Welcome to Princeton!

 

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Tom Shelton, children’s choir director at Princeton United Methodist Church, welcomes three and four-year-olds to musical fun during Sunday morning Sunday School.

Dear new neighbors! Welcoming people to Princeton is one of my favorite things to do. For families with young children, here is a sprinkling of not-so-obvious opportunities that are good to know about for this summer and fall.

Music Together, for your 3 year old and even your new baby, is a cost-effective activity for families. Did you know that children get all their tone discernment before the age of 5? With this program, the parents learn the songs (with weekly classes of fun activities with the kids) and the tunes are integrated into your daily life. There are classes everywhere including at my church at the corner of Nassau, opposite the Garden Theater). Which brings up —

Princeton United Methodist Church – we have excellent music programs for all ages, even as young as three. Pictured above, our children’s choir director, nationally known, is Tom Shelton. We welcome a new preacher, Trey Wince  on July 16 and begin monthly alternative worship services on July 23. If Sunday morning attendance isn’t for you, but you’d like to meet some families with kids, come to a ‘fun night’ on July 16, 7 p.m. and on later dates this summer, details here.

Another good place to meet families with kids is Marquand Park. Playgroups seem to congregate there.  Harrison Street Park has good 3-year-old opportunities (sand box, good swings) but gets fewer visitors. And then there’s the little Sigmund Park, named after a beloved mayor, opposite Westminster Choir College or Mary Moss park, if it’s reopened, in the Witherspoon Jackson neighborhood. In the fall, try the events at Cotsen Children’s Library, part of Firestone at the university but you can also just browse. And of course the story hours at the Princeton Public Library are probably the most populated.

Newcomers may not realize that the “go-to” newspaper for local news is an unassuming little paper called Town Topics. It doesn’t look like much, but it’s generally accurate. You’ve been getting it on Wednesdays. I’m very interested in newspapers because I was editor, for two decades, of U.S. 1 Newspaper known online as PrincetonInfo.  The sister monthly paper is the Princeton Echo. U.S. 1 has newsstands and pick-up points in town (the closest to us is Bank of America or Whole Earth) but its major distribution is to businesses – retail and corporate – in greater Princeton, which encompasses three counties and 27 municipalities. People love it for many reasons but an important one is the “go-to” event calendar. I’m retired, but am still on the masthead thanks to an ever-loyal boss.  Here is his account of the area newspaper scene.

When visitors come to town (you will get plenty, Princeton is a draw), they’ll want to see Einstein’s house, but there are several other Einstein-mania sites: the mini museum in back of Landau’s and the sculpture. a good photo-op, at the intersection of Bayard and Nassau.

If you have concerns about social justice, I work with Not in Our Town Princeton, and we do first Monday “Continuing Conversations on Race” at the Princeton Public Library. We will also have a booth at the – mark your calendar – Community Night at the community pool, free admission, bring bathing suits, August 1, 5 to 8.

Other town-wide parties: the Thursday night concerts at the Princeton Shopping Center and McCarter Theatre’s open house on August 23 (food and free entertainment). Students at Princeton University put on a rip-roaring kids show in the summer, apparently suitable for age 3 as they encourage three-and-under to attend free; this year it’s about Amelia Earhart, 

And so you know what I look like, here is a picture of me, featuring my button collecting interest, used here at Princeton Comment.

Whew! Now that I’ve done this I’m going to post it on my blog – without your names of course – to help other families with kids. Do comment on anything that you’ve found. First impressions of a new town are priceless and easily forgotten, so pass them on!

Your Jugtown neighbor, Barbara Fox

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Leni Morante: Turning the Page

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Leni Morante at work

Looking back can be so much fun, especially when your past can encourage someone else’s future. Léni Paquet-Morante,  an artist who has kept touch with me over several decades, called with her latest news. I took vicarious joy in what she is doing now.

Morante had been busy with raising three children, volunteering in their schools, rehabbing an historic house, and supporting the successful career of her sculptor husband, G. Frederick Morante. In 1984 they met at the Johnson Atelier,  where she did bronze, copper, and clay sculpture. I wrote about her husband’s work for U.S. 1 Newspaper in the late ’80s. His Daedulus remains one of my favorite pieces, and his ‘Relative’  is one of the large bronzes that J. Seward Johnson commissioned for Grounds for Sculpture.

Thirty years later (can it really be that long ago?) I am retired, Fred is on the staff at the Digital Atelier, and Leni has turned the page in her career. With her children grown, she carved out a space next to the kitchen for her studio and declared independence from cooking dinner.

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Leni Morante: June 11, 2017 In 2017, acrylic on linen, Untitled: Rosemont – 30 x 30

Leni has a solo show opening Wednesday, July 5, at Princeton University’s 113 Dickinson Hall, called “Atmosphere, Place an Time,” described as “paintings that represent familiar local landscapes but which also hint at something more complex.” Best of all, she has an artist residency award at the Lacawac Field Sanctuary in Lake Ariel, PA, and will have two weeks of focused studio and plein-air work next October.

I smiled and smiled when Leni spoke of being recognized with a two-week residency because in 1980 — at almost exactly the same point in my career, I had had a similar opportunity. I landed an NEA Fellowship to a dance critics workshop at the American Dance Festival at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Along with a dozen journalist from around the country, I took movement classes, saw concerts, wrote reviews, and was totally immersed in dance.

It was triply sweet.

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Barbara Figge at ADF 1960
  • I could leave family cares behind for three weeks.
  • It was my second visit to ADF: 20 years before I had gone to ADF when it was at Connecticut College. That summer persuaded me not to a pursue a dance career. Now, three children later, struggling to make my mark as a journalist, I could go back to ADF as a working dance critic.
  • I returned to my ‘stomping ground.” ADF had moved to my alma mater, Duke University.
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American Dance Festival 1980, Duke University. Student learning how to do a “Slow Walk” with choreograher Kei Takei

So, yes, I can truly rejoice with Leni Morante. She is using every available minute to paint. Right now she has a day job, so she paints on weekends, but in October — I smile and encourage her painting sabbatical. Meanwhile, with vicarious joy, I will admire her work.

 “Atmosphere, Place, and Time,” paintings by Léni Paquet-Morante, will be on view starting Wednesday, July 5, at 113 Dickinson Hall. This gallery, curated by Dana Lichtstrahl, is sponsored by Princeton University’s Center for Gender and Sexuality Studies and is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A “meet the artist” reception is Friday, July 14, noon to 2 p.m. Her home-based studio is in Hamilton, NJ. Her portfolio since 1984 includes painting, bronze,copper, and clay sculpture, some of which is represented in NJ corporate collections, private collections locally and internationally, and as public art. A full CV and other works can be seen on her website http://www.lenimorante.com. Requests to meet the artist and/or for additional image files can be made through lenimorante@yahoo.com or cell 609-610- 3631.

No that’s not what Jesus said

To read “The strange origins of the GOP ideology that resists caring for the poor” click here.  Reported by Jack Jenkins, the senior reporter of Think Progress. huston

Having just come from the Frederich Beuchner writers workshop at Princeton Theological Seminary, I can testify that  virtually all the attendees and workshop leaders agree with Jenkins.

 

 

presidential scholars in Princeton

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Winona Guo and Priya Vulchi 

On May 5 the U.S. Department of Education released the names of the Presidential Scholars, two students from each state plus winners from the arts and career/technology. This year’s Presidential Scholar List include a student from Princeton High School, Winona Guo, and one from Mercer County’s Health Science Academy, Sanjana Duggirala, of East Windsor.

Established in 1964 the program was expanded to include those who excel in the arts, as well as in academe, and it was expanded again in 2015 to add those in career and technical fields. I remember how excited I was when, in 1979, dancers were included in this prestigious program. Some years, the arts scholars performed at the Kennedy Center. 

Here is how the scholars are selected. Under the original plan, the first cut is by SAT or ACT scores — the top 20 men and women from each state.  For New Jersey, more than 350 were selected. This includes those who were selected by different criteria — for their achievement in the arts or in career technology fields. Then that group submits materials: essays, self-assessments, secondary school reports, and transcripts.  That winnowed it down to 16, plus four arts students and two career/technology students.

Here’s where the essays and extra-curricular activities really count. Duggirali was  named a Public Health Leadership scholar and state president of the New Jersey Association of Student Councils. 

Surely what helped Winona Guo to win was her amazing work, along with Priya Vulchi, as co-founders of Princeton CHOOSE.  Together, they worked to overcome racism and inspire harmony through exposure, education, and empowerment. Together, they wrote a much acclaimed textbook about race.  I came to know Guo and Vulchi as  board members of Not in Our Town Princeton,  Both made invaluable contributions and modeled how to work together as a team of two . Working in tandem – always together – they muster support from peers and adults to accomplish what many thought impossible.

Congratulations all-round!

 

Prep for the P-rade

pamperedFor an in-depth look at Princeton Reunions, here is E.E. Whiting’s research in U.S. 1 Newspaper

plus wristband reflections by Richard K. Rein.

In the sister paper, Princeton Echo, the Pampered Princetonian: reflections on student privilege.

But by all means don’t miss the P-rade. Best viewing area, steps of Whig or Clio. It starts at 2 but bring water and sunscreen and nab an early seat.

What’s hot at Reunions for Entrepreneurs

alumni web phone

All of these events are listed as open to the public. Declare an early weekend and network for free! 

Friday, June 2, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

20th Annual Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network (PEN) Startup Competition & Conference: Registration, Mimosas, and Networking Opening remarks: Mung Chiang, Arthur LeGrand Doty Professor of Electrical Engineering; Founding Director of the Princeton EDGE Lab, Director, Keller Center for Innovation in Engineering Education and Inaugural Chair, Princeton Entrepreneurship Council, Princeton University. Moderators: Mayra Ceja ’03, President, Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network, and Eric Sharret ’02, Vice President, Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network.  Sponsored by the Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network, Keller Center, Office of Career Services, Office of Technology Licensing, E-Club, Fitz Gate Ventures, LivePlan, Chaac Ventures and Sequoia. Friend Center, Auditorium 101.

10 to 11 am 

Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network (PEN) Fireside Chat with Two Generations of Princeton Entrepreneurs: Is It in Our DNA? Moderators: Justin Ziegler ’16, Chief of Staff, Andela; Mayra Ceja ’03, President, Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network; Eric Sharret ’02, Vice President, Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network. Speakers: Jeremy Johnson ’07, Founder, Andela and 2U, and Marty Johnson ‘81, Founder, Isles, Inc. Sponsored by the Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network, the Keller Center, the Office of Career Services, the Office of Technology Licensing, E-Club, Fitz Gate Ventures, LivePlan, Chaac Ventures and Sequoia. Friend Center, Auditorium 101.

11-1 pm 

Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network (PEN) Startup Showcase & Lunch To 1:00 PM. Sponsored by the Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network (PEN), the Keller Center, the Office of Career Services, the Office of Technology Licensing, the E-Club, Fitz Gate Ventures, LivePlan, Chaac Ventures and Sequoia. Friend Center, Convocation Room

1 -2 pm 

Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network (PEN) Pitch Competition Moderators: Mayra Ceja ’03, President, of the Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network; Eric Sharret ’02, Vice President, Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network of PEN. To 2:00 PM. Sponsored by the Princeton Entrepreneurs’ 13 FRIDAY, June 2 Network (PEN), The Keller Center, Office of Career Services, Office of Technology Licensing, E-Club, Fitz Gate Ventures, LivePlan, Chaac Ventures, Sequoia. Friend Center, Auditorium 101.

2 -3 pm

20th Annual Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network (PEN) Reception.  Sponsored by the Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network (PEN), the Keller Center, the Office of Career Services, the Office of Technology Licensing, E-Club, Fitz Gate Ventures, LivePlan, Chaac Ventures, Sequoia. Friend Center, Upper Atrium.

and you might be interested in

Interactive Vehicle Demonstration To 4:00 PM. Sponsored by the Princeton Autonomous Vehicle Engineering (PAVE). 1972 Plaza, in front of McCosh 10. on Friday, 2 -4 pm 

 

my personal favorite is Saturday, June 3, 10:30 am to noon 

Journalism in a Post-Fact Era Moderator: Joel Achenbach ’82, Washington Post reporter. Panelists: Joe Stephens, Ferris Professor in Residence and Washington Post investigative reporter; Edward Wong, visiting Ferris Professor and New York Times international correspondent; Nancy Cordes *99, CBS News congressional correspondent; Juliet Eilperin ’92, Washington Post senior national-affairs correspondent; Richard Just ’01, Washington Post Magazine editor; Jennifer Epstein ’08, Bloomberg White House/political reporter.  Sponsored by the Princeton Alumni Weekly and the Ferris Seminars in Journalism in the Council of the Humanities. Frist Campus Center, Room 302.

and some more folks you might want to network with . . .

Alumni-Faculty Forum: Entrepreneurship: Sowing the Seeds of Innovation Moderator: Mung Chiang, Arthur LeGrand Doty Professor of Electrical Engineering; Founding Director of the Princeton EDGE Lab; Director, Keller Center for Innovation in Engineering Education; and Inaugural Chair, Princeton Entrepreneurship Council. Panelists: Dinni Jain ’87, Former COO, Time Warner Cable; Duncan Van Dusen ’92, Founding Executive Director, CATCH Global Foundation; Stephen K. Shueh ’97, Managing Partner, Roundview Capital; Jon Hayes ’07, Founder and CEO, RewardStock.com; Arielle Sandor ’12, Co-Founder and CEO, Duma Works. Sponsored by the Alumni Association of Princeton University. Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building, Room 399. Friday, 2:30-3:45 p.m. 

And the P-Rade starts at 1. All details here. 

If you are not a true alum, you might have trouble figuring out some of these locations but, hey, it’s Darwinian selection. 

 

 

Happy birthday, boss!

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Happy birthday to Richard K. Rein, who turned the Big Seven Oh yesterday and ruminated on the milestone in his column today, here. 

Seventy’s good, from my point of view. Seven years ago I ruminated on the same number,  here.  The wisdom that still works today is from Frederick Buechner: “The place God calls you to is where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

Many happy returns, Rich, of the non-retail kind.

 

Ask the button experts on Saturday

 

fall show second photo - Young button collector Elena IbanezSomething fun to do on Saturday — bring your grandmother’s button box to the New Jersey State Button Society (NJSBS) show and sale on Saturday, May 13, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s at the Union Fire Company hall, 1396 River Road (Route 29), Titusville, NJ 08560, where there is plenty of free parking.  All are welcome; admission is $2 for adults, free for juniors to age 17.

Here’s another Princeton Comment post about buttons

The Union Fire Company, is at  1396 River Road (at the intersection of Route 29 and Park Lake Avenue in Titusville), opposite the Delaware River and D&R Canal State Park (with easy access to the canal park), a half mile north of Washington Crossing State Park in Hopewell Township, and some five miles south of Lambertville and New Hope, PA. There is plenty of free parking. http://newjerseystatebuttonsociety.org.

In this article in the Hopewell Express,  Carol Meszaros checks out a novice collector’s button jar. What treasures do you have in yours?

 

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Peter, Scott, Jessica on Thursday

Hear success journeys at the Princeton Chamber’s  Independent Business Summit on Thursday, with a panel that includes Peter Dawson (Leigh Imaging), Scott Needham (Princeton Air), and Jessica Durrie (Small World Coffee). Pictures to view, clean air to breathe, and caffeine to drink — they are three ‘gotta have’ products! It will be interesting to follow their proprietors’ journeys.

Pride and Prejudice review, illustrated

Here is my review of Douglas Martin’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ as published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on April 26, but with the addition of the excellent photos by Leighton Chen.  

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From left: Bingley, Elizabeth, Darcy, Collins, Lady Catherine, Caroline

Jane Austen’s novel “Pride and Prejudice” is set in 1813 Regency England, where passions smolder under the veneer of a determinedly genteel society. As choreographer/librettist Douglas Martin and his team translate that novel, they hit ballet’s sweet spot. Gentility is, after all, basic to classical ballet.

This ground-breaking American Repertory Ballet production, premiered to a packed McCarter Theater on April 21, is a Douglas Martin triumph. No longer do I want to see the movie. Each character portrayed by the dancers is etched in my mind.

Every element of dance theater — character-based movement, mime, juxtapositions, props, exquisitely beautiful designs by A. Christina Gianinni, music played by the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, even a surround-sound score of horses’ hooves and birds singing — helps to tell the story.

With no program synopsis, it helps to know the novel that chronicles the unfolding romance involving the witty and judgmental Elizabeth Bennet and the rich and aloof Fitzwilliam Darcy, though some characters are easy to pick out on stage.

Ballet mistress Mary Barton, wonderful as Elizabeth’s mother, Mrs. Bennet, points to the ring finger of any single man in sight and inserts her dithery head-shaking everywhere she shouldn’t.angry mrs b

Kathleen Moore Tovar, formerly a principal with American Ballet Theater, also shows the young’uns how. As Darcy’s aunt, Lady Catherine, she cuts a skirt-swishing officious swathe, punctuating her snobbish opinions by up-jerking her knee.

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Aldeir Montero, new to the company, is obviously Bingley, Darcy’s genial friend. With his every lunge and leap, opening himself to the audience, he exudes friendliness, in contrast to Mattia Pallozzi, who plays Darcy.

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from left: Bingham, Elizabeth, Darcy, Collins, Lady Catherine, Caroline 

At the ball, contemptuously looking over his shoulder, Darcy clings to himself, with one Napoleonic arm in front, the other in back.

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Darcy stands at the side. Center: Jane and Bingham. 

 

Austap Kymko, as the black-clad unctuous clergyman Collins, oozes himself from one hilarious misstep to another

e and collins but smooths out some of the clumsiness after he marries Elizabeth’s dear friend Charlotte (Shaye Firer).

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Austap Kymko with, from left, Charlotte (Shaye Firer) and Elizabeth (Monica Giragosian)

Gentility does not always prevail. When giddy youngest sister Lydia Bennet (Nanako Yamamoto) runs off with handsome seducer Wickham (Jacopo Jannelli) their bawdy sex scene rips off the veil of decorum and suddenly we seem to be looking at contemporary dance.

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Wickham (Jacopo Jannelli) and Lydia Bennet (Nanako Yamamoto)

When Elizabeth (evocatively danced by Monica Giragosian) refuses Collins, the pragmatic Charlotte literally jumps on his back to claim him.

Mime? Throughout, and often extended into dance. When Elizabeth questions Charlotte about marrying Collins, the friends circle and touch their hands to the brows, then extend their arms out straight, question, answer, question, answer.

Juxtapositions enable insights.

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A vision juxtaposition: Elizabeth reads a letter from Darcy about how he paid off Wickham before, and this scene is visioned in the background.

Charlotte, in a not-so-good marriage, parallels the movement of the eldest Bennet sister, Jane (Lily Saito), who has been moping in a house on the other side of the stage, waiting for a suitor who does not arrive.

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Kathleen Moore Tovar, as Lady Catherine, attempts to kick away any attempts to pour her tea.

And an incident with a prop, a teapot, shrinks a storyline when Elizabeth outwits Lady Catherine, who has determined that Elizabeth will not be the one to pour her tea.

Scenic projections and costumes were beyond splendid. One that helped the story line was the headpiece of Caroline Bingley, which made a tall dancer (newcomer Erikka Reenstierna-Cates) an even taller and more formidable opponent to the success of the Bennet women.

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Erikka Reenstierna-Cates as Caroline Bingley, has designs on Darcy (Mattia Pallozzi).

There is much excellent dancing in this 140-minute ballet — lots of women on stage at one time, and many chances for men to do double turns and land on one knee.

Music was by composers that were Austen’s favorites (U.S. 1, April 19). Each worked well for that particular dance and was vibrantly played by the PSO, directed by John Devlin. They did not build to the kind of climax that comes with Tchaikovsky ballets, but at moments of high emotion Martin inserted duets by Schubert or Mendelssohn, played by pianist Jonathan Benjamin with either cellist Michael Katz or violinist Grace Park.

The dramatic climax comes, of course, when Jane and Elizabeth get their men. Jane’s longed-for pas de deux with Bingley is simple joy — quick quivering beats with gentle lifts and expansive arabesques.jane dance caption

Elizabeth, in contrast, has spent most of the evening rejecting Darcy. Conflicted, he rarely offers open gestures and his first proposal is, literally, backhanded. With his back to the audience he twists himself into saying, in tightly gripped movement, that he loves her in spite of himself. She flounces off. Then, when she is devastated by the Wickham scandal, Darcy signals his desire to help with an expressive leg movement — an open rond de jambe — and sets out to fix the situation.

e and himUpon his return, as she stretches arms-wide in longing, he catches her in mid air, and she curls her head on his shoulder in delight. Again, she stretches to the nth, and curls around him. best end.jpg

The once haughty Darcy lies down behind her, his head by her knee, in an act of obeisance, and the audience erupts in applause.

(Addendum: In this video of a rehearsal, the first bit is Elizabeth dancing with the dastardly but charming Wickham. In the second, she dances with Darcy after she loves him. In the fourth scene Caroline obnoxiously separates Elizabeth from Darcy.)

 

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