July 8, 2020

By Stuart Mitchner

What greater gift than the love of a cat.

—Charles Dickens

For the first time since Saddam invaded Kuwait there are no cats in the house. I’ve been adjusting to that enormous absence with the help of In the Company of Cats (British Library 2014), featuring “illustrations through the ages” and choice quotations from poets, writers, and philosophers celebrating feline “mystery and magnificence.”

I’m thinking about two generations of tuxedo cats dating back to Dizzy (1990-2003), the runt of the litter brought into the world against all odds by the ill-fated, small but mighty tabby Tess (1989-1999), followed after Dizzy’s demise by the adopted twins Nick (2003-2018), and Nora (2003-2020), who died June 25.

Like her namesake in Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles, tawny Tess had seen a novel’s worth of adversity when she first showed up at the back door. Because my wife was severely allergic at the time, we fed and housed the little vagabond in a make-shift shelter on the deck. After disappearing for more than a week (we feared we’d seen the last of her), she showed up pregnant and fiercely determined; now there was no keeping her outside. Our household version of Saddam’s “mother of all battles” was an invasion by the feline force of nature storming from the deck into the kitchen, through two strongbox barricades and up the stairs to this room, where she accomplished her mission on the evening of August 2, 1990, in the same roomy tartan plaid canvas suitcase I’d used on my first summer in Europe.

Tess still haunts this space. A few feet to my left is the spot where she delivered Dizzy and his four siblings, all of whom eventually found homes in the community, except for the jaunty male tuxedo whose place in our family had never really been in doubt. It was for love of Dizzy that my wife finally overcame the allergy that had doomed every previous attempt. Since none of the statements in Company of Cats applies to Tess and her plight, I’m borrowing a line from Mark Twain: “If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.” more

By Nancy Plum

Despite the closing of performance halls in the area, Princeton Summer Chamber Concerts was not about to let its 53rd season go by. The long-standing presenting organization, which usually stages four chamber concerts in the month of July, has designed a series of “Chamber Music Wednesdays,” in which the performers scheduled for Richardson Auditorium this summer are featured in online mini-concerts. 

In the interest of giving area audiences something to look forward to each week, Chamber Concerts has created five Wednesday night offerings which include not only musical presentation, but also the additional elements of history, analysis, and demonstration. The first of these online performances took place last Wednesday night, featuring the young and innovative Diderot String Quartet.   

Founded in 2012, the Diderot String Quartet was named after 18th-century French philosopher Denis Diderot, also an enthusiast of the courtly and galante music of the Baroque Italian composer Luigi Boccherini. The ensemble prides itself on taking a “fresh approach to the works of the 18th and 19th centuries,” bringing a shared background for historically informed performance and a passion for the string quartet genre to every concert. For Wednesday evening’s online concert/demonstration, violinists Adriane Post and Johanna Novom, violist Kyle Miller, and cellist Paul Dwyer shared with listeners how the ensemble came together; Post, Novom, and Dwyer met at Oberlin Conservatory, later adding Miller to the Quartet via the Juilliard Historical Performance program. All four of these musicians were interested early on in period stringed instruments, historically informed performance, and whether music from any time period could be played on instruments made in the 18th century.   more

CARING CREATIVELY: New Jersey educators participating with teaching artists in a George Street Playhouse professional development program. (Photo by Angela Peletier) 

George Street Playhouse has received a CARES Act economic stabilization grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to create the Digital Humanities Teaching Institute, a virtual professional development program for K-12 humanities teachers.

The New Brunswick theater is one of five NEH CARES Act recipients in New Jersey. This grant supports essential operations at more than 300 cultural institutions across the country, and GSP is one of five theaters in the nation that received this award.

Offered at no cost to participants, GSP’s Digital Humanities Teaching Institute was envisioned in response to the new instructional realities presented by COVID-19 school closures.  Focusing on developing high-quality distance and blended learning instructional models to serve the diverse needs and circumstances of K-12 students, it will provide up to 50 teachers with the technical knowledge, tools, and arts integration strategies to effectively engage and assess student learning.    more

COVID-SAFE CREATIVITY: Enrollment is underway for the summer Tomato Patch Visual and Performance Arts Virtual Workshops. In addition to virtual, Mercer Activity Camps will take place on site, in person at the Mercer County Community College West Windsor campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road, with COVID-19 safety precautions in place.

Children can participate in theater, dance, vocal music, visual arts, sports, wilderness-training, and other fun and educational activities with small groups of kids who share their interests at the 2020 Tomato Patch Visual and Performing Arts Virtual Workshops and Mercer Activity Camp, taking place this summer at Mercer County Community College in West Windsor.

Created for kids in grades 4-12, the program offers virtual or traditional on-campus (in person) one-week or three-week sessions. All on-site camp activities will include COVID-19 CDC safety-first precautions.

“We received the green light to get our live Mercer Activity On-Campus Camp going, so we are rolling out some amazing in-person workshops for kids age 7 to 17 with extensive COVID-19 precautions in place,” said Kitty Getlik, artistic director for the Kelsey Theatre. “The sessions will allow kids to be kids again and be together in a fun, structured, and safe learning environment.” more

REOPENING THIS WEEK: Morven Museum & Garden on Stockton Street will reopen its doors to visitors on Thursday, July 9. Its exhibition “Dreaming of Utopia: Roosevelt, New Jersey” has been extended to January 24, 2021. (Photo by Richard Speedy)

“It has been a really remarkable spring,” said Jill Barry, executive director of Morven Museum & Garden. “We thank all of our supporters for the successes of our plant sales, outdoor tours, and recent 4th of July Jubilee in a Bag. People were tremendously understanding when we canceled Morven in May and continued their support, enabling us to get to where we are today. We are delighted to announce that, after weeks of preparation, we are ready to safely reopen our doors on Thursday, July 9 and welcome our friends back to Morven Museum & Garden.”

 In addition, Morven’s popular exhibition, “Dreaming of Utopia: Roosevelt, New Jersey,” has been extended to January 24, 2021.  “Our venerable front porch wisteria has even graced us with a second blooming, just in time for our reopening,” Barry added.

Noting that safety is of utmost importance, Morven is following all CDC and local health official guidelines.

Barry went on to note that during the month of July, Morven will welcome its members, known as Friends of Morven, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. daily, closing from 12:30 to 1:00 p.m. for cleaning. From 1 to 4 p.m. Morven will be open to members and the general public.   more

BARRACKS IS BACK: The Trenton landmark Old Barracks Museum, closed since March 14, is now open. Visitors interact with 18th century soldiers and tradespeople.

The gates at The Old Barracks Museum are open once again. Tickets to see the National Historic Landmark must be pre-purchased online at www.barracks.org at least one day prior to visiting. Masks are required to be worn by visitors, staff, and volunteers at all times.

Visitation is limited to one group of no more than 10 people at a time to comply with the state of New Jersey’s mandate on capacity reductions. The museum will be open Tuesday through Saturday. Visitation policy and hours are subject to change.

The historic building dates back to 1758 when it was used as winter quarters during the French and Indian War. During the American Revolution, it stood witness to the Battle of Trenton and served as a military hospital to provide smallpox inoculations. Visitors will meet with 18th century tradespeople who showcase the skills required for army life as well as tour the gallery on the history of New Jersey in the French and Indian War, see the bunks where soldiers slept, tour the Officers’ House, see a medical room, and experience the thrill of a musket firing.  more

RIDE IN STYLE: “People love getting on a bike. All our bike classes are currently outside, and cyclists of every ability come and have fun. They also love our pink and white bikes,” says Cassandra Orson, owner and founder of Forever Hart Fit, located at Route 130 in Robbinsville. Shown is a group enjoying the favorite FHF Cycle Fit class.

By Jean Stratton

“Our goal is to help you to be the best version of YOU!”

Cassandra Orson, owner and founder of Forever Hart Fit (FHF), loves what she does. Helping her clients become fit while having fun within a warm, welcoming atmosphere is her priority.

“We are set apart from other fitness facilities,” she believes. “We’re a lifestyle, not a gym. We have chandeliers and crystal accessories. It’s a boutique feel, and we totally emphasize the highest levels of cleanliness in every way.”

Established three years ago, Forever Hart Fit has a unique story, and is a reflection of how sometimes a positive result can unexpectedly emerge from a tragedy.

Predominantly Pink

“I had lost my baby son Hart, and the studio is in his memory, and named for him,”  explains Orson. “I will hold the love and inspiration of my child forever in my heart, and this strength, growth, and love that has been created with the studio is something I want to share as my mission with you.”

Located at 1179 Route 130 North, Unit 2, in Robbinsville, the studio is indeed unlike other fitness facilities. Its decor, with a prominent pink presence, is inviting, especially to the predominantly female clientele. Its stylish chandeliers and crystal accessories are not seen in many fitness establishments.

The focus on a warm, welcoming atmosphere for everyone, along with a positive flow of energy, is reported by many clients on numerous avenues of social media and via word-of-mouth. Positive reviews for FHF abound. more

SAY HEY: Megan Donahey slaps the ball during her career with the Princeton University softball team. Star outfielder Donahey hit .346 this spring in a senior season abbreviated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Donahey ended up with a career batting average of .362, third-best in program history. (Photo by Michael Sudhalter, provided courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

By Bill Alden

Having proven to be a model of consistency during her first three seasons for the Princeton University softball team, Megan Donahey was primed to take things to a higher level this spring in her senior campaign.

“Everyone was super optimistic about this year,” said Donahey, who batted .377 as a freshman, .328 as a sophomore, and .385 as a junior.

“We were coming off a tough season, we had lots of injuries late in the season but we were really confident in this squad. The six freshman were just so awesome and we had a really, really good team culture this year.”

With Donahey hitting .346 in the first eight games of the 2020 campaign as Princeton got off to a 4-4 start, that optimism seemed justified.

“For the eight games that we played, they went super well,” said the 5’4 Donahey, a native of Phoenix, Ariz.

“Typically we peak later in the season. We actually did really well in the pre-Ivy season. There wasn’t just one way that we won the games. Sometimes the pitchers would pitch super well and then other times the offense would have an explosion and do really well and we would win the game that way. It just seemed like all facets of the game were working at different times to make us do really well.”

But as Princeton was getting ready for its annual Florida trip in mid-March, the season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving Donahey and her fellow seniors ruing what might have been. more

SPECIAL RUN: Tim Williams makes a point to his Princeton Day School boys’ basketball team in 2016 during its run to the state Prep B title. Williams coached the squad for several seasons in addition to his role as the school’s Director of Upper School Athletics. After a nine-year run as the PDS AD, Williams is leaving the school to take the same position at the University School of Milwaukee. During Williams’ Panther tenure, PDS teams won 33 county and state Prep championships. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Speaking in the Southern drawl of his native Tennessee, Tim Williams may have seemed out of place when he came north in 2011 to become the new Director of Upper School Athletics at the Princeton Day School.

But it didn’t take long for the genial Williams to develop a rapport with his new colleagues.

“You come to a new school and you are not sure exactly what you are going to get,” said Williams, who had been the athletic director and boys’ basketball head coach at the Louisville Collegiate School before taking the PDS job.

“The coaches seemed to trust me tentatively to begin with and then they really came to be close. I was close to them and vice versa. We were able to really work in concert together and get the best out of the kids and get the best out of the teams.”

In addition, Williams quickly became close to the PDS student-athletes.

“I love the kids, that is why I got into this business at the start,” said Williams.

“I love going out to the games and practices and bantering back and forth. My favorite thing is when the kids come back after they have been at college for a year or a couple of years. They come back and stop by your office just to say hi and let you know how they are doing. I think it is a telltale sign that it is a real healthy program.” more

CHICAGO FIRE: Blane Soper keeps his eye on the ball in a 2019 game during his senior season with the Hun School baseball team. This spring, Soper got his college career off to a promising start, hitting .217 with five runs and four RBIs in six games for the University of Chicago before the season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Although Blane Soper wasn’t sure what to expect when he tried out for the University of Chicago baseball team, he rose rapidly to a promising start for the squad.

The 2019 Hun School graduate was recruited as a preferred walk-on as pitcher, and Soper not only made the team, but shifted fully to playing outfield, and earned a starting spot and had a five-game hitting streak to start his collegiate career this spring.

“It was super surreal, a great experience,” said Soper. “I was ecstatic. It was always trying not to be complacent and better myself and contribute to the team in the best way I can.”

During his Hun career, Soper did a little bit of everything but mostly pitched and played left field. UChicago first took interest in him at a showcase event after his junior season in  high school, and Soper further impressed them at their camp.

He was admitted to the highly ranked academic school on his own, and came to their fall baseball tryouts as a preferred walk-on, looking to earn his way onto a team past a win over last year’s top-ranked team in Division III (4-3 over Trinity University (Texas) in March, 2019).

“Being a student-athlete in college definitely transforms your college experience,” said Soper.

“I really wanted to play in college and I really wanted to go to a really competitive academic school. UChicago is really exciting for me. Being D-3 and having a good rapport with the coach and him seeing me in the past, I felt good about having that ability to go to a really great school and also be a student-athlete. I felt pretty good about myself approaching the tryouts because over the summer I played Legion and I put on a lot of good weight in the weight room.” more

July 1, 2020

Visitors view the “Double Sights” installation, presenting both positive and negative views of Woodrow Wilson, with The Princeton (formerly Woodrow Wilson) School of Public and International Affairs in the background. On June 26 Princeton University’s Board of Trustees decided to remove Wilson’s name from campus buildings because of his racism and segregationist policies. See the story here.  (Photo by Erica M. Cardenas)

By Donald Gilpin

Now in the third week of Phase 2 locally and statewide, progress in flattening the COVID-19 curve is evident. Announcements of new openings and the lifting of restrictions appear daily, but “The Road Back,” Gov. Phil Murphy’s plan for combating the pandemic and returning to “normal,” is not all smooth traveling.

Though coronavirus cases have surged elsewhere in the country and 16 states — mostly in the South and West — are on New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut’s list calling for a 14-day quarantine for visitors, active case numbers in New Jersey have fallen significantly since their peak in April. And, with state testing expanded, new cases have remained flat for several weeks.

The statistics in Princeton look even more favorable than those statewide, with the Princeton Health Department reporting on Monday only three new cases in the past week and 10 in the past two weeks, compared to totals four times that high in late April and early May.  The current two-week average is 0.36 cases per day, down from 3.29 per day two months ago. Princeton reported 33 active cases Monday, with 132 recovered, 18 confirmed COVID-19 deaths, and 12 additional probable COVID-19 deaths.

The challenges ahead, however, and inevitable bumps in the “road back,” have become evident in the past week.  Outdoor dining and indoor, non-essential retail opened two weeks ago; outdoor pools (Community Park pool is set to open July 13), barber shops, hair salons, and other personal care service facilities were permitted to open last week; and indoor shopping malls and state Motor Vehicle Commission inspections are open this week. more

By Donald Gilpin

With the July 7 Democratic primary election less than a week away, incumbents David Cohen and Leticia Fraga and challenger Dina Shaw are vying for two spots on the November ballot for Princeton Council. Mark Freda is running unopposed for a four-year term as Princeton mayor. No Republicans have filed for nomination in the Council and mayoral races.

The primary election is being conducted primarily by mail, in accordance with Gov. Phil Murphy’s May 15 executive order #144. A limited number of polling places will be available to voters on Election Day, with provisional paper ballots provided. Vote-by-mail ballots must be postmarked no later than 8 p.m. on July 7 or placed in one of five secure election ballot drop boxes located at the Princeton Municipal Building and four other locations throughout the county.

Town Topics has given the candidates the opportunity to briefly sum up their particular qualifications for the job, their view of top priorities going forward, and how the Council or mayor can best address those priorities. They all would have liked more space to explain their ideas. The three Council candidates were restricted to about 200 words.

David Cohen

The timetable for meeting our affordable housing obligation mandates over 700 new housing units, both affordable and market-rate, in the next five years. All the while, major institutions in town continue to thrive and grow, and the changing nature of commercial activity, shifting to online retail and telecommuting, puts pressure on our tax base and will change the face of our business districts. This pace of change will challenge our planning capacity. It will impact all aspects of municipal government – efforts to reduce and respond to climate change, transportation systems and infrastructure, practices to ensure equity for all our residents, and budgeting. more

By Anne Levin

Two incidences of graffiti with racial slurs have been reported in Princeton during the past week. The graffiti, which contained racially-motivated hate speech against African Americans, was discovered on the bridge at Poe Road, and the NJ Transit Railroad bridge along the D&R Canal State Park Towpath.

Princeton Police are treating these incidents as Bias Intimidation and Criminal Mischief. “This type of racially-motivated hate speech will not be tolerated in our community and we will work diligently to identify those responsible,” said Chief Nicholas Sutter.

At the meeting of Princeton Council on June 29, Councilwoman Leticia Fraga spoke about the incidents. “It is disgusting,” she said. “An attack on some members of our community is an attack on all of us. We will not tolerate racism in any form. It is despicable that anyone uses this language, which I will not repeat. We want to assure our residents that our community stands with all who are targeted.”

The first incident was reported on Thursday, June 25. Police officers observed that the racial slurs had been written on the underside of the Poe Road bridge. The town’s Department of Public Works removed the graffiti. The second incident was reported on Monday, June 29. Racially-motivated hate speech had been spray painted on the concrete foundation of the railroad bridge on Alexander Street. Police notified NJ Transit of the incident, and they were making arrangements to have it removed. more

by Ida, 5

For the tenth and final week of our campaign highlighting fun projects for kids to do, we invited local youths to submit a drawing or photo of their pet. 

ODD JOBS AND MORE: Mike Vanover, left, and Will Titus are busy doing yard work and a host of other tasks for clients of Hopewell Helpers, which opened for business a few weeks ago.

By Anne Levin

Less than three weeks after opening, a business staffed with graduates of Hopewell Valley Central High School is already thriving. The 12-member team at Hopewell Helpers provides everything from pet care and grocery delivery to yard work and technical support — at a “pay what you want” pricing model.

The new venture serves Mercer, Hunterdon, and Bucks counties, with additional locations by request.

“In the first 10 days, we had nearly 30 clients and had to triple the size of our team,” said Will Titus, a 2019 graduate of the high school. A rising sophomore and political economy major at Williams College, Titus got the idea for Hopewell Helpers while delivering groceries to senior citizens at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“One day, I thought, what if we could do this and expand with more services to reach more people?” Titus said. He quickly assembled a team of college students, and one college graduate, whom he had known in high school — and in some cases, longer.

“I trust them and I know they have a very strong work ethic,” he said. “We look for people on the team who are good at specialized things, but most of the services we offer are things that most any local student is able to do.” more

By Anne Levin

Small businesses in Princeton that meet certain criteria will get a much-needed financial infusion thanks to a collaboration between the municipality, Princeton University, and the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The Princeton Small Business Resiliency Fund (PSBRF), announced at the virtual meeting of the Princeton Merchants Association last week, intends to provide up to $5,000 to for-profit businesses that have 25 or fewer employees, a storefront in the municipality, are open to the general public, and have been in business since September 2019. Qualifying applicants must have less than $2 million in gross annual revenue, or, if a restaurant, up to $5 million.

Applications are being accepted through July 31.

Princeton University has pledged an initial donation of $250,000 to launch the fund. The University will also provide a dollar-for-dollar match of up to $100,000 in additional donations to the fund.

“This has taken some time to put together,” said Kristin Appelget, the University’s director of community and regional affairs. “I can’t reinforce enough the leadership of Mayor Lempert and [Councilwoman] Michelle Pirone Lambros, and we couldn’t have done it without the Chamber.” more

By Donald Gilpin

In a reversal of a decision made four years ago, Princeton University announced, on June 27, that the name of Woodrow Wilson will be removed from its School of Public and International Affairs and from the residence college that used to bear his name.

Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber announced that the decision was made at a June 26 special meeting, where the University’s Board of Trustees considered actions Princeton University could take to oppose racism.

“The trustees concluded that Woodrow Wilson’s racist thinking and policies make him an inappropriate namesake for a school or college whose scholars, students, and alumni must stand firmly against racism in all its forms,” Eisgruber stated. 

Wilson graduated from Princeton in 1879 and served as president of  the University from 1902 to 1910 before going on to become the 34th governor of New Jersey and the 28th president of the United States.

In a letter to the Princeton University community, Eisgruber noted the “complexity” of Wilson’s record, citing Wilson’s contribution to making Princeton a great research university but also emphasizing Wilson’s racist attitudes and actions. 

Wilson blocked African American applicants from entering Princeton (“It is altogether inadvisable for a colored man to enter Princeton,” he once wrote). During his time in the White House, Wilson dismissed 15 of 17 previously appointed black supervisors, among other racist and segregationist actions. more

New Principal at Johnson Park

Angela Siso Stentz will become acting principal at Johnson Park Elementary School (JP) on July 1, the Princeton Public Schools (PPS) announced last week. She will be taking over from longtime JP Principal Robert Ginsberg, who has moved into the central administration as PPS acting assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

Stentz, who has served as PHS assistant principal for the past three years, started in the PPS district as a special education teacher in math and Spanish in the 1999-2000 school year, became supervisor of student activities in 2005, then supervisor of guidance from 2008 to 2017. 

Innovative Tuition Plan

Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart (PASH) has proposed “a bold reinvention of its tuition model” for the upcoming school year.  According to a June press release, PASH, in response to the economic stress impacting many families during the coronavirus pandemic, has updated a new maximum tuition schedule that could provide “a welcome relief in these uncertain times.”

The new schedule, the press release states, “reflects a reset of tuition fees in the range of $3,600 to $8,800 in savings for families.”  In a June 7 letter to the PASH community Headmaster Rik Dugan wrote, “We are mindful of the profound impact that this pandemic has had on many of our families and the broader Princeton community. We want to lessen the burden for our families, whose loyalty we are deeply grateful for. At the same time, we believe that now, more than ever, our exceptional learning experience should be made accessible to as many boys as possible.”

More information on PASH’s individualized affordable tuition program is available at princetonacademy.org. more

By Stuart Mitchner

The last time I road-tested a song was for a column celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ White Album, released in the U.S. on November 22, 1968. Driving from Kingston to Princeton with “Revolution 9” on the stereo, I covered the distance in 8:15, the exact length of the surreal sound collage created by John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

Twice as long, “Murder Most Foul,” Bob Dylan’s Kennedy assassination tour de force, took me and my 20-year-old-and-counting Honda CRV to Kingston and back and then halfway to Rocky Hill so I could hear it again. The ride was as rich, as dense, and as sweepingly provocative as a novel compared to the churning, driving soundscape of “Revolution 9,” yet both in-motion listening experiences reverberated with the chaotic, fateful aftershocks of the same day in Dallas.                        

Twilight Time in Tulsa

Given the enormity of the audiences their records reached, Dylan and the Beatles had the power to sound and shape the culture of the period, underground as well as mainstream. The Beatles knew what they were doing by releasing the White Album on the fifth anniversary of the assassination, as Dylan knew when he sent Tempest into the world on September 11, 2012 and timed the June 19 release of his new album Rough and Rowdy Ways to coincide with Juneteenth, the date officially marking the end of slavery.  more

MCCARTER LIVE: McCarter Theatre presented an online conversation between outgoing artistic director and resident playwright Emily Mann; and composer Lucy Simon (above). (Photo by Jamie Levine)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

McCarter LIVE: In Conversation with Lucy Simon” was presented June 26. Artistic Engagement Manager Paula T. Alekson curated this final installment of McCarter’s series of discussions between Artistic Director and Resident Playwright Emily Mann, and some of her collaborators on past and current projects.

Singer, songwriter, and Broadway composer Lucy Simon is working with Mann and lyricist Susan Birkenhead on a musical adaptation of Kent Haruf’s 2015 novel Our Souls at Night.

Her sisters are singer and songwriter Carly Simon and opera singer Joanna Simon. “There was always music in our house,” Simon recalls, speaking from her home in Nyack, N.Y. “My father [the co-founder of Simon & Schuster] was a wonderful pianist. My mother was a beautiful singer. We would all sing together. Joanna would bring home three-part glee club songs.”

A setting of Eugene Field’s 1889 poem “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod” was Simon’s first composition. “I was in sixth or seventh grade,” she says. “We had to recite a poem to our class. I had difficulty remembering words; I didn’t have difficulty if I set them to music. Carly and I recorded it years later, and it became a big hit.” When Lucy was 16 she and Carly formed a duo, the Simon Sisters. “They were just a little bit older, and I wanted very much to be them!” Mann remembers. more

“IN CONVERSATION”: The Arts Council of Princeton will present artist Mario Moore, center, in the virtual program “In Conversation with Mario Moore and James Steward” on Tuesday, July 7 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The free program is part of the ACP’s apART together initiative.

The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) takes pride in its diverse community of artists, authors, and creatives of all disciplines. “In Conversation” is a curated series of discussions designed to celebrate and connect those who make art and those who love art. Breaking down the barriers between artist and art-appreciator, “In Conversation” delves into inspiration, studio practice, and artistic aspirations.

The ACP presents “In Conversation with Mario Moore and James Steward” on Tuesday, July 7 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Moore (b. 1987) is a Detroit native currently residing in New York City. He received a BFA in Illustration from the College for Creative Studies (2009) and an MFA in Painting from the Yale School of Art (2013). He has participated as an artist-in-residence at Knox College, Fountainhead residency, and the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation.  more

This oil painting by Christina Poruczynski is featured in “For the Love of Art,” the Arts and Cultural Council of Bucks County’s online exhibition and sale, which has been extended to August 31 and expanded with 20 additional artists. It is now on view at bucksarts.org.

KEEPING THEATER ALIVE: Passage Theatre Company of Trenton has just concluded a fundraising campaign to help ensure its future at Mill Hill Playhouse. Former Artistic Director June Ballinger is shown here in a production of “Blood: A Comedy” by David Lee White.

Passage Theatre Company, the Trenton-based organization committed to producing socially relevant new plays and arts programming, has just concluded a $15,000 fundraising campaign to help ensure its future in the wake of COVID-19.

Now heading into its 35th season, Passage is focused on professional productions, educational programs, and community engagement, endeavoring to present diverse perspectives and new voices that inspire audiences and invigorate the art of live theater.

Proceeds of the fund will go towards producing Passage’s 2020-21 season programming, along with artist and staff salaries. more

BEST BATHS:  “Our showroom is currently focused on the bath, but we will be expanding the area to accommodate a variety of kitchen products. When people come in, they will find a complete showroom, with all the choices and high quality products they need.” Jill Jefferson-Miller, owner of Jefferson Bath & Kitchen, is shown by a display of Jaclo products, including tubs, toilets, and shower accessories.

By Jean Stratton

Staying put for the past several months has led many homeowners to think about a face lift!

Not necessarily a bit of “nip and tuck” here and there around the eyes or to firm up that softening chin line — although those are certainly options too.

But more to the point, many people are thinking of ways to create a new look in the house — specifically, the bath and kitchen. Both are hot spots for upgrades.

Improvements to these special places have long been known to boost sale prices for homeowners wishing to sell. But, on the other hand, isn’t it appealing to make some changes just for your own enjoyment? Especially during times that have brought added stress to everyday lives.

Soothing Sanctuary

Jefferson Bath & Kitchen, located at 29 Airpark Road, Floor 2, is just the place to find everything from a new shower head or sink to a bath tub, toilet, or all of these if you are ready for a complete remodel.

Indeed, the bathroom of today is bigger and better than ever. It can be decorative as well as functional, and can provide a spa-like atmosphere, a sophisticated sanctuary allowing soothing relaxation in freestanding tubs, multi-function showers featuring different water pressure and spray patterns, such as “massage,” “rain,” and “champagne bubbles.”

The possibilities are quite remarkable. Sinks and tubs are available not only in the typical porcelain but in marble, granite, onyx, and bamboo.

There are also toilets with heated seats, automatic open/close lids, hygienic cleaning wands, and warm air dryers. more