April 17, 2024

“AT HOME”: This work by Karen Hodell is part of the annual “Visual Arts Student Exhibition,” on view at the Gallery at Mercer County Community College in West Windsor through May 6.

Creativity abounds at the Gallery at Mercer County Community College (MCCC) as art students showcase their talents during the annual “Visual Arts Student Exhibition” through May 6. The show is free and open to the public.

Encouraged to use their imagination and be their authentic selves when looking for inspiration for their work, 40-plus students submitted pieces including fine arts, ceramics, sculpture, photography, and drawing, resulting in a display of 73 unique works of art. Gallery Assistant Karolina Zbaski noted that the gallery staff designed the exhibit around the students’ submissions, hence letting their work speak for itself.  more

“PARADISE”: This work by Maria Dreyer is featured in the Phillips’ Mill Photo Committee’s “Not Your Run of the Mill Photo Show,” on view April 21-28 at the historic Phillips’ Mill in New Hope, Pa.

April began a twofold celebration of fine art photography at the historic Phillips’ Mill in New Hope, Pa., with the opening of the 31st annual Juried “Phillips’ Mill Photographic Exhibition.” The Mill Photo Committee’s “Not Your Run of the Mill Photo Show,” which opens on Sunday, April 21, marks the photo finish this month.

The “Not Your Run of the Mill Photo Show,” like the juried exhibit at the start of April, will fill both levels of the Mill, upstairs and down, with high-quality works of photographic art on the walls, as well as dozens of matted prints in the portfolio bins. In this second show, however, all artists are members of the volunteer Phillips’ Mill Photo Committee that is responsible for organizing both shows. more

“OUTLAWS OF THE REVOLUTION”: beginning May 4, the Mercer Museum in Doylestown, Pa., will present an exhibition about the Doan Gang that roamed Bucks County during the 1770s. It will be on view through December 31, 2026. (Photo Courtesy of Mercer Museum & Fonthill Castle)

The Doan Gang roamed Bucks County, Pa., in the 1770s, and were known for exploits that included stealing horses and selling them to the British, robbing the Bucks County treasury, and in general, disrupting the new governments of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland. Later romanticized, they were considered both villains and heroes. more

“CREAM OF THE CROP”: High quality cannabis is available at Pure Blossom, the new cannabis dispensary in Pennington. “We strive to have the best products and keep up very high standards and a comfortable and educational space for everyone,” says COO Jordan Bruseloff. ”We choose our products very carefully, and It is very important to educate our customers about the many benefits of cannabis.”

By Jean Stratton

You can now experience the unique Pure Blossom atmosphere in Pennington. This cannabis dispensary at 2554 Pennington Road offers a wide range of cannabis products and accessories.

“We believe in the transformative power of this beautiful, complex plant to enhance your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Consider us your guide through the complexities,” announces the Pure Blossom mission statement.

“We see cannabis as part of a larger ecosystem of enlightened paths to wellness so at Pure Blossom, you will also find things like sustainable beauty products, groundbreaking skincare, innovative adaptogens, and nootropics.”

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OPEN INVITATION: The Princeton University women’s open varsity 8 churns through the water in recent action. Last weekend, Princeton’s top boat went 2-0 at the Ivy Invite on Lake Carnegie. On Friday, the Tigers topped Harvard and Cornell in the race for the Class of 1975 Cup and then topped Rutgers and USC a day later. In upcoming action, No. 3 Princeton heads to New Haven, Conn. on Saturday to face No. 5 Yale in the race for the Eisenberg Cup. (Photo by Ed Hewitt – Row2k, provided courtesy of Princeton Athletics)

By Bill Alden

Lori Dauphiny was drained after her Princeton University women’s open rowing program hosted the Ivy Invite last weekend on Lake Carnegie.

The Tigers welcomed crews from Penn, Brown, USC, Rutgers, Dartmouth, Columbia, Harvard, and Cornell, sharing the water with the Princeton University men’s heavyweight and lightweight rowers who were also hosting regattas.

“We were really excited about it, I was pleased to be able to host; there were so many crews,” said Princeton open head coach Dauphiny, who credited boathouse administrator Tom Heebink with playing a key role in coordinating the logistics of the event. “The men were racing the Childs Cup and the lightweight men, the Platt Cup. It was a lot of fun because there was a ton of energy around the boathouse with all of the crews racing and with so many visiting crews. It was a big regatta. It pooped me out, I was exhausted by the end.” more

NICK OF TIME: Princeton University baseball player Nick DiPietrantonio takes off for first base in recent action. Last weekend, in a three-game series at Harvard, senior star DiPietrantonio went 5 for 13 with a pair of doubles in Game 2. Despite DiPietrantonio’s heroics, the Tigers went 1-2 against the Crimson, splitting a doubleheader on Saturday, losing 3-2 in the opener and then winning 5-4 in the nightcap, before falling 14-2 in the finale on Sunday. The Tigers, now 10-19 overall and 6-6 Ivy League, host Rider on April 17 and then resume Ivy action this weekend by hosting Penn for a three-game series with a doubleheader on April 20 and a single game on April 21. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Nick DiPietrantonio has experienced the ups and downs that come with being a baseball player during his Princeton University career.

Last Saturday, they came in the same at bat.

His first swing in the bottom of the ninth inning in the Tigers’ second game against Harvard did not look like that of a hero.

“I just got fooled,” said Princeton University senior DiPietrantonio. “I took a terrible swing at a breaking ball in the dirt.” more

COMING THROUGH: Princeton High boys’ lacrosse player Brendan Beatty heads upfield in a game last spring. Junior midfielder and Vermont commit Beatty scored two goals and added an assist as PHS stifled Allentown 6-4 last Thursday. The Tigers, who topped Lawrence High 16-5 on Saturday to improve to 4-1, play at WW/P-South in April 18, host Pennsbury High (Pa.) on April 20, and play at Cherokee on April 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As James Reynolds and the defensive unit for the Princeton High boys’ lacrosse team girded for their clash against Allentown last Thursday, they did their homework.

“It started two days before the game; the defensive players all gathered and we watched film,” said senior defender Reynolds. “We spent about two hours just going second by second on every one of their plays and players, running down their dominant hands. The preparation was the key to their entire game. It was all in the prep. It was all knowing who their guys were, calling out and knowing what to do.”

The Tigers had plenty of motivation as the Redbirds have been a thorn in their sides recently. more

FIRST TAKE: Princeton High boys’ tennis player Garrett Mathewson blasts a serve in a 2023 match. Sophomore Mathewson has moved up to first singles this spring and has helped PHS get off to a 4-0 start. In upcoming action, the Tigers are slated to host Allentown on April 18 before starting play in the Mercer County Tournament on April 22. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

The Princeton High boys’ tennis team didn’t waste any time this spring making a statement.

Opening its season with a clash against perennial powerhouse and nemesis WW/P-South on April 5, PHS posted a 5-0 victory, winning four of the five matches in straight sets.

“We had a really great start to the season, it is always difficult to open up with one of your toughest rivals,” said PHS head coach Sarah Hibbert, whose team ended its 2023 season by falling 3-2 to the Pirates in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Central Jersey Group 3 final to end the season with a 14-2 record. “We were supposed to see them on opening day on April 1 and then we got rained out so it was still our opening match, but it was Friday rather than Monday. There were some close ones. There were tiebreaks in a couple of them and both doubles matches were close.” more

By Bill Alden

With a drastically revamped lineup, it is going to be a season of opportunity for the Princeton Day School boys’ tennis team.

“We graduated four seniors from last year and Heyang [Li] has gone to focus on his training,” said PDS head coach Michael Augsberger, whose first singles star Li won his flight at the Mercer County Tournament last year as a sophomore. “He is training in Florida and he is training here. We miss him. It is a chance for the other guys to step up.”

At first singles, Jaylen Peng is stepping up, moving into that spot after playing doubles in 2023. more

SPECIAL DELIVERY: Hun School softball player Jamie Staub delivers a pitch in a 2023 game. Last week, senior Staub fired a no-hitter in a 15-0 win over Peddie in a game that ended after four innings due to the run rule. Hun, which topped Lawrence Hugh 4-0 last Saturday to improve to 5-0, hosts Hightstown on April 18, the Blair Academy on April 20, and Villa Joseph Marie (Pa.) on April 22. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Jamie Staub was pumped up to get her first pitching start this spring for the Hun School softball team as it hosted the Peddie School last week.

“It is really exciting, we have such a deep pitching staff,” said Staub. “It is so great having three solid pitchers on the team. Whenever I get my chance, I have lots of fun.”

It turned out to be a very fun day for Staub as she fired a no-hitter with five strikeouts and two walks in a 15-0 win over the Falcons in the April 9 game that ended after four innings due to the run rule. more

April 10, 2024

Hundreds gathered in Palmer Square on Monday afternoon for the Total Solar Eclipse Viewing Experience hosted by the Princeton University Astrophysical Sciences Department, the Council on Science and Technology, and the Office of Science Outreach. Attendees share what the eclipse means to them in this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo by Sarah Teo)

THE RIGHT TO READ: Members of Princeton Council and the Princeton Public Library’s Board posed for a picture following Council’s passage of a resolution declaring the town a Book Sanctuary. From left are Library Board Treasurer Jeffrey Liao, Councilman Leighton Newlin, Library Director Jennifer Podolsky, Board Vice President Christopher Van Buren, Councilwoman Eve Niedergang, Board President Robert Ginsberg, Councilwoman Leticia Fraga, State Sen. Andrew Zwicker, Mayor Mark Freda, and Councilman David Cohen.

By Anne Levin

At its meeting Monday night, Princeton Council passed a resolution declaring the town a book sanctuary. The action takes a stance against the significant increase in the banning of books in libraries and schools in New Jersey and across the country.

The governing body also passed an ordinance authorizing the acquisition of a 90-acre property near Herrontown Woods and the Autumn Hill Reservation, bordered by Montgomery Township, Herrontown Road, Herrontown Lane, and Mount Lucas Road. The ordinance preserves the property, which is the second largest tract of undeveloped land in the area, in perpetuity for passive open space. more

By Donald Gilpin

With the April 23 lease termination date set and Princeton University having rejected a number of appeals, it is not clear what possibilities might remain for the future of the Nassau Swim Club (NSC) — but a sizable band of devoted, outspoken NSC supporters is not giving up hope.

“It’s not over until it’s over,” reads the headline on the NSC website. “Princeton University said no, but we still have one week left.”

The University responded on Monday, April 8 to a Town Topics inquiry as to whether there had been any reconsideration of the decision “in the light of further community support voiced for NSC, a popular online petition against the termination, and additional appeals for a delay and reconsideration of the termination.” more

By Donald Gilpin

A national finalist in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow STEM Competition, Princeton High School’s (PHS) research team of about 15 students under the direction of science teacher Mark Eastburn is heading to Washington, D.C., on April 29 to present their project to a panel of judges. Three schools will be chosen, each of which will receive a $100,000 prize package.

As one of the 10 finalists announced by Samsung on March 26 from among this year’s 50 state winners, the PHS team has already won a $50,000 prize package, including Samsung technology and classroom supplies. more

AN INSIDE LOOK: A tour of artist Wharton Esherick’s home and studio gives patrons of West Windsor Arts’ Lunchtime Gallery Series a close look at his life and art.

By Anne Levin

When visitors touring the Wharton Esherick Museum in Chester County, Pa., are taken through the American artist’s handcrafted home studio, tour guides frequently have to remind them not to make themselves comfortable on the one-of-a-kind furniture.

“It’s inviting. It invites you to touch it,” said Ethan Snyder, the museum’s manager of collections and public programs, who will deliver a Zoom talk about the artist on Thursday, April 18 from 12 to 1 p.m., sponsored by West Windsor Arts. “People always want to get close to it, and we have to remind them not to.” more

By Donald Gilpin

For the second straight year, Princeton has been designated as a Mayors Wellness Campaign Healthy Town for the state of New Jersey. 

The commendation, announced last month by the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute (NJHCQI), cited Princeton as one of 17 cities and towns in the state that “go above and beyond to improve health and wellness in their communities through innovative programs in areas such as exercise, healthy eating, and mental health education and awareness.”

The NJHCQI commended Princeton’s success “in offering education, strategies, and tools that residents can use in their daily lives,” noting that “community events such as a health fair provide an opportunity to partner with community organizations and share resources with residents.” more

AN ARTFUL GIFT: The Arts Council of Princeton paid tribute to architect J. Robert “Bob” Hillier, left, with a painting of him and his late wife and fellow architect, Barbara, by artist Aaron C. Fisher, right. Hillier was honored for his longtime support of the nonprofit, its surrounding Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood, and the town.

By Anne Levin

At a benefit for the Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) Friday, April 5, architect and developer J. Robert “Bob” Hillier (a Town Topics shareholder) was honored for his support of the organization, his hometown of Princeton, and the Witherspoon-Jackson community. Some 300 people attended the “Art People Party” at the ACP, which included refreshments, dancing, and music along with the tribute.

“I found the entire experience of well-wishers coming from all parts of my long career — 300 in total — both overwhelming and yet so gratifying, especially in that my recently passed wife of 40 years was also included in the expression of thanks,” said Hillier, who was presented with a painting by artist Aaron C. Fisher of Hillier with his wife, Barbara; and a 3D model of the home they built in New Hope, Pa. “I was truly humbled by the honor, but also inspired to do more for Princeton and the Arts Council,” he said.

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By Stuart Mitchner

Last Friday when news of the local earthquake hit, I was at the library checking out the Criterion DVD of Akira Kurosawa’s Stray Dogs (1949). At home I returned to Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (Vintage International 1997) to find my place bookmarked at page 217, just as Toru Okada, “Mr. Wind-up Bird,” was packing a knapsack “kept for earthquakes and other emergencies.” When the late-afternoon aftershock rumbled through the house, I was on page 245 just as Okada was experiencing “a strange reverberation.” Call it what you will, a minor coincidence or magical realism in action, these things happen when you’re reading Murakami, not to mention the name game connection wherein the hero of Stray Dog is a detective named Murakami and the older detective showing him the ropes is Sato, a name he shares with the yakuza hero of Tokyo Vice, the exciting new series I hope to write about in a future column. more

“FLIGHT OF A LEGLESS BIRD”: Performances are underway for “Flight of a Legless Bird.” Written by Ethan Luk, and directed by Luk in collaboration with retired Program in Theater faculty member R.N. Sandberg, the play runs through April 13 at McCarter’s Berlind Theatre. Above, from left: Disparate circumstances cause Robin (Wasif Sami) and Leslie (Luk) to meet, after which a unique, unexpected bond is formed. (Photo by James DeSalvo)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

In the film Days of Being Wild (1990), actor Leslie Cheung delivers this line: “I’ve heard that there’s a kind of bird without legs that can only fly and fly, and sleep in the wind when it is tired. The bird only lands once in its life … that’s when it dies.”

Flight of a Legless Bird is an exquisite, poignant play that portrays two queer artists who metaphorically, as Cheung’s dialogue says, “fly and fly.” Both are fleeing from circumstances in which they feel trapped. Certain events cause their “flight” paths to intersect, and they have a chance encounter that affects them in unexpected ways. more

CHAMBER CONCERT: The Puget Sound Piano Trio performs works by Haydn, Mendelssohn, and Del Aguila at Trinity Church on April 24 at Trinity Church. (Photo by Sy Bean)

On Wednesday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m., the Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) presents PSO principal cellist Alistair MacRae, violinist Maria Sampen, and pianist Ronaldo Rolim of the Puget Sound Piano Trio at Trinity Church, 33 Mercer Street.

The trio is the ensemble-in-residence at University of Puget Sound School of Music in Tacoma, Wash. On the program are Joseph Haydn’s Piano Trio in E Major, Hob.XV/28; Miguel Del Aguila’s Barroqueada, Op.128; and Felix Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 2 in C Minor, Op.66. more

SUMMER MUSIC: The Adventures of Matt Black is among the bands set to descend on Unionville Vineyards on July 13 for the annual Sourland Mountain Festival.

The 19th Annual Sourland Mountain Festival is on Saturday, July 13 from 3-8:30 p.m., rain or shine. Early bird pricing is now available.

Bands representing talent from the region will appear at Unionville Vineyards to celebrate the Sourland region. Proceeds benefit the Sourland Conservancy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the history and ecology of Central Jersey’s Sourland Mountain region.  more

MUSICAL COMEDY HABIT: “Nunsense” is on stage at the Kelsey Theatre of Mercer County Community College April 19 through May 5.

Tainted food, nuns in freezers, and lots of laughs are in store when The MTM Players bring the musical comedy Nunsense to the Kelsey Theatre stage, April 19 to May 5, on Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC) West Windsor Campus.

After a bad batch of vichyssoise accidentally kills off 52 of the Little Sisters of Hoboken by the convent cook, Sister Julia (Child of God), the survivors empty the coffers to bury the deceased, but run out of cash before the last few bodies can be laid to rest. With the remaining deceased nuns on ice in the kitchen freezer, they decide to stage a variety show to raise the extra funds they need. But — will their prayers be answered before the health department discovers their secret?  more

Gianna Reisen’s “Play Time” is among the works to be presented by the New York City Ballet at the last section of its 75th season, April 23-June 2, at the Koch Theatre in Lincoln Center. Other choreographers to be represented include Amy Hall Garner, Justin Peck, Alexei Ratmansky, Christopher Wheeldon, Pam Tanowitz, Kyle Abraham, Jerome Robbins, and the company’s founder George Balanchine. Visit nycb.org for tickets. (Photo by Erin Baiano)

“NATUREZA MORTA 1 (DEAD NATURE 1)”: This digital print is featured in “Denilson Baniwa: Under the Skin of History,” on view April 13 through September 1 at the Princeton University Art Museum’s Art@Bainbridge gallery on Nassau Street.

An exhibition of work by the Indigenous Brazilian artist Denilson Baniwa will open April 13 at the Princeton University Art Museum’s Art@Bainbridge gallery. “Denilson Baniwa: Under the Skin of History,” on view through September 1, features work that engages with themes of Indigenous rights, colonial history, and environmental destruction.  more

“BLUE MONDAY”: This photograph by Jennifer Gershon of New Hope, Pa., is one of a trio of works that won Best Body of Work at the 31st annual “Phillips’ Mill Photographic Exhibition.” The show is on view at Phillips’ Mill in New Hope, Pa., through April 19.

Phillips’ Mill Community Association recently hosted an artists’ reception and awards ceremony for the 31st annual “Phillips’ Mill Photographic Exhibition,” which is on view through April 19.

Showcasing 135 contemporary works across many genres, from portraiture to abstraction, the 2024 exhibition was selected by juror Thom Goertel, a fine art and documentary photographer who has worked everywhere, from the White House to Iceland to Kenya. In a Phillips’ Mill Art Talk, available on the Mill’s website, he described his approach to jurying: “I did an initial pass looking for what jumped out, what were the ‘wow’ images, and after that I went back through for specific thematic areas we needed to address”. more