May 27, 2020

By Donald Gilpin

Robert Ginsberg, principal of Johnson Park Elementary School (JP) for the past 21 years, will be stepping into the job of Princeton Public Schools (PPS) acting assistant superintendent on July 1, replacing outgoing Assistant Superintendent Annie Gonzalez Kosek, who is retiring at the end of June after 17 years at PPS. The appointment is subject to the approval of the county superintendent.

In a letter to the school community on Tuesday, Superintendent Steve Cochrane, who will be stepping down at the end of June, noted that the district would be initiating an internal search and looking to appoint an acting principal at JP by the end of June, with a full and comprehensive search for a permanent principal to follow.

Cochrane described Ginsberg as “our most seasoned administrator,” who will be “an outstanding source of wisdom and support”  to the faculty and staff and to recently appointed new Interim Superintendent Barry Galasso.

Before coming to JP, Ginsberg was principal at Littlebrook Elementary School from 1988 through 1998, then served as PPS assistant superintendent for a year before requesting transfer back to being principal, this time at JP,  in 1999.

“I am incredibly grateful to Bob for his willingness to help shepherd our district through this current crisis and into what I truly believe will be a new era in the evolution of education,” Cochrane wrote.

By Stuart Mitchner

It avails not, neither time or place; distance avails not. I am with you, men and women of a generation, or ever so many generations hence.

—Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

Facing the approach of a “grim milestone” with “U.S. Deaths Near 100,000” on the eve of Memorial Day 2020, the editors of Sunday’s New York Times produced a front page Walt Whitman himself might have conceived.

It’s as though one of the editors discussing how to convey “the vastness and variety of lives lost” had been reading Leaves of Grass. You might almost think Whitman had suggested the wording of the secondary head, “They Were Not Simply Numbers on a List. They were Us,” before putting the weight of his spirit behind the idea of culling “vivid passages” from coronavirus death notices of hundreds of newspapers around the country. No wonder the resulting inventory — “the conductor with the most amazing ear, the grandmother with the easy laugh, the entrepreneur and adventurer” — seems to echo Whitman’s “pure contralto singing in the organ loft, the carpenter dressing his plank, the connoisseur peering along the exhibition gallery.”

Always With Us

America’s poet is always with us on Memorial Day. Who else could have imagined, celebrated, or publicized such an event? He had a stake in it long before the ceremonial occasion was officially relocated from May 30 to the last Monday in May; in fact, he was there a century and a half before, having been born on the last Sunday in May 1819. He makes his generation-transcending presence vividly felt in “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,” where time or place or distance “avails not,” and the “similitudes of the past and those of the future” are as “glories strung like beads” on his “smallest sights and hearings.” more

“EXECUTION OF JUSTICE”: A community reading of “Execution of Justice” was presented May 22 as part of McCarter Theatre’s continuing McCarter@Home series of online events. Written by McCarter’s outgoing Artistic Director and Resident Playwright Emily Mann, the docudrama examines the trial for the murder of Harvey Milk — and reactions from a “Chorus of Uncalled Witnesses.” Above: “My name is Harvey Milk, and I’m here to recruit you!” (Photo ©1978 by Daniel Nicoletta)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

Emily Mann started writing Execution of Justice in 1983, seven years before she began her 30-year tenure as McCarter Theatre’s artistic director and resident playwright. The docudrama examines the trial of Dan White, who in 1978 assassinated San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and City Supervisor Harvey Milk; the latter was the first openly gay official to be elected in California.

Execution of Justice was commissioned by San Francisco’s Eureka Theatre Company. The play was presented in 1985 by Arena Stage in Washington D.C. A Broadway production followed in 1986.

McCarter hosted an online community reading of Execution of Justice last Friday. The event commemorated the 90th anniversary of Harvey Milk’s birth, and was presented in collaboration with the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice.

“No theatrical or performance experience is presumed; this is not a performance,” Artistic Engagement Manager Paula T. Alekson assured a multigenerational and diverse group of over 50 participants who had logged into Zoom, or dialed into a specially designated telephone line, to play one of the roles. Readers who participated via Zoom were asked to log in using their first name and last initial; before the reading started their captions were edited to identify the characters they were portraying.  more

VIRTUAL VIRTUOSITY: A digital presentation of “The Secret Garden” by Princeton Youth Ballet is planned for Sunday, May 31 at 7 p.m. The company premiered the ballet in 2008.

Princeton Youth Ballet’s production of The Secret Garden, based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett and choreographed by Artistic Director Risa Kaplowitz, will be broadcast during a special watch party on Sunday, May 31 at 7 p.m. Details will be posted on Princeton Youth Ballet’s Facebook page at

The Secret Garden has become a staple of PYB’s repertory, with many founding cast members now dancing professionally in companies throughout the United States and Europe. Performances scheduled for this month were canceled due to the COVID-19 crisis. more

EVERYONE IS INVITED: The Princeton Symphony Orchestra will welcome the public to a virtual gathering hosted by Executive Director Marc Uys, left, and Music Director Rossen Milanov on Sunday, May 31 at 4 p.m. (PSO Staff Photo)

The Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) invites patrons, subscribers, and members of the Greater Princeton community to be part of a couch-side, virtual gathering on Sunday, May 31, at 4 p.m. Executive Director Marc Uys will host “At Home with the PSO: A Visit with Rossen Milanov & Friends” and mix of  conversations with musical surprises alongside Edward T. Cone Music Director Rossen Milanov.

Special guests include violinist Daniel Rowland and cellist Maja Bogdanovic, originally scheduled to perform with the PSO at the orchestra’s canceled May concert. PSO concertmaster Basia Danilow will also drop by to talk about music and how she balances life at home.

The public is invited to “Zoom along” and join in, reminiscing about favorite PSO moments and asking questions of the featured speakers and performers. The event is free, but anyone who is interested should register in advance at more

“SERENE ESCAPE”: Alyssa Cai, Princeton University Class of 2020, won first place and $1,000 in Princeton University Concerts’ sixth annual Creative Reactions Contest. Her colored pencil drawing was created in response to a Live Music Meditation with cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras.

How might one visually represent the experience of going to a Princeton University Concerts event? Thirty-two Princeton University students, both undergraduate and graduate, signed up to take on this challenge as part of the sixth annual Creative Reactions Contest, one of several programs sponsored by the concert series to engage students in classical music.

Getting free access to a range of Princeton University Concerts offerings — including traditional concerts, Performances Up Close with audience seated on stage, Live Music Meditations, and the Annual Chamber Jam — the students were offered the chance at a $1,000 prize if they anonymously submitted a drawing of their experience, with an accompanying artist statement about their work.

After two rounds of judging — the first by Princeton University Concerts staff, and the second by local artist Marsha Levin-Rojer, Lewis Center for the Arts lecturer and former Hodder Fellow Mario Moore, and staff graphic designer Tom Uhlein — one winner and five honorable mentions were awarded. more

VIRTUAL ART CAMPS: The Center for Contemporary Art in Bedminster is offering weekly Summer Art Camps from June 22–August 28. The camps, which take place online via Zoom, are designed to stimulate creative expression through projects and activities that change each week.

Registration is underway for Virtual Summer Art Camps offered by The Center for Contemporary Art in Bedminster. Ten weekly Summer Art Camps, from June 22–August 28, are offered for children ages 5-15 in half-day sessions. Art Camps take place online via Zoom and are designed to stimulate creative expression through projects and activities that change each week.

Summer Art Camps allow children to develop important artistic techniques and learn about the principles of visual art, historical periods, and well-known artists. All camps are led by professional, experienced, and creative teaching artists; provide a curriculum tailored to three individual age groups; and allow students to enjoy small class sizes with projects and themes which vary weekly. All art supplies are included in the price of tuition and will be provided weekly via curbside pickup. more

“MONTEREY”: This photo by Michael Ast is featured in the 27th Phillips Mill Photographic Exhibition, now on view in an online gallery at Ast won Best in Show and Best Body of Work awards in the juried show.

The 27th Phillips Mill Photographic Exhibition is a prestigious, well-regarded photo show traditionally showcased in the Phillips Mill Gallery in New Hope, Pa., but it is in an online gallery form this year due to the pandemic. Only 14 percent of the 1,000 entries from 13 states and three countries were accepted by juror Emmet Gowin, formerly professor of art at Princeton University. See the 143 accepted photographs online at All work is for sale.

Michael Ast won both Best in Show and Best Body of Work awards. His four photographs show his photojournalistic background of being more objective in his work and his ongoing concept of creating a photo essay that builds a narrative with multiple images. His heavy use of blacks and tonality express his interiority, adding a more psychological aspect to his work. Ast’s work is more lyrical and about emotion than a specific place. He prints his own work from a digital darkroom. See more photos at

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LEGAL EXPERTISE: “In our family law practice, we have developed a strong focus on the individual. The center of our legal universe is our client. We are focused on meeting the client’s needs from the first phone call through to the resolution of the matter.” Attorneys, from left, Grace Dennigan, Mia Cahill, and Elizabeth (Beth) Smith, are partners in the Dennigan Cahill Smith law firm.

By Jean Stratton

First and foremost, attorneys Grace Dennigan, Mia Cahill, and Elizabeth (Beth) Smith are there to help. When clients seek their family law services, whether for divorce, domestic abuse, child custody, financial issues, or divorce mediation, the partners and staff at Dennigan Cahill Smith (DCS) are skilled advocates on their behalf.

The firm was founded in 2006 by Grace Dennigan and Mia Cahill. Beth Smith joined in 2008, becoming a partner in 2012. They are experienced litigators, negotiators, and mediators, and the firm, located at 12 Roszel Road, Princeton, has an excellent reputation among both its clients and within the legal community. It represents clients primarily in Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, and Burlington counties.

An added dimension is that DCS is an all-female-owned and managed law firm. This has not deterred male clients who comprise half of the roster of clients.

“Both male and female clients have said that the idea of a strong female firm is appealing to them — based on their own perceptions on how they view us, and the qualities they are looking for in an attorney,” says Beth Smith. “Who doesn’t want a strong group of women in their corner?” more

HEADING TO EUROPE: Carly Bullock controls the puck in a game this winter during her senior season for the Princeton University women’s hockey team. With Bullock scoring a team-high 30 goals on the year, the Tigers won the ECAC Hockey tournament for the first time in program history and boasted a 26-6-1 record heading into the NCAA tournament. Princeton was deprived of a chance to make a run for a national title as the tourney was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bullock will get a chance to continue her hockey career as she recently signed a contract to play with Swedish professional club Linkoping HC. She will be joined on the squad by classmate and star goalie Steph Neatby. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Carly Bullock and her teammates on the Princeton University women’s hockey team believed that they were national title contenders as the squad headed into mid-March.

With senior star forward Bullock having scored a goal to help Princeton rally to a 3-2 overtime win at No. 1 Cornell on March 8 in the ECAC Hockey championship game, she sensed that the Tigers could go all the way in the upcoming NCAA tournament.

“We were playing some of our best hockey, we had just beaten the No. 1 team in the championship game,” said Bullock, a native of Eden Prairie, Minn., noting that it was the first-ever ECACH title for the program.

“We have been a really close team all year but around the playoffs we just hit a new level. We were just having so much fun and I think that really translates to things on ice. We were singing and dancing between periods.”

But the fun stopped days later when all college winter and spring sports were canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. With the Tigers getting ready to play at Northeastern in the NCAA quarterfinals, the abrupt end to the postseason run was hard to process for a team that had gone 26-6-1, setting a program record for most wins in a season. more

THE RIGHT STUFF: Princeton High baseball player Jason Ramirez fires a pitch in a 2019 game. Senior Ramirez had assumed a leadership role for PHS this season, being selected as a tri-captain along with classmates Judd Petrone and Gautam Chawla. The trio has stepped up to keep the Tiger players on the same page after the 2020 season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Heading into his second season at the helm of the Princeton High baseball team, Dom Capuano liked the vibe around the squad.

“We had 45 people try out and we had cuts; while making cuts is never fun, it is good that the program is growing,” said PHS head coach Capuano, who guided the Tigers to a 9-13 record in 2019 as it won six of its last eight games and advanced to the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals.

“We were excited. We lost some stuff from last year but I don’t think the team makeup was going to be that much different.”

Capuano credited his group of seniors — Jason Ramirez, Judd Petrone, Gautam Chawla, Brian Frost, Aidan Regan, Enoch Zeng, and Connor Parish — with setting a positive tone.

“I didn’t take over until basically almost February last year so there wasn’t the ability for those seniors to work in what we are trying to do now with the culture,” said Capuano.

“With this group of seniors, especially, the captains (Ramirez, Petrone, and Chawla) ran with it, leading the workouts and everything. They did an excellent job.” more

TAGLINE: Hun School softball player Gigi Venizelos looks to tag a baserunner in a game last spring. Senior star and Colgate University-bound Venizelos was poised for a big final campaign before the 2020 season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Led by a trio of battle-tested and dedicated seniors, the Hun School softball team was bringing high hopes into this spring.

“I thought it was a promising season, our seniors did such a great job, working out this fall and winter,” said Hun head coach Kathy Quirk, whose Class of 2020 featured Gigi Venizelos, Abby Zucatti, and Jackie Drozd.

The Raiders did see some game action on their annual preseason trip to Florida.

“We did a get a chance to go to Florida and play two games down there,” said Quirk, whose team went 9-6 in 2019 as it advanced to the state Prep A semifinals.

“We were starting to jell, we were young. Of the pitchers we had on the mound, one was a freshman and one was a sophomore. We had a freshman at first base, who was very similar to Meg Donohue and we had a new sophomore at shortstop.”

But the trip was cut short due to concerns stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak and the season was subsequently canceled, leaving Quirk feeling particularly sad for her veterans. more

May 22, 2020

By Donald Gilpin

The Princeton Health Department reported yesterday, May 21, a total of 17 confirmed COVID-19-related deaths in Princeton with seven additional probable (symptomatic but not tested) deaths of COVID-19 complications, 169 positive cases, 65 active positive cases, and 80 individuals recovered and released from isolation.

Recent focus has been on the long-term care facilities, where most of the COVID-19-related deaths in Princeton have occurred. Princeton Care Center has had 23 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among residents, 16 among staff members, and seven resident deaths from COVID-19 complications, according to the New Jersey Department of Health’s (NJDOH) report today, with suspected but untested cases excluded from the count. Fifteen residents and four staff members of Acorn Glen have contracted the virus, with seven resident deaths. There have been no reported COVID-related deaths of staff members in either Princeton facility.

In his coronavirus briefing from Trenton today, Gov. Phil Murphy announced 146 COVID-19-related deaths in the past 24 hours for a total of 10,985 deaths in the state, with 1,394 new positive tests and a total of 152,719 cases. New York is the only state with more COVID-19 cases and deaths than New Jersey.

In its 11th week, the pandemic is slowing, Murphy pointed out, with daily cases, deaths, and hospitalizations continuing to drop. He has been gradually lifting restrictions, allowing parks to reopen, non-essential businesses to offer curbside services, and permitting beaches, boardwalks, and lakes to open today, with social distancing guidelines, for the start of the Memorial Day weekend. more

May 20, 2020

For week four of our Community Comes Together campaign, we invited local youths to send in a poem. Daniel, age 8, penned this ode to one of New Jersey’s most popular fruits. Click Read More for more submissions for this week. Next week’s project will feature recipes.


By Donald Gilpin

Princeton continues to see decreases in the daily numbers of positive COVID-19 cases, as social distancing remains but restrictions are gradually lifted throughout the state. As of Tuesday, there have been 17 deaths, seven additional probable (not tested) COVID-19-related deaths, 164 confirmed positive cases, and 80 individuals recovered and released from isolation in Princeton, according to the Princeton Health Department.

Princeton Health Officer Jeff Grosser emphasized the focus on long-term care facilities, where most of the COVID-19-related deaths in Princeton have occurred. As of May 18, the New Jersey Department of Health reported 47 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and seven deaths at Princeton Care Center, and 19 confirmed cases and six deaths at Acorn Glen.

“Another large step forward in the battle against COVID-19 was announced by the New Jersey Department of Health in a recent Executive Directive signed by the Commissioner of Health requiring every long-term care facility to verify that they have developed disease and outbreak plans for testing staff and residents by May 19,” Grosser said. “Facilities must amend outbreak plans to include COVID-19 testing; and plans must be implemented by May 26.”

The directive also includes re-testing within three days for individuals who test negative. “The Princeton Health Department has been advising long-term care facilities on the importance of testing staff to ensure that asymptomatic staff are not spreading the virus among such a vulnerable population,” Grosser added.

The Health Department has been working with businesses, nonprofits, and schools in beginning to discuss plans leading to reopening.

Starting last week, the Princeton Health Department has been using volunteers, college interns, and parking enforcement officers to assist with extensive contact tracing. “Contact tracing is a fundamental activity that involves working with a client who has been diagnosed with an infectious disease to identify and provide support to contacts who may have been infected through exposure to the patient,” Grosser wrote in an email.

He continued, “This process prevents further transmission of disease by separating people who have (or may have) an infectious disease from people who do not. It is a core disease control measure that has been employed by public health agency personnel for decades.” more

By Donald Gilpin

Temporarily abandoning DarkSide-20k, his research into the dark matter of the universe, Princeton University Physics Professor Cristiano Galbiati in mid-March went to work to create ventilators for coronavirus patients.

Less than two months later, on May 1, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Galbiati’s Mechanical Ventilator Milano (MVM) for use under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization. The MVM is currently moving into production stages, soon to be generating 50 ventilators a day.

Since dark matter, a mysterious invisible substance, is much more complex than ventilators, Galbiati quickly realized that he and his international team of physicists studying dark matter had the expertise and could mobilize the network of support needed to address the worldwide shortage of mechanical ventilators, which are vital for the survival of COVID-19 victims suffering from lack of oxygen.

“We needed to pivot and do something for the good of our people — and forget about our research,” Galbiati said in a phone call Tuesday from Milan, where he has been in lockdown with his family for the past two months. “This time we needed to apply our research for the health of the people.”

He described “a very stressful period” in Milan two months ago as the coronavirus was spreading in Italy. “I was locked down,” he said. “I called a friend of mine whose family had made a big donation to a hospital where they were fighting the pandemic. He told me the hospital’s order for ventilators had been canceled because of shortages and couldn’t be filled.”

Galbiati also talked with his brother, an emergency room doctor, who reported that his hospital was also in need of ventilators.

“The sense of crisis was very deep,” Galbiati told Symmetry Magazine. “We were in utter disbelief. It’s something that I never thought I would experience in my lifetime.” more

By Donald Gilpin

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright offered wit and wisdom, anecdotes, and insight on a wide range of topics Friday evening in a conversation with Anne Marie Slaughter, CEO of New America and Princeton University professor emerita of politics and international affairs. The Princeton Public Library (PPL)-sponsored virtual benefit was attended by more than 500 people.

Albright, who is on a book tour to promote her latest memoir, has established several additional careers since she stepped down as the first woman secretary of state in 2001 at the end of the Clinton administration. She is a professor of diplomacy at Georgetown University; a six-time New York Times best-selling author; a business entrepreneur, as chair of the Albright Stonebridge global business strategy group and founder of Albright Capital Management investment advisory service; and is also continuing her service as chair of the National Democratic Institute and as a member of the U.S. Defense Department Defense Policy Board.

Throughout the conversation, Albright demonstrated that one of her most powerful attributes is humor. “I never thought of myself as being funny,” she said. “I was a serious child, but I did discover that I had a sense of humor and I did try to deploy it in a number of ways. I do think it can disarm people.”

Albright, who was celebrating her 83rd birthday on Friday, explained the origin of the title of her new book, Hell and Other Destinations: A 21st-Century Memoir, which she wrote before the current pandemic. “But the title is so apt right now for what’s going on,” she said. “The most famous thing I ever said is ‘there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.’ It was so famous it ended up on a Starbucks cup.” more

AN EARLIER PANDEMIC: An emergency hospital was created in the Green home on Stockton Street, near where Trinity Church is located today, during the 1918 flu pandemic. This photo is among the historic documents to be shared in the Open Archive program being presented virtually by the Historical Society of Princeton on May 27. (Courtesy of Historical Society of Princeton)

By Anne Levin

During the influenza pandemic a century ago, Princeton suffered its share of losses. By the time the two-year crisis subsided in 1920, some 300 cases had been reported, and about 20 residents had died, according to the Historical Society of Princeton (HSP).

The town had no medical facility at that time. Princeton Hospital was established largely because of the pandemic, a fact that HSP curator Stephanie Schwartz will explore in the Open Archive program being presented digitally on Wednesday, May 27 at 6:30 p.m. The event, which explores the history of health care in Princeton, is being broadcast live on Princeton Public Library’s Crowdcast page.

“This Open Archive program will have a more structured format than previous ones, because it is being broadcast so we can’t feature quite as many documents as usual,” said Schwartz. “But we’ll be narrowing it down, focusing on what we have in our collection from the first few decades of the 20th century, especially in relation to the creation of the hospital, which was a result of the pandemic.”

Papers related to the original Neighborhood Nurse Committee, newspaper articles, hospital brochures, fundraising items, and annual reports are among the items to be discussed in the program, which will allow the opportunity to ask questions. Items unrelated to the flu epidemic include early records from the town’s first health officer in the 1920s, and signs that were put up outside houses indicating scarlet fever or chicken pox cases within. more

By Anne Levin

Due to demands created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Princeton Council is taking another look at its list of goals and priorities for this year before making a final decision on what is realistic to pursue, and what to defer. The governing body is planning to bring back the list as a resolution and vote on it again at its next meeting, which is Tuesday, May 26 at 7 p.m.

“Our priorities have changed with the pandemic hitting us,” said Municipal Administrator Marc Dashield at the Council’s May 11 virtual meeting. Dashield has asked directors of different governmental departments to revisit goals and priorities established early in the year, he told Council. Among the issues created by the pandemic are the moving of confidential materials from the police department to the municipal court, and improving technology to accommodate the number of issues that must be dealt with remotely.

Mayor Liz Lempert mentioned reviewing the regulations that businesses in town may encounter when they are cleared to reopen, to make sure some flexibility is built in. Councilwoman Michelle Pirone Lambros talked about parking space requirements, and what is needed to change from one allowable use to another. “We’re looking at what other types of regulations we can change to help streamline the processes that exist right now,” she said.

Council President David Cohen referenced re-envisioning the use of streets, curbs, and sidewalks to accommodate social distancing, especially in light of restaurants that want to have outdoor dining. Other goals mentioned included training and maintaining an adequate number of people doing contact tracing to contain the coronavirus outbreak, and ensuring there is adequate housing and resources to socially isolate or quarantine those who have either tested positive for the virus, or come into contact with someone that has tested positive. more

By Stuart Mitchner

Picture a poet who makes a living writing thrillers. He’s on the run in San Francisco, having been falsely convicted of murder, and his face is all over the papers. Escaped Killer On the Loose. A rich, beautiful, sympathetic woman who followed the trial and has good reason to believe he’s innocent gives him shelter in her deluxe apartment overlooking the bay.

That night he flags down a taxi driven by a friendly, worldly, wise-cracking cabbie who immediately recognizes him. The cabbie knows of a genius plastic surgeon who can give the poet a new face that very night for $200. “Not only that,” says the cabbie, “this guy is a bit of a dark poet himself, he can mend your mind while he’s fixing your face.”

The first thing the doctor asks the poet is “What sorta face do you want?” He has a gallery of possibilities. “I could give you middle period T.S. Eliot. Or I could do early Robert Frost.”

“Nah,” says the poet, “How about Humphrey Bogart? Can you do a good Bogie?”

“Sure, all the time. Everybody wants to be Bogart, but I thought you were a poet.”

“I make a living writing thrillers,” says the poet. “I thought the cabbie told you. Anyway, Bogart is a poet.”

“Funny, now that I think of it, you talk just like him,” says the doctor. “You’ve got his voice.”

“So do you, doc. Everyone should sound like Bogart at three in the morning. That’s what I want to hear as the drug kicks in. I want a film noir mood. Voices speaking soft and low. The sound of coffee and cigarettes, sheltering in place while the world goes mad.”

“Right, but when you’re going under, you want poetry. I usually say a few words. To see folks through. Something mildly hypnotic. Sounds like you don’t want clarity. You want to mask the meaning. Give it a touch of mystery. Just the thing to be hearing as you flow down into darkness. Wallace Stevens always works. Like ‘Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird’ — by the fifth blackbird, you’re on your way. Now… just close your eyes.” more

KEEPING PATRONS ENGAGED: A scene from the Princeton Festival’s production of “Madame Butterfly,” which streams on June 7 at 1 p.m., during the first week of the organization’s busy online season. (Photo by Jessi Franco Designs)

By Anne Levin

Of the various rosters of virtual events currently offered by local arts organizations, the Princeton Festival’s is among the most ambitious. The recently released schedule of “Virtually Yours” — performances, poetry readings, podcasts, discussions, and artists’ videos — covers the month of June, which is when the 2020 festival would have taken place if a worldwide pandemic hadn’t caused its cancellation.

“Our patrons are used to this time period,” said Artistic Director Richard Tang Yuk in a phone call from his native Trinidad, where he has been sheltering since March. “I thought, rather than spread this out over several months, why don’t we just try to curate something and do it during the time people are used to seeing us?”

The long list of free, streamed events begins Monday, June 1 with Princeton Festival artists singing selections from The Sound of Music, and continues through the week with artists’ videos, a podcast on “Women in Music,” a lecture by Tim Urban on “Why We Love Opera,” a WWFM broadcast of the Concordia Chamber Players, an organ recital by Matthew Middletown, and a Princeton Festival performance of the opera Madame Butterfly. The next three weeks are similarly varied.

Once it became clear that the COVID-19 crisis was a serious threat, Tang Yuk and colleagues formed a special task force. “They were looking at reports every day as we got closer and closer to June,” he said. “In March, we realized we weren’t going to be able to do the festival this summer. Not everyone had canceled their summer festivals at that point, but it became clearer to us that we weren’t going to be able to do it. I always remind people that rehearsal starts at the beginning of May. So we made the decision at the beginning of April to cancel the physical season.” more

TRASHED ART CONTEST: From left, “Spectral Chamber,” “Sun,” “Two Fossil Forms,” and “Consumption Confusion” were featured in the TrashedArt 2019 Contest. Presented by the Mercer County Library System (MCLS), this year’s TrashedArt Contest was held virtually, with a reception and awards ceremony to be held Thursday, May 21 on the MCLS’ Facebook page.

Due to the continuing health and safety concerns surrounding coronavirus (COVID-19), the Mercer County Library System (MCLS) is closed until further notice. E-books, audiobooks, streaming media, and digital resources are still available 24/7 online.

In light of these events, the Library System’s TrashedArt 2020 Contest was held virtually through its website. The contest celebrated Earth Day by encouraging patrons to turn ordinary trash into extraordinary art.  more

IN CONVERSATION: The Arts Council of Princeton presents In Conversation with Mira DeMartino, pictured here, and Timothy M. Andrews on Tuesday, May 26, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Visit to link into the free conversation via Zoom.

The Arts Council of Princeton continues its In Conversation series with Mira DeMartino and Timothy M. Andrews on Tuesday, May 26 at 7 p.m.

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

BEST FRIENDS: “At SAVE, our cats and dogs are not just a number. We get to know each one individually. Each has its own story, and each is loved.” Heather L. Achenbach, executive director of SAVE, A Friend To Homeless Animals, is shown with Yorkshire terrier, Rudy, who was recently adopted. Found abandoned, he was brought to SAVE, where he was gently cared for, and then soon found his new “forever” home.

By Jean Stratton

For those who have loved a companion animal, the bond is deep and true. It could be that special dog, now grown old, you knew as a puppy. Or the kitten you watched play all day, now content to catnap the hours away. Both are still such a valuable and loved part of the family — whatever their ages.

There are as many such stories as there are dogs and cats, and each is unique and lasting.

And when an animal who has been abandoned or abused is able to find a home, it is even more meaningful.

No one understands this more fully than Heather L. Achenbach, executive director of SAVE, A Friend To Homeless Animals. She is aware of the continuing need to find homes for the many stray, lost, and surrendered dogs and cats, so that they can live a safe and happy life. more

BATTLING BACK: Princeton University baseball player Chris Davis displays his batting form in a game last spring. After dealing with a series of injuries early in his career, outfielder Davis emerged as a key contributor for the Tigers, hitting .281 in 2019 as a junior and leading the Tigers in slugging percentage with a .407 mark. With his final season getting cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Davis is headed to Duke University as a graduate student in its Fuqua School of Business and will be playing for the Blue Devil baseball program. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Resilient gets thrown around a lot in these uncertain times, but few befit the adjective better than Chris Davis.

The Princeton University senior baseball star will graduate this June after having his final season cut short by the coronavirus pandemic, the third season he has missed out on in his career. He’s been through a lot in the last five years, yet still has his sights on playing pro ball.

“He’s just as resilient a young man as we have ever had,” said Scott Bradley, the Tigers head coach the last 23 years. “It’s incredible what he’s done.”

Davis, a 5’9, 175-pound outfielder from Avon, Conn., was set back by a shoulder problem in his first year at Princeton, a life-threatening freak injury the next year, and now after two promising seasons, his final campaign was erased by precautions taken by the Ivy League and NCAA due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Losing a baseball season doesn’t match some of the loss and hardship some of the people across the world have had,” said Davis. “It’s crazy how much it has escalated with the reasons I’ve missed seasons.”

Returning from the first two years off to enjoy strong seasons, Davis is looking forward to his next opportunity on the diamond that will come next year as a graduate student in Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. This spring, he had been hoping to build on a 2019 season that saw him start every game, batting .281 and leading the Tigers with a .407 slugging percentage as well as 16 extra-base hits. He had a hit and two walks this year in seven games as the Tigers went 0-7 before the remainder of the season was canceled. more