October 26, 2016

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

“The Occupation of Trenton: December 1-31,1776” is the theme of the Washington Crossing Park Association’s second 2016 educational program, to be held on Sunday, November 13, 2-5:30 p.m. at the Union Fire Company Hall (River Road) in Titusville. Larry Kidder, historian and author, will discuss his research and upcoming book. Richard Patterson of The Old Barracks in Trenton will serve as moderator.  more


Princeton Public Library holds a screening Tuesday, October 25 at 7 p.m. of “The Pursuit: 50 Years in the Fight for LGBT Rights.” The documentary, produced through a collaboration between WHYY and others, explores the complexities of contemporary LGBT life and provides a look at the past half-century of the fight for LGBT rights. Included are recollections of local activists from the 1960s when “gays” were “hidden in plain sight,” vulnerable to arrest, subjected to psychiatric treatment, fired from jobs, and publicly shamed. Judy Jarvis, director of Princeton University’s LGBT center, will lead a discussion following the screening in the library’s Community Room. The library is at 65 Witherspoon Street. www.princetonlibrary.org.

Neuropsychiatrist and author Daniel J. Siegel talks about and signs copies of his latest book, Mind: A Journey to the Heart of Being Human, Sunday, October 30, at 4 p.m. at Princeton Public Library.

In the book, Mr. Siegel uses his characteristic sensitivity and interdisciplinary background to offer a definition of the mind that illuminates the how, what, when, where, and even why of who we are, of what the mind is, and what the mind’s self has the potential to become. The book explores consciousness, subjective experience, and information processing, and uncovers the mind’s self-organizational properties that emerge from both the body and the relationships we have with one another, and with the world around us. more


A few years ago, when Lisa Eckstrom was an English teacher and chair of the English Department at Stuart Country Day School, she received the following advice: “Every day think of all the people you can help.”

That advice has guided her career and her work. She is now assistant head of Princeton Charter School (PCS), directing the fifth through eighth grades, while continuing to teach a fifth grade English class.

“That’s definitely advice that has stayed with me,” she said. “You can make such a difference in somebody’s life by being reasonable and compassionate and making the rules work for the students. How can you help the situation? How can you make it better? At the end of the day, that’s what you think about.”

Sister Frances de la Chapelle, long-time Head of Stuart and the purveyor of the well remembered advice, described Ms. Eckstrom as “a gift to Stuart.” Commenting on the extraordinary respect and admiration that students, administrators, faculty, and parents had for her, Sister de la Chapelle noted, ”As a faculty member, she loved her students and the subject which she taught. She was creative, very demanding, and always wanted her students to learn as much as they could. She wanted the best for them and they responded.”  more

On Saturday, October 22 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., a living exhibit will be on display inside the historic Trent House Museum. Actors will inhabit the museum rooms as the people who have died at the Trent House.

Visitors can tour the museum and speak to the actors, including one playing William Trent himself, to learn about their lives and deaths at the Trent House. Admission is $5 and pizza and refreshments are included. more

book-revSure was glad to get out of there alive. — Bob Dylan, “Day of the Locusts”

The “there” Dylan’s referring to is Princeton on the sweltering June day in 1970 when he received an Honorary Doctorate, a month after the shootings of students at Kent State. Hearing himself described as “the authentic expression of the disturbed and concerned conscience of Young America,” he “shuddered and trembled but remained expressionless.” In the words of his memoir, Chronicles Volume One (2004), “It was like a jolt …. There it was again. I couldn’t believe it!” He’s thinking “this kind of thing” could set “the public perception” of him back “a thousand years.” Yet he’s glad he came to get the degree. He “could use it. Every look and touch and scent of it spelled respectability and had something of the spirit of the universe in it.”

There it is again — there he is again. At this writing, almost a week after the news from Stockholm was announced, Bob Dylan has yet to make public how he feels about receiving the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”

Forty-six years on the other side of “Day of the Locusts,” it’s possible that Dylan’s mind is still attuning itself to such things as “public perception,” “respectability,” and “the spirit of the universe.” As glad as he was to get out of Princeton alive, he made the most of it. Not only did the occasion inspire one of the characteristically ambiguous tropes that make his memoir itself a prize-worthy literary work, it gave him the seed of a song: the locusts that were singing for him are still singing for us. more

Poet Adam Fitzgerald and five seniors in the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Creative Writing at Princeton University will read from their work at 6 p.m. on Friday, October 21 at Labyrinth Books, 122 Nassau Street. The reading is part of the C. K. Williams Reading Series, named in honor of Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning poet who served on Princeton’s creative writing faculty for 20 years.  more


All are invited to dress in their best costumes to join the Arts Council of Princeton for the Annual Hometown Halloween Parade on Friday, October 28 at 5 p.m. The parade will start on Palmer Square Green at 5 p.m. and make its way through downtown Princeton, ending at the Princeton Family YMCA. Fall festivities will continue at the YMCA with “Trunk or Treat,” bounce houses, and family-friendly crafts. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit artscouncilofprinceton.org.


The Asian island nation of Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim country, with some 203 million adherents. Much about their practice of Islam and their attitudes toward America and the West was revealed to Rocky Hill-based journalist/author Smith during a recent visit. Smith will deliver a presentation entitled, “What Indonesia Tells Me About Islam – A Non-Muslim’s Travelogue” at Princeton University’s Murray-Dodge Hall, Room 103 on Monday, October 24 at 4:30 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.

For further information, visit www.princeton.edu/muslimlife.

October 13, 2016


Morven Museum & Garden’s exhibit, “Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh: Couple of an Age,” will end its long run through on October 23. The name of Lindbergh’s plane has taken on a certain  significance in the wake of Sunday’s contentious presidential debate.  (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)