February 17, 2021

“THE MANIC MONOLOGUES”: McCarter Theatre Center, in association with Princeton University Health Services, The 24 Hour Plays, and Innovations in Socially Distant Performance, is launching “The Manic Monologues.” Created by Zack Burton (left) and Elisa Hofmeister (center), the monologues form the core of a virtual experience conceived and directed by Elena Araoz (right). (Photos courtesy of the artists)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

McCarter Theatre will launch The Manic Monologues on February 18. The free interactive website is described by a press release as “a digital theatrical experience to disrupt stigma and spotlight a conversation about mental health.” McCarter is presenting the project in association with Princeton University Health Services; The 24 Hour Plays; and Innovations in Socially Distant Performance, a project of Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts.

The monologues, and the panel discussions that complement them, concern “our moment,” says McCarter’s Resident Producer Debbie Bisno. Topics include the extent to which mental health is affected by social media, racial injustice, and COVID.

The Manic Monologues was created by Zack Burton and Elisa Hofmeister. It is a collection of true stories submitted by a range of people living with mental health challenges. The anthology of vignettes was inspired by Burton’s personal experience; in 2017 he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. (At the time he was completing his Ph.D. in geology at Stanford). Burton says that the play was conceived “about a year after my diagnosis.”

Burton and Hofmeister, who were dating at the time, aimed to improve the conversation about mental health. “We were struggling with this lack of hopeful, uplifting stories,” Burton explains. “Every one of us knows someone touched in some way by a mental health condition … this is a core component of the human experience. It’s a spectrum, and it’s also equal opportunity, so everyone’s affected. So we wanted to capture that diversity.” more

Launched last October, McCarter Theatre Center’s Fireside Chats have been popular with patrons taking part in online programming during the pandemic. Hosted by Artistic Director Sarah Rasmussen, shown here with U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith in an episode to be aired next week, the discussions are filmed “fireside” on McCarter’s front lawn and air on the theater’s free YouTube channel. Past episodes, which are available to view, have included Princeton RISE fellow Valeria Torres-Olivares, actor Lew Gantwerk, Jammin’ Crepes co-owner Kathy Klockenbrink, former Mayor Liz Lempert, the Rev. Dr. Theresa S. Thames, and fashion designer Assata Andrews. Visit mccarter.org for more information. In addition to Smith, look for Princeton Record Exchange’s Jon Lambert, Tay Walker of the YWCA Princeton, and Trenton Central High School theater educator Felicia Brown in future episodes. Visit mccarter.org/firesidechats for information.

NOTABLE DEBUT: Pianist Michelle Cann is soloist, for the first time, with the Philadelphia Orchestra on February 18 and 25 as part of the current Digital Stage concert series. With conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin on the podium, Cann plays a 1934 work by Black composer Florence Price. (Photo by Jeff Fusco)

Pianist Michelle Cann makes her Philadelphia Orchestra debut with the Orchestra’s first performance of Florence Price’s Piano Concerto in One Movement in digital performances on February 18 and 25. Also on the program, conducted by Yannick Nezet-Seguin, are works by Rossini and Schubert.

The Digital Stage is the orchestra’s online content platform. Performances have been reimagined and filmed, without audiences, at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts and Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center. Concerts are available on demand for ticket-holders for one week following the premieres. The concerts with Cann were originally scheduled, pre-pandemic, for March 4-11, 2021. more

“SHAPELESS ENDEAVOUR”: Ryan Gander’s cararra marble carving of a dolos, a form usually used as a barrier to interrupt natural tide cycles with the intention of preventing coastal erosion, is one of the works featured in the virtual exhibition “Natural and Conventional Signs.”

In the virtual exhibition “Natural and Conventional Signs,” U.K. artist Ryan Gander presents a selection of new works directly guided by his research at Princeton University undertaken during his time as a Hodder Fellow (2019-2020) and made during a period of reflection while the world paused amid a global pandemic.

Gander invites an audience into his new gallery space within his studio, Solid Haus, in rural Suffolk, two hours east of London. He has assembled a show in which the works have duality in meaning and utility; subverting the signs, tropes, and markers seen in the everyday world to shine new light on how we position ourselves in relation to the values of time, money, opportunity, attention, and privilege.  more

COFFEY BREWING: Tyler Coffey, left, controls the puck in action this winter in his freshman season for the Colorado College men’s hockey team. Former Princeton Day School standout forward Coffey has an assist in 10 appearances for the Tigers so far in his debut campaign. (Photo provided courtesy of Colorado College Athletics Communications)

By Bill Alden

Tyler Coffey is living out a dream this winter as he starts his career for the Colorado College men’s hockey team. The former Princeton Day School star decided years ago that he would like to play college hockey someday.

“In the eighth grade, I knew it was something I wanted to pursue,” said Coffey, reflecting on his goal to play at the next level. “My parents were always big on me getting an education and being able to play hockey at the same time.”

In addition to thriving on the ice for the Panthers, Coffey appreciated the education he got at PDS.

“I felt PDS was the best option right there, I was there through my junior year,” said Coffey. “The three years I did have at PDS really prepared me for Colorado College.”

After starring for PDS over three seasons, Coffey moved on to juniors to help increase his chances of playing at the next level, playing for the New Jersey Hitmen of the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL). He was named the USPHL Forward of the Year in 2017 after leading the league in goals (37) and points (60). A year later, Coffey tallied 46 points on 27 goals and 19 assists for the Hitmen.

Coffey then headed west to play for Tri-City Storm (Neb.) and Sioux Falls Stampede (S.D.) of the United States Hockey League (USHL). He was sidelined by injury with Tri-City and then scored 12 points on six goals and six assists in 18 games for  Sioux Falls during the 2019-20 campaign.

For Coffey, playing juniors proved to be a key stepping stone in his transition to Division I college hockey. more

MIGHTY CASEY: Princeton High girls’ basketball player Casey Serxner drives past a Hopewell Valley player last week. Freshman guard Serxner has helped spark PHS to a promising 3-1 start. In upcoming action, the Tigers are slated to play at Steinert on February 17 and at Trenton Central on February 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Coming off a disappointing 5-20 campaign in 2019-20, the Princeton High girls’ basketball team didn’t waste any time serving notice that things are going to be different this winter.

In its season opener against Hamilton West on January 29, PHS rolled to a 43-19 win over the Hornets. Six days later, the Tigers routed Nottingham 58-17.

“We are much better this year, it is just a totally different vibe,” said PHS head coach Dave Kosa.

“Actually it is a totally different philosophy; we are uptempo this year, we are pressing.”

Freshman point guard Casey Serxner has emerged as a catalyst for the squad, speeding things up on both ends of the court for the Tigers.

“Casey has been doing a great job as far as leading us on the break,” said Kosa of Serxner, who also stars at soccer for PHS.

“She also pressures the other team’s point guard so it really spearheads our offense and defense. She never tires, she is always on the go. That is the type of person she is, always working no matter what sport she is playing. She has a lot on her plate. We are asking her to run the offense, we are asking her be the half court girl at our press. She is looking to be the anticipator and get some steals which she has done.”

Last week, Serxner helped PHS pass a big early season test, tallying 11 points with three assists and two rebounds as the Tigers edged Hopewell Valley 40-37 on February 9.

“They were undefeated and they have one of the better point guards in the league in Franki Gomez,” said Kosa. more

HARD DRIVING: Princeton High boys’ basketball player Ethan Guy, right, drives to the hoop in recent action. Last Monday, senior forward Guy tallied 16 points in a losing cause as PHS fell 50-40 to Lawrence High. The Tigers, now 0-4, are slated to host Steinert on February 17 and Trenton Central on February 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As a three-year starter for the Princeton High boys’ basketball team, Ethan Guy is looking to give his teammates the benefit of his experience.

“It is being that leader to keep this program running and build up a lot of these juniors and sophomores,” said senior forward Guy. “I am trying to be a leader and let them experience the varsity level.”

Last Monday, Guy set a good example for the squad’s younger players, tallying 16 points in a losing cause as PHS fell 50-40 to Lawrence High, dropping to 0-4. While a late Tiger rally fell short, the squad did show some offensive cohesion, particularly in the second quarter when they outscored the Cardinals 13-9.

“I felt that we were comfortable, we had three practices this week,” said Guy. “We implemented some more and added on to that offense a little bit. It is nice to just get comfortable.” more

INSIDE PRESENCE: Princeton Day School boys’ basketball player Ethan Garita puts up a shot in the paint over a Pennington School defender last week. Senior center Garita scored 14 points in the February 9 contest to help PDS prevail 50-49. The Panthers, who fell 62-51 at the Hun School last Thursday to move to 2-1, are slated to host Hun in a rematch on February 18 before playing at Pennington on February 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Ethan Garita struggled in the first half as the Princeton Day School boys’ basketball team hosted the Pennington School last week.

PDS senior center Garita managed just two points in the first half as the Panthers found themselves trailing archrival Pennington 24-23 at halftime in the February 9 contest.

“In the first half I was kind of getting frustrated, I wasn’t getting the calls from the refs,” said Garita. “You have to just keep fighting it out and keep working and it will come to you.”

At the break, PDS head coach Eugene Burroughs urged the Panthers to fight harder in the second half.

“He told us to keep working; we just wanted to be more aggressive, grab rebounds, and talk on the floor,” recalled Garita. “We had a lot of times where we were kind of selfish and we weren’t passing the ball and running our plays.” more

February 10, 2021

All was quiet by the bridge on Mercer Road crossing the Stony Brook, with just a few geese in sight, after last Sunday’s snowfall. More snow is in the forecast for later this week. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Anne Levin

At the end of a marathon, five-and-a-half-hour meeting Monday evening that ended after 1 a.m. on Tuesday, Princeton’s Zoning Board of Adjustment voted in favor of a plan to turn an office building at 20 Nassau Street into a 180-room hotel.

Chicago-based Graduate Hotels, which has properties in university towns in the United States and the United Kingdom, will repurpose the building at Nassau and Chambers streets while demolishing a three-story building on Chambers Street and replacing it with a five-story addition to the hotel. The entrance will be on Chambers Street.

While some residents and business owners have been in favor of the plan, several who live on neighboring Bank Street have expressed major concerns about blocked light, traffic, noise, and the project’s size and scale. Representatives of Graduate Hotels met with residents several times over the past few months to hear their concerns. But there were still worries voiced at the meeting Monday night.

During public comment, homeowner Chip Crider said that while original projections for the hotel might have been made at a time when the economy was different, “there’s no reason we should take a hit because their assumptions are wrong. It’s a nice application,” he said, “but it’s oversized and oversold.”

Another neighbor objected to a solid brick wall to be built behind the Chambers Street section, saying it would block light and make his utility bills go up. Melina Bilic of Bank Street said she didn’t understand why she couldn’t get permission to put a skylight in, while “someone can get a waiver for 178 rooms. I don’t think that’s fair.”

Bank Street resident and professional planner Tony Nelessen commented that while Princeton needs another hotel, the proposed plan is too big. He noted that the Graduate Hotel in New Haven, Connecticut, has only 72 rooms. “Why do we need 178 rooms in Princeton?” he asked. “Is it to make the model work, or is it about some level of financial greed?” Nelessen was critical of the plan for the back of the building on Chambers Street that will face Bank Street properties, saying it looks like a penal colony or warehouse. The plan “is a slap in the face to the entire historic neighborhood,” he said. “The hotel will have a lasting impact on the Bank Street neighborhood.” more

By Donald Gilpin

Over the weekend New Jersey passed the 1 million mark in COVID-19 vaccine doses administered, with 1,085,595 reported by Tuesday morning, February 9, including 842,971 first doses and 242,362 second doses.

The demand for vaccines continues to exceed the supply, however, and residents throughout the state continue to face frustration and delays in scheduling appointments to get the shot. On Monday, February 8, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy pointed out that the vaccine picture in the state is improving, with New Jersey expecting nearly 250,000 doses from the federal government next week, up from about 130,000 doses per week delivered in recent weeks.

He emphasized the accelerating trend in vaccinations in New Jersey, with the first 250,000 in 29 days in late December and early January, then just 10 days beyond that to pass 500,000, then just 16 days for the next 500,000. So far, 55 percent of doses in the state have been the Moderna vaccine and 45 percent from Pfizer, according to the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH).

The state has announced that during the current vaccine shortage it will no longer supply vaccines to the Princeton Health Department and other municipally-run clinics. Clinics run by the Princeton Health Department have administered a total of 816 COVID vaccine doses, but will remain on a temporary hold until supply increases to meet demand.

Princeton Mayor Mark Freda and Princeton Council wrote in their February 8 COVID-19 Update that when additional doses become available, “we are prepared to schedule further local clinics to help serve those residents who face challenges in receiving care at the larger regional sites.”  more

By Anne Levin

Forty-five years ago, historian Carter G. Woodson’s concept of “Negro History Week” was expanded to become Black History Month. Since then, every U.S. president has issued a proclamation designating February as a time to recognize and honor Black heritage and history.

“We must change. It will take time,” President Biden wrote in a proclamation last week. “But I firmly believe the Nation is ready to make racial justice and equity part of what we do today, tomorrow, and every day.  I urge my fellow Americans to honor the history made by Black Americans and to continue the good and necessary work to perfect our Union for every American.”

The killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, the pandemic, and the worldwide protests inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement have made this year’s commemorations especially significant. Not surprisingly, there are more events than ever – talks, exhibits, concerts, workshops, and more – scheduled throughout the month, by organizations in the local area and beyond. Following is a sampling.

Unless otherwise indicated, all are presented virtually.

The Arts Council of Princeton displays “Legends of the Arts: A Black History Month Exhibit” through March 6. Presented by Museums in Motion, it invites visitors to learn about poet Langston Hughes, Princeton native Paul Robeson, actress Lena Horne, and The Supremes, among other influential figures. On February 27, local artist Kenneth Lewis Jr. leads an exploration of the Harlem Renaissance and the collages of Romare Bearden. This is a hands-on workshop in which participants can use basic supplies they have at home. It is designed for all ages, and free. Visit artscouncilofprinceton.org. more

SHOWING THEIR LOVE: Children in Homefront Family Campus’ Atkinson Child Development Center daycare program are preparing for Valentine’s Day. During the upcoming Week of Hope, HomeFront will be sponsoring a series of events to spotlight homelessness and hunger in the local community and to encourage volunteers to get involved. (Photo courtesy of HomeFront)

By Donald Gilpin

A week of events, designed by HomeFront to “make a difference in our community,” will start off on Valentine’s Day, Sunday February 14, with a “Share the Love” virtual art event from noon to 1:30 p.m. 

Participants will decorate hearts and adorn them with poetry and inspirational quotes, to be displayed at the HomeFront Family Campus in Ewing, where temporary shelter and tools for self-sufficiency are provided for up to 38 families experiencing homelessness.

Ongoing highlights as the Week of Hope continues will include virtual learning forums about local homelessness and hunger solutions, and how to get involved; a panel of experts on “Hunger and Homelessness in the Time of COVID-19”; numerous volunteer opportunities; and the premiere of Homeless, a short movie produced by Force for Good.

“Every year our Week of Hope introduces us to so many new people in the community interested in learning and helping locally, and it’s been great for reconnecting with old friends too,” said HomeFront Director of Community Engagement Meghan Cubano. “With the pandemic, most of us are starting to feel weary, but also a sense that we will be turning a corner soon. So a Week of Hope right now feels just so appropriate — a week of conversations about the local situation and ways to get involved, in a variety of formats.” more

By Donald Gilpin

Facing the daunting challenges of remote teaching during the pandemic, Princeton School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) Lecturer Heather Howard, who is also director of state health and value strategies with Princeton University’s Center for Health and Wellbeing, not only managed to engage the students in her course, Health Care for Vulnerable Populations in the U.S., she also led them in a collaborative effort to help New Jersey Department of Health Officials (NJDOH) combat COVID-19 and systemic racism.

“We had two pandemics converging: COVID-19 and the reckoning with racial injustice,” said Howard. “Students were eager to bring these issues into the classroom.” Or at least into the Zoom sphere.

Former commissioner of health and senior services for New Jersey and a former Princeton councilwoman, Howard described the class assignment that started the discussion and led her students to create detailed proposals that they eventually presented to a  Zoom gathering of a dozen senior staff at the NJDOH.

“We started this by asking: ‘Is COVID an equalizer or a magnifier?’’ said Howard in a February 6 phone interview. “Usually you think that a communicable disease is an equal opportunity infector. It doesn’t know class, race, or other traditional boundaries. But we ended up concluding that the pandemic was not an equalizer but instead was magnifying and preying on inequalities, so that class and race and privileges protected people and COVID was preying on those inequities.”

Howard, who redesigned her course curriculum in shifting the focus from state health policy generally to policy addressing health issues in the pandemic, called on her class of 11 juniors majoring in SPIA and working on their 25-page junior papers to work towards health policy solutions for the state of New Jersey.

“Making the subject matter so current and relevant was really helpful,” she said. “It’s that much more engaging when you’re talking about something that is so topical, especially bringing in the reckoning on racial justice. Students have been living in the same moments we’ve all been living in with this reckoning, and bringing that into the classroom and applying that was really meaningful.” more

By Anne Levin

A controversial proposal by Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart (PASH) to turn grass playing fields into artificial turf fields, to be leased by the Princeton Soccer Association (PSA), was withdrawn last week by the school’s attorney.

“After consulting with my clients over the last few days, we’ve come to the conclusion that it would be in the applicant’s best interest to withdraw the application at this time,” Bob Ridolfi told the Princeton Planning Board at its February 4 meeting. “This would give us more time to take a second look at our plan, and spend more time thinking about the more global issues. We look forward to coming back and reapplying at the most appropriate time. We will let you know what the schedule is as soon as we have determined we are ready to move forward again.”

PASH is a private school for boys in grades K-8. There has been considerable opposition to the school’s plan since it was first announced at the end of September. Neighbors of the academy, which is based in a Tudor Revival mansion on the Great Road, on the Princeton Ridge, have cited concerns about environmental issues, noise, and lighting. The Princeton Ridge is known to be environmentally fragile and ecologically diverse, and is home to various threatened and endangered species.

Neighbors have also questioned whether Princeton Soccer Association is a for-profit organization, complaining that the PSA had formed a nonprofit entity just before a December Planning Board meeting, to evade zoning regulations. At that meeting, Princeton Zoning Officer Derek Bridger said that the soccer academy had presented evidence that it was a nonprofit, making it acceptable to lease the field. more

By Stuart Mitchner

Looking out the back window Monday afternoon I saw three deer in the snow behind the big black boulder, our piece of the Princeton Ridge. Led by a stag with a classic set of antlers, they were there and gone in the space of a minute. Something in that snow scene, the sudden wonder of it, resonated with my thoughts about Wardell Gray, whose 100th birthday is this Saturday, February 13.

At that moment I was thinking someone should write a song for Wardell, something like “Percy’s Song” by Bob Dylan, the Fairport Convention cover, with Sandy Denny singing her heart out (“Turn turn turn again, turn turn to the rain and the wind”), infusing the words with so much passion and warmth that the monstrous injustice of the story makes you feel uplifted and brought down at the same time. But Wardell’s tale is deeper and darker than that. Dylan could write another song in the same key, or maybe something righteously outraged like “Hurricane.” For a kinder, gentler version with an edge, you could look to Stew, who wrote a lovely tribute to Thelonious Monk for his group the Negro Problem. Or better yet, something along the melodic lines of “Nature Boy” as rendered by Nat King Cole in 1948, the year Wardell came into his own as the star tenor sax soloist with Benny Goodman and then Count Basie, with his epic solos on “The King” and “Little Pony.”

Thanks in great part to the national exposure that came from playing with Goodman, Wardell jumped from nowhere to fourth place in the tenor sax division of the 1948 Metronome poll. To understand why Lester Young “gave a blanket endorsement” of Gray when asked who the best tenor man of the new generation was, all you have to do is listen to the Goodman small group performing “Mary’s Idea,” a nice, genteel, crisply swinging little number — until a tenor sax life-force blazes through the tidy chamber-music table setting and takes everything to another level. What you’re hearing is the epitome of the late Whitney Balliet’s phrase for jazz, “the sound of surprise” — joyous energy, moving fast and fluid, full of life and love in the playing.

Whether he was playing or speaking, Wardell Gray was one of the most articulate jazz musicians of his time, Black or white. Along with his interest in serious literature, classical music, ballet, gourmet cooking, leftwing politics, and existential philosophy, he belonged to the NAACP at a time when the group was considered radical enough to assure him a place in the files of the FBI. He was also devoted to his wife and stepdaughter, writing in one of his last letters that he looked forward to the three of them “working hard, studying, going to school, perfecting ourselves for one another.” Half a year later on the opening night of the first mixed-race night club in Las Vegas, his body was found in a drainage ditch on the outskirts of town. Though drugs were involved and foul play was ruled out after an abbreviated investigation, the circumstances were mysterious enough to inspire Bill Moody’s 1995 detective novel, Death of a Tenor Man.  more

By Nancy Plum

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra celebrated the Year of the Ox last week by launching six days of performances and demonstrations leading up to a virtual concert on Saturday night. Led by NJSO Music Director Xian Zhang, Saturday’s concert premiere featured members of the Orchestra as well as guest artists performing both classical works and traditional Chinese songs.

Saturday night’s event was preceded by five days of short performances and demonstrations of Lunar New Year-related activities. Highlights of this series including NJSO violinist Ming Yang and her daughter Jade Lucia Nieczkowski performing an elegant arrangement of “Fisherman’s Song at Eventide” and New Jersey middle school student Harmony Zhu playing a fiery interpretation of Frédéric Chopin’s Ballade No. 4 in F Minor. Audiences tuning into this series cold also learn how to cook Tteokguk — a traditional Korean New Year’s soup made with sliced rice cakes taught by NJSO principal bassist Ha-Young Jung — as well as a variety of wontons, demonstrated by violinist Xin Zhao.  

More than a year in the making, Saturday night’s concert was the third annual NJSO Lunar New Year celebration. Music Director Zhang and the Symphony have used this event over the past few years to collaborate with other artists and community organizations, attracting new audiences in the process. Expanding into a week-long celebration was a new innovation this year, and several of the artists who participated in demonstrations during the week were part of Saturday night’s performance. more

BACK ON STAGE: New York City Ballet begins a digital spring season February 22 with performances of ballets including “Stravinsky Violin Concerto,” pictured here with dancers Taylor Stanley and Sara Mearns. The season takes place on the stage of the company’s home at Lincoln Center, but there is no live audience.

Beginning February 22, the New York City Ballet is back on stage at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center. Performances, rehearsals, and conversations specially filmed at the theater make up the digital spring season, which runs through May. The company hopes to return to live performances in front of audiences in September.

Ballets by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, and contemporary choreographers Justin Peck and Kyle Abraham are part of the season. It begins with three week-long explorations of Balanchine’s “Prodigal Son,” “Theme and Variations,” and “Stravinsky Violin Concerto” February 22-March 8. Each week will include a stream of a previously filmed performance, plus videos, podcasts, interviews with dancers who previously performed the roles, and rehearsal footage. more

VIOL ON VALENTINE’S DAY: Lisa Terry plays the bass viol “lyra-way” in a virtual program Valentine’s Day afternoon, continuing The Dryden Ensemble’s current series of concerts.

The Dryden Ensemble continues its virtual concerts when Lisa Terry presents a lecture-recital, “Leycester Lyra Viol Lessons” on Sunday, February 14 at 4 p.m.

Terry plays the bass viol “lyra-way,” with melodies and chordal accompaniment just like a lute with a bow, in these 17th century lessons collected by English gentleman Peter Leycester. The program includes typical baroque dance movements like allemandes, courantes, and sarabandes, a few settings of folk songs, and some engaging character pieces named after folks such as “Guilllim” and “Mr. and Mrs. Daniels.”   more

ANIMATED SHORT: A still from “Ephemeral Orange” by Lisa Barcy, one of the works to be shown at the 40th Annual Thomas Edison Film Festival virtual premiere on February 20 at 7:30 p.m.

The Thomas Edison Film Festival, formerly known as the Black Maria Film Festival, kicks off its 2021 season February 20 at 7:30 p.m. with a free online screening and filmmaker conversation. The festival will premiere with a virtual screening of five award-winning films by Lisa Barcy, Otto Bell, Charley and Eriel Santagado, Lynne Sachs, and Sophie Shui.

The films represent experimental, animation, documentary, and narrative genres. The screening will be preceded by a discussion with filmmakers led by director Jane Steuerwald, and the presentation of the Edison Innovation Award to Sachs. more

FOUR WEEKS OF BACH: Princeton Symphony Orchestra musicians Andy Cho, Elaine He, and Sherry Hartman-Apgar are among those taking part in the upcoming series of concerts celebrating Bach’s “The Musical Offering.” (PSO staff screenshot)

Musicians of the Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) perform Johann Sebastian Bach’s Das Musikalische Opfer (The Musical Offering), BWV 1079 over four musical episodes, released weekly on the orchestra’s website beginning Wednesday, February 17 through Wednesday, March 10. The PSO’s assistant conductor, Nell Flanders, is curating the project, which is being individually recorded in musicians’ homes then combined digitally.

Each segment features one-six musicians and is hosted by Flanders who introduces the music in tandem with conversations centering on Bach and his work. Each episode is free to the online community. The project is a community extension of the orchestra’s PSO BRAVO! Education Programs and includes plans to actively involve student musicians of the Youth Orchestra of Central Jersey and Trenton Music Makers in supplemental programming. more

“LITTLE GIRL IN A LARGE RED HAT”: This Impressionist painting by Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) is now part of the Princeton University Art Museum’s collections, which include a pastel masterpiece and ten drawings and prints by the artist.

The Princeton University Art Museum has acquired Mary Cassatt’s Little Girl in a Large Red Hat (ca. 1881), an insightful portrayal of young girlhood and a masterpiece of Impressionist painting. Dating from the early peak of Cassatt’s career, as she fully assimilated the Impressionist style that informed her strongest work, the canvas is distinguished by its painterly characterization, depicting the artist’s signature subject of a young girl with both compellingly revealed technique and psychological complexity. 

“A work such as this one, which comes from the final years when the artist was exhibiting with the Impressionists in Paris, not only tells us so much about process and technique but also allows us to engage with important questions about how a woman artist made her way in the patriarchal art world of the time,” said James Steward, Nancy A. Nasher–David J. Haemisegger, Class of 1976, director. “This extraordinary painting will be able to move fluidly among galleries devoted to European or American art as part of the new Museum we are in the process of shaping.”

Born near Pittsburgh in 1844, Cassatt lived and worked primarily in France. She was one of the few women artists invited to join the Impressionist exhibitions and focused on portrayals of women and children in domestic settings. more

“GROUSE, 1885” This oil on canvas painting by Gerard Rutgers Hardenbergh (1856–1915) is part of “In Nature’s Realm: The Art of Gerard Rutgers Hardenbergh,” on view at Morven Museum & Garden beginning February 19. A free virtual opening reception is on Thursday, February 18 at 5:30 p.m.  

Join Morven Museum & Garden Curator and Deputy Director Elizabeth Allan on Thursday, February 18 at 5:30 p.m. as she takes viewers on a highlights tour inside Morven’s latest exhibition during a free virtual opening reception.

“In Nature’s Realm: The Art of Gerard Rutgers Hardenbergh,” on view at Morven February 19 through January 9, 2022, is the first exhibition examining the work of Gerard Rutgers Hardenbergh (1856–1915). Born in New Brunswick, the great-great-grandson of Reverend Jacob Rutsen Hardenbergh (1736–1790), the first president of Queens College (Rutgers University), Hardenbergh was a self-taught artist and ornithologist.  

This exhibition is made possible, in part, by the Mercer County Cultural and Heritage Commission through funding from the Mercer County Board of Chosen Commissioners and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment of the Arts. 

The virtual program will include a live Q&A. Registration is required at morven.org.

“BLUE BIRD CONDO”:  This sculpture by George Olexa is one of 63 colorful “ArtSpires” decorated by local artists and community members and installed at 19 locations throughout Hopewell Valley in fall 2020. The will remain on display until this spring.

The Hopewell Valley Arts Council’s community art project and exhibition, “ArtSpires,” has received tremendous support from artists and community members. Sixty-three colorful sculptures, decorated by local artists and community members, were installed in clusters at 19 locations throughout Hopewell Valley in fall 2020. The “ArtSpires” were sold during the a month-long online auction in December to benefit the HV Arts Council and artists. While all the “ArtSpires” found future homes, they will remain on display until spring 2021.

“ArtSpires” commemorates the loss of native ash trees from the harmful effects of the emerald ash borer beetle as the culmination of the organization’s multi-year initiative “Out of the Ashes: Art Emerging from Fallen Trees.” Wood for these projects were milled from ash trees felled by Hopewell Township and transformed into art. more

HIGH TECH: “We offer expert computer service and repair but we’re not here just to fix computers,” explain Chris and Allison Rush, the husband and wife team who own Technician X. “First and foremost, we are here to help people. We are primarily a customer-focused business.” Shown is a statue of Albert Einstein seated in front of the Technician X location.

By Jean Stratton 

The mysteries of cyberspace can be solved at Technician X!

How is your little corner of this miraculous, mystifying, magical, but often frustrating, world?

Is your computer up to snuff? Or is it too slow, unreliable? Does it ever crash? Or — really bad news — suffer from a virus? How about the printer? Erratic, quirky? And then, the smartphone. All systems go — or not?

If any of the above resonates with you, help is at hand.

Computer Network   

Technician X, located in the Village Shoppes at Montgomery center at 1378 Route 206 South in Skillman, has been helping customers update, repair, and maintain existing computers, as well as buy new or refurbished models, for more than 20 years.

Owners Chris and Allison Rush and their staff of professional technicians can answer questions, solve problems, set up a new computer network for businesses and residences, and provide comprehensive computer service.  more