By Stuart Mitchner

This Oscar Night fantasia was inspired by the winner of the Book Scene Award for the Best Cover Art on a Science-Related Topic — Captivating Technology: Race, Carceral Technoscience, and Liberatory Imagination in Everyday Life (Duke University Press $29.95 in paper), an anthology edited by Princeton Associate Professor of African American Studies Ruha Benjamin. If I were following the Academy model, representatives from the publisher would join the editor onstage, but the person accepting the trophy should be Manzel Bowman, the artist whose brilliant, complexly suggestive digital collage, Turbine, not only illuminates  the cover’s catch word but helps lighten the weight of the subtitle.

“A Mysterious Sexy Stranger” 

The Einstein Oppenheimer “Spooky Action at a Distance” Oscar goes to theoretical physicist Sean Carroll’s Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime (Dutton $29). On accepting the award and paying homage to the two Institute for Advanced Studies legends it was named for, Carroll playfully credited Einstein for “sticking quantum mechanics with the label it has been unable to shake ever since,” namely spukhafte, or “spooky.” There were #MeToo murmurings from the audience when he described the alluring inscrutability of quantum mechanics as “a mysterious, sexy stranger” tempting us “into projecting all sorts of qualities and capacities onto it, whether they are there or not.” more

By Taylor Smith

Located in the rolling hills of Warren County, two miles east of the Delaware River in Milford, N.J., Alba Vineyard is the perfect February getaway. The winery is hosting Wine and Chocolate Weekends on February 8, 9 and 15, 16 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tasting experiences are priced at $20 per person (21 and older) and include a flight of Alba’s estate wines paired with cheeses, flatbread, and a sampling of gourmet truffles, chocolate caramels, and a selection of French macarons. The price also includes an etched wine glass. more

By Taylor Smith

Tuesday Tastings with Tony: An Education Series Featuring the Wines of France

January 28 through February 25, 6:30-8 p.m.

 more

By Taylor Smith

The Meeting House, at 277 Witherspoon Street in Princeton, is offering a Valentine’s Day prix-fixe menu for $55 per person/$25 pairing option. Diners can choose from delicious items such as a Roasted Corn Pancake with House Cured Salmon and Crème Fraiche, Roasted Beet Salad, Braised Short Ribs, and Chocolate Cake with Dark Chocolate Buttercream (paired with a chocolate strawberry and glass of Cava), among others. View the complete Valentine’s Day menu at https://bit.ly/2Rrw1TP. Customers can place orders for custom cakes by calling (609) 436-7892. more

By Taylor Smith

Produced in partnership with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the New York Public Library (NYPL) at 476 Fifth Avenue (at 42nd Street) presents an evening of performances and conversations centered around Toni Morrison, the American icon, writer, and intellectual, on Wednesday, March 18 at 7 p.m. more

Princeton University’s New Director of Creative Writing

By Wendy Greenberg | Photography by Andrew Wilkinson

Jhumpa Lahiri takes a framed sketch from her office wall. It is a drawing of a library in her Rhode Island hometown. “This made me a writer, being around books,” she says. “It was so crucial. I believe that reading was the most important thing.”

In addition to being an ardent reader and celebrated author, Lahiri is a teacher, lover of languages, translator, and now college administrator. In her life and in her writing, which seem to be inseparable, she straddles different worlds.

Born in London and raised in Rhode Island by Bengali-born parents, she now divides her time between Rome, where she does most of her writing, and Princeton, where she was named director of the Princeton University Program in Creative Writing in the Lewis Center for the Arts in August.

Teaching has helped Lahiri explore new worlds, and new words. “When I teach, it inspires me to re-read an author, like Kafka,” she says. “I read the familiar and the unfamiliar. Reading is ongoing, infinite. I like being in environments where reading leads to conversations.”  more

By Taylor Smith

Images Courtesy of Morristown-Beard School

Morristown-Beard School (MBS) is an independent, coeducational day school serving nine counties and more than 85 communities in northern New Jersey. The school motto, Ad Astra Per Aspera, can be translated as “To the Stars Through Adversity,” a phrase that embodies the essence of the MBS experience. more

By Taylor Smith

Images courtesy of Agnes Irwin School

Following a nationwide search, the board of trustees of The Agnes Irwin School, a private girls school in Rosemont, Pa., recently announced the appointment of Sally B. Keidel as the school’s 14th head, effective July 1, 2020. more

AnneFrank.org

Princeton Pro Musica brings the wrenching “Diary of Anne Frank” to Musical Life                        

By Anne Levin

In the 72 years since its first publication, The Diary of Anne Frank has haunted readers with its account of a Jewish family’s life in hiding during the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam. The young, spirited Anne, whose full name was Annelies, poured her fears, frustrations, and even some joys into her red-checkered diary, given to her on her 13th birthday just weeks before her family was forced to flee to the attic of the building that housed Anne’s father’s business.

As millions who have read the book are aware, Otto Frank was the only member of the family to survive. Anne, her mother, and sister died in concentration camps. When Otto Frank eventually returned to Amsterdam, a colleague who had helped hide the family presented him with Anne’s diary and other writings, which had been left behind when the Gestapo discovered the hiding place. Frank had his daughter’s diary published in 1947. Eventually, it was translated into more than 70 languages and adapted for stage and screen.

The diary was the inspiration for Annelies, a choral work by British composer James Whitbourn with versions for full orchestra and chamber choir. The large version was first performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London in 2005. Two years later, the chamber version debuted in Princeton, at Westminster Choir College.

It is that version that Princeton Pro Musica will present on March 15 at Richardson Auditorium on the Princeton University campus.  more

“Double Sights” Debuts at PU’s Woodrow Wilson School

By Donald Gilpin | Photograph by Edgar Jimenez, Woodrow Wilson School

Walter Hood, designer of the 39-foot-tall Double Sights marker, stood near the Scudder Plaza fountain outside Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs looking up at his creation. It was mid-afternoon on October 5, less than an hour before the start of a series of events surrounding the dedication of the new installation which addresses the complex legacy of Woodrow Wilson.

Hood, recent recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship (“Genius Grant”) and a Gish Prize, was open to talking about his controversial new composition: the two towering columns, white leaning against black to form a large triangle. But he was not offering an interpretation or an explanation of what it means.

About three years ago, Hood accepted the University’s commission to create a work of art that comes to terms with Woodrow Wilson — Princeton University president (1902-10), New Jersey governor (1911-13), United States president (1913-21) — and a legacy that has been highly acclaimed over the past century, but more recently has been sharply criticized for its racist and sexist views. The consequences of the contrasting elements of Wilson’s life are manifested today throughout the country, and particularly at Princeton, where two major campus institutions, the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and Wilson College, bear his name. more

Students at Hopewell Elementary School display bags they helped pack for underpriviledged children.

Helping Children in Need One Smile at a Time

By Laurie Pellichero | Photography Courtesy of Christine’s Hope for Kids

Christine Marie Gianacaci

Every child deserves the chance to be a kid, regardless of their circumstances. That’s the philosophy behind Christine’s Hope for Kids, a nonprofit organization founded in 2010 by John and Jean Gianacaci of Hopewell in honor of their late daughter, Christine.

In January of 2010, 22-year-old Christine Gianacaci and several of her classmates from Lynn University in Florida were in Haiti on a mission to help children in need and feed the poor. It was a cause to which Christine was deeply devoted, especially after a transformative first trip to Jamaica in her sophomore year where she had seen the poorest of the poor and helped to build houses, feed sick children, and deliver clothes and toys.

She was doing the same in Haiti when a catastrophic earthquake struck on January 12. The Hotel Montana in Port-Au-Prince collapsed and Christine, along with three other Lynn students and two professors, was killed.

In the wake of this tragedy, Christine’s Hope for Kids was created to continue the legacy and generous spirit of Christine, and her desire to help underprivileged children and kids with difference.

Through raising money, collecting item donations, and working closely with other area nonprofit organizations, Christine’s Hope is dedicated to giving disadvantaged children in the community a better life. They are also helping to create the next generation of community leaders by teachings kids how to help other kids. more

 

Photograph courtesy of Sean Graesser

Local Ecologist Tyler Christensen is Dedicated to Protecting New Jersey’s Most Sensitive Species

by Taylor Smith | Photograph courtesy of Piedmont Ecological Services, LLC

Growing up in Central New Jersey, Tyler Christensen became interested in the lives and habits of regional wildlife at a very young age.

Admittedly, his father was an amateur herpetologist (someone who specializes in the study of reptiles and amphibians). In fact, most family vacations were chosen on the basis of access to wildlife and environmental exploration. Christensen has particularly fond memories of the kids and family programming at The Watershed Institute in Pennington, as well as volunteer opportunities with the Washington Crossing Audubon Society.

“My initial love was birds,” he recalls.

A graduate of Hopewell Valley Central High School, Christensen is currently completing his Ph.D. in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources at Rutgers University – New Brunswick. Surprisingly, for someone as naturally curious as Christensen, he is quick to admit that he wasn’t a very dedicated student in high school, and initially shied away from the thought of attending a four-year college. Post-high school, he took courses at Mercer County Community College and began working for the Mercer County Park Commission. He also served as a land steward for Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space and director of the Nicoya Peninsula Avian Research Station in northwestern Costa Rica. This informative period solidified Christensen’s commitment to the study of wildlife research, particularly as it relates to some of New Jersey’s shyest species. “The goal is to find out what sensitive species need and how to give it to them,” he says.

After completing extensive fieldwork in Costa Rica and co-founding the Wild Bird Research Group (www.wildbirdresearch.org), Christensen enrolled at Rutgers University – New Brunswick and completed his undergraduate degree in ecology.

His current studies involve fieldwork and research pertaining to the northern saw-whet owl, bobcats, and copperheads (one of two venomous snakes found in New Jersey). For Christensen, the fact that these differing species are all very reclusive, and frequently misunderstood, makes them even more compelling.  more

Photography by Jeffrey E. Tryon

Milee Ahn is an interior architect with an ongoing interest in designing and creating goods. After receiving two master’s degrees — one in interior architecture and one in weaving — she taught graduate students at Chung Ang University in Seoul, Korea, while directing her own architectural firm. Milee also served as a director of a textile studio in Seoul, where she taught weaving and textile art to adults and children. Based on her diverse experiences, she now runsher own design shop, MIRIVINCI, where she makes pottery goods, clothing, jewelry, and textile goods. She also teaches weaving and embroidery to adults and children at the West Windsor Arts Council. 

Nelly Kouzmina is an award-winning fiber artist who works with natural fibers and dyes to create a variety of pieces from wall art to wearable, exploring the broad possibilities of felt making. Her work is original, one-of-a-kind, and inspired by nature and imagination. She participates in various juried art shows in New York City, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Nelly taught and continues to teach classes and workshops in Plainsboro Township and at the Artists of Yardley (AOY), Pa.; West Windsor Arts Center; Trenton City Museum; ArtWorks Trenton; Ground For Sculpture; and at her private studio in Hopewell. Her blog is at http://feltinelli.blogspot.com.

Eva Mantell’s artwork is concerned with the changes that can occur when simple rules and gestures engage with the possibilities of everyday materials. She has exhibited her art widely, including the Hunterdon Museum, Monmouth Museum, Jersey City Museum, Brooklyn Museum of Art, ICA Boston, and Institute Library, New Haven. She teaches at Creativity House, Douglass College, Rutgers University, and the Arts Council of Princeton, and has lead professional development at Teachers as Scholars at Princeton University, Society for Arts and Healthcare, Visual Arts Center of NJ, National Center for Creative Aging, and more. Eva has a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MFA from the School of Visual Arts, NYC. For more, visit  https://www.instagram.com/evamantell/  or  evamantell.com.

Diversity in media and materials is integral to Donna Payton’s creative process. Born in St. Louis, MO, Payton received her MFA from Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, Calif., in sculpture and painting. Payton creates high relief collages as well as installations combining recycled objects, natural materials, and constructed sculptures. An award-winning artist, she has exhibited in galleries and museums in California, Florida, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Washington, D.C., and New Zealand. Her work is also in in private and corporate collections. Donna has taught painting, drawing, and 2D and 3D design classes at Brookdale Community College, Ocean County College and high schools in the Midwest. She currently teaches at the Arts Council of Princeton. For more, visit www.donnapayton.com.

By Stuart Mitchner

Sometimes I think if ballet didn’t exist, the New York Times would have invented it. That’s how often I see some form of balletic imagery dancing across the front page of the Arts section. In “Dancers, Glittering and Supernatural,” Times dance critic Gia Kourlas mentions “certain New York City Ballet performances that have a way of making you feel you’ve danced yourself, even as you sit, quiet and still, in your seat.” The article is accompanied by a photograph of Emily Kikta, who is described by Kourlas “as authoritative and smoldering … like a modern ballerina who has grown up in the era of #MeToo and learned a thing or two.” But what most impresses me about this dancer, shown performing in a recent production of George Balanchine’s Jewels, is that she looks so happy. The seemingly heartfelt spontaneity of her smile breaches the barrier of formality I’ve always felt between myself and ballet.

I began with ballet because two of the most imposing coffee table books this holiday season are The Style of Movement: Fashion and Dance (Rizzoli $75) and Ballerina Project (Chronicle Chroma $40). With a foreword by Valentino Garavani, The Style of Movement is the second volume from photographers Deborah Ory and Ken Browar, the husband and wife team behind the New York City Dance Project. According to Pointe magazine, “the book showcases couture gowns, jackets and trousers in a way that only dancers can,” capturing, in the words of Harper’s Bazaar, “the poetic beauty of dancers in motion.”

New York City-based photographer Dane Shitagi’s Ballerina Project, subtitled (Ballerina Photography Books, Art Fashion Books, Dance Photography), features 170 images accumulated on Shitagi’s Instagram, which has more than a million followers. Showing ballerinas posed in a variety of visually striking locations around the world, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Buenos Aires, London, Rome, and Paris, the volume is bound in pink satin cloth with gold foil stamping, a pink satin ribbon marker, and introductions by principal ballerinas Isabella Boylston and Francesca Hayward.  more

Elric Endersby, left, and Alexander Greenwood outside their studio. (Photo by Jeffrey E. Tryon)

New Jersey Barn Company uses antique tools and locally-sourced wood to re-create times past

By Ilene Dube | Photographs courtesy of the New Jersey Barn Company

If these old barn walls could talk, they might use terms such as “braces and purlins,” “rafter-to-ridge,” and “jack-to-hip.” In fact, the centuries-old structures do have a lot to say about what’s taken place under their roofs. Elric Endersby and Alexander Greenwood are listening to those stories and reinterpreting them as they reimagine the historic structures.

The firm they built 40 years ago, the New Jersey Barn Company, has 200 projects under its tool belt: everything from resurrected barns dating from Shakespeare’s time to exacting replicas of Colonial-era buildings.

Most of their projects have been in the U.S., but they also work in the Dominican Republic (DR). “We fantasized about a project on a tropical island with warm breezes, sandy beaches, and rum cocktails,” Greenwood wrote for Timber Framing magazine in 2014, about a resort development at Playa Grande on the island of Hispaniola. “Be careful what you wish for,” he added.

They flew to the job site with power tools tucked among socks in their luggage, managed to get in a swim, then surmounted innumerable obstacles in order to catch the return flight they had booked.  more

Photo Credit: Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts

By Taylor Smith

The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) in Philadelphia, founded in 1805, is the first and oldest art museum and school in the United States. In a unique partnership with area medical schools, PAFA provides humanities-based training for medical students, nursing students, university faculty members, and practicing physicians. more

By Taylor Smith

Looking for something fresh and new to serve at your next cocktail party? Two Robbers Hard Seltzer just announced the launch of its fourth flavor, Peach Berry, due to be released in January 2020. more

Photo Credit: See’s Candies

By Taylor Smith

Celebrate the Festival of Lights with Hanukkah candy and chocolates from See’s Candies. Like all of See’s products, the bite-size Toffee-ettes, Pecan Buds, Almond Royals, Café Latte Little Pops, and Peanut Brittle are made from scratch. See’s Toffee-ettes are, in fact, a year-round treat and one of the company’s very best sellers. And they still use Mary See’s original recipe! more

By Taylor Smith

Located at 231 Bakers Basin Road in Lawrenceville, Camp Bow Wow is a doggy day care, boarding, and grooming facility that pet parents love. With over 160 locations, Camp Bow Wow has been providing reliable pet services since 2000. more