Weekend Arts Roundup: Intime, Improv, and More

monkeys-hdr_lrgTwo weeks in (doesn’t it feel longer?) and campus arts events are up and running! As the semester goes into full swing, this batch of events is the perfect antidote to daunting workloads and overtired brains:

  • Theatre Intime, Princeton’s oldest entirely student-run theater company, starts its 2011-2012 season with Neil Simon’s Lost In Yonkers, directed by sophomore Eric Traub.  Part comic coming-of-age story and part family drama, this Pulitzer-Prize-winning play is one of Simon’s best, and features an all-star student cast. Thursday-Saturday at 8pm in Theatre Intime: tickets $8, Student Events Eligible.
  • The Department of Music’s Making Tunes concert series, which features a range of international musicians who blend traditional and improvisatory folk music traditions, continues its second week with Appalachian fiddle player Bruce Molsky.  The Tunes series’ first concert was completely sold out, so buying ahead is a smart move: tickets are available at Frist or via phone at 609-258-9220, and the event is Student Events Eligible.  Thursday at 8pm in Taplin Auditorium at Fine Hall.
  • 319614_2211111437472_1238070354_32620346_719421329_nIf you’re hoping to glimpse the next Amy Poehler or Ed Helms, don’t miss The UCB Touring Company’s one-night improv comedy show at McCarter Theatre, sponsored by Quipfire! improv troupe.  Friday at 11pm; free admission, but get there early to get a good seat! It’s sure to fill up fast.
  • Princeton’s Program in Theater opens its season with The Monkeys Are Coming!, a Russian avant-garde drama directed by senior Gabe Crouse as part of his senior thesis.  First published in 1923, the play appears here in a brand-new translation by several professors in Princeton’s Slavic Department.  It’s a genre-bending (and brain-bending) performance–and its 50-minute length makes it perfect for a pre-Street study break.  Friday and Saturday at 8pm in Matthews Acting Studio at the Lewis Center for the Arts (185 Nassau Street); student tickets $10, Student Events Eligible.
  • Speaking of theses, seniors Eddie Skolnick and Jeff Hodes will present an All-Mozart Senior Thesis Recital for the Music Department’s Performance Program on Saturday at 8pm in Taplin Auditorium.  Skolnick will play and conduct Mozart’s Adagio in E for Violin and Orchestra and his Violin Concerto No. 3; Hodes will perform and conduct Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto; and both musicians will be backed by a fifteen-person student chamber orchestra.  Free admission, with a reception to follow.

Information Wants to be Free

open accessPrinceton University joined MIT and Harvard in adopting an open access policy for all scholarly publications.

At the most recent meeting of the Faculty of Princeton University, members voted unanimously to grant “The Trustees of Princeton University a nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide license to exercise any and all copyrights in his or her scholarly articles published in any medium, whether now known or later invented, provided the articles are not sold by the University for a profit, and to authorize others to do the same.”


Basically, professors are no longer allowed to give up all rights to their work when publishing, as some academic journals now require – especially in fields like English, history, and chemical engineering. Professors usually publish without expecting compensation, but journals still charge readers around $30 per article, as anyone who’s tried to do research off campus knows. The change would let the university make their work freely available.

While professors can request waivers to the policy if a publication refuses to budge, the faculty hopes that the policy will give them extra leverage to push to retain their rights. Professor Andrew Appel, a member of the committee studying open access, said the Provost is also planning to create a public repository for their work to make it more accessible.

So, why do you care?

It’s a win for the “information wants to be free” camp, but even if you’re not an open access advocate, you can still get excited about never again needing to pay for a Pequod version of any article by a Princeton faculty member.

Appel has the full report here.

Debatable: Top [Hot] Dog

In today’s inaugural edition of Debatable (name subject to change if we come up with a better name), our man on the street tackles a burning question: what hot dog reigns supreme over Princeton University?

hot-dog-costume5The hot dog’s got a lot going for it. No really, it does. It’s portable. Wildly customizable (crazy Chicago with its celery salt and its pickle spears!). Unofficial sandwich of baseball and camping trips.

And it’s cheap. Like, really cheap. And, because Princeton eats can get real expensive real quick, the hot dog can be the perfect meal (or late night snack) hungry students looking to chow down on the cheap (and the success of the Free Food @ Princeton email list seems to suggest that there are plenty).

Now that we’ve spoken to the merits of this noble sausage-in-roll, where’s the best place to get your mitts on one of these bad boys in town? Our committee of one counts down his hot dog rankings, using the massively unscientific method of “thinking about times he’s eaten a hot dog and trying to recall a vague sense of the experience.” Are you as excited as we are? Then without further ado…


4. Footlong Dog, Chuck’s Wings

There’s nothing wrong with the footlong at Chuck’s, per se. Basically griddled and stuffed into a normal sized bun, there’s something enjoyably cartoonish about this dog. But the wiener pales in comparison to the other offerings of this Spring St. eatery, and just doesn’t hold up to the competition. Seriously, if you’re going to Chuck’s, you’re there for the wings, or you took a wrong turn.

3. Standard Hot Dog, Studio 34

Mostly I just want to talk about Studio 34, the Platform 9 3/4 of the Princeton on-campus dining world. I have never been able to find Studio 34 in less than thirty minutes, or during daylight hours [Note: I recently discovered that this is because Studio 34 opens at 8 p.m.]. But come late night study sessions (or, you know, other reasons a Princeton student might be out and about after a certain hour), the Studio magically appears from somewhere deep within Butler College. The hot dog is standard – self-serve, cooked on the sort of rotating grills you find at convenience stores, slathered in ketchup and mustard, and eaten in the tinfoil wrapping the buns come in. This one’s all about the journey.

2. Wawa Hot Dog

You never expect too much, and it’s always a little bit better than you thought it was going to be. Plus, chopped onions.

1. Olives Hot Dog

The Olives hot dog is a thing of beauty. Toasted sub roll, a split frank on the griddle, and a world of condiments. Red onion’s nice. So’s hot sauce. Go nuts and toss in some tomatoes if that floats your boat. And it doesn’t cost a whole lot — more breakfast sandwich prices than not-breakfast sandwich prices. It’s a classy hot dog. Grab a seltzer in a glass bottle by the front door or something. Eat it in the courtyard by the library if its nice out, or wrangle a seat at one of the stools along the back wall if it isn’t. A change up? To be sure. But a worthwhile one.

Craft Cleaners and U-Store Partner to Make Our Lives Easier (Looking At You, Slums-Dwellers)

[caption id="attachment_11279" align="alignright" width="208" caption="(Admittedly kind of sketchy) evidence of what promises to be a life-changing partnership."](Admittedly kind of sketchy) evidence of what promises to be a life-changing partnership.[/caption]

We’ve all been there – rough night, d-hall accident, fight with a puddle. And then you’re stuck with this growing pile of dry-clean-only laundry that sits in the bottom of your hamper, waiting patiently as it becomes wrinkled beyond recognition. Well wrinkles begone! Craft Cleaners and the U-Store have struck up a love affair that promises to make all of our lives a whole lot easier.

Starting this semester, you can avoid the trek to Craft and just drop by the U-Store with your dry cleaning. From there, it’ll be spirited away to Craft, cleaned, and returned to the U-Store for your convenience. You can even purchase a specialized bag for this purpose to keep your dry-cleanables separate from your washing-machinables.

The deets: pick-up occurs twice a day, Monday-Friday, at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and your cleaning will be returned two business days later.

Also, in the category of new U-Store goodies, word has it that the Nassau Street U-Store has just received its first Brooks Brothers shipment, allowing you to be both classily preppy and clean. Happy U-Storing!

Whitman to Save H.P.

Party with MegMeg Whitman, residential college matriarch and former CEO of eBay, was named Chief Executive of Hewlett-Packard last Thursday. Like most Whitman news, the decision appears fairly controversial. She’s been tapped to resuscitate the tech giant from its currently lagging state. H.P. recently revamped their general sales strategy and is (finally) reevaluating the state of its PC business. Meg previously sat on the Board of Trustees of H.P., which she calls an “American Icon,” leading some to question the company’s search process.

About Meg — she just can’t seem to do anything without pissing others off in the process. Maybe its the backlash of having pumped more than 150 million dollars into her own gubernatorial campaign, or maybe its just her general demeanor, rumored to be not so great. But some of us in Whitman College can’t help but be a little happy for her. After all, if Meg Whitman has some overblown pride, it is certainly reflected in the residential college named after her. Party with Meg.

Weekend Arts Roundup: Sondheim, Shakespeare, Song Cycles, and More

Stephen-Sondheim-HI-RES-Photo-by-Jerry-JacksonWelcome back to The Ink‘s Weekend Arts Roundup! For ’15ers (and newbies to The Ink), the Arts Roundup is an insiders’ guide to all arts events that happen in Princeton (both on and off campus) each weekend.  We’ll give you locations, times, helpful links, ticket prices, event descriptions and hype…everything you need to get out there and take advantage of all the great arts opportunities that Princeton has to offer!

Since the semester’s still in its early stages, we’ve got a number of off-campus options to tempt you with this week.  Stay tuned for later weeks when a cappella, theater, dance, music groups, and more will take the campus by storm!

  • If you think that string music’s just for old-timey Princetonians in smoking jackets, Alasdair Frasier will give you a run for your money: he’s a virtuosic fiddler who takes Scottish traditional and folk music to a wholly new level of musicality.  He’s also super-legit, as his multiple NPR visits highlight. Thursday at 8pm in Taplin Hall; admission is free with TigerTickets ($15 for general admission).  You can call or order them online at 609-258-9220 or www.princeton.edu/utickets.
  • [caption id="attachment_11267" align="alignleft" width="250" caption="Alasdair Fraser, fiddle & Natalie Haas, cello, will perform in Taplin Auditorium on Thursday, Sept. 22."]Alasdair Fraser, fiddle & Natalie Haas, cello, will perform in Taplin Auditorium on Thursday, Sept. 22.[/caption]

  • Experience the Bard’s best in one fell swoop, complete with snarktastic commentary and a Titus-Andronicus-themed cooking show, at the Princeton Shakespeare Company’s one-night-only production of Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged), which they perform to packed audiences each May at Reunions. Saturday at 8p and midnight, Whitman Theater; tickets are free at the door, but bound to sell out!
  • Princeton’s improbably playing host to one of the season’s hottest theater tickets: John Doyle’s Ten Cents a Dance, a dark song cycle with a wholly new take on the classic music of Rogers and Hart. Doyle, director of the critically-acclaimed recent Broadway revivals of Sweeney Todd and Company, is one of his generation’s great visionaries; the production, co-produced with Williamstown Theatre Festival, is not to be missed.  Tues-Thurs at 7:30pm, Saturday at 8p; Berlind Theater, McCarter Theatre Center.  Tickets free with a TigerTicket (preloaded on your Prox).
  • Though it’s technically already sold out (the first-come first-serve free tickets were all gone as of Tuesday night), former New York Times theater critic Frank Rich’s public interview with composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim here at McCarter Theater is bound to be a once-in-a-lifetime event for arts lovers.  Monday, September 26, at 8pm in Matthews Theatre at McCarter Theatre Center; they’ll be giving will call tickets at the door, so it’s definitely worth stopping by!

Genius Jackpot

HESSLER_ENVIRO_200There are probably a lot of Princetonians who fall on the genius spectrum, but not all of them get official recognition, much less official recognition and a no-strings-attached $500,000 grant.

Then there’s Peter Hessler ’92, one of 22 MacArthur Fellows for 2011. Hessler is a long form journalist who drew on his experience as an English teacher and foreign correspondent in China in three books where he crafts “richly illuminating accounts of ordinary people in such rapidly changing societies as Reform Era China.”

He’s written about Peace Corps projects in Nepal, a Uighur money-trader seeking asylum in the US, the effects of China’s auto boom on industrial centers and nearly-abandoned villages … yeah, pretty much everything. So, what’s next for a genius writer with half a million dollars to burn? Hessler hopes to head for the Middle East in search of more stories – check out his interview for more.

We’re Back, Baby: Princeton ranked #1 National University

[caption id="attachment_11236" align="alignleft" width="224" caption="If we were an iTunes single right now, we'd be "Moves Like Jagger.""]If we were an iTunes single right now, we'd be "Moves Like Jagger."[/caption]

Like a J-Lo summer pop single, Princeton has made a comeback, tying Harvard for #1 on the US News and World Report 2011-12 Ranking of the best undergraduate colleges in the United States.

After a year of being slighted by the Crimson menace, Princeton has returned to its former place on the leaderboard chart. One trivial beef I have: we always seem to inexplicably “tie” with Harvard and yet are listed after it– and don’t tell me it’s in alphabetical order.

[caption id="attachment_11235" align="aligncenter" width="309" caption="I call shenanigans."]I call shenanigans[/caption]

Changes from last year among the Ivies were sparse:

  • Dartmouth falls from #9 to #11
  • University of Pennsylvania is still tied in a pan-America five-way with CalTech, Stanford, MIT, and University of Chicago.
  • Columbia’s holding strong after a huge four-spot jump to #4 last year (mirroring their plummeting acceptance rates with the adoption of the Common App, or, as my theory goes, the result of Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind”. See also: Brown’s Emma Watson effect.)
  • Cornell: Still in Ithaca.

Other than that, rankings haven’t moved much. Methodology changes every year, and  people always debate the legitimacy of college rankings. Unfortunately, we can’t all be Sarah Lawrence.

Cannon to Join Most Selective Clubs – If It Ever Opens

Photo credit: cannondialelm.com

All of the eating clubs will be up and running for Lawnparties this weekend – all except Cannon Dial Elm Club, whose long-awaited return has been getting just a little longer since its first planned reopening in the spring of 2008.

But, slowly yet surely, Cannon is prepping for its revival (and praying it will be more Casino Royale than Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull). Graduate board chair Warren Crane ’62 said they are currently working on the ten residence rooms on the club’s fourth floor, and expect to finish all renovations this fall.

While the club has been getting a makeover, the graduate board has been pouring over applications from the first crop of prospective Cannonites (Cannonians? Cannoners?) and interviewing bicker committee candidates.

In characteristic Cannon fashion, it’s an ongoing process with an uncertain end date, but the 10-20 sophomores ultimately chosen will have the responsibility of selecting Cannon’s first class out of 189 applicants. If they hit the graduate board’s stated target of 110 members, Cannon’s acceptance rate would be between 60% and 65%, about even with Tower’s numbers from last spring. Only Cap & Gown was more selective.

Continue reading…

Krueger Appointed To Head Obama’s CEA

krueger1Another Princetonian is likely to join the Obama administration this Fall. Earlier this week, the President nominated Princeton economics professor Alan Krueger to head the White House Council of Economic Advisors (CEA). In addition to teaching labor economics, Krueger has contributed an impressive quantity of novel research to the study of labor markets. His work includes, among other things, a study with economist David Card that downplays the negative impact of raising the minimum wage. Krueger has met criticism on both sides of the political spectrum. Republicans predictably dislike his emphasis on job creation rather than deficit reduction. Some Democrats feel the professor may be too specialized for large-scale macroeconomic decision-making. Regardless, Krueger’s nomination will likely be approved by the Senate due to his recent stint as assistant secretary and chief economist at the Treasury Department. Score one more Princeton faculty members.

Former White House Budget Director Peter Orszag was Krueger’s student at Princeton. In an August 29th New York Times article regarding Krueger’s nomination, Mr. Orszag wrote (in an email), “He was one of my best professors…He taught labor economics and was very clear in explaining the field. He was also very engaged with the class, and used thrilling real-world examples to illustrate his points – very empirical. He also had the whole class over to his house for a cookout.”