December 1, 2021

By Stuart Mitchner

“Though I don’t pretend to understand what makes these four rather odd-looking boys so fascinating to so many scores of millions of people, I admit that I feel a certain mindless joy stealing over me as they caper about uttering sounds.”

So says Brendan Gill in his review of A Hard Day’s Night in the August 22, 1964 New Yorker. As an example of mindless joy, he mentions “a lady of indubitable intelligence” who told him that the Beatles “make her happy in the very same way that butterflies do; she wouldn’t be surprised if, in a previous incarnation, the Beatles had been butterflies.” A more mindfully memorable response came from the Village Voice’s Andrew Sarris, who dubbed A Hard Day’s Night “the Citizen Kane of juke box musicals.”

Another Beatles Landmark

Fifty-seven years later here they are again alive and well in The Beatles Get Back, which could be called the Citizen Kane of rock documentaries. Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson has carved a landmark out of 60 hours of film and 150 hours of audio, much of it transcriptions of conversations among the Beatles during the making of the album that would be released more than a year later as Let It Be. While I have yet to see Jackson’s three-act epic, I’ve been enjoying the book (Callaway Arts & Entertainment $60). It’s a massive volume, 250-plus pages brimming with digitally scanned and restored frames from the original footage, along with photography by Linda McCartney and Ethan A. Russell. By far the book’s most fascinating feature is the in-the-moment sensation of “being there.” Reviewing Get Back in Variety, Chris Willman was impressed by how much of the dialogue “reads like it could be adaptable into an off-Broadway play, full of dark comedy and rich insight about what can and can’t emerge out of ego and compromise among longtime partners approaching a crossroads.”  more

PIANIST STEWART GOODYEAR: His recital on December 19, at McCarter Theatre, is among the musical highlights of the holiday season.

By Anne Levin

Traditionally, the local performing arts calendar ramps up during the winter holiday season. These cultural celebrations are especially meaningful this year, signifying a return to pre-pandemic days — at least for now. While some events are still available online or scheduled to be performed outdoors, most are planned for theaters and concert halls. Most require proof of vaccinations, and require masks be worn.

Following is a list of holiday-themed arts events scheduled for the local area:

Princeton University Orchestra, at Richardson Auditorium on the campus Friday, December 3 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 5 at 3 p.m., conducted by Michael Pratt. Soprano soloist is Alison Spann ’20. On the program are works by Rachmaninoff and David del Tredici. Music.princeton.edu.

Roxey Ballet performs a sensory-friendly version of The Nutcracker at Eagle Fire Hall, 46 North Sugan Road, New Hope, Pa., Saturday and Sunday, December 4 and 5, at 1 p.m. Roxeyballet.orgmore

NEED A LAUGH?: Maysoon Zayid, actress, comedian, writer, and disability advocate, is one of nine comics at the Lewis Center on December 6. (Photo by Michelle Kinney)

Jersey Jokers, a night of comedy led by comedian and Princeton University Arts Fellow Maysoon Zayid and her “Art of Standup” students as they take their final exam live, is set for Monday, December 6 at 7 p.m. at the Wallace Theater, in the Lewis complex. Admission is free.

Zayid is a comedian, actress, writer, and disability advocate. She is a graduate of Arizona State University and a 2021-23 Princeton Arts Fellow. Zayid is the co-founder/co-executive producer of the New York Arab American Comedy Festival and The Muslim Funny Fest. She was a full-time on-air contributor to Countdown with Keith Olbermann and a columnist for The Daily Beast. She has appeared on 60 Minutes, CNN, ABC News, and Oprah Winfrey Networks. Zayid had the most-viewed TED Talk of 2014 and was named One of 100 Women of 2015 by the BBC. more

“INTERNALIZED”: Work by artist Chanika Svetvilas is now on view at the Plainsboro Public Library gallery. An artist’s talk and opening reception for the exhibit, “What I Have Learned (Fill in the Blank),” will be held on Saturday, December 4, from 1-3 p.m.

An exhibit of work by Chanika Svetvilas, who describes herself as “an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary artist,” opens at the Plainsboro Public Library gallery on Wednesday, December 1. Svetvilas is scheduled to give an artist’s talk on Saturday, December 4, at the opening reception, scheduled for 1-3 p.m.

The show, which runs run through January 26, features 50 oversize (36” x 24”) charcoal drawings — and some collage — created during the pandemic. Each piece has its own title, and collectively the series is entitled “What I Have Learned (Fill in the Blank).” 

The Princeton Junction artist said that the work in the show represents her response to the ongoing isolation of the pandemic, especially in its earlier days. She has tried to illustrate “satirically the disparities and inequities brought to light” during the nation’s experience of COVID-19.  Included in the exhibit are the artist’s representations of the Black Lives Matter movement, a response to George Floyd’s murder, pandemic charts, images of masking, and depictions of her own experience. more

“OPEN CALL”: This work by Linda Gilbert is part of the exhibit opening on Monday, December 6 at Gourgaud Gallery in Cranbury. The show features works in a variety of styles and sizes in several different mediums by many artists.

Gourgaud Gallery in Cranbury presents its 12th annual “Open Call” exhibit, on view Monday, December 6 through Tuesday, December 28. Admission to the gallery is free. The show will feature several different mediums (paintings, drawings, photography), in a variety of styles and sizes, created by many different artists. Admission to the gallery is free.

As part of the nonprofit Cranbury Arts Council, the Gourgaud Gallery donates 20 percent of art sales to the Cranbury Arts Council and its programs that support the arts in the community. Cash or a check made out to the artist is accepted as payment.

The gallery is located in Town Hall, 23-A North Main Street in Cranbury. Hours are  Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit cranburyartscouncil.org for more information.

“DNNERWARE”: This work by R. Piccione is part of “Master Class Artists,” on view in the Lower Gallery at the Arts Council of Princeton December 4 through January 29. An artists’ reception will be held on Saturday, December 4 from 3 to 5 p.m.

The Arts Council of Princeton will present an exhibition of new paintings and drawings by artists from the Painting and Drawing Master Class instructed by Charles David Viera. This exhibition will be offered in the Lower Gallery December 4 through January 29, and the public is invited to an artists’ reception on Saturday, December 4 from 3 to 5 p.m.

“These students are from a special class that the Arts Council is now adding to their regular schedule of classes, and it’s for artists that still appreciate a structured class environment,” said Viera. “These artists have worked for three months to create a wonderful exhibition that includes a variety of representational and expressionistic paintings. The range of ideas and creativity that these artists represent makes for an impressive and exciting exhibition.”

“Master Class Artists” will feature works from Mercer and Hunterdon county artists K. Chasalow, M. Babich, M. Kalvar, L. Langsner, A. Meisel , L. Berlik, S. Bershad, P. Huttner, R. Piccione, and E.Lange

The Arts Council of Princeton  is located at 102 Witherspoon Street. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call (609) 924-8777 or visit artscouncilofprinceton.org.

November 24, 2021

By Stuart Michner

I’m a dark horse
Running on a dark race course…

—George Harrison (1943-2001)

According to Glyn Johns, engineer and producer of the Beatles’ famously fraught Get Back sessions, “If I was ever going to write a book about George, I would print out every lyric he ever wrote, and I guarantee you would find out exactly who he was. Beginning with ‘Don’t Bother Me,’ it’s all there, as plain as plain can be.”

In George Harrison: Behind the Locked Door (Overlook 2015), Graeme Thomson notes that “Don’t Bother Me” was “written out of sheer necessity” at a time when “the insatiable appetite of Beatlemania” was “really beginning to bite.” As someone who “would never be much inclined to float off and write about ‘newspaper taxis’ or ‘Maxwell’s silver hammer,’ “ and who was already “adept at writing about himself,” Harrison was “the first Beatle to write songs about being a Beatle.”

So there he was, at 20, the youngest member of a band dominated by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, a compositional dynamo producing hit songs with titles like “Love Me Do,” “Please Please Me,” “Thank You Girl,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “She Loves You,” and “From Me to You.” Laid up with a head cold while the Beatles were playing “a summer season in Bournemouth,” as he recounts in I Me Mine (Chronicle Books 1980, 2002), Harrison gamely sets about writing the first chapter of his own narrative, a subtext in song with a distinct point of view. While “Don’t Bother Me” is plotted around the standard she-left-me-on-my-own plotline, it comes across as a dispatch from the combat zone of Beatlemania by a singer with no interest in holding hands or making nice: “So go away, leave me alone, don’t bother me … don’t come near, just stay away.”  more

By Nancy Plum

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra launched the second of its online fall performances last Wednesday night with a multi-media presentation of 19th-century music. Recorded last May at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and led by NJSO Music Director Xian Zhang, this concert focused on “A Woman’s Voice” in programmatic music, performance, and poetry. Although the Orchestra presented only three works, last Wednesday night’s performance was dense with text and backstories to the music, accompanied by poetry of local writers. Joining the Orchestra was one of opera’s great legends, soprano Renée Fleming.

French composer Georges Bizet’s four-movement suite L’Arlésienne (The Girl from Arles) originated as incidental music to a failed theatrical play.  New Jersey Symphony Orchestra performed the third movement “Adagietto,” scored for strings alone. Under Zhang’s direction, the strings of the Orchestra began the movement introspectively; with a smaller than usual ensemble of strings, the violins reached the heights of phrases well, with an especially lean melody from the first violins. The performance of this piece was preceded by a reading of the poem “Elizabeth, NJ” by New Jersey poet and artist Michelle Moncayo. 

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra introduced Richard Wagner’s romantic Siegfried Idyll with the poem “Convergence” by New Jersey native, poet and educator Jane Wong. Wagner, one of the towering composers of the 19th century, composed the one-movement Idyll as a “Symphonic Birthday Greeting” to his wife at the time. Zhang and the Orchestra began the piece with the same light touch heard in the Bizet work, with more strings and the addition of winds and brass. A solo line from flutist Bart Feller soared above the orchestral palette, complemented by pastoral solo playing from oboist Alexandra Knoll. Clarinetist Pascal Archer also provided expressive solo passages as the strings gracefully maneuvered repeated melodies and rhythmic patterns. A quartet of principal string players presented melodic lines well punctuated by solo horn player Christopher Komer, and conductor Zhang and concertmaster Eric Wyrick added a playful character to the music. Zhang brought the Idyll to a joyous close, aided by rich orchestration and playing of the German trumpets for which Wagner’s music is known.    more

“MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING”: Theatre Intime has staged a reimagined “Much Ado About Nothing,” presented November 12-21 at the Hamilton Murray Theater. Directed by Katie Bushman, Shakespeare’s romantic comedy is transplanted to the era of World War I. Benedick (Solomon Bergquist, center left) and Beatrice (Cassy James, center right) have a bickersome courtship, which is jeopardized by an action taken by Claudio (Harit Raghunathan, left) at his wedding to Hero (Lauren Owens, second from left). Onlookers: Leonato (Hank Ingham, second from right) and Don Pedro (Alex Conboy, right). (Photo by Elliot Lee)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

In Much Ado About Nothing Shakespeare has Balthasar, a musician, sing: “Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more; men were deceivers ever.” This world-weary comment, about the timelessness of dishonesty in relationships, would seem to offer directors latitude to reimagine the period in which this comedy is set.

Princeton University’s Theatre Intime has presented (from November 12-21) a production that takes advantage of this dramaturgical license. Director Katie Bushman transplants the play — first published in 1600 — to the end of the First World War.

This is clear as soon as the audience enters the theater. We hear popular songs of that period, including Irving Berlin’s “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” and, more thematically relevant, George M. Cohan’s “Over There.”

Don Pedro, Prince of Aragon (portrayed by Alex Conboy) returns home from winning a battle. With him are two of his soldiers: Claudio (Harit Raghunathan) and Benedick (Solomon Bergquist). The play is set at the home of a noble, Leonato (Hank Ingham); he invites the soldiers to stay for a month.  more

LIVE AND LIVE-STREAMED: Voices Chorale NJ performs its first in-person concert since the pandemic on December 17 at Trinity Church.

The first live and live-streamed concert of Voices Chorale NJ since December 2019 is scheduled for Friday, December 17 at 8 p.m. Featuring works based on the poetry of E.E. Cummings, Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Emily Dickinson, and more, this concert includes holiday music along with sounds to soothe the soul after a long time apart.

Among the works on the program is Joan Szymko’s I Dream a World, based on Langston Hughes’ poem, imagining a world “where love will bless the earth and peace its paths adorn.” Sing Gently, composed by Eric Whitacre in March 2020, was written in a spirit to bring comfort to those who need it. Where Riches is Everlastingly is Bob Chilcott’s upbeat arrangement of a 16th century carol. Little Tree, based on a poem by E.E. Cummings, reflects the childlike wonder and excitement of dressing the Christmas tree, and Eight Days of Lights, by Judith Clurman, honors the Hanukkah celebration.

The concert is designed to explore diverse music that brings people together, as individuals with different beliefs, traditions, and tastes.

Singers and audience members will wear masks, and there is a streaming option for those who cannot join in person. Tickets are $15-$25. Visit voiceschoralenj.org.

Laquita Mitchell

Soprano and Westminster Choir College alumna Laquita Mitchell performs with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra at its Holiday POPS! concert on Tuesday, December 14 at 7:30 p.m. at Matthews Theatre, McCarter Theatre Center.

Mitchell sings Giacomo Puccini’s “O mio babbino caro” from Gianni Schicchi, Robert MacGimsey’s spiritual-inspired song “Sweet Little Jesus Boy,” and an arrangement of “This Little Light of Mine.” Conducted by Edward T. Cone Music Director Rossen Milanov, the program also includes dances from Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera The Snow Maiden and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, plus Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Fantasia on Greensleeves,” Johann Strauss Jr.’s “Blue Danube” waltz, and favorites including “Sleigh Ride” by Leroy Anderson.

“I’m excited to welcome Laquita Mitchell back to Princeton and have her be a part of our holiday celebration. Her performance will bring a poignancy to this year’s program as well as a note of hope to carry us through to the new year,” says Milanov.

Mitchell earned positive reviews for her début as Bess in Porgy and Bess with the San Francisco Opera. She reprised the role with opera companies and orchestras nationwide and with Grange Park Opera in the U.K. and the Lithuanian State Symphony. She recently performed the title role in Tom Cipullo’s Josephine with Opera Colorado, as well as The Promise of Living, a concert program she conceived. She appeared in New York Philharmonic’s Bandwagon concerts and the Kauffmann Music Center’s Musical Storefront series in spring 2021, and performed with the Columbus Symphony and Rhode Island Philharmonic. more

“LINE OF LIGHT”: This painting by Bill Jersey is part of “Sharing,” his exhibition with artists Laura Rutherford Renner, Heather Barros, and Larry Mitnick, on view at Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville December 9 through January 22.

Artists Bill Jersey, Laura Rutherford Renner, Heather Barros, and Larry Mitnick  have announced the opening of their joint show, “Sharing,” on view  December 9 through January 22 at Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville. The exhibit features  paintings by the four artists. An opening reception is scheduled for Saturday, December 11, from 1 to 3p.m.

“Sharing” invites viewers to pause, to see, to remember the beauty of the world that we share with you.

Residing in Hunterdon County,  Jersey says,  “I am surrounded by creeks, forests, fields, and hills — an abundance of scenes I want to capture or interpret on canvas. Over time, my paintings evolved from more realistic scenes of the natural world to more interpreted representations, using dramatic colors to evoke fresh perspectives. As a documentary filmmaker of many years, I learned to catch a moment in time and use it to tell a larger story. That is what I seek to capture in my paintings.” more

“GARDENS OLD AND NEW”: This work by Arsen Savadov and Georgii Senchenko is part of “Painting in Excess: Kyiv’s Art Revival, 1985–1993,” on view at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University through March 13, 2022.

The exhibition “Painting in Excess: Kyiv’s Art Revival, 1985–1993” explores the inventive new art styles by Ukrainian artists responding to a trying transitional period of perestroika (restructuring) during the collapse of the Soviet Union. On view at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University through March 13, 2022, the exhibition highlights an explosion of styles, rediscovered histories, and newly found freedoms that blossomed against economic scarcity and ecological calamity, creating an effect of baroque excess.

Organized by guest research curator Olena Martynyuk, Ph.D. with assistance from Julia Tulovsky, Ph.D., the Zimmerli’s curator of Russian and Soviet Nonconformist Art, “Painting in Excess: Kyiv’s Art Revival, 1985-1993” is accompanied by a catalogue of the same title, co-published with Rutgers University Press.

An in-person exhibition reception is scheduled for February 26, 2022, with performances of Ukrainian musical pieces composed in the 1980s and early 1990s, recreating the cultural atmosphere of the time.  more

 

EXHIBIT AT TERHUNE: Local photographer Eddie Dzik will discuss his work on Sunday, November 28 from 1 to 3 p.m. in Terhune Orchards’ historic barn on Cold Soil Road.

The work of local photographer Eddie Dzik will be featured in an exhibition opening Sunday in Terhune Orchards historic barn on Cold Soil Road. Dzik will be available to discuss his work from 1-3 p.m. on Sunday, November 28.
Dzik was raised in Lawrenceville. As a way to show his love for the outdoors and concern for environmental preservation, he began photographing both local and national parks to document their ever-changing landscapes.
Currently, he has been assisting world-renowned National Geographic photographer Michael Yamashita, most recently working on the creation of NFTs (non-fungible tokens). Through his photography, Dzik strives to share his vision of nature in hopes to grow awareness of the beauty of our natural resources and remind others of the importance of protecting and preserving them. View Dzik’s portfolio at: eddiedzik.myportfolio.com.

WINTER CLASSES: The Center for Contemporary Art in Bedminster is offering in-person and virtual art classes and workshops this winter for adults, teens, and children in a variety of media including oil and acrylic paint, pastel, watercolor, drawing, and ceramics. 

The Center for Contemporary Art in Bedminster is offering in-person and virtual art classes and workshops this winter for adults, teens, and children beginning January 10. Select classes will be offered in a hybrid format. Classes and workshops are offered for artists with all levels of expertise in a variety of media including oil and acrylic paint, pastel, watercolor, drawing, and ceramics. 

There are more than 60 winter adult classes including, Portrait Drawing, Watercolor Step-by-Step, The Power of Pastels, Introduction to Acrylics, Morning Oil Landscape, Watercolor Portraits of People and Animals, Evening Painting, and ceramics classes such as Beginner Wheel Throwing, and Wheel Throwing and Hand Building. New classes this winter include Intro to Oil Painting, Classical Portraiture, Drawing Like the Old Masters in Pen Ink, Introduction to Drawing, Tricolor and Colored Pencil Drawing, Introduction to Basic Sculpting Technique, Media Sampler, Art and Literature, Video Art, and The Art of Comedy. more

OH BOY: Princeton University men’s soccer player Kevin O’Toole dribbles past a foe in recent action. Senior star O’Toole, who was named the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year this season as he helped Princeton go 7-0 in league play, saw his brilliant career come to an end as the Tigers fell 1-0 at St. John’s in the first round of the NCAA tournament last Thursday. Princeton ended the fall with an overall record of 12-6. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In late September, the Princeton University men’s soccer team lost a hard-fought 1-0 battle to St. John’s.

Last Thursday, Princeton got a rematch at St. John’s in the first round of the NCAA tournament and the Tigers were primed to turn the tables on the Red Storm.

“The last couple of games were really hard to grind out results; we had stretches during those games where I thought we played well but I think the guys were so determined to win the league and get through the league unbeaten,” said Princeton head coach Jim Barlow, whose team came into the NCAA game at 12-5 overall and 7-0 Ivy and riding an 8-game winning streak.

“At times it was more about competing than it was about putting the best soccer out there. At times we were able to do both. We had stretches down the stretch where I thought we were really connected, defending as group, moving the ball well and creating chances. I think there was a lot of confidence going into the tournament.”

Barlow knew it wouldn’t be easy to overcome St. John’s. “They are just so hard to score on, they concede so few goals,” said Barlow.

“They are big, they are athletic. It is a tough matchup. We didn’t create many chances in the first game against them and I don’t think they did either. It was a pretty competitive game with neither team able to generate many chances.”

The NCAA contest turned out to be competitive but with same result as the Red Storm won 1-0, finding the back of the net at the 43rd minute and holding off the Tigers from there. more

November 17, 2021

By Stuart Mitchner

On Veterans Day 2021, I was thinking about my Uncle Bob, who was killed when his B-52 went down in a freak accident in February 1944. I was also dealing with the fact that both my uncle and my maternal grandfather were named for Robert E. Lee. On my uncle’s dog tag, which I keep close at hand, he’s identified as REL Patterson.

Although my paternal ancestors fought for the Union, a conspicuous exception is Gen. Jubal Early, called Lee’s “Bad Old Man” according to various biographers because of his “short temper, insubordination, and use of profanity.” A Potomac River ferry was named for him until June 2020 when it was renamed Historic White’s Ferry. As far as I know, there are still streets named for him in Texas, Florida, and in nine different towns in Virginia, including his birthplace Lynchburg, where there’s a Jubal Early memorial that was restored after being knocked down by “a wayward driver” in 2013.

 more

By Nancy Plum

Westminster Choir, the flagship choral ensemble of Westminster Choir College of Rider University, returned to live performance this past weekend. Led by conductor Lynnel Joy Jenkins, the 35-voice mixed chorus presented a program centered on “Returning to Joy” in Rider University’s Gill Memorial Chapel on Sunday afternoon. The program of a cappella and lightly accompanied choral works featured music both past and present and took the audience at Gill Chapel from “mourning” through “singing and new song” and “comfort” to “celebration,” capturing the myriad of feelings and atmospheres over the past 18 months. As Jenkins explained, this concert musically depicted “a tumultuous journey of returning to our beloved choral singing after a storm of life.”

Conductor and music educator Lynnel Joy Jenkins has built a successful career on cultivating community in the choral classroom while inspiring artistry. Her local connections range from a Westminster Choir College degree to conducting the Resident Choir of The American Boychoir School to her current position as artistic director of the Westrick Music Academy and conductor of the Princeton Girlchoir Ensemble and Concert Choir. From her worldwide choral clinical experiences, Jenkins has brought to choral programming a multicultural approach well evident in Sunday afternoon’s concert.

Jenkins opened the performance with three choral pieces of grief from three different time periods. The text of 16th-century composer Tomás Luis de Victoria’s “O Vos Omnes” was derived from the biblical book of Lamentations, and Westminster Choir sang Victoria’s a cappella Latin motet with clear harmonies and a well-focused sound. Westminster Choir has been renowned for a number of choral strengths, including solid blend, impeccable tuning, and the ability to produce an endless stream of choral sound, all of which were in evidence throughout this concert.  more

KELLI O’HARA: Stage and screen star Kelli O’Hara (above) performed November 13 at McCarter’s Matthews Theatre, marking her debut there. For the concert, which included a selection of show tunes and standards, the Tony Award winner was accompanied by a quartet of instrumentalists. (Photo courtesy of McCarter Theatre)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

Stage and screen star Kelli O’Hara performed at McCarter’s Matthews Theatre this past Saturday night. The concert featured a selection of classic and contemporary show tunes, as well as a few stand-alone songs, that have had special significance for the Tony and Drama League Award winner.

Her stage credits include numerous musical theater roles on Broadway, as well as Metropolitan Opera performances in The Merry Widow and Cosi fan tutte. Screen credits include the web series The Accidental Wolf, Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why, and HBO’s upcoming The Gilded Age.

O’Hara made her McCarter debut with the November 13 concert. However, one of the musicians who accompanied her — percussionist Gene Lewin — is an alumnus of Princeton University and its Triangle Club.

Dan Lipton was the musical director and pianist. Guitarist Justin Goldner and bassist Alex Eckhardt completed the well-balanced quartet.  more

BEETHOVEN’S PREOCCUPATION: A scene from “33 Variations,” opening November 19 at Kelsey Theatre. The great composer’s obsession with one piece of music is considered one of the great riddles of classical music

Pierrot Productions will present 33 Variations November 19 through December 4 at Mercer County Community College’s Kelsey Theatre, located at 1200 Old Trenton Road in West Windsor Township.

Written by Moisés Kaufman, 33 Variations is inspired by one of classical music’s most enduring riddles: Why did Beethoven, during his final years, write 33 different variations of a seemingly insignificant waltz by a minor composer?

Kaufman’s play, which made its Broadway debut in 2009, toggles between contemporary times in New York and early 19th century Vienna. The story begins when modern-day music scholar, Katherine Brandt, is driven to explore the rationale behind Beethoven’s preoccupation with creating nearly three dozen variations of a humble waltz by a composer named Anton Diabelli. Beethoven’s obsession fuels Brandt’s obsession as their two worlds coexist on stage. Both characters face afflictions and are running out of time. Brandt suffers with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and a broken mother-daughter relationship, while Beethoven, entering the final years of his life, struggles with severe hearing loss.  more

Jazz vocalist and Princeton University faculty member Trineice Robinson will perform as part of Jazz Trenton’s Jazz Masters Series on Saturday, November 27, 3:30-7:30 p.m., at Candlelight Lounge, 24 Passaic Street, Trenton.

Joining her will be pianist Aaron Graves, bassist Lee Smith, and drummer Webb Thomas. The cover charge is $20 with a $10 drink minimum, dinner included. For information visit jazztrenton.com.

Robinson released All or Nothing, her debut album, last August via 4RM Productions. The album combines influences from jazz, R&B, gospel, and classical music with an all-star band featuring Don Braden, Cyrus Chestnut, Kenny Davis, and Vince Ector.

With the release of the album, Robinson crosses off a major item on her bucket list, finally releasing her debut album at the age of 40. more

“NEW BEGINNINGS: A RE-EMERGENCE”: Art from 13 members of the Plainsboro Artists’ Group is on view at the Plainsboro Public Library Gallery through November 27. The exhibit includes drawing, painting, mixed media, assemblage, and sculpture.

An exhibition by members of the Plainsboro Artists’ Group is now on view in the Plainsboro Public Library Gallery. “New Beginnings: A Re-emergence,” which includes work in a variety of media, runs through November 27.

Exhibiting artists include Leena S. Bagawde, Mousumi Banerjee, Nikita Choksi, Terrance Cummings, Stephanie Ding, Sruthi Goswamy, Nelly Kouzmina, Art Lee, Sweety Mehta, Sandhya Modi, Anandi Ramanathan, Elaine Rosenberg, and Chanika Svetvilas.

The Plainsboro Public Library is the host of the Plainsboro Art Group made up of artists who meet on the first Tuesdays of every month at 6:30 p.m. (currently via Zoom) to connect and share their work, ideas, share resources, and seek advice from each other. The group has remained an
active and important part of Plainsboro and surrounding community with exhibitions and events that unite the community. The group welcomes all artists of varying levels and mediums to its meetings and events to foster a safe space for sharing.

“Our art covers many ranges,” said Paula Ridley, the Artists’ Group member who coordinated the show. “We have mixed media artists, sculptors, painters, muralists, potters, graphic designers, sketch artists, textile artists, sketchbook journalers, abstract artists, book artists, and more.”

The Plainsboro Public Library is located at 9 Van Doren Street in Plainsboro. For more information, visit plainsborolibrary.org, or call Sharon Mitchell at (609) 275-2897.

“YEAR OF THE LOCUST 2021”: This work by Jamie Greenfield is featured in “Double Vision,” her dual exhibition with Madelaine Shellaby, on view at The Gallery at Mercer County Community College in West Windsor through December 9. An opening reception and conversation with the artists will be held on November 17 at 7 p.m.

The Gallery at Mercer County Community College (MCCC) now presents “Double Vision,” featuring the works of Jamie Greenfield and Madelaine Shellaby. The exhibition runs through December 9 with an opening reception and “Conversation with the Artists” Q&A session on November 17 at 7 p.m. at the West Windsor Campus Gallery. Gallery Director Alice K. Thompson is curator for the exhibition.

“Double Vision” is a collaborative project between artists Greenfield of Lawrenceville and Shellaby of Washington Crossing, Pa.

The two artists discovered they had both been working in a stream of consciousness way. As Greenfield described, “We are looking inward to memory, and outward to the immediate environment for subject matter. The resulting drawings and digital montages reflect a common vision of fields of energy and awareness: what may be seen, felt, and known.”  more

“TULIPS AND FOXGLOVE”: This painting by Doris Ettlinger is part of the Garden State Watercolor Society’s Pop-Up Art Sale, coming to 19 Hulfish Street for three consecutive weekends starting November 18.

Garden State Watercolor Society (GSWS) returns to Princeton after a three-year hiatus for their Pop-Up Art Sale at 19 Hulfish Street in Palmer Square. Over 40 individual artists will re-emerge from the pandemic’s creative hibernation. On display will be a large assortment of original artwork in various media to satisfy anyone’s taste or style. 

The sale will run for three consecutive weekends beginning Thursday, November 18. and continue on a Thursday-to-Sunday schedule ending on December 5. The Pop-Up Art Sale hours are Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 12 to 5 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving. An opening reception will be held on Friday, November 19 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

As a way of giving back to the community, GSWS will donate 20 percent of the art sale proceeds to Mercer Street Friends and Send Hunger Packing. Mercer Street Friends is a local nonprofit whose mission is to build alliances and provide integrated services for children, and their families. The Send Hunger Packing program provides supplemental meals on the weekend for children K-sixth grade so that they are ready to learn on Monday.

For more information, visit the GSWS website at gswcs.org/art-sale.html.

“PEONY”: This oil painting by Constance Bassett of Moorland Studios is part of this year’s Covered Bridge Artisans Studio Tour, to be held November 26, 27, and 28. Visit  coveredbridgeartisans.com for a map and more information.

Held this year on November 26, 27, and 28 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, the Covered Bridge Artisans Studio Tour is a self-guided tour located in the Delaware River Valley of lower Hunterdon and Bucks counties. The 27th studio tour will take place in seven professional artists’ studios in the Lambertville, Stockton, New Hope, and Sergeantsville areas with 14 additional artists at the Sergeantsville Firehouse Events Center. 

Visitors to the tour can experience active studios as well as the gathering of many professional artists at the event center. This provides a wonderful opportunity to visit the studio, buy finished work, see work in progress, and talk with the artist. This year the tour features a variety of artisans working in glass, jewelry, ceramics, cast bronze, painting, weaving, bookbinding, woodworking, quilting, and more.

This year the Covered Bridge Artisans is teaming up with Fisherman’s Mark, a nonprofit social services organization in Lambertville that has been on the front lines of the Hurricane Ida relief effort. The devastation caused by the hurricane has left many residents housing insecure. Fisherman’s Mark is assisting those in need through their Hurricane Ida Relief Grant. Covered Bridge Artisans is giving its loyal customers the opportunity to make a donation to Fisherman’s Mark at the 2021 tour. 

For more information, and a map connected to GPS links, visit www.coveredbridgeartisans.com.