February 1, 2017

When planning a season of performance, it is impossible to predict how news events will impact music in the coming year, or vice versa. At the end of a tumultuous weekend of national affairs, Princeton Symphony Orchestra presented a concert which could not have been more appropriate — music of a composer born in Belarus, a composer rooted in Middle Eastern musical heritage, music of an individual working in a repressive artistic climate, and a performer who has made a life mission excelling in a genre rooted in Eastern Europe. If there were ever an instance of music to reflect and inform a troubled time, Princeton Symphony’s concert Sunday afternoon at Richardson Auditorium was it.  more

The Princeton Folk Music Society presents The Jamcrackers, an Adirondack folk music trio named for river drivers who broke up log jams. The concert will take place on Friday, February 17 at Christ Congregation Church, 50 Walnut Lane in Princeton. Admission at the door is $20 ($15 members, $10 students, and $5 children). Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the show starts at 8:15 p.m. Ample free parking is available. For more information, visit www.princetonfolk.org.

Comedian Lewis Black will perform at the State Theatre of NJ in New Brunswick on Saturday, February 25 at 8 p.m. as part of “The Rant, White, and Blue Tour.” Ticket prices range from $35-$75. To purchase, visit www.statetheatrenj.org or call (732) 246-7469. 

GREAT TASTES: “Our Mediterranean-inspired selection is what sets us apart. We take pride in our product and our preparation. We focus on healthy fats, high protein, and fresh veggies. Everything is freshly made every day.” Todd Lukas (left), regional operator for Zoë’s Kitchen, is shown with Sarah Holler, general manger of the new Zoës Kitchen in the Mercer Mall.

Fans of the Mediterranean diet are delighted that they now have a new dining spot to please their palate.

Zoës Kitchen opened December 1 in the Mercer Mall, 3371 Brunswick Pike in Lawrenceville. With seating for 86 inside and 44 outdoors on the patio, the restaurant offers a spacious, attractive setting for lunch and dinner. more

STATEMENT GAME: Princeton University men’s hockey player David Hallisey controls the puck in recent action. Last Saturday, junior forward Hallisey scored two goals as Princeton rallied from a 4-2 third period deficit to defeat No. 4 Penn State 5-4 at the Wells Fargo Center in the Philadelphia College Hockey Faceoff. The Tigers, now 8-11-2, play at Yale on February 3 and at Brown on February 4. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

It was a situation that could have gone downhill quickly for the Princeton University men’s hockey team. more

RECORD PACE: Princeton High girls’ swimmer Melinda Tang displays her butterfly form in a recent meet. Last Saturday, senior star Tang won the 100 butterfly at the Mercer County Swimming Championships to help PHS finish fifth of 14 schools in the team standings at the meet.  Tang established a meet record in the 100 fly in the preliminary round when she clocked a time of 1:02.80. The Little Tigers are next in action when they compete in the Public state tournament. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Melinda Tang wasn’t feeling 100 percent physically as she hit the pool last week for the Princeton High girls’ swimming team at the Mercer County Swimming Championships. more

January 25, 2017

The diverse crowd of more than 6,000 women, men, and children who showed up in Trenton on Saturday to march for women’s rights, civil rights, and other causes threatened by the new administration was upbeat and positive. Princeton Council members were among those marching from the War Memorial to the State House. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

Before a standing-room-only crowd of more than 100 outspoken community members the Municipal Council voted 4-1 on Monday night to approve a resolution urging the State Department of Education to deny Princeton Charter School’s (PCS) recent application to expand.

In responding to a conflict between PCS and Princeton Public Schools (PPS) supporters, who have claimed devastating effects to their budget if the expansion is approved, the Council members discussed the issue at some length and listened to a range of opinions from the public before casting their votes on the resolution.  more

Among the Trump administration’s planned budget cuts are the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities. While this isn’t the first time these two agencies have been targeted, the current threats have culturally-minded citizens concerned.

The NEA and NEH, which at 0.02 percent represent only a small slice of the Federal budget, help fund locally-based arts and cultural organizations. The Princeton Public Library; People & Stories, Gente y Cuentos; McCarter Theatre; and Trenton’s Passage Theatre Company are among those that have received support. But landing a grant from the NEA or NEH isn’t only about finances. more

Among the millions taking part in the women’s marches Saturday, January 21 in several corners of the globe were members of Princeton’s governing body.

Council members Lance Liverman, Heather Howard, and Tim Quinn joined marchers in Trenton. Jo Butler was in Los Angeles and participated in that city’s event. While Mayor Liz Lempert was under the weather and could not attend, and Councilwoman Jenny Crumiller was not able to take part, both professed to be with the marchers in spirit. Bernie Miller did not take part, but his wife rode one of the two buses from Princeton to Washington to march there. more

DAZZLING DESIGNS: Among the many new retail and eating establishments coming onto the Princeton scene this spring is the Cargot Brasserie, a French inspired eatery next to the Dinky Pub and Kitchen, shown here in a rendering by Celano Design Studio of New York.

The ever-shifting landscape of Princeton shops and restaurants may be even more turbulent than usual over the coming months, with Carnevale Plaza preparing to open on eastern Nassau Street, MAC Cosmetics moving in to Palmer Square next to Ann Taylor, The Papery stationery store relocating to Princeton Shopping Center to be joined by Dental Care Princeton and a creative salad company called Chop’t, and the Cargot Brasserie opening in Princeton’s arts and transit neighborhood.  more

On Sunday, January 22, more than 50 volunteers from the World Mission Society Church of God in North Brunswick cleaned up the historic 17-acre Marquand Park. Volunteers removed a considerable amount of debris that has accumulated over the years. Marquand Park is home to more than 200 species of trees, including Cedar of Lebanon, Japanese Arbor Vitae, and native oaks that have been imported and planted in the land since the early 19th century. A passing neighbor, Herald Warner, was very moved by the work being done as well. He stated, “I am very glad to see that the park commission found a group like this to carry out this work that has not been attended to for over 20 years.” The volunteers worked with the hope that the community would be touched and take deeper appreciation of the park.

Michelle Jacob, science and math teacher and middle school program coordinator at Princeton Montessori School, feels she has found her vocation and her niche. “There’s always new things I want to introduce to the program,” she said, “but I would love to stay where I am with what I’m doing.”

Ms. Jacob joined Princeton Montessori School in 2008 after ten years at Princeton Charter School and four years before that at St. Paul Roman Catholic School. She lives with her husband and two children in Montgomery, where she serves on the Township Environmental Commission. more

Unicorn Therapeutic Horseback Riding is a non-profit program dedicated to enhancing the lives of children and adults with special needs. Unicorn opened its doors in Fall 2016 after operating for over 18 years in Burlington County. Set on over 18 acres, a brand new 72×144 Amish built indoor riding arena with viewing area and 7 stall barn with tack room and wash stall completes the equine facility. Unicorn is located at 171 Marshalls Corner Woodsville Road in Hopewell Township, NJ. Unicorn is operated by an experienced staff and Director Erin Hurley, a licensed Occupational Therapist with over 28 years of experience in this field. New volunteers are needed and training will be provided. For more information, call (609) 354-2014 or email sjtr@comcast.net.

The morning after the Inauguration we’re out of milk so I drive over to the shopping center. Maybe because I’ve had no breakfast, everyone I see looks grim and hung-over. It’s a William Blake crowd, “marks of weakness, marks of woe” on every face. Or maybe it’s just me remembering how it seemed on January 21, 2009, everyone smiling, high on hope, strangers shyly nodding hello. Eight years ago! Was the contrast really so stark? Surely life’s more subtle than that.

When I get behind the wheel of my green 2000 CRV, the key won’t turn, steering wheel’s locked, so I give it a turn or two, no use. Then I look up and see almost directly across from me in the parking lot the green 2000 CRV that actually belongs to me.

No, life’s not subtle. I’ve begun January 21, 2017 by getting into the wrong car.

Driving home, the date begins sinking in. At sunrise on January 21,1966 I was with seven million pilgrims at Sangam, the meeting of holy rivers, the Ganges and the Jumna. Seven years later a friend who’d shared the moment with me writes from England with the news that his first child was born in the early morning hours of January 21. A year later living nearby in Bristol, my wife and I come to know and love the little girl and begin to think, “We can do this,” and so we do, and here we are in Princeton on the morning after.  more

Plainsboro Public Library will celebrate the Year of the Rooster on Saturday, February 4, from noon to 4:30 p.m. with traditional Chinese arts, crafts, food, dances, games and lantern riddles. From noon to 2 p.m. will be the art reception for accomplished artist Zuimeng Cao, who brings an exciting collection of Chinese traditional paintings depicting landscapes of ice & snow and flora & fauna. Professor Cao will speak of his technique and art theory at 1:30 p.m. The exhibition is available for viewing in the library’s Art Gallery from January 25 through February 23. At 1:45 p.m., the library will welcome in the new year with a joyful dragon dance performed by the Huaxia Chinese School at Plainsboro’s Dragon Dance Team, a traditional staple of the Chinese New Year celebration. From 2 to 3:30 p.m. is the ever-popular Food Show graciously sponsored by the Asian Food Markets. Dumplings will be served in the 1st floor café area. For a complete schedule of events, visit www.lmxac.org.

ON TRIAL: After all her miraculous success in leading the French to victory, Joan (Andrus Nichols) finds herself captured, brought before an ecclesiastical court on charges of heresy, and interrogated by the Inquisitor (Eric Tucker) in Bedlam theater company’s production of George Bernard Shaw’s “Saint Joan,” at McCarter’s Berlind Theatre through February 12. (Photo by T. Charles Erickson) 

The young heroine of George Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan (1923) has a lot in common with the celebrated Bedlam theater company that is presenting the play at McCarter’s Berlind Theatre through February 12. “There is something about the girl,” says a soldier in the opening scene of the play, as Joan of Arc wins over the local squire to supply her with a horse, armor, and troops, and, following orders directly from God, she sets out to free the city of Orleans from the English.  more

Come celebrate George Washington’s 285th birthday on Sunday, February 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Washington Crossing Historic Park. Admission is just $1. During the day, buildings in the historic village will be open and various children’s activities will be offered. Children are encouraged to bring homemade birthday cards to present to General Washington. At 1 p.m., visitors will gather in the park’s visitor center to sing Happy Birthday to George and enjoy cake that he will cut with his own sword. Washington Crossing Historic Park is located at 1112 River Road in Washington Crossing, Pa. This event is sponsored by the Friends of Washington Crossing Park.

“FORMAL PEARS WITH KNIFE”: This somewhat foreboding still-life is included in Allen Fitzpatrick’s exhibit titled “Looking” in the Rider University Art Gallery Thursday, January 26 through Sunday, February 26. Learn more at www.rider.edu/arts.

The Rider University Art Gallery will present an exhibition of works by Allen Fitzpatrick titled “Looking” from Thursday, January 26 through Sunday, February 26. The exhibit will include an opening reception on Thursday, January 26 from 5 to 7 p.m. and an artist’s talk on Thursday, February 2 at 7 p.m. Admission is free. more

Artist Josh Rockland is displaying his work at Small World Coffee on 254 Nassau Street through the month of January. On his website, joshrockland.com, he writes: “My paintings have a personal, narrative quality that combines seemingly unrelated objects in an aesthetic and accessible way.” Rockland is originally from Princeton and currently resides in Morristown.

The Takács String Quartet returned to Richardson Auditorium at Princeton University last Wednesday night for the third of the ensemble’s six-part journey through the string quartets of Ludwig van Beethoven. Throughout the fall and early winter, Princeton University Concerts has built ancillary educational events around these performances, and as in the previous concerts, the Takács Quartet played to a nearly full house. Also as with other performances in this series, seating in the house was limited to downstairs and onstage, creating a more intimate atmosphere. more

Princeton Abbey and Cemetery is pleased to announce they will be hosting a concert from Les Agrements de Musique on Sunday afternoon, February 5 at 4 p.m. The concert will feature works by: Jean-Baptiste Lully, Marin Marais, Louis and François Couperin, and Charles (François) Dieupart. This concert hass general admission with a suggested donation of $15 at the door. more

Registration for the Princeton Little League’s (PLL) spring 2017 baseball and tee ball season is now open at www.princetonlittleleague.com.

Boys and girls between the ages of 4-13 are eligible to play. In order to be eligible, players must either live within the PLL boundary area, which includes parts of Rocky Hill, Skillman, and Hopewell, or attend a school in the PLL boundary area. more

January 18, 2017

Reading over the artist’s shoulder, you know who the hero of the occasion is at Monday’s Martin Luther King Day Community Event at the Arts Council of Princeton’s Paul Robeson Center. It was a day of live performances, interactive improv, listening, learning, sharing, and making art. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

Despite impassioned appeals on both sides, along with expressed commitments to work together, Princeton Charter School (PCS) and Princeton Public Schools (PPS) remain entrenched in their opposition over the question of a PCS expansion.

Princeton Charter School’s board voted unanimously last Wednesday to support their application to the State Department of Education for expansion, and Princeton Public Schools continued their efforts to block that move.  more

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