April 19, 2023

By Donald Gilpin

Andrea Elliott
(Photo courtesy of HomeFront)

New York Times staff writer and two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Andrea Elliott will be the keynote speaker at HomeFront’s annual Women’s Initiative reception at the Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village on April 27.

Author of Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival & Hope in an American City, which won the 2022 Pulitzer in General Nonfiction, Elliott is the Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University, teaching a course this term on immersion journalism and narrative nonfiction.

Joining Elliott on stage will be Chanel Sykes and her daughter Dasani, the “invisible child” whose life in New York City Elliott followed for almost a decade, reporting on the poverty, homelessness, and the girl’s extraordinary resilience in the face of devastating inequalities throughout her teenage years.

“This is the first time that Dasani and her mother, Chanel, will be appearing in person before a large audience,” said Elliott. “It’s momentous. The event will center around a conversation between Chanel and me that revisits the story of the Sykes family and the struggles that Chanel and Dasani have endured. I will also be talking about the journey of reporting and writing Invisible Child.” more

By Anne Levin   

In the 12 years since Princeton Public Library inaugurated Local Author Day, the event has become something of a local tradition. Writers from within a 20-mile radius of Princeton gather on the library’s first floor to greet readers, sign, and sell their books. Practical presentations focus on the details of getting a book published.

Thanks to the pandemic, Local Author Day was paused in 2020, presented virtually in 2021, and as a hybrid in 2022. It returns in its original form on Saturday, April 29. Save for a Zoom presentation the evening before, everything is in person from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with 44 authors ready to meet the public during the annual author fair.

“It’s an opportunity to see just how many really talented people are publishing locally,” said Nora Walsh, the library’s adult services librarian. “There are so many different types of books this year, and some of the writers are right in town. It’s great for the authors, too, because they get to meet their peers and commiserate. When you’re a writer, you don’t usually have an office to go to every day.” more

MUSIC IN THE AIR: Princeton’s porches will be the setting for a range of bands and ensembles at the Arts Council of Princeton’s Porchfest on Saturday, April 29.

By Anne Levin

With some 89 musical attractions signed up to perform on 18 porches in town, the second annual Princeton Porchfest on Saturday, April 29 is shaping up to be bigger and broader than the one that debuted last year.

But Porchfest can only grow so much. The daylong music festival was created to replace Communiversity, an annual street fair that, over its five decades, had ballooned to an event that attracted some 30,000 people to the central business district and the Princeton University campus. Porchfest is smaller and all about music, art, and the local community. Rotating sets are performed on front porches and other locations throughout the downtown.

Several genres are represented. “We have more hip-hop and R&B this year, and the Princeton Festival is doing something classical,” said Adam Welch, executive director of the Arts Council of Princeton, which presents the event. “Instead of the Lewis Center on the University campus, they will be at Maclean House, which is a little bit closer to the central business district. And it’s next to Nassau Hall and the Nassau green, which was the first location of Communiversity.” more

FRENCH CONNECTIONS: The Princeton business development club Princeton Expat Pro sponsored a networking event in town and on the campus last week, attracting some 70 attendees from many types of businesses. (Photo by Tamara de Ghellinck)

By Anne Levin

After three years of organizing gatherings over Zoom, Princeton Expat Pro (PEP) was ready to put together a live event. Last Thursday, April 13, the organization, which supports French-speaking professionals in developing their careers, partnered with Princeton University’s Entrepreneurship Council (PEC) and the Keller Center to present “Synergy and Networking.”

The idea was to connect University and Francophone (French-speaking) business leaders at the event, which was held at the Princeton Entrepreneurial Hub on Chambers Street and at Rockefeller College on the campus. More than 70 people attended, starting with a guided tour of the campus before hearing joint presentations by the Princeton Entrepreneurial Hub and Francophone entrepreneurs. A cocktail party and networking followed. more

By Donald Gilpin

With an array of projects in the fields of math, physics, plant science, environmental science, computer science, chemistry, biochemistry, biology, and medicine, seven Princeton High School (PHS) students and a Princeton Middle School student brought home a total of 12 awards from the Mercer County Science and Engineering Fair held at Rider University earlier this month.

Many of the students who received awards participate in the PHS Research Program where they develop experiments, collect data, and produce their results under the guidance of PHS science teachers Mark Eastburn, James Smirk, and Jennifer Smolyn, along with PHS computer science teacher Grace Elia.

“We are close to realizing the greater goal of getting every student in our community to explore their passion and complete a meaningful inquiry project before high school graduation,” said PHS Science Supervisor Joy Barnes-Johnson in congratulating the group and wishing them ongoing success in their STEM explorations. more

By Stuart Mitchner

I’m lost amidst a sea of wheat
where people speak but seldom meet

—Keith Reid (1946-2023)

Haruki Murakami’s Novelist as a Vocation (Knopf 2022) comes with a blurb from Patti Smith, who compares readers waiting for the novelist’s latest work to past generations lining up at record stores for new albums by the Beatles or Bob Dylan. As it happens, the Beatles are at the heart of Murakami’s chapter “On Originality” where he recalls a boyhood moment sitting in front of his “little transistor radio” listening to them for the first time (“Please Please Me”), thinking, “This is fantastic! I’ve never heard anything like this!”  It was as if “air of a kind I have never breathed before is pouring in, I feel a sense of profound well-being, a natural high. Liberated from the constraints of reality, it’s as if my feet have left the ground. This to me is how ‘originality’ should feel: pure and simple.” more

MUSICAL FAMILIES: “CMS Kids: Exploring Dvorák” is the final family program this season for Princeton University Concerts. Two sessions are curated for kids ages 3-6 and their families at the Lewis Center.

Princeton University Concerts (PUC) welcomes The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center back to Princeton for the final family program of the 2022-23 season on Saturday, May 20, at 1 and 3 p.m. “CMS Kids: Exploring Dvorák” is curated for kids ages 3-6 and their families. Performances will take place in the Lee Rehearsal Room at the Lewis Arts Complex.  more

CULTURE BRINGS TOLERANCE: Collegium Musicum NJ has titled its April 22 concert at Nassau Presbyterian Church “Culture for Understanding and Tolerance.” Pianist Larissa Korwin, left, and violinist Alexei Yavtuhovich are among the performers.

Collegium Musicum NJ begins its 2023 Classical Music Concert Series, “Culture for Understanding and Tolerance,” at Nassau Presbyterian Church on April 22 at 6 p.m.

“We strongly believe the 2023 Concert Series will enable our communities to better understand and enjoy each other’s unique national culture, traditions, and historical development through the performance of music along with presentations of other art forms,” reads a press release on the series.

Performances will be by chamber orchestra, soloists, and small chamber music groups. Each event will include a short lecture illustrating its musical connections to its history and cultures.

Tickets are available online through Eventbrite. Seating is limited, so advance registration is advised, at https://qrco.de/bdrkG7.

CUMBIA AND COMMUNITY: Some of the cast members of “La Gran Cumbia Espectacular!,” which continues this week at the Wallace Theater. (Photo by Abe Jacobs)

Kaelani Burja, a senior at Princeton University, has created “La Gran Cumbia Espectacular!,” a theatrical performance and celebration of an art form with African and Indigenous roots encompassing rhythm, dance, and music. The show continues Thursday and Friday, April 27 and 28 at 8 p.m. at the Wallace Theater, located at the Lewis Arts complex on the Princeton University campus.

The art originated along Colombia’s Rio Magdalena. The show celebrates cumbia and community, through three styles of cumbia. The cast will teach audience members interested in participating how to dance cumbia, and share what it means to them in a “perfectly imperfect rollerskating/quinceanera/Selena/Zumba/horror/drag/pop/zombie community block party,” according to a press release.

Admission is free. Visit arts.princeton.edu for more information.

The Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum (SSAAM) will celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month and the history of African American music in New Jersey with “Jazz in the Sourlands,” a series of special events on Friday and Saturday, April 28 and 29.

On Friday, SSAAM will hold a concert and wine and cheese reception at the True Farmstead, a historically Black-owned property on Hollow Road in Skillman. Guests will be invited to the National Historic Register-listed Mt. Zion AME Church to view “From Fiddlers to Jazz Bands: African American Music of the Sourlands,” a new exhibit from SSAAM.

Historian Isabela Morales will open the exhibit with a presentation on the rich history of Black fiddle playing in New Jersey and the United States from the 18th through the 20th centuries. Special guest and SSAAM contributor, violinist Laticia Lewis, will perform selections from her repertoire, including traditional African American spirituals and jazz pieces. Lewis is a composer, performer, and educator. She is an award-winning author and historian of slavery who serves as SSAAM’s education and exhibit manager. more

FAIRY TALE: Roxey Ballet’s upcoming season of “Cinderella” includes a tea party and a sensory-friendly performance in addition to a regular show.

Cinderella, part of the Children’s Classic Stories repertoire of Roxey Ballet, will be represented this spring in two matinee performances at Villa Victoria Academy in Ewing, a sensory-friendly show at Mill Ballet in New Hope, Pa.; and “Cinderella’s Royal Tea Party” at Mill Ballet.

The tea party is first, on Sunday, April 23 at 2 p.m. Mill Ballet is at 46 North Sugan Road in New Hope, Pa. Guests will visit with Cinderella and her friends while having tea and sweets. The Fairy Godmother will also make a guest appearance for a story time and dance class. Tickets are available at roxeyballet.org/teaparty. more

“MARO DĒLO TOUR POSTER”: This image by Thomas C. DeLorenzo will be on display at this year’s “Not Your Run of the Mill Photo Show,” on view April 23-30 at Phillips’ Mill in New Hope, Pa.

Putting a cap on photography month at Phillips’ Mill, the “Not Your Run of the Mill Photo Show” will be open to the community April 23 -30. Now in its third year, the Mill Photo Committee members’ fine art photography images will grace the walls of the historic mill following the 30th Anniversary celebration of the juried “Phillips’ Mill Photographic Exhibition,” which closes on April 21.    more

SUPPLIES FOR ARTIE: Jim Baxter, right, founder of Baxter Construction, with HomeFront’s ArtSpace and Sewing Space Director Ruthann Traylor, has announced an art supply drive for Artie, a mobile addition to HomeFront’s ArtSpace program that will bring creative experiences to under-resourced children living throughout Mercer County.

For nearly 40 years, Baxter Construction has been involved in community outreach — helping organizations large and small. Jim Baxter is deeply rooted in the place he calls home and as principal and founder of Baxter Construction, he is committed to giving back and being of service. 

When his storefront shop in Hopewell became available almost two years ago, Jim offered HomeFront a space for free to help make up for the financial hardship when the world shut down. It turned into an enormous success for HomeFront and created a wonderful partnership with additional opportunities to make a difference. And now, you can help make a difference to bring art enrichment to the underserved families in our community. more

“THE ART OF CALLIGRAPHY”: An exhibit of works by Michael Shiue, featuring a wide range of calligraphy styles is on view in the Technology Center and other second floor locations at Princeton Public Library through June 15.

Princeton Public Library has four exhibits on view on the second floor this spring.

Through May 15, the work of photographer Larry Parsons is on view. The exhibit, “THE Question: A Photographic Journey,” is on view in the Reading Room. Parsons is a longtime businessman and avocational photographer, having worked many years in investment management in the Princeton area. His work has been exhibited at many local shows and he has taught photography at the Princeton Adult School, Chautauqua Institution, and Grounds For Sculpture.  more

INSIDE THE ARTIST’S STUDIO: Visual artist Spriha Gupta, whose work is shown here, will be the featured speaker for the Inside the Artist’s Studio talk on April 21 at 7 p.m. at Princeton Makes in the Princeton Shopping Center.

On Friday, April 21, at 7 p.m., artist Spriha Gupta will be the featured speaker for the Inside the Artist’s Studio talk series at Princeton Makes in the Princeton Shopping Center. Gupta, a member of the Princeton Makes artist cooperative, is a mixed-media artist strongly influenced by her Indian cultural roots. She is known for creating narratives with organic forms and textures.

Gupta, who has placed work internationally and frequently has work in solo and group shows, will share insights about her artistic practice and creative process.  more

CREATIVE CLOSETS: “We build closets that will make the best use of your space, and we work with closets of all sizes in all rooms in the house.” Rachel Webster, co-owner of Closets Redesigned, headquartered in West Trenton, is shown by a recently designed primary bedroom walk-in closet. A redesign of an existing closet in an older house, it features custom drawers. shelving, and hanging components. (Photo by Karin Belgrave).

By Jean Stratton

Where is that sweater? I need that green handbag — and where are those shoes?

If this sounds like a familiar stressful moment, you are not alone. Spending unavailable time searching for needed items is something that happens to many of us. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to clear the chaos and have everything organized in full view so that you can see it when you need it!

Fortunately, Rachel Webster, partner and co-owner of Closets Redesigned, is here to help you declutter your life with customized solutions. In partnership with Brett Margulis, owner of Innovative Commercial Interiors (ICI), she opened Closets Redesigned in 2021.

A Princeton native, Webster has a long history in design. Her interest in creating personal and inviting spaces began at an early age, she says. “As a young girl, I started to arrange things in my room. I wanted to do my room my way!” more

STEPPING UP: Princeton University women’s lacrosse player Kate Mulham brings the ball upfield in recent action. Last weekend, senior star Mulham tallied five goals and two assists as Princeton defeated Brown 20-16 in a game that started on Saturday and was suspended in progress due to the intense storms that pummeled the area that afternoon and finished on Sunday. The Tigers, now 6-6 overall and 3-1 Ivy League, play at Penn on April 19 and at Dartmouth in April 22. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton University women’s lacrosse team celebrated the 50th anniversary of the program by hosting Brown on Saturday afternoon, the festivities ended up going a little longer than planned.

The contest started around noon but didn’t end until after 1 p.m. on Sunday as the game was suspended in progress due to the intense storms that pummeled the area Saturday afternoon and evening.

The Tigers led 15-8 when the action was paused, and then closed the deal some 25 hours later by posting a 20-16 win over the Bears, improving to 6-6 overall and 3-1 Ivy League. more

OPENING STATEMENT: The Princeton University women’s open crew varsity 8 churns through the water in a race earlier this year. The Tiger top boat defeated Virginia and Columbia at the Ivy Invite on Lake Carnegie last Saturday to remained undefeated this spring. In upcoming action, the Tigers, now 6-0 and ranked fourth nationally, host No. 1 Texas and No. 2 Yale on April 22. (Photo by Ed Hewitt/Row2K, provided courtesy of Princeton Athletics)

By Bill Alden

Coming into this spring, Lori Dauphiny wasn’t sure what to expect from her Princeton University women’s open crew.

Although Princeton produced a stellar 2022 campaign which saw it finish third in the team standings at the NCAA Championships for the first time since 1997 as the varsity 4 took first at the regatta and the first varsity 8 placed third, things didn’t go smoothly last autumn.

“Our fall was not our strongest, everyone knows that every year is a new year,” said Princeton head coach Dauphiny. “The little hiccup of the fall not being as strong as we had hoped for it to be, but it possibly did some good things too. I think it made people recognize that we have some work ahead. I think that it put some concern in people’s minds, “Oh, are we going to be able to do this.’” more

COMING THROUGH: Princeton High boys’ lacrosse player Brendan Beatty heads to goal in a game earlier this season. Sophomore midfielder Beatty tallied five goals, including the game-winner, as PHS edged Notre Dame 13-12 last week. The Tigers, who fell 12-9 to Red Bank Regional last Saturday to move to 3-2, host Hightstown on April 20 and play at WW/P-South on April 25. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Brendan Beatty took matters into his hands for the Princeton High boys’ lacrosse team as it hosted Notre Dame last week in a Colonial Valley Conference showdown.

With the rivals knotted in an 11-11 deadlock midway through the fourth quarter of the April 11 contest, PHS sophomore midfielder Beatty tallied two goals down the stretch to help the Tigers pull out a dramatic 13-12 win.

“I didn’t get nervous, I knew we were going to come out gritty to get the goals to win in the fourth quarter,” said Beatty. “I knew our defense was going to step up, I knew we were going to get the ground balls and the face-offs. That is what happened and that is how we won.”

Beatty notched the go-ahead goal with 3:39 left in the fourth quarter. more

By Bill Alden

Having lost 14 seniors to graduation in 2022, the Princeton High baseball team was bound to take its lumps this spring.

Last Wednesday, PHS ran into a buzz saw as it fell 16-0 to an undefeated, battle-tested Cinnaminson squad.

Tiger head coach Dom Capuano acknowledged that the contest turned into a bit of a mismatch for his young team.

“I feel like this was the first game that we truly lost and just got beat,” said Capuano. “It is a lot easier to accept, they are a good team. They are an old team with 10 seniors. We threw strikes, they just hit the ball. It is what it is. We didn’t beat ourselves, so we take that away from this.”

While disappointed, Capuano believes that PHS can get into a groove.

“It is still early,” said Capuano, who got hits from Nick Akey, Jack Durbin, and Jon Tao in the loss to Cinnaminson. more

FIRST IN HIS CLASS: Princeton High boys’ tennis player Jonathan Gu prepares to hit a backhand in a match last spring. Senior first singles star Gu, who won the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) boys’ singles title last year, is primed for a big final campaign for PHS. The Tigers, who improved to 4-0 with a 5-0 win over Lawrence High last Thursday, host WW/P-North on April 20 before competing in the Mercer County Tournament on April 24 and 26 at Mercer County Park. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

There is plenty of optimism around the Princeton High boys’ tennis team as it has started its 2023 season.

“I think they realize that we have the potential to have a fantastic year — there are a lot of strengths in our singles lineup and the talent in the doubles as well,” said PHS head coach Sarah Hibbert, whose team improved to 4-0 with a 5-0 win over Lawrence High last Thursday and hosts WW/P-North on April 20 before competing in the Mercer County Tournament on April 24 and 26 at Mercer County Park.

“The challenge as always is putting together the doubles teams to support the singles players. We expect those players to hold their own quite a lot of the season; we want to have the doubles teams there to back them up.” more

TOUGH TO STOP: Princeton Day School boys’ lacrosse player Sebastian Rzeczycki, left, controls the ball in a 2022 game. Last Friday, junior star Rzeczycki tallied two goals and six assists as PDS defeated George School (Pa.) 14-1. The Panthers, who moved to 4-1 with a 7-6 loss to Lenape last Monday, host Morristown Beard on April 19 in the opening round of the Prep B state tournament and Delaware Valley on April 20 before playing at St. Peter’s Prep on April 24. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Sebastian Rzeczycki and his teammates on the Princeton Day School boys’ lacrosse team were ready to shine as they hosted George School (Pa.) in a Friday night lights clash.

“It was a great environment,” said PDS junior Rzeczycki of the night game last Friday which culminated Spring weekend festivities. “Even when we walking out, I saw so many people around the field. It was amazing.”

Rzeczycki gave those people plenty to cheer about right from the start, tallying a goal and assisting on a second score as the Panthers jumped out to a 2-0 lead. more

By Bill Alden

Having faced a gauntlet of tough foes over the first two weeks of the spring, the Princeton Day School boys’ tennis team has proven that it is ready for the challenges ahead.

“I love having a tough schedule so there aren’t any surprises when you get to the tournaments,” said PDS head coach Michael Augsberger, whose team has started 6-1 with wins over such formidable squads as Haddonfield, Germantown Academy (Pa.), Rutgers Prep, Hun, and Peddie. “The tournaments are what matter; we have time to fine-tune things. We are really proud of what the guys have accomplished, particularly with the Germantown match.”

Augsberger believes that sophomore Heyang Li can accomplish a lot this spring at first singles. more

PUTTING IT TOGETHER: Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse player Tessa Caputo, left, looks to unload the ball in recent action. Last Friday, junior star Caputo rallied five goals and two assists to help PDS edge Hun 16-14. The Panthers, who topped Somerville 12-8 last Saturday in improving to 3-2, host Allentown on April 20. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Tessa Caputo had a large ice pack wrapped around her right leg last Friday evening, but she was smiling through the pain after helping the Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse team edge Hun 16-14.

Having been unable to play when the local rivals met last year due to illness and Hun prevailed 10-6, PDS junior midfielder Caputo was thrilled to come up big as the Panthers avenged that defeat.

“Losing that game last year and watching that happen was devastating and I think that really fueled us today,” said Caputo, who tallied seven points on five goals and two assists in the win. “We were so excited for this game, we really wanted it. In the end, it came down to who wanted it more and I think we really wanted it.” more

IN CONTACT: Hun School baseball player Tyler Tucker hits the ball in a 2022 game. Last Thursday, Tucker went 1 for 3 with one RBI in a losing cause as Hun fell 23-7 to Bergen Catholic. The Raiders, who moved to 5-4 with the setback, play at the Hill School (Pa.) on April 21, host the Blair Academy on April 22, and Allentown on April 24 and then play at the Lawrenceville School on April 25. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In 2022, the Hun School baseball team ended April with a 12-1 record on the way to going 20-4 and winning the program’s first-ever Mercer County Tournament title.

With a stellar group of seniors having departed after driving that success, Hun figured to experience some growing pains this spring as it went with several new faces.

Last Thursday, the Raiders experienced a painful defeat as they fell 23-7 to Bergen Catholic. Hun trailed 8-0 after the first inning and found itself down 18-0 in the third inning before scoring four runs in the bottom of the third and three in the fourth.

“The message is we still have the whole season ahead of us — we have three things, we have a Mercer County Tournament, we have a Prep A tournament, and we have our MAPL (Mid-Atlantic Prep League) schedule, so everything is ahead of us,” said Hun head coach Tom Monfiletto, whose squad moved to 5-4 with the defeat. more