REEL LIFE: After the film, John Stier, one of Nash’s sons, and Dr. Joseph Kohn spoke about their memories of the real John Nash. “You have ten years of fantastic work, and it sort of looks like in the movie that he spent most of his time cutting out newspapers,” said Kohn. “He did really remarkable work.”

By William Uhl

On October 4, Princeton Garden Theatre partnered with the Historical Society of Princeton to hold a screening of A Beautiful Mind, a 2001 film about Nobel Prize winner and Princeton Professor John Nash’s mathematical achievements and struggles with schizophrenia. more

OBAMA AND TRUMP: New York Times White House Correspondent Peter Baker, author of the recent book “Obama: The Call of History,” spoke to a full house Monday night at Princeton University’s Arthur Lewis Auditorium, Robertson Hall, on the subject of President Obama’s legacy in the current Trump era. 

By Donald Gilpin

Peter Baker is still trying to figure out who is Barack Obama, and what exactly will be the substance of his legacy?

Chief White House correspondent for the NYTimes since 2008, Baker told a full-house gathering of about 200 at Princeton University’s Arthur Lewis Auditorium, Robertson Hall on Monday that he wrote his new book, Obama: the Call of History (June 2017), to try and tackle those questions.  more

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

Actor Michael Shannon will make an appearance at McCarter Theatre’s screening of the film 99 Homes, which will be held at McCarter Theatre on Saturday, September 23 at 4 p.m. There will also be a Q&A with McCarter’s Bill Lockwood and Princeton Garden Theatre’s Chris Collier. General admission is $20 ($15 for McCarter subscribers or Garden Theatre members). more

By Doug Wallack

Quoted in the December 1963 Life article in which she famously coined the “Camelot” epithet for her late husband’s presidency, Jacqueline Kennedy says, “Once, the more I read of history, the more bitter I got. For a while I thought history was something that bitter old men wrote. But then I realized history made Jack what he was.” She goes on to outline a vision of a young John F. Kennedy for whom history was a great repository of heroes and role models—a catalyst for his own idealism. more

“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

Princeton’s new poet laureate, Tracy K. Smith. Princeton University, Office of Communications, photography by Denise Applewhite.

By Stuart Mitchner 

If you don’t count nursery rhymes, songs, and “The Night Before Christmas,” the first time poetry happened to me was at the end of the Classic Comic of Moby Dick. Each issue closed with “Highlights in the Life” of the author. Herman Melville’s ended with four couplets from a poem “published during the Civil War” that “best expresses our bewilderment of today.” I had no idea what was meant by “bewilderment.” I was 6. The Second World War was still going on. A red, white, and blue banner at the bottom of the page contained a Buy United States War Savings Bonds stamp. The lines that struck and stayed with me were these: “Can no final good be wrought?/ Over and over, again and again,/Must the fight for the Right be fought?” I had only a vague sense of the meaning beyond its being patriotic; what resonated, and still does, was the infectious play of rhyme and rhythm, especially the way it rocks the last line.  more

FRENCH THEATER FESTIVAL: Seuls en Scène French Theater Festival begins with Nicolas Truong’s Interview, featuring Judith Henry and Nicolas Bouchaud, on September 15 and 16 at 8 p.m. at the Matthews Acting Studio, 185 Nassau Street. Interview stars Judith Henry and Nicolas Bouchaud. (Photo by Mathilde Priolet)

Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts, Department of French and Italian, and L’Avant-Scène will present the sixth annual Seuls en Scène French Theater Festival, which will take place from September 15 to 30 at venues across the University’s campus. Some performances will be in English, while others will be in French with English subtitles; all are free and open to the public. more

By Donald H. Sanborn III

For most Broadway musicals, the “composer” creates only the songs, usually providing vocal lines with piano accompaniment. Other musicians, including an orchestrator, prepare the score for performance. The orchestrator adjusts a composition “to fit…whatever orchestral combination has been selected,” Broadway orchestrator Don Walker writes in his autobiography. In the 1940s, Webster’s Dictionary came out with a second meaning for orchestrate: “to arrange or combine so as to achieve a maximum effect.” “Then the floodgates opened and all kinds of people began to call themselves ‘orchestrators,” Walker quips. “So now I am trying to find another professional name to call myself, but it’s late.” During Broadway’s mid-century “Golden Age,” Walker orchestrated music—and theatrical institutions. more

Tracy K. Smith, the Roger S. Berlind ’52 Princeton University Professor in the Humanities and a professor of creative writing in the Lewis Center for the Arts, has been named the 22nd Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for 2017-18.

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced the appointment today. Ms. Smith will take up her duties in the fall, opening the Library of Congress’s annual literary season with a reading of her work at the Coolidge Auditorium. more

Written by Princeton University’s Office of Communications

Academy Award-nominated film director, screenwriter and producer Baz Luhrmann has been selected to deliver the keynote address at Princeton University’s Class Day ceremony on Monday, June 5, 2017.

Class Day, which takes place the day before Princeton’s Commencement, is being organized by members of the graduating class. The ceremony also includes remarks by class members, the recognition of class members for their contributions and the induction of honorary class members.  more

Three events for the price of one: an informative discussion, a feature film, and a live performance by Princeton Festival artists.

Fans of the 2012 Dustin Hoffman film Quartet, starring Maggie Smith and Tom Courtenay among other well-known actors, can join lovers of great singing on June 4 at 3 p.m. at Princeton’s Garden Theatre for “Quartet2,” a Princeton Festival program that will expand their enjoyment of both art forms. more

Joyce Carol Oates will read from and discuss her latest work, A Book of American Martyrs, at Labyrinth Books of Princeton on Wednesday, May 25 at 6 p.m.

Described by the Washington Post as “The most relevant book of Oates’s half-century-long career, a powerful reminder that fiction can be as timely as this morning’s tweets but infinitely more illuminating.”  more

Photography by Robert Manella, Callaway Henderson Sotheby’s International Realty

The First in an Occasional Series

by Anne Levin

Back in the late eighteenth century when the Rev. John Witherspoon was the sixth president of Princeton University, he was known to end his work day at Nassau Hall when he saw a light in a front window of Tusculum, his 
country house and tenant farm located just a mile to the north. According to a local legend, one of Witherspoon’s daughters would light a candle in that window, letting her father know it was time to close up shop and head home. more

by Wendy Plump 

It is possible to be cowed by Beatrix Farrand even now, over 100 years since her first landscape commission at Princeton University and half a century since her death. There is much to be thankful for in the sylvan, living landscape she put in place to give an austere campus a greener aspect. Two hundred years ago the university was practically a field; there were no trees at all around Nassau Hall. Farrand‘s influence remains most evident today in the twisting blooms of wisteria that climb the great Gothic walls of the Graduate College each spring. Or the Wyman House rose garden. Or the sugar maples and beeches that accentuate—rather than compete with—the university’s soaring architecture. Or for that matter the entire, park-like character of campus. more

It all began in Hoboken

By Doug Wallack

In October of 1845—though historians will disagree on precisely when—the first game of baseball under the modern rules took place on the Elysian Fields in Hoboken, New Jersey. The New York Base Ball Club (later known as the Knickerbockers) faced off against the Brooklyn Club, and beat them handily. It was there that the 90-foot distance between bases was established—a rule that was to be practically as fundamental to the sport as gravity itself. Today, those particular bases are long gone, as are the Elysian Fields themselves—swallowed up by the urban landscape, with only a bronze plaque to mark where they once were. more

by Wendy Plump 

It turns out that surfers and philosophers have a lot in common. To be any good at what they do, they have to be hard-core realists. Good surf or bad, decent people or vile, the approach is the same: if you don’t want to be mullered, then deal effectively with conditions as you find them. As both a surfer and a philosopher, this is practically Peter Singer’s calling card. more

Photo Credit: @dylanscandybar

Shop the latest Easter treats from Dylan’s Candy Bar. 

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By Taylor Smith

Thanks to Audible’s Donald Katz, the general population now has more time than ever to consume and enjoy books by creating a digital library on their mobile devices. A membership allows users access to more than 325,000 downloadable audiobooks, audio editions of periodicals and other programs. New members are also given complimentary subscriptions to the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, making the inevitable commute or time spent at the gym, not only easier, but that much more enlightening. Below, Mr. Katz discusses his pre-Audible career as a journalist, love for Newark, and the company’s growing a-list collection of inspiring celebrity performances. more

By Anne Levin

If you attended a charity auction to benefit McCarter Theatre, Trinity Counseling Service, Princeton Charter School, or any number of other organizations in town last spring, you probably encountered Sebastian Clarke. He’s the lanky, personable guy who runs the show, rattling off the numbers and “filler words” to coax bidders higher and higher—but always with a light touch. more