September 16, 2020

Child Care Scholarships and Internet Access for PPS Students

Approximately 200 Princeton families will receive unlimited wireless data in their homes for the school year, under an agreement between Princeton Public Schools (PPS) and two internet providers, Comcast and T-Mobile.  The companies are offering discounted service for qualifying families, and PPS will cover this cost with funds from a grant from an anonymous donor.

The district has also received a grant to provide child care in partnership with the Princeton YMCA during the current remote learning period and beyond. The YMCA is providing safe, monitored child care for students at the Pannell Center and the Crimmins Center for approximately 40 qualifying students, which began on September 14.

Advisory Committee to Help Name Middle School

An advisory committee of ten school officials and community members will hold its first meeting on September 21 to plan the initial steps in suggesting new names for the Princeton Unified Middle School (PUMS), formerly John Witherspoon Middle School.

As the naming process continues, the committee will be seeking input from school staff and students and the community.

The committee so far includes Debbie Bronfeld and Betsy Baglio, from the PPS Board of Education; Shirley Satterfield, local historian; Geoffrey Allen, Princeton High School graduate and author of the original petition to remove the name of Witherspoon; Jason Burr, PUMS principal; Jen Bigioni, Princeton High School teacher and librarian; Stephanie Tidwell, PPS mathematics supervisor; Cecilia Birge, PHS assistant principal; Angela Siso Stentz, Johnson Park principal; and Interim Superintendent Barry Galasso. more

By Stuart Mitchner

I’ve been thinking about the time I saw Frank Capra in person. It was in the late 1970s, in a classroom at Princeton’s Center for the Visual Arts on Nassau Street. The meeting got off to a rocky start when one of the students asked a question that distinguished between art films and popular, commercial movies like It’s a Wonderful Life. Immediately on the defensive, Capra insisted that the artistic value of any work in any medium was ultimately determined by its popularity. Critics, scholars, reviewers be damned! The people had the last say. “All great art is popular!” he insisted, citing Michelangelo, Shakespeare, and da Vinci. “Look at all the people who come to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa!”

The students were a bit rattled. Why was the old guy so touchy? Clearly, he still believed that his populist, upbeat films had been misunderstood and devalued by elitists. I considered weighing in to say how often I’d argued with film-buff friends who scorned It’s a Wonderful Life and invariably cited Fellini’s La Dolce Vita as an example of “great art.” Instead, I said something about Jimmy Stewart’s performance as George Bailey, aware that the mere mention of the other film might only make things worse.

A British Bridge

My bridge from Capra’s Life to Fellini’s Vita is the British film critic David Thomson, who slammed both directors in his Biographical Dictionary of Film (1994). It’s only fair to note that Thomson may have updated his comments in later editions and that when he’s not righteously venting, he writes as well about film as anyone this side of James Agee. That’s why I quoted his thoughts on the “uneasy depths” of It’s a Wonderful Life to close out last week’s column. After giving the film his mixed blessing, however, he couldn’t resist another personal dig: “I think I like Capra less than ever, even if I have become interested in his emotional muddle.”  more

“SUMMER 2020: EONS AT THE SAME TIME”: Fly Eyes Playwrights presented an online anthology of documentary-style monologues. Top row, from left: Sandy Kitain, Mimi Schwartz, Donna Clovis. Second row: Tri Duc Tran, Fulton C. Hodges, Aixa Kendrick. Third row: davidbdale, Joey Perillo, June Ballinger. Bottom row: Carol Simmons, Jill Hackett. (Photo montage courtesy of Fly Eyes Playwrights, and the participating actors)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

Fly Eyes Playwrights offered a free online presentation of Summer 2020: Eons at the Same Time on September 10 and 12. The play is an anthology of monologues, derived from interviews in which people react to the convergence of the COVID-19 lockdown and the Black Lives Matter movement.

A press release reveals the project’s origins as an “online documentary theatre course at McCarter Theatre, under the direction of former Artistic Director Emily Mann. After the four-week program ended, the students decided to form Fly Eyes Playwrights and continue their work in documentary theatre, gathering monologues from diverse real-life voices of the moment.”

Summer 2020: Eons at the Same Time is the culmination of the playwrights’ coursework, combined with additional pieces to expand the show into a full-length play. The disparate monologues deftly have been woven together into a thematically unified larger show.

During a post-show discussion following Thursday’s performance, playwright and actor Donna Clovis emphasized that the monologues contain the words spoken by the interviewees. “They’re not our words; we just transcribe them,” Clovis said.  more

AND THE WINNERS ARE: Finalists and top players at The Princeton Festival’s 2019 Piano Competition displayed their trophies in person, but this year’s winners will vie virtually for the honors.

By Anne Levin

For the past 13 years, The Princeton Festival has been holding a piano competition for young musicians ages 6 to 24. More than 100 entrants have been known to take part in the popular event, coming to Princeton from the tri-state area to play works by major composers in front of discerning judges.

The pandemic has changed all that. The event is virtual this year. Judges accustomed to observing the young musicians up close — sitting with them in small piano studios at Westminster Choir College — are instead making their decisions after watching and listening to them online.

A video concert by the finalists will be available on the Princeton Festival website (princetonfestival.org) on Wednesday, September 23 at 6 p.m., with the winners to be announced at the end. Tickets are $10 and streaming will be available until September 27 at 10 p.m. more

OPENING NEW MUSICAL DOORS: Westrick Music Academy is holding new virtual music classes for students of all ages. For information and registration, visit WestrickMusic.org/education.

Westrick Music Academy (WMA), home of Princeton Girlchoir and Princeton Boychoir, is currently enrolling students of all ages in a variety of music education classes, exploring new ways to build and strengthen musicianship skills.

Young singers in grades 1-2 looking to develop their singing voice and music skills are invited to join Poco Voce. This non-performing music class explores the young singer’s voice. During each lesson, children will focus on tone development and fundamental musical skills, through engaging games and activities. more

“IN CONVERSATION”: The Arts Council of Princeton presents author-illustrators Barbara DiLorenzo and Rashad Malik Davis in a free conversation event via Zoom on Tuesday, September 22 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) invites the community to join them for “In Conversation” with author-illustrators Barbara DiLorenzo and Rashad Malik Davis moderated by  Timothy M. Andrews, arts collector and major supporter of the ACP’s Artist-in-Residence program, on Tuesday, September 22 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. 

This curated series of discussions is designed to celebrate and connect those who make art and those who love art. Visit artscouncilofprinceton.org to link into the free conversation via Zoom.   more

COMMUNITY ART: Spires, creatively decorated by local artists and community members, will be installed in clusters at more than 20 locations throughout Hopewell Valley as part of “ArtSpires,” the latest community art project and exhibition by the Hopewell Valley Arts Council.

This fall, colorful sculptures will pop up all around Hopewell Valley as part of “ArtSpires,” the newest community art project and exhibition by the Hopewell Valley Arts Council. The spires, creatively decorated by local artists and community members, will be installed in clusters at more than 20 locations throughout Hopewell Valley and will remain on display until spring 2021.

“Now, more than ever, there’s a need for connection,” said Carol Lipson, HV Arts Council executive director, “‘ArtSpires’ is a way for our community to be together while still being apart, to celebrate local artists’ talents, and to shed light on an environmental tragedy.”

A detailed map on the HV Arts Council website will be updated regularly revealing new installation locations. Each work of art will be installed with QR code signs for virtual access to information about artists and artwork. A Facebook live virtual ribbon cutting will be held on September 20 at 3 p.m. Plus, join the public online auction in November 2020 for a chance to own one, with proceeds benefiting the individual artist and the HV Arts Council. more

HOMESTYLE: “The customers are so happy that we have re-opened. They are coming all the time, even during the pandemic. They say they feel it’s like coming home because so many people know each other.” Lyn Farrugia, owner of Aunt Chubby’s Luncheonette and Bakery in Hopewell, is enjoying one of the restaurant’s popular salads.

By Jean Stratton

It’s all about family at Aunt Chubby’s in Hopewell. Family history, family tradition, families coming together — whether they are genetically related or through friendship and reaching out to others, who then become “family.”

“Our staff and customers are like family,” says Aunt Chubby’s owner, Lyn Farrugia. “We all take care of each other like family. We have had a great deal of help from so many people starting the business. Many of the Hopewell residents and longtime Aunt Chubby customers supported us, and continue to support us.”

Aunt Chubby’s Luncheonette and Bakery, at 1 Railroad Place in Hopewell, is a true treasure. Its history is both unique and engaging.

The building itself dates to 1903, when it was a general store and gathering place for the community, a tradition that continues today.

Evolving over the years, it continued to serve the community, eventually becoming a luncheonette. more

GRACE UNDER PRESSURE: Grace Barbara boots the ball upfield in a game last fall during her sophomore season for the Princeton University women’s soccer team. After assuming a reserve role in her first two years for the Tigers, former Princeton Day School standout Barbara was poised to battle for a starting spot this fall. But with the Ivy League canceling the 2020 fall season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Barbara is going to have wait a little longer for her shot to be a starter. (Photo provided courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

By Bill Alden

Grace Barbara is learning a lot about patience during her career with the Princeton University women’s soccer team.

After playing just about every minute during her three seasons for the Princeton Day School girls’ soccer team as a star goalie, Barbara played in just two games for a half each in her first college season in 2018 and then got into two contests last fall, playing a full game in one appearance and a half in the other.

With star goalie Natalie Grossi, the Ivy League career leader in shutouts, having graduated this past June, Barbara was poised to battle for the starting role as a junior.

But with the Ivy League canceling the 2020 fall season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Barbara is going to have wait a little longer for her shot to take charge in goal.

“Obviously I was very disappointed, but I completely understand that the University believes that is best and the Ivy League does as a collective group,” said Barbara, an ecology and evolutionary biology major who is hoping to go to medical school and took a class on pandemics this spring. more

FAY DAY: Katie Fay enjoys some classroom time. Fay, a former standout swimmer at Duke University who came to Princeton Day School in 2009 and has helped run the school’s Annual Fund, Alumni Giving, and Capital Giving, became the PDS director of athletics and physical education in July. She is succeeding Tim Williams, who left the school this spring to take the same position at the University School of Milwaukee. (Photo provided by Katie Fay)

By Bill Alden

For Katie Fay, attending a retirement party for a beloved former swimming coach in 2009 proved to be a transformative experience.

As Fay, a former star swimmer at Deerfield Academy and Duke University who went on to the banking world, soaked in the testimonials to Hank Buntin, the longtime coach of the Summit YMCA Seals, she started re-examining the course of her life.

“There were hundreds of people who came out for his retirement just to say how he had impacted them and changed their lives,” said Fay.

“Listening to the stories and speeches that went on for hours, I thought ‘what am I doing now? I am not touching anyone’s life, I am not making any impact.’ It really made me think. I had always wanted to be at an independent school. If I stay in this, it is going to be one more bonus, one more promotion, and I am never going to get myself out.”

Inspired to make her impact, Fay began searching for a prep school job.

“I just starting to look at schools all over the country; I was applying to schools for jobs in admissions and advancement where I thought my skill set would be most transferable,” said Fay.

“One of the things I always asked when I was interviewing was how these schools feel about coaching. That was really important to me, not being a faculty member but being able to be engaged in the student side of life.”

Ending that search, Fay found a home at Princeton Day School, getting hired as the associate director of the Annual Fund in 2009.

“It was a beautiful campus, but it was the people that I met at the time,” said Fay, who became director of alumni giving a year later and was then named the director of capital giving and later joined the Thrive! Campaign as director of capital giving. more

GAME ON: Members of the Princeton High girls’ soccer team go through a training session before the 2019 season. Last week, the PHS athletes and coaches got the go-ahead from the Princeton Public Schools (PPS) Board of Education (BOE) for a fall varsity season. The teams started preseason practices last Monday with games to begin during the week of September 28. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Val Rodriguez was on pins and needles as the Princeton Public Schools (PPS) Board of Education (BOE) met last week to decide whether fall sports could go ahead for Princeton High varsity teams with the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing.

“I was doubtful, I have to be honest,” said Rodriguez, the head coach of the PHS girls’ soccer team, reflecting on the September 8 meeting. “I remained as hopeful as I could be.”

Tiger football head coach Charlie Gallagher shared the concerns of his colleague as the meeting unfolded.

“I was nervous, some of the Board members that had some concerns talked initially before any Board member that spoke in the affirmative,” said Gallagher, noting the PHS fall coaches had formed a task force and met over the summer to formulate return-to-play plans and protocols along with Director of Athletics Brian Dzbenski. more

September 9, 2020

The line was steady on Saturday as ice cream lovers waited patiently for their treats at Thomas Sweet Ice Cream on Nassau Street. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin

Princeton, along with the rest of New Jersey, has moved cautiously into Phase 3 of “the road back,” with schools reopening this week or next, restaurants restarting indoor dining, and gyms, movies, and religious events permitted to welcome participants, with restrictions.

Princeton Public Schools (PPS) will start remotely on September 14, with students coming to the buildings for the first time for a phased-in hybrid program in October. Private schools are opening for remote, hybrid or in-person learning over the next two weeks.

Emphasizing the Princeton Health Department’s focus on many different fronts in this transitional period, Health Department Press and Media Communications Officer Fred Williams noted, “The biggest challenges here are keeping more people healthy as increased social activities come into play. Our Health Department is prepared to observe how these reopenings impact our current infection rates and is prepared to act based on what they encounter.”

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy delivered a favorable coronavirus report on Tuesday, September 8, describing the Labor Day weekend as “an incredibly good weekend in terms of compliance,” but adding, “You don’t see as much masking as you’d like.”   

Although for the 11th consecutive day the transmission rate increased slightly, to 1.10, on Monday, (with any number over 1 indicating that each new case is leading to at least one additional case and the outbreak is spreading), Murphy expressed optimism that “the chances are relatively low” that recent reopenings will cause significant spikes in COVID-19 cases. In a week to ten days, he said, we would know more about possible effects of the reopenings. more

By Donald Gilpin

Princeton University is ramping up its efforts to combat racism on a range of fronts, in both scholarly work and practical operations, according to a September 2 letter from Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber to the University community.

Eisgruber’s letter outlined the next steps the University, under the leadership of its senior academic and administrative officials, will take to address systemic racism at Princeton and beyond, including planning to extend a Princeton education to underserved populations in the area and significantly increasing the number of faculty members from underrepresented groups.

In June, as demonstrations throughout the country protested the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Rayshard Brooks, Eisgruber called on his cabinet of University leaders to develop plans to combat racism, asserting, “As a University, we must examine all aspects of this institution — from our scholarly work to our daily operations — with a critical eye and a bias toward action. This will be an ongoing process, one that depends on concrete and reasoned steps.”

On June 26, 2020 the Princeton University Board of Trustees voted to remove the name of Woodrow Wilson from its School of Public and International Affairs and from a residential college, because of Wilson’s “racist thinking and policies.”

In following up, on August 25 Eisgruber and his cabinet examined a range of proposals during a full-day session, and on September 2 Eisgruber issued his update.  more

By Donald Gilpin

When the Princeton Planning Board (PPB) approved a minor subdivision plan last month for 145 Ewing Street, known as the red farmhouse, it was a victory for the owner, for a group of concerned local residents who spoke up, for historic preservation, and for the whole Princeton community.

“We were very happy with the outcome of the application,” said Planning Director Michael LaPlace. “It was really a team effort with the applicant, the town, and interested neighbors as well.  A lot of credit goes to Brooke Brown, the owner. She was willing to rethink the application in order to preserve the historic building.”

He continued, “We saw it as a win-win for both the applicant and the community. We’re very excited about it. It shows that there are many ways to achieve historic preservation. This was a creative and sensible solution.”

Built in 1755, with additions in 1830, the house has a rich history. It was the home of novelist Caroline Gordon from 1956 to the mid-1970s, and, though they divorced in 1959, her husband the poet and essayist Allen Tate was there frequently, reportedly along with such
literary celebrity visitors as Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, and Walker Percy.

Other, unconfirmed, stories of the red farmhouse include a visit by Thomas Jefferson in 1783, when he attended the Continental Congress in Nassau Hall, and a raid by British soldiers, who supposedly kicked down the front door during or after the Battle of Princeton in 1777. Job Stockton, who also built the Bainbridge House on Nassau Street and was a cousin of Declaration of Independence signer Richard Stockton, apparently bought the land from John Hornor and built the original farmhouse.  more

ORCHESTRA ONLINE: Rossen Milanov, artistic director of the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, leads the ensemble in a recent live performance. Despite the limitations posed by the pandemic, Milanov is enthusiastic about the orchestra’s upcoming virtual season.

By Anne Levin

Like most every arts organization, the Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) has faced major challenges since COVID-19 put live performances on hold. The PSO, which holds regular seasons at Richardson Auditorium on the Princeton University campus, has worked hard to keep audiences engaged while the pandemic continues with no clear end in sight.

Artistic Director Rossen Milanov acknowledges these challenges. But he makes no apologies for the online series that begins October 4 and replaces the original fall subscription concerts. In fact, “Virtual Concerts: Your Orchestra, Your Home” is as ambitious a season as one that he might have programmed for live performances. The series mixes known works by Mozart, Grieg, and Shostakovich with newer music by contemporary composers, much of which is a commentary on current social issues. Guest artists originally scheduled to appear with the orchestra will be performing solo as part of the series.

“We are still presenting pieces that are works for orchestra rather than extended chamber music, which seems to be the standard practice right now for orchestras our size,” said Milanov, speaking from his home in Philadelphia. “And we didn’t want to wait until we reopened the season in more regular fashion. We wanted to make a strong statement by premiering important works by African American composers spanning over several generations.” more

BOOKS FOR EVERYONE: On Free Book Day in Princeton and Lawrence this Saturday, September 12, readers can get rid of unwanted volumes and find some new ones. The event was first launched in Hopewell and Pennington as a way to strengthen community bonds during the pandemic.

By Anne Levin

One of the casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic is the annual Bryn Mawr-Wellesley Book Sale, a marathon used-book extravaganza usually held in the gym at Princeton Day School. For 18-year-old Pennington resident Anna Salvatore and her family, the cancellation of this year’s sale was especially frustrating.

“We were disappointed that we couldn’t go this year, because we look forward to it,” Salvatore said. “Then one day I saw that a neighbor who was moving was putting out his books, for free. And I thought it would be a good idea if everyone did that.”

The enterprising Hopewell Valley High School graduate, who will be a member of Princeton University’s class of 2025, got to work planning a Free Book Day in Pennington and Hopewell. The event was a success; so much so that Salvatore immediately thought of Princeton and Lawrence as the logical next step.

Free Book Day – Princeton and Lawrence is this Saturday, September 12, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Residents with books to give away can place them on their front lawn or curb, and all Mercer County residents are encouraged to stroll the streets and shop for titles.

“My thought was, how could it possibly fail in Princeton, where there are more nerds per capita than anywhere else?” said Salvatore. “So I have high hopes for this.” more

By Anne Levin

In normal times, attending synagogue services is a focus of the Jewish High Holy Days. But these are not normal times.

The pandemic has forced houses of worship to get creative about how to observe Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, starting the night of September 18; and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which begins the night of September 27. Gathering en masse under one roof for the various services that mark the holidays is not an option this year.

Locally, observances will range from indoor services for very limited numbers to outdoor gatherings and, of course, Zoom. The traditional blasts of the Shofar, a ram’s horn that is blown in synagogue at different times during the holidays, will be heard outside instead.

“We’re having drive-in shofar services, where cars will be lined up in our parking lot,” said Rabbi Jordan Goldson of Har Sinai Temple in Pennington. The ram’s horn will sound on Saturday, September 12 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. “The person blowing the shofar will be in the middle, and people can just roll down their windows to hear it. We’ll have loudspeakers if the weather cooperates.” more

By Stuart Mitchner

Actually, the town I had in mind was Califon, N.J.

—Philip Van Doren Stern

The first sentence of the screenplay for Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life calls for a night sequence showing various streets and buildings in “the town of Bedford Falls, somewhere in New York State.”

Above the first sentence of the film’s primary source, Philip Van Doren Stern’s Christmas story, “The Greatest Gift,” there’s a drawing of a despondent looking man leaning on a bridge railing. The “little town” described, “bright with colored Christmas lights,” has no name. In a 1946 interview, the author, a Rutgers graduate who grew up in Jersey City, makes it clear that the place he had in mind was Califon, in Hunterdon County, 37 miles northwest of Princeton. As noted in Wikipedia, the center of town is “the historic iron bridge spanning the South Branch of the Raritan River, which divides the borough.” 

On the Bridge

I’m beginning in Califon because it’s the original setting of It’s a Wonderful Life, not Seneca Falls, New York, the town that has declared itself the model for Bedford Falls by holding an annual festival; it even named a hotel after Clarence, the whimsical angel who appears on the bridge in time to save George Bailey from ending his life. Clarence accomplishes his mission by jumping into the icy waters himself, knowing that George’s instinct to help others is so fundamental that he’ll take the plunge to save a life.

But look what just happened. Even as I’m trying to explain the motive for my online trip to Califon and its historic bridge, I’m still riding the emotional rollercoaster of the film’s final half hour as Clarence shows George the nightmare of Pottersville, a vision of the fate that would befall the community had he never been born and had the town been left to the mercy of Henry Potter, the unredeemed and unpunished banker from hell who makes Scrooge look like a sucker.

In fact, the actual town of Califon is located a mere six miles west of a town called Pottersville, which lies the same distance from the Trump National Golf Club at Bedminster, a domain known as Camp David North or the Summer White House. more

“SENECA”: Pegasus Theatre Company presented an online conversation featuring the film’s co-writer, co-producer, director, and editor Jason Chaet; and its composer, Robert Manganaro. Above: Actor David Seneca (Armando Riesco, left) struggles to be a good father to his daughter Annette (Claudia Morcate-Martin). The film is available on HBO and HBO Max. (Image Courtesy of Kosher Quenepa LLC)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

Pegasus Theatre Company of West Windsor premiered its “Intimate Conversations Series” on September 3. The online discussion featured two of the artists behind the 2019 film Seneca: director and editor Jason Chaet, and Princeton-born composer Robert Manganaro. Pegasus board member John Paxton, a teacher and independent filmmaker, curated the conversation.

The event came about because Manganaro is a family friend of Managing Artistic Director Jennifer Nasta Zefutie. “I grew up with Jennifer’s husband, John. He and I have remained close friends for years,” Manganaro says in an email to this writer. “I was best man in his wedding, so it’s fun that this came full circle.”

As a songwriter and performer Manganaro has collaborated with Hamilton star Anthony Ramos on songs including “Ocean City,” “Take Me To The Middle,” and “Freedom.” He has performed the National Anthem at NBA and NCAA basketball games, in stadiums such as the Prudential Center and Barclay’s. He met Chaet through the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, where both are on staff. more

Kathryn Boswell (Photo by Corinne Louie)

State Theatre New Jersey will hold Broadway Online Trivia Night, hosted by actress Kathryn Boswell on Wednesday, on September 16 at 7 p.m. Proceeds raised support State Theatre’s Community Engagement programs. A minimum donation of $5 allows patrons to participate in the trivia challenge.

To sign up for Trivia Night, go to STNJ.org/Trivia.

The Broadway-themed trivia will be composed of 50 multiple choice questions covering everything from classic musicals like The Music Man and Fiddler on the Roof to composers and stars like Stephen Sondheim and Bernadette Peters, to newer musicals like Hamilton and Mean Girls. The first-place winner gets bragging rights as well as a $150 State Theatre gift certificate and a State Theatre swag bag. The second-place winner gets a State Theatre swag bag.

Online Trivia Night will be hosted on Zoom on each participant’s desktop computer and played on the smartphone-based trivia game app called Kahoot. Closed Captioning for this event can be made available by request by emailing info@stnj.org by September 11. more

VIRTUAL CIRCUS: The pandemic has not stopped Trenton Circus Squad, which has planned an online fundraising event for next month. (Photo by Donnie Ramsey)

For the first three months of the pandemic, the Trenton Circus Squad closed its doors in order to come up with a new model for interacting with the community and spreading its mission of inspiring youth to take big leaps in life. The result was Trenton Circus Squad virtual, outfitting the organization with cameras, microphones, and production equipment for “Step Right Up! Plugged In,” a fundraiser taking place October 17 at 7 p.m.

The event will take ticketed attendees to each of the partner organizations in Newark, Asbury Park, Camden, and Trenton to watch the young performers in action, see interviews, hear testimonies, and see participants perform in works inspired by the country’s current state of civil unrest. more

“OPENING LIKE A PARASOL”: This painting by Jessica Mensch is featured in “Here and Now,” the new fall exhibition at the Center for Contemporary Art in Bedmister. It will be on view September 11 through December 11. A virtual opening reception will be held via Zoom on Friday, September 11 from 6-7 p.m.

The Center for Contemporary Art (The Center) in Bedminster has announced its new fall exhibition, “Here and Now,” on view from September 11 through December 11.. To celebrate The Center’s 50th anniversary this fall, curators John Yau and Wes Sherman spent over a year assembling the work of 19 contemporary artists. 

The artists featured in the exhibition are Chakaia Booker, Willie Cole, Chie Fueki, Evan Halter, Takuji Hamanaka, Barry Hazard, Suzanne Joelson, Judy Koo, Talia Levitt, Jessica Mensch, Phillip McConnell, Ilse Murdock, Nadia Haji Omar, William A. Ortega, Joyce Robins, Stephanie H. Shih, Francesca Strada, Tejaswini. and Peter Williams.  more

“STRANGE WATER”: This painting by Ebony Flag is part of  “Art Against Racism: Memorial.Monument.Movement,” a nationwide virtual exhibition making its debut on October 3. The deadline for artists to submit, in order to be included in the opening, is September 14, but artwork will continue to be accepted until Inauguration Day, January 20, 2021.

Since the killing of George Floyd, artworks protesting Black lives lost to police violence have emerged all over the world. “Art Against Racism: Memorial.Monument.Movement” is a nationwide virtual exhibition created in response to this moment and will be presented on a groundbreaking video platform beginning October 3 at 5 p.m. EST.

“This is a grassroots project welcoming all voices, both professional artists and those who express themselves in other forms,” says Art Against Racism founder and organizer Rhinold L. Ponder.

Contributors are submitting short videos about their projects, discussing why they made this work, how art is a powerful tool for creating a just society, and the urgency of voting in 2020. The interactive exhibition serves as a living archive for preserving the breadth of art inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. The exhibition is searchable by contributor’s name and geographic location. more

BEST BARBECUE:  “We use only fresh seasonal ingredients and select cuts of meat, making our delicious Texas-style barbecue the perfect Barbecue Experience.” John Procaccini (left) and Matt Martin, owners of More Than Q Barbecue Company, stand beside “Bubba,” their special steer mascot.

By Jean Stratton

That unmistakable wood-smoked aroma, the unique flavor, the tasty texture… indeed, barbecue in all its forms appears to be on the tip of everyone’s tongue — literally and figuratively!

Increasing in popularity all the time, with new restaurants springing up all over the country, it is said to be more popular in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world.

One of the latest eateries to emerge is More Than Q Barbecue Co., located at 3522 Route One North in The Square at West Windsor shopping center. Opened June 30, it is owned by John Procaccini, “Z” Pappas, and Matt Martin.

Known for their success in establishing many restaurants in the Princeton area, including Osteria Procaccini, Trattoria Procaccini, and Pj’s Pancake House, among others, Procaccini and Pappas continue to look for new dining experiences for their clientele. More Than Q is the 10th restaurant under the auspices of their restaurant management and consulting company, Gretalia. more