November 22, 2017

Professor Richard Buckley will discuss tree diseases that have been devastating native trees on Wednesday, December 13, at Mercer County Community College in West Windsor.

The program begins at 6:30 p.m. following pizza at 6 p.m. and is held in the Student Center/Welcome Center Room SC 104. more

Each December, thousands of people gather on the banks of the Delaware River to watch the re-enactment of George Washington’s daring 1776 Christmas day river crossing. During the event, several hundred reenactors in Continental military dress listen to an inspiring speech by General Washington and then row across the river in replica Durham boats.  The public has two opportunities to view the reenactment at Washington Crossing Historic Park (Pa.) this year. The first is on Sunday, December 10, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (actual crossing at 1 p.m.). The 65th annual Christmas Day crossing will take place from noon to 3 p.m. on December 25 (actual crossing at 1 p.m.). Washington Crossing Historic Park is located at the intersection of Routes 532 and 32 (River Road) in Bucks County, Pa. To stay up-to-date on what is happening in the park, visit

As a part of its mission, eliminating racism and empowering women, the YWCA Princeton has partnered with Cornerhouse to host inter-generational discussions on racism. The first event took place on October 17 at the YWCA Bramwell House. The topic was feminism and race.

Part of the YWCA’s Stand Against Racism campaign, the next event will be held December 5 at 7:30 p.m. Paris McClean, head of Sacred Heart School’s Lower School, will speak about Code Switching, which is the switching from the linguistic system of one language or dialect to that of another. According to McClean, “As identities of individuals become increasingly diverse, code-switching has evolved from a language base into styles of dress, social mannerisms, and other forms of self-expression.”  more

Great writers and artists ought to take part in politics only so far as they protect themselves from politics.  — Anton Chekhov

By Stuart Mitchner

Almost exactly 80 years ago, November 21, 1937, the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra gave the premiere performance of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony. According to Laurel Fay’s Shostakovich: A Life, the audience was aware that the 31-year-old composer’s “fate was at stake.” Two of his most recent works, an opera and music for a ballet, had been attacked at Stalin’s behest in Pravda, the official newspaper of the Communist Party’s Central Committee; in effect, he had been “cast down overnight from the summit among the brightest stars of young Soviet composers to the abyss as pernicious purveyor of cultural depravity.” Meanwhile friends and colleagues were “disappearing.” Members of his family had been arrested, exiled, sent to labor camps. One of his foremost supporters had been charged with treason and executed. In case he doubted how dangerously close he was to being labeled an enemy of the state, the Fourth Symphony, his most ambitious work to date, was forcibly withdrawn on the eve of its debut performance because instead of following the party line, it appeared to be an even more extreme expression of his “depraved, difficult, formalist Western” values.  more

Historian, author, and essayist Jill Lepore will discuss the challenge of writing American history during a time of division on November 30, in McCosh Hall’s Room 50.

The David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard University, Lepore has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2005. Her books include The Name of War (1998), which won the Bancroft Prize; New York Burning (2005), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in history; The Story of America (2012), which was short-listed for the PEN Literary Award for the Art of the Essay; Book of Ages (2013), a finalist for the National Book Award; The Secret History of Wonder Woman (2014) and Joe Gould’s Teeth (2016). more

Nancy MacLean and Anastasia Mann will be at Labyrinth Books on Wednesday, November 29 at 6 p.m. discussing MacLean’s new book, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America (Viking 2017).

The Atlantic calls it a “vibrant intellectual history of the radical right …. What we think of as dysfunction is the result of years of strategic effort.” more

The Arts Council of Princeton’s ceramics community of students, instructors, and local ceramic artists are creating more than 200 handmade bowls in anticipation of the second annual fundraiser, Soul-Filled Bowls, to be on display in the Arts Council of Princeton’s Taplin Gallery on Saturday, December 2 from 11-3 p.m. The public is invited to purchase handmade ceramic bowls for $20 each, and enjoy a complimentary bowl of soup generously donated by Blawenburg Cafe and bread provided by Italian People’s Bakery and LiLLiPies. One hundred percent of the funds will be donated to Mercer Street Friends and Meals on Wheels. more

A new sculpture by leading American artist Titus Kaphar (born 1976) has been installed in front of Princeton University’s Maclean House, which was originally constructed as the president’s home in the institution’s early decades. The eight-foot-high mixed-media work, entitled Impressions of Liberty, features layered portraits of Reverend Samuel Finley, president of what was then the College of New Jersey from 1761 to 1766, and an African American man, woman, and child, who represent the slaves who lived and worked at the president’s residence during Finley’s tenure. more

As Morven Museum and Garden prepares to reinstall its permanent collection galleries for the first time since it opened 2004, the museum is seeking to capture oral histories and anecdotes from former residents, guests, employees, and the community. Part of this effort is to accurately reflect that the nationally registered historic landmark was more than a single family household and encompassed many people in its daily operations.

According to Jill Barry, Morven’s executive director, “We have been collecting oral histories and anecdotes from former residents and guests and suspect that there are more people out there with wonderful information we want to document. As time passes, we risk losing these valuable stories that will enhance our visitor’s imagination about what it was like to live or work here when Morven was a private residence.” more

By Nancy Plum

The Richardson Chamber Players showcase several aspects of Princeton University’s music department; it is a premiere instrumental ensemble focusing on rarely-performed repertoire, and allows University performance faculty to perform alongside their students. Seven members of the Chamber Players presented a concert Sunday afternoon in Richardson Auditorium, exploring the music of Bohemia. Subtitled “Echoes of Vltava,” the concert of works by Bohemian composers referenced the River Vltava, which originates in the Bohemian Forest and flows through the western Czech Republic. It was a fitting title for a late fall afternoon performance in which six instrumentalists and one singer presented smoothly-flowing music of the highest technical demands. more

SPECTACULAR SOUND: The Lee Music Performance and Rehearsal Room at the new Lewis Center for the Arts is a revelation to Michael Pratt, conductor of the Princeton University Orchestra, and the students who are members.

By Anne Levin

Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall, the historic building on the Princeton University campus, has played host to prestigious orchestras, chamber groups, and numerous other cultural attractions throughout its 131-year history. Chief among them is the Princeton University Orchestra, conducted since 1977 by director Michael Pratt.

Traditionally, the orchestra has held rehearsals on the Richardson stage. But upcoming concerts December 7 and 8 will mark the first time that the 100-plus ensemble has rehearsed in the Lee Music Performance and Rehearsal Room, the acoustically flexible, state-of-the-art space in the University’s recently opened $330 million Lewis Center for the Arts. more

On Thursday, November 30 at 7 p.m. the Lawrence Headquarters Branch of the Mercer County Library System will host classical guitarist Stanley Alexandrowicz, who will present an evening devoted to Romantic and Contemporary Virtuoso Masterpieces for the classical guitar. Nineteenth Century Virtuoso Guitar works from France, Italy, and Vienna, will be followed by contemporary compositions by some of America’s greatest living composers. more

Formation unicycling, acrobatic basketball, aerial antics, juggling, and trick bicycling are just some of the treats in store at the Trenton Circus Squad’s upcoming performances, December 5 and 7. Entry is free, donations are welcome. Trenton Circus Squad kicked off its fundraising season with benefit performance Step Right Up! in October. They will finish up their 2017 season by sharing their top tricks with the local community. Donations help support the program that provides leadership and life skills training to area teens, free of charge. On December 5 and 7, doors open at 5:45 p.m., performance at 6 p.m. To be held at Roebling Wire Works, 675 S Clinton Avenue, Trenton.

Through a partnership between Jewish Family and Children’s Service and the YWCA Princeton Breast Cancer Resource Center, New York City-based writer and performer Amy Marcs brings her critically acclaimed, autobiographical one-woman reconstructive comedy, Nice T!ts to Rider University’s Spitz Theater on Thursday, November 30 at 7 p.m.

The performance is hosted by Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Greater Mercer County, YWCA Princeton Breast Cancer Resource Center, and Sharsheret. more

The Princeton University Orchestra (PUO) continues its celebratory 120th season together with the 40th anniversary of director Michael Pratt, in two concerts on Thursday and Friday, December 7-8 at 7:30 p.m. Returning to their performance home in Richardson Auditorium at Alexander Hall, the orchestra will present — as Maestro Pratt puts it — “a meal of rich and beloved core repertory works:” Gioachino Rossini’s William Tell Overture, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Overture-Fantasy with guest conductor DG Kim ’18, and Antonín Dvořák’s monumental Seventh Symphony. more

By Kam Williams

Roman J. Israel (Denzel Washington) is a high-functioning savant on the autism spectrum who has been practicing law in Los Angeles for 36 years. The brilliant attorney has spent most of his career under the radar, writing legal briefs for indigent criminal defendants in a rear office, while his partner, William Henry Jackson, was the face of the firm who cultivated clients and argued their cases in the courtroom.

This arrangement worked well for Roman who, besides his disorder, was also a political activist dedicated to a progressive agenda to assist downtrodden individuals unfairly caught in the net of the prison-industrial complex. Because of that commitment, he was willing to work for far less pay than colleagues of his caliber. Consequently, the highly-principled lawyer has scraped by on a modest salary by living in the same apartment for decades, and subsisting on a diet of peanut butter sandwiches.  more

GIVING HER ALL: Princeton University women’s soccer player Abby Givens boots the ball in Princeton’s 4-0 win over Monmouth in the opening round of the NCAA tournament earlier this month. Last Sunday, sophomore forward Givens scored the game-winning goal in overtime as Princeton upset North Carolina 2-1 in the NCAA Round of 16. The Tigers, now 16-2-1, play at UCLA, 18-2-2, on November 25 in the NCAA quarters. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In early September, the Princeton University women’s soccer team traveled to North Carolina and turned heads as it posted wins over two Atlantic Coast Conference foes, N.C. State and Wake Forest.

Last weekend, 13th-ranked Princeton headed back to Tobacco Road for NCAA tournament action and came through again, edging N.C. State on penalty kicks after the teams tied at 1-1 through regulation and two overtimes on Friday in a second-round matchup and then toppled storied and second-ranked North Carolina, the holder of 21 NCAA crowns, in a 2-1 overtime thriller two days later. more

SLIPPING AWAY: Princeton University receiver Stephen Carlson, right, tangles with two defenders in recent action as he tries to catch up with a pass. Last Saturday, junior star Carlson made 10 catches for 138 yards and a touchdown in a losing cause as Princeton fell 54-44 at Dartmouth in its season finale. The loss left the Tigers at 5-5 overall and 2-5 Ivy League. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Playing at Dartmouth last Saturday in its season finale. the Princeton University football team’s offense ended things with a bang.

The Tigers rolled up 495 yards of total offense and 27 first downs on the way to tallying 44 points. more

November 17, 2017

SPEEDY TIGER: Princeton University football player Tiger Bech tries to elude tacklers from Yale in action last Saturday. Sophomore receiver Bech enjoyed a career day in a losing cause as Princeton fell 35-31 to the Bulldogs. He made six catches for a career-high 175 yards and a touchdown and also piled up a total of 158 yards in kickoff and punt returns. The Tigers, now 5-4 overall and 2-4 Ivy League, conclude their season by playing at Dartmouth (7-2 overall, 4-2 Ivy) on November 18. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Bob Surace had plenty of reason to be angry after his Princeton University football team fell 35-31 to visiting Yale last Saturday.

The defeat marked the fourth time this season that Princeton had suffered a loss in Ivy League play with a chance to win in its final possession. The setback before a crowd of 11, 229 at Powers Field also officially knocked the Tigers, now 5-4 overall and 2-4 Ivy, out of contention for their second straight Ivy title while Yale (8-1 overall, 5-1 Ivy) clinched at least a share of the crown. more

By Anne Levin

In 2011, photographer Amanda Lucidon was covering an event in Washington when she happened to meet Pete Souza, the chief photographer of the Obama White House. She had no idea at the time, but it was an introduction that would change her life.

“Two years later, he called and asked me if I was interested in applying for a photography job at the White House,” said Lucidon. “Of course I said yes. I was hired, and my assignment was to spend most of my time photographing Michelle Obama. I also got to cover the president from time to time. It all feels like a dream to me, that it even happened.” more

November 15, 2017
Photos by Charles R. Plohn
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On Saturday, November 11, parents met with representatives from local preschools at the Preschool Fair in the Princeton Public Library’s Community Room. Teachers, faculty, and parent volunteers talked about school programs, curriculum, philosophy, and the admission process at the annual event. Toys and books were available to all children.

PLEAS FOR PEACE: Religious scholar and bestselling author Reza Aslan speaks on “The Challenges of Peace in the Trump Era” to a gathering of about 175 conference participants at Nassau Presbyterian Church in Princeton on Sunday. (Photo by John Lien)

By Donald Gilpin

About 400 gathered at the Princeton University Chapel for a Multifaith Service for Peace on Sunday, followed by an afternoon conference at Nassau Presbyterian Church, where participants considered “The Challenges of Peace in the Trump Era.” The event was sponsored by the Coalition for Peace Action (CFPA) and 40 other area religious and civic groups.  more

By Donald Gilpin

In the wake of President Donald Trump’s get-tough-on-immigration campaign and many months of harsh rhetoric from the White House, the federal government announced on September 5 that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program would end in six months. Trump’s decision turned the problem over to Congress to determine the fate of hundreds of thousands of young people (known as DREAMers) who have received work permits or deportation relief since the program began five years ago.  more

By Anne Levin

Princeton Council member Heather Howard has been named to Governor-elect Phil Murphy’s transition team. Howard is among seven who will serve on the Healthcare committee. Also named is Linda Schwimmer, a member of Princeton’s Board of Health. more

GOLDEN GOAL: Princeton High boys’ soccer player Drew Beamer controls the ball in recent action. Last Friday, senior star Beamer scored the winning goal as third-seeded PHS defeated top-seeded Hunterdon Central 1-0 in the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional final. As a result, PHS, now 16-5-1, will face Washington Township (21-2-1) in the Group 4 state semis on November 14 with the victor advancing to the title game on November 19 at Kean University. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For the Princeton High boys’ soccer team, the experience gained from five losses over the season proved to be a blessing in disguise as it faced a gauntlet of tough foes on the way to the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional title.

“My team had the opportunity to play some high level competition this year and has been on the wrong end of it at times,” said PHS head coach Wayne Sutcliffe. more