March 29, 2017

Princeton’s own literary festival, the Salon on Stockton Street, returns for its second year from Friday, March 31, through Sunday April 2. Two neighbors on Stockton Street, Morven Museum and Garden, and the Center of Theological Inquiry (CTI), are collaborating once again to host a varied international program of book interviews with authors from Ireland, the U.S.A., New Zealand, Scotland, and the Netherlands, a one-man play on Charles Darwin, and a private tour of Morven’s Bruce Springsteen photographic exhibition. The Salon opens at 5:30 p.m. on Friday evening with a reception at Morven to meet the authors and enjoy a private tour of the Bruce Springsteen exhibition with Morven curator Beth Allan. more

AUTUMN PATH: This photographic work by Frank Sauer is from his exhibit “Mountain Lakes: A Lens on the Seasons,” which will be on view at the Arts Council of Princeton through April 30. There will be an artist talk with the photographer at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 1.

Watching snow flurries from the south-facing rear windows of our house a day after the opening of Frank Sauer’s exhibit, “Mountain Lakes: A Lens on the Seasons,” I seemed to be seeing his photography again in the white haze of distant trees, the way limbs and branches were sharply defined and at the same time fluid in the fallen and falling snow.  more

Melanie Tan, a third grader at YingHua International School, won the top award at the Association of New Jersey Chinese Schools Karaoke Contest in Edison on March 11. Competitors came from all over New Jersey. Melanie, shown here holding her trophy with, from left, Jack Huang and Yvonne Wang, Director and Deputy Director of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York; music teacher Evelyn Zheng; and YingHua’s Michelle Tan, sang “The Invisible Wings” in Mandarin Chinese to win her award.

CONVERSATION OF A FRIDAY: Gallery 13 North in Lambertville recently signed international artist, Lourdes Ral from Barcelona, Spain. She is showcasing her work at the Gallery in a group show called “Abstract Innovation,” which is opening on April 8. Pictured here is one of Ral’s paintings, titled “Conversation of a Friday.”

Since its opening last year, Gallery 13 North in Lambertville has hosted several art-related events involving established artists known throughout the region. Gallery 13 North is pleased to announce the representation of an innovative young artist from Barcelona, Spain: Lourdes Ral. Along with other international artists, Ral will be showcasing her works for Gallery 13 North’s upcoming group show “Abstract Innovation” which will run from April 8 to July 9. The opening reception is scheduled for April 8 at 2 p.m. more

SIZE MATTERS: When this Martha’s Vineyard mega-mansion came close to falling into the sea, the owner simply bought up the neighboring property and had it moved back. The house is among several that inspired the filmmaker to make “One Big Home,” one of the offerings at the Princeton Environmental Film Festival through this weekend at Princeton Public Library.

Thomas Bena was working as a carpenter on the idyllic island of Martha’s Vineyard when he started noticing that homes being built were getting bigger — a lot bigger. On land overlooking the ocean where modest, clapboard homes once stood, huge mansions many times their size were going up at a rapid pace.  more

Two-time Emmy and Tony Award winner Judd Hirsch and stage and screen veteran Dan Lauria perform at George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick on May 11 in The Value of Names. Tickets start at $35. To purchase, call the box office at (732) 246-7717 or visit

In The Value of Names, Benny Silverman (Hirsch) is a retired comic whose career was derailed by the McCarthy-era blacklist. His actress daughter is working on a project when the director falls ill and is forced to step down. Taking his place is the man who betrayed Benny to the House Un-American Activities Committee — and his former best friend, Leo Greshen (Lauria). These circumstances converge to give the two men the opportunity to confront each other — face-to-face. more

Laughter is coming to McCarter Theatre on April 7 at 8 p.m. with the arrival of “Graeme of Thrones” based on George R.R. Martin’s fantasy saga “Game of Thrones. “Tickets start as low as $25. To purchase, visit or call (609) 258-2787. McCarter Theatre is located at 91 University Place in Princeton. 

March 22, 2017

The word derives from the Greek “ephemeros,” meaning “lasting only one day, short-lived,” which includes papers, curiosities, and collectible odds and ends of the sort found on a table in the Collector’s Corner during this year’s Bryn Mawr-Wellesley Book Sale, which lasted five days and will come back to life again next year. Special finds are mentioned in this week’s Town Talk. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

After lengthy preparations and deliberations, the Princeton Public Schools (PPS) Board of Education (BOE) last Thursday approved a tentative budget of $95,702 million for the 2017-18 school year, an increase of 4.88 percent over last year, with an anticipated 4.7 percent rise in the tax levy.

School taxes on the average Princeton home, assessed at $821,771, would increase by $223.95, a 2.5 percent hike.  more

On March 28, Rider University’s Board of Trustees is expected to vote on whether to sell the Princeton campus of Westminster Choir College, which it has owned since 1992. As the date nears, a growing list of alumni, students, parents, and members of the public are working feverishly to keep the world-renowned choral institution alive and well as cash-strapped Rider comes up with a plan for its overall future. more

As repairs to New Jersey’s oldest bridge and the construction of a new bridge next to it move forward, a portion of Route 206 will be closed completely from July through October, the New Jersey Department of Transportation (DOT) announced at a public information meeting yesterday. more

NEW AND IMPROVED: Princeton Public Library unveils its redesigned second floor Saturday at a special day of activities. This sleek seating area is part of the vision of Andrew Berman, architect. (Photo by Cie Stroud Courtesy of Princeton Public Library)

Since last June, tarpaulins have covered the windows of Princeton Public Library’s second floor as renovations have been underway to reconfigure its layout and make it more relevant to the digital age. The “2Reimagine” project is now complete, and the public is invited to tour the new space on Saturday while participating in a roster of celebratory activities. more

David Dye and Tom Cunningham will discuss the early part of Bruce Springsteen’s career and the role that radio played in it in “Bruce Springsteen on the Radio: 1973-21st Century,” at the Present Day Club, located at 72 Stockton Street on April 6 at 7 p.m. Special guest, photographer Frank Stefanko, will join the conversation and talk about his experiences working with Springsteen early in both of their careers. The cover photo on Springsteen’s memoir, “Born to Run,” was shot by Stefanko in 1978. The event is presented in partnership with the Princeton Public Library and Morven Museum and Garden in conjunction with Morven’s current exhibition, Bruce Springsteen: A Photographic Journey, curated by The GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles. The exhibition is on view through May 21. Reservations are required. Tickets at $12 ($10 Friends of Morven) are available online at or by calling (609) 924-8144, ext. 113.

Princeton Fitness & Wellness at Plainsboro will host a free community health fair on Saturday, March 25 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The facility is located at 7 Plainsboro Road on the campus of the University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro. more

Keeping their momentum high in the volatile contemporary political environment, the Princeton Community Democratic Organization (PCDO) gathered Sunday at the Suzanne Patterson Center behind Monument Hall to plan for the coming months and to endorse candidates for Assembly, State Senate, Mercer County Sheriff, Freeholder, and Princeton Council. more

Good Grief, which provides help and comfort to grieving children and families, has been selected by 100+ Women Who Care of Mercer County as their winter 2017 donor recipient. Pictured from left to right are Ellen Fahey, Courtney Hodock, and Debbie Blakely and her two daughters, who have participated in the organization’s programs. For more information visit

Described by the late Nobel Prize winning poet Seamus Heaney as “one of the era’s true originals,” Paul Muldoon will be reading from Selected Poems 1968-2014 (Farrar Straus and Giroux $27) at Labyrinth Books on Tuesday, March 28, at 6 p.m.

Fellow poet and Lewis Center faculty member Michael Dickman will introduce his colleague.  more

One of the most intense reading experiences of my life happened when I worked as a freelance proofreader for Knopf and was Fed-Exed the galleys for Cormac McCarthy’s The Crossing (1994) on Friday with the task of getting the proofed work back no later than Monday. I was looking at well over 400 pages of narrative that included a fair amount of Spanish, a language of which I knew little beyond adios. By Sunday I was glassy-eyed, dazzled, mesmerized, and so swept up in the power of the thing that all I could talk about when I came up for air was The Crossing.  more

“UNTITLED”: This photograph is from Ricardo Barros’s exhibit “Figuring Space.” He will speak at 7:30 p.m. at the D&R Greenway Land Trust, 1 Preservation Place, Princeton on Monday April 3. The event is free and open to the public.

In his most recent work, noted photographer Ricardo Barros tackles the inexpressible — the abstraction that is space itself. Barros will be giving a lecture on his portfolio “Figuring Space” on Monday, April 3 for the Princeton Photography Club at the D&R Greenway. more

MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS: Performances are underway for McCarter Theatre Center’s world premiere production of Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express.” Adapted by Ken Ludwig and directed by Emily Mann, the play runs through April 2 on McCarter’s Matthews Stage. Hercule Poirot (Allan Corduner) is shown in the top photo and the play’s company appears in the bottom photo. (Photo Credit: T. Charles Erickson) 

Ken Ludwig’s adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express received its world premiere at McCarter’s Matthews Theatre March 17. As expected, the story keeps the audience guessing about the solution to the murder until near the end. Early on, however, it is no mystery that playgoers will find much to entertain them in this first-class production. more

The Princeton Symphony Orchestra is currently accepting instrument donations to benefit the Trenton Community Music School. Families whose children have outgrown small instruments or whose interests have shifted away are welcome to drop-off their used instruments at PSO’s administrative offices, located at 575 Ewing Street in Princeton and Studio B Bakery & Bistro at 439 Broad Street in Trenton. Donations will be accepted through March 24. The mission of Trenton Community Music School is to bring children together in teams of music learners and makers, to build their minds, imagination, and community.  For more information, visit

The Bulgarian State Women’s Chorus will perform at Princeton University Chapel on Monday, April 17 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are only $15 ($5 for students) and are available at or at the Frist Center Box Office at (609) 258-9220. 

Taking Princeton’s mind off the recent spring snowstorm, the Takács String Quartet returned to Richardson Auditorium this past week to close its Complete Beethoven string quartet cycle.  Last Wednesday night’s concert (the closing performance of the series was Thursday night) featured violinists Edward Dusinberre and Károly Schranz, violist Geraldine Walther and cellist András Fejér in three string quartets showing both the classical structure and style of the genre and how Beethoven stretched the boundaries of the string quartet form. more

March 15, 2017

Here sit some contestants in the Einstein look-a-like contest, a ritual part of Princeton’s Pi Day celebration of the town’s most renowned citizen, born March 14, 1879. In this week’s Town Talk, people ponder what he might think of Princeton in March 2017. (Photo by Emily Reeves)

With some weather websites predicting a foot or more of snow and strong winds for Monday night into Wednesday thanks to the nor’easter named Stella, Princeton’s public works and police departments were taking no chances and preparing for the worst.

“We’re ready to go,” said Dan Van Mater, superintendent in the Department of Public Works, on Monday afternoon. “We’re just getting the trucks ready, and the salt dome is full. We’re replenishing what we used last Friday and we have more salt coming in today.” more

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