PHOTO COURTESY OF MOTTAHEDEH

Fine china and sweet-smelling floral arrangements are essential to the menu. 

By Ilene Dube 

When it seems so much is wrong in the world, and the onslaught of daily news makes you want to shut it all down, it just might be the perfect time to throw a dinner party!

In preparation you might listen to podcasts of The Dinner Party Download, NPR’s “fast and funny hour of culture, food, and conversation: In every episode you’ll learn a joke; bone-up on an odd bit of history, and then wash it down with a themed cocktail recipe…” Hosts Rico Gagliano and Brendan Francis Newnam, in their new book, Brunch is Hell, tell “How to Save the World by Having a Dinner Party.”  more

Sunset Sips & Sounds at Terhune Orchards Vineyards and Winery (Photo Courtesy of Terhune Orchards)

By Laurie Pellichero

Summer is just around the corner, along with a plethora of events in town and all around. Here is just a sampling of activities to enjoy as the weather heats up…

CONCERTS AND SHOWS

The Arts Council of Princeton (www.artscouncilofprinceton.org) and Princeton Shopping Center (www.princtonshoppingcenter.com) present the 35th annual Summer in the Courtyard Concert Series, featuring the best in local and regional jazz, folk, world, rock, and blues. Concerts are every Thursday, 6 to 8pm, from June 21 through August 23 at the Princeton Shopping Center. Don’t forget to bring a lawn chair! Acts include The Dirk Quinn Band on June 21, Blawenburg Band on June 28, DCFusion on July 12, BRIZ and the Revival on July 26, Grace Little Band on August 2, Eco Del Sur on August 9, and the Octavia Blues Band on August 16. In the event of inclement weather, concerts will be held inside the Arts Council’s Pop-Up Studio, next to Metropolis Spa & Salon at the Princeton Shopping Center. more

By Anne Levin / Renderings courtesy of Morven Museum and Garden 

Imagining an addition to Morven, the historic Princeton museum that was home to a signer of the Declaration of Independence and five New Jersey governors, one might understandably expect a building in the style of the 18th-century Greek Revival mansion. But the recently opened Stockton Education Center, which adds much-needed space to the site, bears no resemblance to its grand old ancestor. more

Brian Sullivan, NYBG’s vice president for landscape and glasshouses, teaches a horticulture class in the native plant garden. (Photo courtesy of New York Botanical Garden)

Classes online and on-site offer an array of horticultural help

By Wendy Greenberg

The air is warmer and daylight lingers longer. Lime green leaves are painting roadside landscapes.  So often spring awakens an urge to seek greener thumbs, or greener yards.  After all, it is the Garden State.

If you are so inspired, you are in luck. A bounty of classes and programs beckons to help would-be plant whisperers find their voices. Some of the area’s most respected and scenic public gardens are at your service with on-site and online courses, ranging from landscape design to wellness and therapy, to native flora, and some unusual offerings. more

The Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins Centennials

By Donald H. Sanborn III

Legendary American composer, conductor, pianist, educator, and humanitarian Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) once said, “I can’t live one day without hearing music, playing it, studying it, or thinking about it.” Audiences and museum visitors are having multiple opportunities this year to hear Bernstein’s music and think about it. In March, Princeton University’s Richardson Chamber Players presented “Bernstein and Friends: A Centennial Celebration.” Institutions such as Symphony Space and the National Museum of American Jewish History also will celebrate the maestro’s centennial. Aficionados of the work of choreographer Jerome Robbins (1918-1998) will have similar opportunities. more

First Lady Michelle Obama tours the Mirror Room in the Italian Pavilion with Mrs. Agnese Landini at the Milan Expo 2015 in Milan, Italy, June 18, 2015. Mrs. Obama led the presidential delegation to the expo, “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.” (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

By Anne Levin // Photos Courtesy of Amanda Lucidon from Chasing Light: Michelle Obama Through the Lens of a White House Photographer (Ten Speed Press). 

This past November, photographer Amanda Lucidon spoke at Princeton Public Library about her new book Chasing Light: Michelle Obama Through the Lens of a White House Photographer. The large crowd that turned out was no surprise. Princeton is a very blue town in a blue state, and the evening promised a bit of nostalgia for those who miss the days when Barack and Michelle Obama, Malia, Sasha, and their dogs were in the White House. more

Mira Nakashima

D&R Greenway Land Trust presents a special evening with renowned furniture designer Mira Nakashima on Thursday, March 22 (doors open 6:30 p.m., talk begins at 7 p.m.) at the Johnson Education Center, 1 Preservation Place, Princeton. Admission costs $10 person.

Mira Nakashima, the daughter of legendary furniture sculptor George Nakashima, will tell the story of the family’s woodworking legacy, followed by a signing of her book, Nature, Form, and Spirit: The Life and Legacy of George Nakashima. Nakashima pieces will be displayed and available for purchase, including a three-legged stool, candle holders, pencil holders, and bread boards. more

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon. Photo by Denis Applewhite. 

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon will present a reading from his recent poetry collections joined by acclaimed singer Iarla Ó Lionáird and composer Dan Trueman, in celebration of Muldoon’s latest volume Lamenations and the three artists’ collaboration with Eighth Blackbird, Olagón: A Cantata in Doublespeak. The reading, presented by Princeton University’s Fund for Irish Studies, will take on place on Friday, February 23 at 4:30 p.m. in the Wallace Theater located at the Lewis Arts complex on the Princeton campus. This event is free and open to the public. Performances of Olagón are being presented on February 22 through 24. more

Children and their parents experience Brandywine Christmas. Photo by Carlos Alejandro. 

By Ilene Dube

In all its starkness, winter was the favorite season of the painter Andrew Wyeth (1917–2009), one of the 20th century’s most popular American painters. Even today, exhibitions of his works draw large crowds to museums.

Wyeth described winter as a time when “you feel the bone structure in the landscape—the loneliness of it—the dead feeling…” Wyeth’s landscapes of that season are both placid in their silence and haunting in their feeling of desolation. He has the ability to capture the nuanced shades of white, even when working in watercolor. more

Bucks County Company Mines the “True Meaning” of Christmas with One-of-a-Kind Works

By Wendy Greenberg

Michael Stumpf, who has been a photographer, banking executive, ad agency owner, and community leader, cherished his childhood F. W. Woolworth Nativity scene into adulthood. When it fell apart from age, he and his daughter built one of their own design.

Some years later, A.J. DiAntonio, who was captivated by Nativity scenes and had amassed an impressive Christmas collection, left a Hollywood production career and returned to the Pennsylvania suburbs where he grew up. more

The Holidays at Drumthwacket

Jack Frost is in the air, and the “most wonderful time of the year” is about to begin…

Mark your calendar for these festive events that celebrate the season:

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Image Courtesy of David Scott Kessler

By Doug Wallack 

On Saturday, October 21, at the newly renovated Hopewell Theater, filmmaker David Scott Kessler will be screening his experimental documentary The Pine Barrens with a score performed live by The Ruins of Friendship Orchestra. The film, not unlike John McPhee’s 1968 book of the same name, explores New Jersey’s Pinelands, delving deep into the culture, ecology, and lore of the region, which — despite occupying twenty percent of the state’s land area — is so often overlooked, even by Garden State residents. more

NEW MUSIC: Sandbox Percussion (pictured) will be among the twelve acts performing at this Sunday’s Unruly Sounds festival. Now in its third year, the event features composers and performances by local artists and Princeton University affiliates.

By Doug Wallack

On Sunday, October 1, Hinds Plaza, adjacent to the Princeton Public Library, will play host to the third annual Unruly Sounds festival — a showcase of composers and new music from local artists and from the Princeton University Department of Music. more

Mercer County Italian American Festival

By Laurie Pellichero 

The leaves will soon be falling, the air is crisp…it’s time for fall festivals!

Mark your calendar for these upcoming events:

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Princeton Public Library presents the 2017 Princeton Children’s Book Festival at Hinds Plaza on Saturday, September 23 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine.

This well attended event continues to grow yearly and promises something for everyone. Here, you may meet your favorite author or illustrator, listen to them discuss their work, have a book autographed, or just have the opportunity to talk to them about their inspirations. Approximately 85 children’s book authors and illustrators will be in attendance. For a complete list of participating authors, visit http://bit.ly/2xeGu9lmore

A Place to Create and Collaborate

By Anne Levin 

Photographs courtesy of Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Art

Staging one of her dances for the Lyon Opera Ballet in France a few decades ago, choreographer Susan Marshall was thrilled to find herself in a newly remodeled, state-of-the-art theater with spacious rehearsal studios and plenty of room to test out her ideas. It was like a dream come true, “a sort of fantasy that was actually happening,” Marshall recalls.

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“The best, most effective medicine my soul has yet partaken”

By Stuart Mitchner 

Sorting out his first impressions of Walt Whitman in a letter from November 1856, Henry David Thoreau admits feeling “much interested and provoked“: “Though peculiar and rough in his exterior,…he is essentially a gentleman. I am still somewhat in a quandary about him…He told us that he loved to ride up and down Broadway all day on an omnibus, sitting beside the driver, listening to the roar of the carts, and sometimes gesticulating and declaiming Homer at the top of his voice.” more

Building Community through the Arts: Student-artist Victoria Wayland of Princeton, with the poster she designed for the Arts Council of Princeton’s 50th anniversary. (Photo courtesy of the Arts Council of Princeton)

By Doug Wallack 

On Saturday, September 16, the Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) will host a community-wide 50th birthday party, featuring food from local vendors, live music, games, a community birthday cake, and more. The event is intended to be a celebration of the organization’s mission: Building Community Through the Arts. more

Photo Credit: Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association

Friday, August 11

9 to 10 a.m.: Free, Baby Boot Camp stroller-based fitness program on Palmer Square Green (weather permitting). For more information and to register, visit www.babybootcamp.com.

5 to 8 p.m.: Sunset Sips and Sounds at Terhune Winery, 330 Cold Soil Road, Princeton. more

Emilie Brzezinski, Lintel, 1993, bronze. Photo by David Howarth for dmhphotographer.com

By Laurie Pellichero

Founded by artist and philanthropist J. Seward Johnson, Grounds For Sculpture (GFS) has welcomed more than two million guests since it opened to the public in 1992. The 42-acre sculpture park, museum, and arboretum features a unique collection of contemporary sculpture, special programs, and seasonally-rotating exhibitions in six indoor galleries.

In honor of its 25th anniversary, GFS has opened five new exhibitions for its Spring/Summer Exhibition Season including two site-specific interior glass sculpture installations by Daniel Clayman, titled Daniel Clayman: Radiant Landscape and an exploration of space and sky with photographic collages and pastels by Elyn Zimmerman in Elyn Zimmerman: Sensitive Chaos. more