April 13, 2022

PASSING IT ON: Princeton University men’s lacrosse player Chris Brown, right, fights past a Rutgers defender in recent action. Last Saturday, senior Brown dished for a career-high seven assists to help third-ranked Princeton defeat No. 13 Boston University 12-7. The Tigers, now 8-2 overall, resume Ivy League play by hosting Dartmouth on April 16. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Chris Brown was held without a goal for just the second time in 42 games in his career for the Princeton University men’s lacrosse team as the Tigers hosted Boston University last Saturday.

But senior attackman Brown still had a major impact on the Princeton offense, dishing for a single-game career-high seven assists as the third-ranked Tigers pulled away to a 12-7 win over the No. 13 Terriers and improved to 8-2 overall.

In reflecting on the win, Brown credited BU with making things difficult for the Tigers.

“They were playing great defense on iu, it was a little frustrating at times,” said Brown, who missed all seven shots that he took in the day.

“They just showed a really different and unique look with a lot of ball pressure, a lot of sliding early. I give them credit, they played great fundamental defense. They really played awesome, it was great team.”

With Brown misfiring, he focused on dishing to open teammates.

“I was just trying to move the ball around the perimeter honestly; I took a lot of shots but unfortunately didn’t really hit,” said Brown, whose previous career-high was four assists. more

OPEN SEASON: Members of the Princeton University women’s open crew display the Class of 1975 Cup that the varsity 8 retained last Saturday after defeating Harvard and Cornell in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Later in the day, the fifth-ranked Tiger top boat topped Wisconsin to remain undefeated this spring. Princeton faces second-ranked Yale in New Haven on April 16 in the race for the Eisenberg Cup.

By Bill Alden

Last year, the Princeton University women’s open crew started its preseason training with socially-distanced ergometer workouts on the dock outside the Shea Rowing Center in the winter chill.

Things were a lot different for the rowers coming into this spring as the squad headed south to Florida for a preseason training trip in January.

“Everyone was so excited; I had just not seen that many smiles, that energy and that enthusiasm in a long time,” said Princeton head coach Lori Dauphiny.

“The group that was here last year was small and it was just a different time. There were so many restrictions. This was the first time where we got to travel together and be a team. It was really fun.”

While Dauphiny had a full squad on hand this spring, things are still very much a work in progress.

“Some came back ready to go and some were further behind,” said Dauphiny.

“This has been a time, this fall, winter and even early spring where we are working to come together and all be on the same page. It has been a challenge because of sickness in the month of February. I felt like we were making big strides and then we had a setback there. We are forging forward.” more

HE DID IT: Princeton High sophomore fencing star Larry He, center, flanked by PHS head coach Sam Blanchard, left, and volunteer assistant coach Jake Silverman enjoy the moment after He won the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) boys’ individual épée title last month. He’s triumph marked the first-ever state title for the PHS fencing program and highlighted an historic season for the Tigers.

By Bill Alden

Coming into the winter, Sam Blanchard wasn’t expecting his Princeton High fencing program to make history this season.

“We had a bunch of strong freshmen show up, that was a bit of a surprise,” said PHS head coach Blanchard. “I had no idea how strong they were going to be.”

It was a sophomore, Larry He, who produced the strongest performance, winning the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) individual boys’ épée title, the first state crown for the PHS fencing team.

“Larry is a solid fencer, he works really hard, he is fencing a lot of tournaments,” said Blanchard, who got a 25th place finish in the épée from junior Theodore Kopaliani.

“I think he started when he was about 11, 12, maybe as early as 10. Going into the day of the championships, if you were making book, he would not be your top pick for winning the event. He is a very good long day fencer and that made a big difference, he had a couple of fortunate coincidences that happened. It is all Larry and his preparation, he is very good.”

He combined with Joseph Wong and Kopalianito help the épée team finish seventh in the State Squad final.

Another young PHS fencer, freshman Noah Zeng, also excelled at states, taking 15th in the saber.

“Noah is a very strong fencer,” said Blanchard, whose boys’ saber team of Gary Dai, Chris Bao and Bence Molnar-Somogyari, and Daniel Zhang placed 18th in the State Squad final. “I think we will see him in the top rankings in the future years.”

Senior Oliver Cai led the boys’ foil squad. “My foil captain Oliver has been a very strong performer over his entire career with the team,” said Blanchard of Cai who placed 11th in the state individual competition. “He is an exceptional fencer.” more

IN THE HUNT: Princeton Day School baseball player Hunter Von Zelowitz takes a big cut in a game earlier this season. Senior infielder Von Zelowitz is primed to have a big final campaign for PDS this spring. The Panthers, who fell 6-5 to the Blair Academy last Monday to move to 0-3, plays at the Peddie School on April 14 and at the Lawrenceville School on April 18. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Jeff Young is determined to make this a special spring for the seven seniors on his Princeton Day School baseball team.

“The good news is that we have a ton of seniors,” said PDS head coach Young, who guided the Panthers to a 2-13-1 record last spring in his first season at the helm of the program.

“The motto for them is just to make sure that they play the game in a way where they can look back at it and really enjoy their last year of high school baseball. I am going to promote an atmosphere where they can be as competitive as they want but I want them to realize that their love for being on the field and being with their teammates comes first this year.”

Heading into his second year coaching the squad, Young believes the Panthers are ahead of where they were last year in the early stages of the season.

“Once I knew I was the baseball coach, my job was to be prepared everyday on the baseball field and that is really the easy part,” said Young, whose squad opened its 2022 campaign by falling 18-1 to the Hill School (Pa.) on April 1, 11-7 to New Hope-Solebury (Pa.) on April 4 and 6-5 to the Blair Academy last Monday. more

COMEBACK KIDS: Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse player Ali Surace heads to goal in recent action. Last Saturday, senior star and tri-captain Surace tallied two goals and two assists and scooped up six ground balls to help the Panthers rally from a 6-0 deficit to edge Hillsborough 12-11. PDS, which defeated the Pennington School 17-6 last Monday to improve to 3-2, plays at Haddonfield High on April 14 and at the Lawrenceville School on April 19. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse team trailing Hillsborough 6-0 in the first half last Saturday morning, Ali Surace lost her cool.

“I started getting a little angry and thinking I am not going to let that girl get it,” said PDS senior standout and tri-captain Surace, referring to gathering up the ball on draw controls.

“It was definitely a mentality shift for me. I am not going to let this girl beat me right now. I was going to get every ball on the ground and every ball in the air.”

PDS outscored the Raiders 5-3 over the rest of the half to shift the momentum and narrow the Hillsborough lead to 9-5.

“I think we had the energy the whole time, we knew what we needed to do,” said Surace.

“Once we started catching the balls and cleaning it up, it started to come together. I feel like the momentum was definitely there. We were trying to clean it up, win every 50/50 ball and just fight for everything.”

With Surace leading the fight, scooping up a number of ground balls to give PDS possession, the Panthers started the second half with a 7-1 run and held on for a dramatic 12-11 victory. more

SIZZLING START: Hun School softball star Lexi Kobryn fires a pitch in a game last season. Sophomore Kobryn has gotten off to a sizzling start this spring, firing a perfect game with 19 strikeouts in a season-opening 6-0 win over the Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) on March 26 and followed that up with a no-hitter in a 6-0 victory over the Lawrenceville School on March 31. Last week, Kobryn recorded 17 strikeouts and yielded two hits in a 6-1 win over the Peddie School. The Raiders, who improved to 6-0 with a 10-0 win over Morristown-Beard last Monday, play at the Hill School (Pa.) on April 13 at Princeton Day School on April 14 and at the Pingry School on April 19. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Lexi Kobryn put in some extra work over the offseason to make herself a better pitcher for the Hun School softball team this spring.

“I have been in the gym all fall and winter and I have gotten a lot stronger,” said Hun sophomore Kobryn.

“I was also working with my pitching coach I have definitely gotten a lot faster, I am hitting 65.”

It didn’t take long for that work to yield dividends as Kobryn hurled a perfect game with 19 strikeouts in a season-opening 6-0 win over the Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) on March 26 and followed that up with a no-hitter in a 6-0 victory over the Lawrenceville School on March 31.

“That was really exciting, I tried not to think about it,” said Kobryn, reflecting on the perfect game.

“Anything could ruin it, we had a couple of grounders. Everything was on that day for me. We haven’t beaten Lawrenceville in four years, it was a great team effort. It was also exciting.”

Pitching against Peddie last week, Kobryn looked like she was on her way to another mound gem, striking out the first nine batters she faced.

“I was like mixing up the pitches and everything,” said Kobryn. more

GETTING UP TO SPEED: Stuart Country Day School lacrosse player Emily Ix races up the field in recent action. Junior star and team captain Ix tallied three goals in a losing cause as Stuart fell 12-10 to Lawrence High last Monday. The Tartans, now 0-4, play at the Pennington School on April 19. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Opening its 2022 campaign last week, the Stuart Country Day School lacrosse team hit the ground running with three games in five days.

While the Tartans ran into some tough foes, losing 17-7 to Princeton Day School on April 4, 12-6 to Peddie last Thursday, and then got edged 13-11 by South Brunswick a day later, Stuart junior star midfielder and co-captain Emily Ix saw plenty of positives

“It has been really fun, we have definitely had a lot of good competition,” said Ix, who has three goals and an assist in the loss to South Brunswick.

“It is helping us out. We are learning a lot, we are improving. I am really proud of our girls.”

The Tartans applied some of those lessons in the second half against South Brunswick, outscoring the Vikings 7-4 in the second half after trailing 9-4 at intermission.

“We came out after halftime and said we have to do this, we are capable,” said Ix.

“We went out there and gave it our all. We were hustling, that really changed it for us.”

In Ix’s view, Stuart showed progress in a number of areas over the course of opening week.

“Our team chemistry and working the ball up the field on transition has improved,” said Ix.

“Our defense, sliding, helping each other and communicating is better.” more

April 6, 2022

Cheery daffodils are now in abundance on the Princeton University campus and around town. Residents and visitors share their favorite spring blooms in this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo by Weronika A. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin

The Princeton Health Department on Monday, April 4 reported that COVID-19 cases had doubled in the past week, with 53 cases in Princeton in the previous seven days and 80 cases in the previous 14 days.

The BA.2 sub variant of Omicron, which has been spreading in the state over the past few weeks, is largely responsible for the surge, the health department reported.  BA.2 is responsible for about 84 percent of COVID-19 cases in the region, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

BA.2 apparently spreads more easily than the original strain of Omicron, but it does not seem to cause more severe illness. The New Jersey COVID-19 transmission rate was 1.09 Tuesday, with any number over 1 signifying that infection numbers are expanding and new cases are leading to an average of more than one additional case.

The Princeton University COVID Dashboard recently reported rising case numbers with a seven-day daily average of 32.43 new cases on April 4, but the campus mitigation level remains at “baseline,” which does not require a change to current testing or mitigation measures, and campus case severity is reported as “mild.”

Princeton Public Schools also reported an increase in case numbers, with 12 new cases for the week ended April 1, an increase from seven cases in each of the previous two weeks. more

By Donald Gilpin

Robeson Week of Remembrance 2022 is underway and a series of events celebrating one of Princeton’s most famous residents will culminate on Saturday, April 9, Paul Robeson’s 124th birthday, at the Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) Paul Robeson Center for the Arts.

Highlights of the celebration, organized by the Paul Robeson House of Princeton, along with the ACP and the African American Cultural Collaborative of Mercer County (AACCMC), will include the dedication of the Robeson Pew on April 8 at Princeton High School (PHS) and the inauguration of the Robeson Scholars Recognition Program at ACP at 10 a.m. on April 9, followed by a full afternoon of performances at Hinds Plaza next to the Princeton Public Library celebrating the life and legacy of Paul Robeson through song, poetry, storytelling, spoken word, and more.

“I’m very excited about this year’s celebration,” said Paul Robeson House Board President Ben Colbert, emphasizing the impact of the new Paul Robeson Scholars Program. The Paul Robeson House of Princeton has also been leading the project to renovate the Robeson family house on Witherspoon Street across from the Princeton Cemetery.

“The celebration of Paul Robeson is important,” said Shirley Satterfield, co-founder and president of the Witherspoon-Jackson Historical and Cultural Society. “It’s important that people know who he was — a scholar, athlete, lawyer, actor, and activist. He fought against racism in the United States and against fascism all over the world.”

At noon on April 8 in the PHS guidance offices, Satterfield will be participating in the dedication of a newly refurbished church pew once used by Paul Robeson’s family, and donated from the Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church. Students, staff, and the community are invited to join in a commemoration of the historic pew. more

SPACE AT LAST: The new fourth grade classroom at Princeton Charter School is among additions, designed by architect Michael Farewell, to the campus on Bunn Drive.

By Anne Levin

Thanks to the completion of a two-year construction project, fourth and fifth grade students at Princeton Charter School have moved out of temporary trailers into new, spacious, light-filled classrooms.

The $5.6 project, which will be celebrated Thursday, April 7 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by State Sen. Andrew Zwicker, Mayor Mark Freda, members of Princeton Council, and other guests, also includes an expansion of the cafeteria, allowing for more reasonable lunch hours and a space for after-school programs.

“This is massive for us,” said Head of School Larry Patton. “We so needed the extra capacity. Our students and parents are thrilled, and the fourth and fifth graders are just loving the space.”

Founded 25 years ago, Princeton Charter School was originally in a former office building at 100 Bunn Drive, and has expanded over the years. The new classrooms and cafeteria were needed to accommodate the full student enrollment of 424 students from its expansion in 2017. Fourth graders had been in the trailers since 2017, the first year of the school’s expansion. The fifth graders are in two new classrooms connected to the middle school, freeing up space in the main building that will ease the demands of its schedule. more

ECO-DISASTER IN UKRAINE: The documentary “Return Sasyk to the Sea,” screening at the Princeton Environmental Film Festival on April 10, details the devastation of Soviet irrigation efforts in southern Ukraine. The experiments in the 1970s caused great destruction in the region. (Photo by Andrea Odezynska)

By Anne Levin

Decades before the war currently raging in Ukraine, a fight pitting environmental activists against poachers, bureaucrats, and corrupt officials was raging in southwestern Ukraine. The battle was over an irrigation project that the former Soviet Union began in 1972, to turn all saltwater estuaries into freshwater reservoirs as part of an ongoing effort to beat American agricultural production.

It didn’t work. In fact, the experiment created a slow eco-disaster, according to the documentary Return Sasyk to the Sea, being screened Sunday, April 10 at 3 p.m., live and online, as part of the Princeton Public Library’s Princeton Environmental Film Festival (PEFF). Andrea Odezynska, the filmmaker, is familiar to PEFF audiences from her previous entries in the festival. She lives in Princeton with her family.

Odezynska’s previous films include Felt, Feelings and Dreams; The Whisperer; and Still the River Flows. She made Return Sasyk to the Sea after being awarded a Fulbright scholarship in 2018.

“I was teaching a class on independent American cinema, and you had half the year to do your own research project,” she said. “I knew I wanted to do a film. I was thinking about what part of Ukraine I would like to see, and get to know better. I googled ‘women,’ ‘the environment,’ ‘water,’ and ‘the Black Sea.’ Up came a really interesting article by Dimiter Kenarov, a journalist who works for the Pulitzer Center in Washington, about the estuary.” more

By Anne Levin

After an 18-month closure due to COVID-19, Hopewell Theater reopened last May. This spring, the theater brings back its popular “Food for Thought” series. Also known as the “The Art of Living Well,” this supper club concept pairs film, food, and panel discussions.

The series returns Tuesday, April 19 with a screening of the documentary The Oyster Farmers, dinner from chef Christopher Albrecht of The Ryland Inn, and a talk about efforts to sustain New Jersey’s waterways with Albrecht, Carolyn Klaube of the Sourland Conservancy, Kyle Gronostajski of the Jetty Rock Foundation, and Tim Dillingham of the American Littoral Society.

“We had always wanted to get back into supper clubs. We are a dine-in theater,” said Kendra Thatcher, programming production manager of the venue (formerly known as the Off Broad Street Dessert Theater). “This series really does complement the theater’s ethos, which is to be accessible, welcome the eclectic, and bring the community together. Food is a great way to do that. It’s kind of a natural thread.”

Thatcher should know. She was a recipe developer for the Food Network and the Cooking Channel, and remains active in the culinary community. “Food is at the heart of me,” she said.

The Oyster Catchers, which is about New Jersey oyster farmers cultivating a resurgence of the once-prolific eastern oyster, had been on her mind since before the pandemic. “Over the winter, Sara Scully [Hopewell Theater executive director and co-founder]  said to me, ‘I want you to run with your passion and what’s in your wheelhouse.’ I automatically thought about this film,” Thatcher said. more

By Donald Gilpin

A special meeting of the Princeton Council on March 29 was advertised as “a listening session,” and there was plenty to listen to as many of the more than 300 participants in the Zoom session weighed in on the question of whether or not Council should allow zoning for a cannabis dispensary in town.   

The meeting lasted for four hours, with the last three hours devoted to public comment, and when it finally ended at about 11 p.m. there were still 35 people with their virtual hands raised waiting to speak. In addition to the speakers at the meeting, 40-50 emails were sent to Council on the subject.

“Amazing meeting,” said Councilman David Cohen. “Attendance was about twice as large as at any meeting since I’ve been on Council. It’s great that the community is so engaged.”

He continued, “I was impressed at how many unique takes there were on the question, 50-60 public comments. That’s a testament to how complex the issue is. There are so many different ways to think about it.”

Princeton Mayor Mark Freda agreed. “I believe all of the elected officials were happy to see the level of community engagement during the meeting,” he wrote in an email. “At one point we had 345 people taking part in the Zoom meeting, and on top of that many, many people have emailed all of us with opinions, information on different studies, etc.” more

By Stuart Mitchner

My point of entry to Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s Oscar-winning picture Drive My Car was through the title, which his film shares with the opening track on Rubber Soul and the story by Haruki Murakami that opens his 2017 collection, Men Without Women. The Beatles connection continues in the next story, which begins and ends with a character who composes and sings deranged lyrics to “Yesterday.” The second track on Rubber Soul gave Murakami the title for his 1987 novel, Norwegian Wood, a book I look forward to reading, along with The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, which Patti Smith celebrates in her memoir M-Train.

The Cities Game

Finding Murakami in the environs of Hamaguchi was like discovering a thriving metropolis enroute to another, smaller, newer city. Now I’m heading down the road to a sprawling composite of Hamburg, Berlin, and Paris, Texas named Wim Wenders, which I first visited in his film The American Friend, released in 1979, the same year Murakami published his first novel, Hear the Wind Sing. Somewhere in the same enormous state (think of Texas, Ohio and New Jersey all in one), you’ll find Jim Jarmusch Junction, mapped out somewhere between Hoboken, Memphis, and Paterson. more

By Nancy Plum

Princeton University Chamber Choir returned to live performance last Saturday night making a statement. Led by conductor Gabriel Crouch, the 48-voice chorus presented a program originally scheduled for April 2020, but which was just as profound today, both in perseverance of the singers and the creativity the canceled concert generated during the University’s shutdowns. Past and present came together in the Chamber Choir’s concert at Richardson Auditorium as the choristers emerged from the pandemic to find even more meaning in the works of Francis Poulenc and Mary Lou Williams. As a further acknowledgement of current times, the Chamber Choir presented this performance in collaboration with “02.24.2022,” a student-driven initiative supporting students on campus affected by the war in Ukraine and raising funds to provide local currency to refugees. 

Princeton University graduate Allison Spann is no stranger to University musical ensembles; her compositions have been played on campus before. Having lost a chunk of her senior year to the spring 2020 shutdown, Spann took the opportunity to create a work for the Chamber Choir which explored the connections between Poulenc’s Figure Humaine and Williams’ St. Martin de Porres, honoring both composers and their pursuit of divine liberation through music.

Spann commanded the stage herself for the Chamber Choir’s performance of her piece Before the light is gone. The Choir’s presentation of Spann’s work had the atmosphere of a jazz club, with Spann singing the soprano solo accompanied by the expert jazz piano accompaniment of Cherry Ge and Phillip Taylor. Spann’s work is mostly for solo voice (representing liberty, freedom or earth), with reaffirmation of text by the chorus (as mankind). Following a recited opening verse, Spann reached effectively into her upper register with a scatt singing effect, soaring above smooth homophonic chords sung by the Chamber Choir. An octet singing from the front of the stage showed Spann’s skill at writing music for close harmonies, with tricky dissonances well-handled and all singers conveying Spann’s wish to “pave the way for hope through rest, generosity, and compassion.”  more

AUDRA MCDONALD: National Medal of Arts winner Audra McDonald (above) performed April 2 at McCarter’s Matthews Theatre, accompanied by Andy Einhorn. (Photo courtesy of McCarter Theatre)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

Award-winning singer and actor Audra McDonald performed at McCarter this past Saturday night. The concert, which played to a packed Matthews Theatre, featured a selection of Broadway standards. The evening was by turns uplifting and introspective. McDonald’s range and stellar vocal technique, and her respect and passion for material on which she was determined to make her own, all were on display.

In addition to six Tony Awards, two Grammy Awards, and an Emmy, McDonald has received a National Medal of Arts. Her numerous stage credits include Ragtime and Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune. The Juilliard-trained soprano’s opera credits include Houston Grand Opera and Los Angeles Opera. Screen credits include the HBO series The Gilded Age, as well as the Aretha Franklin biopic, Respect.

McDonald was accompanied by Broadway music director and conductor Andy Einhorn. Multiple songs heard in the concert appear on McDonald’s 2018 album Sing Happy, for which Einhorn conducted the New York Philharmonic.

Einhorn struck one key on the piano, which was a sufficient introduction for McDonald to launch into the stirring opening number, “I Am What I Am.” Early in the song Einhorn’s accompaniment was comparatively spare; as McDonald’s impassioned performance grew in speed and intensity, Einhorn’s accompaniment grew more elaborate. more

“FALSETTOS” ON STAGE: William Finn and James Lapine’s groundbreaking musical is at Kelsey Theatre through April 10. (Photo courtesy of Playful Theatre)

Falsettos, William Finn and James Lapine’s musical from 1992, is currently on stage at Kelsey Theatre on the West Windsor campus of Mercer County Community College, 1200 Old Trenton Road. The play runs through April 10.

Presented by Playful Theatre, Falsettos is a comedy that depicts a modern family before its time. It revolves around the life of a charming, intelligent, neurotic gay man named Marvin; his wife; lover; about-to-be-bar-mitzvahed son; their psychiatrist; and the lesbians next door. The show reveals the infinite possibilities that make up a contemporary family. The show was nominated for seven Tony Awards, winning awards for Best Book and Best Original Score.

Remaining performances are Friday and Saturday, April 8 and 9 at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, April 10 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $22. Visit KelseyTheatre.org or call (609) 570-3333.

MUSICAL-IN-PROGRESS: Director, choreographer, and Princeton Arts Fellow Will Davis (in horse mask) and composer Truth Future Bachman, are featured in “HORSEMANSHIP.” (Photo by Jonathan Sweeney)

The Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University presents HORSEMANSHIP, a new musical-in-progress about being transgender and searching for the kind of person you want to be … and horses. The musical was conceived by Princeton University Arts Fellow Will Davis and created by Will Davis and Truth Future Bachman.

Davis is a trans-identified director and choreographer focused on physically adventurous new work for the stage. Bachman is a composer, vocalist, and writer of socially focused musicals who uses they/them/their pronouns.

Performances will be on Friday and Saturday, April 8 and 9 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 10 at 2 p.m. in the Wallace Theater at the Lewis Arts complex on the Princeton campus. The event is free and open to the public, however advanced tickets are required through University Ticketing and can be reserved at tickets.princeton.edu.

POETRY THROUGH SONG: Songwriter Jason Isbell, shown here, teams up with S.G. Goodman for an appearance at the State Theatre New Jersey on Friday, April 8 at 8 p.m.

The State Theatre New Jersey presents Jason Isbell with special guest S.G. Goodman on Friday, April 8, at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $45-$199.

Isbell is a native of north Alabama, known for his ability to identify and articulate human emotions and turn them into poetry through song. His first album, in 2013, was Southeastern. His next two albums, Something More Than Free (2015) and The Nashville Sound (2017), won Grammy Awards for Best Americana Album and Best American Roots Song. Isbell’s song “Maybe It’s Time” was featured in the 2019 reboot of A Star Is Born. His most recent full-length album, Reunions (2020), is a collection of 10 new songs. In April of 2021, it was announced that Isbell would appear in the upcoming Martin Scorsese film, Killers of the Flower Moonmore

BLUES AND MORE: North Carolina-based duo Jon Shain and FJ Ventre bring their blend of blues, bluegrass, swing, and ragtime to Princeton on April 22. (Photo by Stan Lewis)

On Friday, April 22 at 8 p.m. in Christ Congregational Church, 50 Walnut Lane, the Princeton Folk Music Society presents the duo of Jon Shain and FJ Ventre. Their music is blues-based, with elements of bluegrass, swing, and ragtime.

Shain is a veteran singer/songwriter who took first place in the solo/duo category of the 2019 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn. Ventre plays upright bass and does vocal harmonies. They have been friends since 1982, when they started playing in bands together as high school students in Massachusetts.

Tickets are $25; $20 for members; $10 for students ages 12-22; and $5 for children under 12. Masks and full proof of vaccination are required. Tickets are available at the door. Visit Princetonfolk.org for more information.

“COMMUNICATION”: This photo by Sharlene Holliday is part of the annual juried “Phillips’ Mill Photographic Exhibition,” on view through April 22 at the historic Phillips’ Mill on River Road in New Hope, Pa.

After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Phillips’ Mill Community Association welcomes spring with two back-to-back fine art photography shows.

The annual juried “Phillips’ Mill Photographic Exhibition” is on view through April 22 at the historic Phillips’ Mill on River Road in New Hope, Pa., and will be followed by the “Not Your Run of the Mill Members Photo Show” opening April 24.

The “Phillips’ Mill Photographic Exhibition,” considered the premier juried photography show in Bucks County, presents 136 works of fine art photography. Selected from over 1,100 submissions by juror Bob Krist, formerly of New Hope and internationally-acclaimed for his photographic work for National Geographic and Smithsonian, the show runs the gamut of imagery.

Krist said he was “blown away by the breadth and depth of the work. Whether it was nature, landscape, art, portraiture, street photography, there was just so much high quality work it made narrowing down the prize winners a very painful but rewarding experience.”  more

“DONUTS”: This work by Kate Taussig is part of “Visual Arts Student Exhibition,” on view at The Gallery at Mercer County Community College in West Windsor through May 11. The exhibit showcases 40 works by 23 student artists from the college’s visual and graphic arts programs.

Creativity is in bloom at The Gallery at Mercer County Community College (MCCC) as art students showcase their talents at this year’s “Visual Arts Student Exhibition” through May 11. The show is free and open to the public.

The Gallery is located on the second floor of MCCC’s Communications Building on the West Windsor campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road. An opening reception is set for Wednesday, April 6 at 7 p.m.

The exhibit includes 40 works by 23 student artists from the college’s visual and graphic arts programs including fine arts, advertising and graphic design, digital arts, photography, and sculpture. more

“BOO”: This oil painting by Laura Rutherford Renner is featured in “Begin, Again,” her joint show with Alla Podolsky, on view April 7 through May 1 at the Artists’ Gallery in Lambertville. An opening reception is on Saturday, April 9 from 1 to 3 p.m.

Artists Alla Podolsky and Laura Rutherford Renner have announced the opening of their joint show, “Begin, Again,” on Thursday, April 7 at the Artists’ Gallery, 18 Bridge Street, Lambertville. The exhibit, which runs through May 1, features oil paintings by the two artists. There will be an opening reception on Saturday, April 9 from 1-3 p.m.

“Begin, Again” invites viewers to remember the gifts of the everyday. 

Podolsky’s interest in rich emotional lives of people and places comes from her background and the kind of work she has always aspired to create: narrative, but not necessarily literal, existing between reality and imagination. She describes herself as a “human painter,” exploring the interactions between color and light, memories and fresh possibilities. Every painting is a new beginning and she loves the journey as much as the destination.

Currently residing in Philadelphia, Podolsky is a native of Kyiv, Ukraine, and a graduate of Moore College of Art and Design and The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Her work is a combination of her European sensibilities and her American experiences. more

“STREET ON CAPRI”: This oil painting by Gary Fournier is featured in “Kaleidoscope,” a group art exhibition on view through June 26 at Old Hights Brewing Company in Hightstown. An opening reception is on April 6 from 6 to 8 p.m.

The Hightstown Cultural Arts Commission, in partnership with the Old Hights Brewing Company, presents “Kaleidoscope,” a group art exhibition of paintings in a variety of media including oil, acrylic, mixed media, and digital art that highlights a prism of colors found in botanicals, urban areas, landscapes, and abstractions.

The artists include Gary Fournier, Spriha Gupta, Marisa Keris, Kathleen Hurley Liao, and Phillip McConnell, and the exhibit is curated by Hightstown Cultural Arts Commissioner Chanika Svetvilas. The exhibit runs through June 26 at Old Hights Brewing Company, 123 West Ward Street, Hightstown, and opens with a reception on April 6 from 6 to 8 p.m. “Kaleidoscope” will also feature an artist talk on Wednesday, May 25 at 6 p.m.