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Hopewell Valley Restaurant Week

Hopewell Valley Restaurant WeekAs a student at Rider University in the fall of 1973, I moved into an off-campus house on West Broad Street in the picturesque town of Hopewell. My fellow student housemates in those days scraped by with the meager earnings we would accrue from part-time jobs at the bookstore, the student union and the local pizza joint.

We really didn’t have the money for fine dining and lived on mac and cheese and Raman noodles. Accoring to my daughter, now a senior at Rider, things haven’t changed.
What HAS changed is the amount of culinary havens that have sprung up in the Hopewell Valley, from Pennington to Kingston. A diverse and comprehensive array of casual and fine dining establishments now entice both locals and tourists to eNJoy the bounty that New Jersey has to offer – from upscale Italian cuisine to farm fresh healthy alternatives. So many eateries will be providing quality meals for incredible deals. Why not warm up this winter with Hopewell Valley Restaurant Week?

Local restaurants have cooked up some special menus and some tasty surprises
for their second annual restaurant week. Gather up your friends and visit a new bistro or an old favorite.  Here is a quick guide to some of the area’s participating venues:

Antimo’s Italian Kitchen
Our 80 seat dining room and outdoor patio are causal and family friendly. Guests enjoy personalized service from an experienced friendly waitstaff. We feature homemade pasta made by our executive pasta chef, Nino Galastro, and other dishes that hail from southern Italy.

Brick Farm Tavern
Brick Farm Tavern at Double Brook Farm grew out of the desire for Jon and Robin McConaughy to know where their food comes from, and it all started with one cow. From that first cow in 2004 to today’s fully operational working farm raising pigs, sheep, chickens, turkeys, goats, cows, and ducks the McConaughy’s have never lost sight of what mattered most in their operation: humane and ethical animal treatment, energy sustainability and keeping it local.

The Blue Bottle Café
The Blue Bottle Café opened its doors in March 2006. Shortly after opening, the owners, Rory and Aaron Philipson were informed that the restaurant had been reviewed by the New York Times. Karla Cook, the writer of the article, jokingly asked the duo, “Are you ready for what’s about to happen?” They were indeed, and continue to offer seasonal, creative and delicious menus in their little blue house in Hopewell.

Wildflowers Inn
Bring your family and friends for one of the best casual dining experiences offered in town. Wildflowers Inn serves a wide variety of dishes, Daily Specials, and has a fully stocked bar with 23 Beers on tap. Also, each room boasts large flat screen T.V.’s for all you sports viewing pleasures.

Sumo Sushi
From spicy tuna rolls to rice and noodle dishes, our chefs prepare a diverse menu of Japanese and Chinese cuisine to excite your taste buds. Dine in an exceptionally clean restaurant perfect for all occasions, including business meetings and romantic dinners.

The Brothers Moon
Opened in 2000, The Brothers Moon is BYOB with 80-100 seats, full-service restaurant featuring a seasonally changing menu as well as daily specials. The beautiful front patio offers seasonal al fresco dining. On one side of the building, our take-out cases are filled with the freshest salads, cheese, specialty meats, olives, and breads with delicious goodies, pastries, cookies and more from our own ovens.

Dine for a Good Cause
During Hopewell Restaurant Week, please consider supporting FISH (Friends in Service Here).
FISH is a charitable 501C, all volunteer program, serving meals on wheels to the homebound of Hopewell, Pennington, Titusville and surrounding areas. Meals are made and subsidized by the Pennington Quality Market on a sliding scale depending upon need and served Monday through Friday. The only requirement is that the client is homebound and this can be on a permanent or temporary basis. For more information about FISH, call 609-737-9123

The Five Irish Tenors

The Five Irish TenorsThe Five Irish Tenors make much-anticipated stops at two of New Jersey’s premiere theatres – The State Theatre in New Brunswick and the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown for a concert packed with their grand vocal tradition of lyricism, dramatic flair, extraordinary musicianship, boisterous charm and operatic style. Accompanied by two grand pianos, the multi-award winning tenors will be singing a program packed with Irish classics like W.B Yeats’s “Down By The Sally Gardens,” “My Wild Irish Rose,” “Green Green Grass of Home,” “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling,” “Toora – Loora – Looral” and “Danny Boy,” as well as American folk rock favorites like “The Piano Man” and “Bridge Over Troubled Waters.”

This concert project is the first tour ever in North America of Ireland’s of this popular ensemble, and has been specifically recreated from the major cities in Ireland for the United States and Canada.

Following in the footsteps of the great John McCormack, these five exquisitely trained singers — David Martin, Morgan Crowly, Ciarán Kelly, George Hutton and Alan Leech have amassed more awards and prestigious performances than are easily mentioned: from the London Critics Choice Award to a Grammy; from the Royal Albert Hall to the White House, the Academy Awards and the Olympics.

Martin is described as possessing “a beautiful Italian bel canto quality in his voice with a fantastic vocal range and performs with incredible stamina, agility and flexibility.” He has performed in the U.K., Europe and in major theaters in Ireland, including the Cork Opera House and the National Concert Hall, performing in such shows as “The Mario Lanza Story” and “The John McCormack Story.”

He was recently chosen as the Irish representative in the Belvedere Singing competition in Vienna, that resulted in an invitation to the International Opernwerkstatt in Switzerland where he showcased the roles of Don José (“Carmen”) and Manrico (“Il Trovatore”) to critical acclaim.

Kelly is a graduate of the Royal Irish Academy of Music (RIAM), Dublin. He made his opera debut at the RIAM in January 2007 singing “Don Curzio’ in a production of “Le Nozze Di Figaro.” In 2010 Kelly sang as a soloist in the historical performance of Handel’s “Messiah,” a joint performance between St. Patrick’s and Christ Church Cathedrals in Dublin. In 2012 he performed the lead role in Nicolini’s “Le Due Gemelle” in Piacenza, Italy with singers from Italy, Japan, Korea and Armenia.

A graduate of University College Cork, Leech was appointed as tenor to the Irish National Chamber Choir in 2002. Career highlights to date in this role include performing for U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House, David Lang’s “Little Match Girl Passion” and Gerald Barry’s “Long Time” and “Schott and Sons, Mainz.”

Hutton, well known for his performances of rousing Irish traditional melodies, has toured Canada, Belgium and Holland with the renowned choral ensemble Anúna and is scheduled to tour with them on an upcoming tour of Japan. In addition to the Irish vocal repertoire Hutton has performed at the Royal Albert Hall in London as part of the BBC Proms with the BBC Youth Chorus and in Mozart’s Mass at the National Concert Hall in Dublin.

Saturday    March 11    State Theatre                New Brunswick

Tuesday    March 14    Mayo Performing Arts Center    Morristown

Cat in the Hat

Dr Seuss Cat In The HatOn a sunny spring day in Brooklyn when I was about 6 years old, my mother took me on a trip to Prospect Park. The true destination on this day’s journey was a venerable palace that to me looked like something out of a fantasy film. It was the Brooklyn Public Library and it was there that I discovered the majesty and magic of books in general, and in particular, the writings of the most imaginative children’s author ever to pick up a pen or sit down at a typewriter – Dr. Seuss. The Cat in the Hat opened up something in me that has never gone away – my love for words and the imagery they conjure up in the minds of anyone lucky enough to pick up a book.
Needless to say, over the years I have read every Dr. Seuss book, both as a child and then as a parent, reading bedtime stories to my daughters. Decades went by and I saw the writings of this gentle genius transposed to the stage and screen.
This month I will be taking my granddaughter to witness for herself the comings and goings of Thing 1 and Thing 2 at the Mayo Performing Arts Center.

Do you remember the story?
It’s a dreary old rainy day and Sally and her brother are stuck inside their house, staring out the window with nothing to do. But everything quickly changes when they hear a “bump” and in walks a cat wearing a red and white striped hat! Sally and her brother quickly discover that the Cat in the Hat is the most playful and mischievous cat they will ever meet. Suddenly the day is transformed by the Cat and his games. Playing indoors has never been so much fun.  The pet fish, however, does not approve. He thinks the Cat should leave at once. The Cat declares that he does not wish to leave and then decides to show the children a new game. He promptly bring in a big red box and introduces Thing One and Thing Two to Sally and her brother. Playtime gets crazy with their antics and the children realize the Things must be stopped.
They are finally able to catch the Things but the house is in complete disarray! Will their house ever be the same? Can the kids clean up before mom comes home? With some tricks (and a fish) and Thing Two and Thing One, with the Cat in The Hat, the fun’s never done!

About Dr. Seuss:
Dr. Seuss is known worldwide as the imaginative master of children’s literature. His books include a wonderful blend of invented and actual words, and his rhymes have helped many children and adults learn and better their understanding of the English language. Theodor Seuss Geisel, “Ted” to his friends and Dr. Seuss to his many fans, wrote and drew pictures for most of his life, publishing his first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street, in 1937. Twenty years later, a book called Why Johnny Can’t Read and an article of the same name claimed that most books and illustrations intended for children were boring and unimaginative. That’s when two publishing companies gave Dr. Seuss a challenge: use 220 vocabulary words for new readers to write a dynamic children’s primer. Thus, The Cat in the Hat was created.

Sunday    March 12
Mayo Performing Arts Center, Morristown


The Art of the Real – Soviet Union

The Art of the Real – Soviet UnionIf you haven’t been following the news cycles lately, you may have missed a story or two about Russia. It seems they are interested in our, um, infrastructure. That is, if you believe the dishonest mainstream media. How about we leave politics to the politicians and the pundits and we concentrate of the beauty of the art that comes from this vast and culturally diverse nation? With a short drive to New Brunswick and Rutgers University, you can see the other side of global détente. Here is what you can expect…

A Vibrant Field: Nature and Landscape in Soviet Nonconformist Art, 1960s-1980s is the first exhibition at the Zimmerli Art Museum to explore the wide range of meanings that the natural world held for unofficial artists in the Soviet Union. Drawn from the strengths of the Dodge Collection, the exhibition brings together works produced in the period between thaw and perestroika that challenged the link between nature, optimism, and progress, which socialist realist aesthetics had promoted. Approximately fifty objects across media are featured, including painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography, and performance, by more than twenty-five artists and artist groups from the Soviet republics of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, and Ukraine. Despite the artists’ diverse backgrounds and creative approaches, together their works establish nature as a vibrant subject matter, push the boundaries of landscape as a genre, and limit the appropriation of landscape imagery in the name of socialist ideology. In turn, the status of nature in late socialism, and one’s individual or collective place within it, is explored as an open–and vital–question.

A Vibrant Field assembles varied perspectives, vantage points, and orientations that underlie how one experiences nature, both in the physical sense of navigating nature as a real environment and in the conceptual sense of coming to know, describe, represent, or assign it with symbolic value. The exhibition is mapped along three principle zones of inquiry. The first, Visions, draws together work that takes to task the process of visualizing spaces in nature in order to elucidate, reimagine, or critique how humans relate to or inhabit them. In this section, particular attention is paid to works that highlight ecological concerns resulting from the exploitation of natural resources and rapid pursuit of industrialization in the Soviet Union. In Reflections, artists place less emphasis on the material landscapes in nature than on how they become a picture and the role of artistic convention, memory, and ideology in mediating this process. Finally, Encounters considers the emergence of land art and performance-based practices in nature in the 1970s and 1980s that provided a freer alternative to urban communality, ritual, and public space in the Soviet Union. Through their direct encounters with the land, artists in this section approach nature not only as a subject matter or a backdrop to their work, but in some cases as an actor or co-producer.
Organized by Anna Rogulina, a Dodge-Lawrence Fellow at the Zimmerli and Ph.D. student in the Department of Art History at Rutgers.

Zimmerli Art Museum    Dodge Hall    Rutgers University
Opening  March 4


On The Waterfront

South Camden TheatreFrom the time the South Camden Theatre Company’s Artistic Director was “Joey” not Joseph M. Paprzycki, his grandfather’s corner saloon, Walt’s Café, and the interesting group of men that were his customers fascinated him. His grandfather purchased the bar at the corner of 4th and Jasper Street in Camden, New Jersey, just before the onset of Prohibition (a bad time to own a bar) and for many years, until 1967, quenched the thirst of thousands of local shipbuilders from the shipyards in Camden. During World War II over 30,000 men and women went to work at the New York Shipbuilding Corporation. These men and women built the battleships, cruisers and carriers that would help lead the United States to victory. By the 1960’s the workers dwindled in numbers. What did not dwindle, however, was the number of bar regulars or their profound need to wind down after a long day of welding, fitting, or riveting. It is from their experiences Joe’s first play, “Last Rites”, set in this bar, was born. They heard from many that “nobody would come to Camden for a play…especially at night”. Over 450 people came during the three-week run to see the play about the bar and the neighborhood in which they were now seated. Since that first play, we’ve successfully produced two full seasons. Plays like, “The Exonerated”, “The Old Settler” and Eugene O’Neill’s “Hughie” came to life right here on a stage in Camden, just steps away from Joe’s grandfathers now boarded up and unsightly bar. This is how the idea was born to turn a deteriorating bar into a theatre.

Entering its second decade, the theatre is as alive and well as the Waterfront South neighborhood in inhabits. Its initial offering is from the New York City born playwright John Guare. He is best known for his play “Six Degrees of Separation,” which earned him both a New York Drama Critics Circle Award and an Olivier Best Play Award. It subsequently went on to become a major motion picture starring Will Smith. The play being performed at the SCTC is entitled “House of Blue Leaves” which premiered Off-Broadway in 1971, winning an Obie and a New York Drama Critics Circle Award for best play of 1970-71. The synopsis alone will fill your head with more than you can handle:

“Set in Sunnyside, Queens in 1965, on the day Pope Paul VI visited New York City, this black comedy features nuns, a political bombing, a GI headed for Vietnam, a zookeeper who dreams of making it big in Hollywood as a songwriter, and his wife Bananas, a schizophrenic destined for the institution that provides the play’s title.”

As the play opens the audience will be sitting in the place where the shipbuilders once sat on stools, tired and grimy from a days work. They will be reminded of Joe’s grandparents, Walt and Sue Evanuk, who would make sandwiches, serve drinks, and give repose to men who worked long days and did such memorable, important work. It should not be difficult to picture them, given that you’ll be seated within the walls of the once thriving bar…turned theatre. You, the audience, are the continuance of their dreams and the beginning of a new one. By attending a show here, you become an important part of live theatre in a neighborhood that needs it most and, in a larger sense, you’ll be a main player in the renaissance of the city of Camden. YOU will help the Waterfront South Theatre and SCTC anchor a neighborhood rebirth. And just think, when this all started, so many said, “no one would come”.

January 15-31

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