Columbia at 5.8 percent had lower acceptance rates. more

INSPIRING FAITH IN YOUNG ADULTS: Princeton Theological Seminary’s Zoe Project is geared toward helping 12 congregations better understand the needs of those in their 20s. Shown here are participants in the Princeton Forum on Youth Ministry, a recent program of the Seminary. (Photo courtesy of Princeton Theological Seminary).

When it comes to millennials, religious faith isn’t necessarily a priority. But young adults have ideas, interests, and perceptions that are inherently spiritual, according to proponents of a program designed to encourage twentysomethings to examine and embrace their faith. more

Princeton Day School has partnered with Princeton University to create the Energy and Climate Scholars program at the school. Each year, a select group of PDS sophomores, juniors, and seniors meet monthly over a working dinner with Princeton University PhD students, learning and conversing about energy, climate, and related science, economic, policy, and politics.  more

Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS) is considering a substantial reduction of its student body — by 30 to 40 percent — for a period of eight to ten years. Citing projected lower market returns in coming years, the 205-year-old institution is studying ways to cut costs, according to a letter from PTS President Craig Barnes to the Seminary community dated February 20, 2017. more

Princeton High School will host a series of six lectures on a range of environmental health topics on Wednesday afternoons at 1:30-2:30 p.m. from May 3 to June 7.

The lectures are open to all PHS students, but participants are encouraged to attend all six lectures since this is a pilot project and data will be collected on knowledge base and retention. more

Peter Brooks and Philip Nord will be at Labyrinth Books on Tuesday, April 18 at 6 p.m. conversing about Mr. Brook’s Flaubert in the Ruins of Paris: The Story of a Friendship, a Novel, and a Terrible Year (Basic Books $32).

According to Victor Brombert, Henry Putnam University Professor at Princeton University and author of Trains of Thought, the book is “Challenging and judicious, wide-ranging yet consistently focused,” and “a delight to read. In full control of literary and political history, Peter Brooks makes an unimpeachable case for the importance of Flaubert’s Sentimental Education as a prophetic historical novel, and in the process corrects and redeems the conventional image of Flaubert as a political reactionary and aloof resident in an ivory tower.” more

Poet John Ashbery and screenwriter and director Jim Jarmusch will read from their work on Wednesday, April 19, as part of the Althea Ward Clark W’21 Reading Series, presented by the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Creative Writing at Princeton University. The reading will begin at 4:30 p.m. in McCosh Hall, Room 50, on the Princeton campus, and is free and open to the public. Mr. Ashbery will be appearing via Skype. Both writers will be introduced by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and member of Princeton’s Creative Writing faculty Paul Muldoon.

John Ashbery’s work has been translated into 25 languages. His Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (1975) won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and an early book, Some Trees (1956), was selected by W.H. Auden for the Yale Younger Poets Series. Mr. Ashbery was a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 1988 to 1999. In addition, the Library of America published the first volume of his collected poems in 2008, and a two-volume set of his collected translations from the French (poetry and prose) was published in 2014. more

On April 1 at the Princeton YWCA, families from different neighborhoods in Princeton gathered for “Loteria” Mexican Bingo and other games as a way to get to know each other and make new friends. Princeton Human Services, the Princeton YWCA, and the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund (LALDEF) collaborated with the help of donors and volunteers to host this community-building event, which also included other games and treats from local eateries. The next event is Sunday, May 7. Call the Princeton Human Services office at (609) 688-2055 or email ENeira@princetonnj.gov for more information or to volunteer.