February 24, 2016

Princeton Theological Seminary’s (PTS) annual Joe R. Engle Organ Concert will be held on Saturday, February 27 at 7 p.m. in Miller Chapel, located on PTS’s Princeton campus. The concert is open to the public and free of charge.

Featuring Jonathan Dimmock, the organist for the San Francisco Symphony, and organist and choir director at St. Ignatius Church and Congregation Sherith Israel (both in San Francisco), as well as the Princeton Seminary Singers and the Nassau Presbyterian Church Adult Choir, the concert will include psalm-based works by J.P. Sweelinck, Felix Mendelssohn, Herbert Howells, Ralph Vaughn Williams, Albert de Kierk, Bert Batter, Cary Ratcliff, and Robert Nicholls.  more

Choral music can be a tough sell, and sometimes it takes a star to bring new audiences into the fold. The Princeton University Glee Club has been a “star” in its own right, and the “Glee Club Presents” series, begun in 2013, has packed venues on and around campus with audiences eager to hear the chorus collaborate with international performers. The University Glee Club presented the fifth concert in this series this past weekend, filling Richardson Auditorium for a joint performance with the renowned vocal ensemble Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Fresh on the heels of the Glee Club’s tour to South Africa, Saturday night’s concert showed the chorus reaching well into its own diversity, as well as the international performing arena.  more

“She’s a gutsy girl,” says Jennifer Jason Leigh. “A little bit of an animal.” Leigh’s talking about Daisy Domergue, the character she plays in Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, a supporting role that has brought her an Oscar nomination, the first of her long career. Even if she wins, it won’t excuse the Academy’s failure 20 years ago to recognize her once-in-a-lifetime performance as Sadie Flood in Georgia (1995), a film written by Leigh’s mother Barbara Turner and directed by Ulu Grosbard.

In a featurette about The Hateful Eight, producer Stacy Sher says of Daisy, “She’ll try anything, she’ll push it all the way, she’s crazy like a fox: you don’t know if you should feel sorry for her, you don’t know if you should despise her.” According to co-star Walton Goggins, “Jennifer just takes it to a place where we’re all looking at each other, did you see that? did you see what she did with that?” more

Theater revWhen Dawn Breaks, an original play created and directed by Princeton University sophomore Nico Krell, is based on 1,001 Nights, but this is an “immersive” theater experience, so you will surely get less, and more, than you expect, as the actors lead you out of your seat, onto the stage, under the stage, into dressing rooms, workroom, hallways, greenroom, lobby, and every corner of the Hamilton Murray Theater.

You will encounter, at least in part, the familiar story of Scheherazade and the brutal King Shahryar, who, in anger at his first wife’s infidelity is determined to marry a new bride each day and execute her at dawn. But after three years, Scheherazade offers herself to the king and tells him a bedtime story so captivating that he decides to postpone the execution so that he can hear the end the next day, and the stories continue for 1,001 nights.

There’s little evidence here of the stories Scheherazade tells — “Aladdin and the Magic Lamp,” “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves,” “The Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor” — that make up the original 1,001 Nights (sometimes called The Arabian Nights), but the story of Scheherazade (Anna Zabel); King Shahryar (Tom Dowling); her sister Dunyazade (Anastasia Repouliou); her father Jafar, who is the king’s vizier (Daniel Krane); the king’s brother Shah Zaman (Jake Hamel); Delilah, the ghost of the king’s former wife (Julia Mosby); and Azraq, a genie (Glenna Yu), is richly developed during the 70-minute production.  more

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 8.51.44 AMBella Boutique is here to stay! Opened in April of 2015 in the Princeton Shopping Center, it was an immediate success.

“We have been so busy,” says owner Christina DiDonato. “The customer response has been incredible, and it has definitely exceeded our expectations.”

Co-owner with her husband Adriano DiDonato, who is general manager and buyer at the popular Bon Appetit, also in the Princeton Shopping Center, Ms. DiDonato is very pleased to be in this location. “A big plus at the shopping center is the easy accessibility and very convenient parking for customers.”

It was also very important for Ms. DiDonato to offer a uniquely pleasing environment for her shoppers. The boutique’s setting with stone-paneled walls and mediterranean-style motif, provides a very comfortable sense of space in a relatively small area. The fitting rooms with wrought iron appointments add to the overall charm of the boutique’s inviting atmosphere. more

February 17, 2016

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The Saturday before Valentine’s Day they’re off and running in the 5K Cupid’s Chase sponsored by Community Options. Inc. In this week’s Town Talk, some participants talk about their favorite places to run. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

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PASSING ON A LEGACY: Elaine Buck, left, and Beverly Mills, during a Memorial Day service at the Stoutsburg Cemetery, where their ancestors are buried. The women are co-authors of a book detailing the 300-year history of African Americans in the Hopewell Valley, with the cemetery as a focal point. (Photo by John B. Buck)

It happens again and again. When Beverly Mills and Elaine Buck give talks that include information about slavery in New Jersey, people are shocked. The two Mercer County residents, who are collaborating on a book about a historic Hopewell Township cemetery where at least 10 African American Civil War veterans are buried, have given numerous presentations throughout the area on the subject.  more

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Five years ago last month New Jersey enacted the nation’s toughest law against bullying in schools, but enforcement of the law’s requirements and traditional anti-bullying efforts have brought only mixed results in reducing conflict in the school environment, according to Princeton Professor Elizabeth Levy Paluck. The solution, she proposed in a recent article based on a four-year research project, calls for the students themselves, particularly a small group of the most influential students, to take the initiative for intervention.  more

Imagine this — Sophie recently graduated from college, and wants to continue studying in Granada. She took Spanish throughout high school and college, but to apply for a scholarship from a Spanish institution her level of competence must be accredited. Are her AP scores enough?

Anna Alsina Naudi, Lisi Barros-Sehringer and Carmen Santa-Cruz are certified examiners for DELE, the Diploma de Español como Lengua Extranjera, a test that validates competence in Spanish. Furthermore, DELE is recognized worldwide as an accurate indicator of Spanish language proficiency.  more

Damour_StuartPsychologist and author Lisa Damour will discuss her latest book, Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions Into Adulthood at Stuart Country Day School’s Cor Unum Center on Wednesday, March 2 at 7 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.

“As experts in educating girls, the Stuart faculty and staff are thrilled to bring Dr. Damour to the Princeton community for the fourth time,” said Dr. Patty L. Fagin, head of school at Stuart. “Dr. Damour’s guidance for parents of adolescent girls integrates perfectly with Stuart’s mission to raise confident and committed young women.”

Dr. Michael Thompson, co-author of Raising Cain, praised Untangled as “the best description of the female adolescent journey that I have ever read.”

Damour serves as a faculty associate of the Schubert Center for Child Studies, consults for the Laurel School’s Center for Research on Girls, and is a clinical instructor in the department of psychology at Case Western Reserve University. She also maintains her own private practice and writes the “Adolescence” column for the New York Times’ Motherlode blog. more

Jack and Jill of America, Inc. of Mercer County will hold a bookfair fundraiser at Barnes & Noble in MarketFair Mall, Princeton, on February 21 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. This event is in keeping with the Eastern Region Community Service Thrust: “Feeding the Body and Mind” and focuses specifically on promoting literacy in the community.

The all-day event will feature story time, an arts and crafts table, poetry readings, a scavenger hunt, and more. Snacks, beverages, and cheesecake will be sold in the Barnes & Noble cafe. Purchases in the store and cafe using the promotional code “11795606” will earn store credit for Jack and Jill Mercer County. 100 percent of the earned credit will be used to purchase books for the reading nook Jack and Jill aim to develop at the Every Child Valued Daycare and Afterschool program in Lawrenceville, N.J.  more

Books_EvangelineLawrenceville resident and author of the The Gates of Evangeline (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2015), Hester Young will be joining the “Fiction Writing Workshop” at the Lawrence Headquarters Branch of the Mercer County Library System from 10 a.m. to noon on Friday, February 19. She will discuss writing and developing her craft as a published author. She will also give tips on how to develop a plot for aspiring mystery writers.

The workshop will be held at the Lawrence Headquarters Branch of the Mercer County Library System, located at 2751 Brunswick Pike, Lawrenceville. Registration is suggested. For more information about the library’s programs call (609) 989-6920, e-mail lawprogs@mcl.org, or visit www.mcl.org.

Art_Poppies

Pinot’s Palett located on 127 Village Blvd. in Forrestal Village will be painting “Poppies à la Van Gogh” on Sunday, February 21 from noon to 3 p.m. The event is a fundraiser for the Princeton Youth Ballet (PYB). In celebration of PYB’s 10th year as the region’s premier pre-professional company, they will be bringing a new ballet, “Cinderella,” to the Princeton High School Performing Arts Center on May 14 and 15. As a not-for-profit organization, they rely on donations and volunteers to help with performance preparation and ongoing annual operational costs. All net proceeds from the event will go to PYB. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to start time. Light refreshments will be served, the event is BYOB.

I fell in love with Shakespeare watching Richard Burton play Hamlet. If there was a specific moment when I “lost my heart” (you could as easily say “found my heart”), it came in the scene where Hamlet tells the players to “speak the speech” the way he pronounces it, and “to hold, as ‘twere, the mirror up to nature.”

In an essay about his youthful love of the plays, William Dean Howells recalls feeling that “in his great heart” Shakespeare “had room for a boy willing absolutely to lose himself in him, and be as one of his creations.” I was in my early 20s when Hamlet’s rousing speech to the players brought me into Shakespeare’s “great heart” and made me feel that the man who wrote the play was in the room speaking directly to his creations. more

The Princeton Public Schools Black History Month Celebration is proud to present a Spirituals and Gospel Festival on Friday, February 19 at 7:30 p.m. The district has invited Dr. J. Donald Dumpson, a composer, conductor, and performer, to work with students during the week of February 15.

The week will culminate in a performance on February 19 in the Princeton High School Performing Arts Center, located at the corner of Walnut Lane and Franklin Avenue. The concert will feature Dr. Dumpson, all of the PHS choirs, singers from First Baptist Church and Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church, Revelation Praise Dance Ministry of First Baptist Church, and the Mt. Pisgah A.M.E. Church Dance Ministry.  more

February 10, 2016

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The road is the one between the Mountain Lakes House and Mountain Avenue in the Bill Johnson Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve, part of the 400-acre Open Space area sometimes called Princeton’s Central Park. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

Stuart Triplets

Triplets Juliet, Natalie, and Pamela McGowen (L to R) of Skillman will graduate from Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart in June and enter Princeton University in the fall. All three National Honor Society and AP scholars are on Stuart’s varsity track, volleyball, and tennis teams. After a campus college tour in August they all decided Princeton was their first choice.

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NOT JUST ROSES: Presenting a loved one with this lavish arrangement from Viburnum on Nassau Street is one of many ways to demonstrate Valentine’s Day affection (see princetonmagazine.com for an upcoming article on Viburnum and making a case for the anti-romantic). Over the coming weekend, there are multiple opportunities for celebrating the holiday. (Photo by Jeff Tryon)

“If I don’t do something, I’ll never hear the end of it,” a 40-something man was overheard telling a friend while waiting for a sandwich at Gennaro’s Italian Market in Kingston on Tuesday afternoon. “I mean, it’s not just one day this year. Valentine’s Day is on Sunday so it’s all weekend. I made a hotel reservation. But maybe it’ll snow and we won’t have to go.” more

Did you pick the winners in the Iowa primaries? How about New Hampshire?

If not, you’re in good company. The renowned Gallup Poll didn’t either. In fact, according to Gallup Editor-in-Chief Frank Newport in a speech last Thursday at Princeton University’s Dodd’s Auditorium in Robertson Hall, Gallup is backing off from the predicting business — no more “horse-race polling.” more

In response to rising concerns over a drug epidemic throughout New Jersey and the nation, Princeton Alcohol and Drug Alliance, Princeton Health Department, and Princeton Police Department will be offering a presentation at Princeton High School on March 2, 7-9 p.m., to educate parents, high school students, and community members.

“We want to make sure that we alert the community that heroin is around, and we want people to have the facts,” stated Alliance Coordinator Gary DeBlasio, “so that they know what they’re looking at when they see it.” more

Thoughts of Valentine’s Day bring back a song I knew by heart when I was growing up. No wonder, the way my parents kept playing Nat King Cole’s recording of “Nature Boy.” They were addicted to it; so was everyone; the whole country was enthralled by the “strange enchanted boy who wandered very far, very far over land and sea.” The voice was already a pleasant part of our family’s life because of Cole’s “Christmas Song.” Now the same warm smooth deeply familiar voice that sang of chestnuts and yuletide carols and mistletoe was making me feel things I’d never felt before, exciting my imagination with dreams of distant lands and magic days, with a message about loving and being loved that was more appealing than the lessons I learned in school. more

Pure Barre, the popular workout franchise, has signed a lease to open a studio at 31 Hulfish Street on Palmer Square. The studio, which will open in late February, is located above Mediterra restaurant.

Owner Jacqui Arce-Quinton was already a Pure Barre fan when she and her husband decided to move to Princeton and open the studio. “Not only did we choose Palmer Square because it’s in the heart of town, but we decided to live here, too,” she said. “Princeton has been very welcoming and I’m so excited to share my passion for Pure Barre with the local area.” more

Artworks DirectorWhen Lauren Otis was approached about becoming executive director of ARTWORKS, the Trenton visual art center, he was hesitant at first. “I thought long and hard about it,” said Mr. Otis, who served on the organization’s board from 2009 to 2014 and has been active in several of its programs. “I felt I almost knew too much. I knew how big a job it was.”

But ultimately, he couldn’t resist the opportunity to have a leading role in a movement he feels passionate about: furthering the arts in Trenton. Where some see blight and decay on the capital city’s streets, Mr. Otis sees artistic opportunity. “I am a true believer. I’ve given lectures on the subject,” he said. “There is this negative public story. But those of us in the arts see this incredible flowering of creativity. It’s not just street art or mural art. There are also interesting events going on all over the city that are driven by art.”

It was Mr. Otis who founded the popular Art All Day, an ARTWORKS-sponsored event each November where Trenton artists open their studios to the public. It is a cousin of the wildly successful Art All Night weekend, a 10-year-old event that draws thousands to a former Roebling Steel factory in Trenton every June. more

Hun Art

“CANDYLAND”: Hun School student artist Carmel Monkton ’16 received a Gold Key Award from The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for her painting “Candyland.

Hun School artists Carmel Monckton ’16, Baiyi ‘Rebecca’ Ning ’17, and Siyeh ‘Sophia’ Chung ’17 received prestigious awards for their artwork submissions to the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards [SAWA]. SAWA is the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious recognition initiative for creative teens.  more