Camera crews set up in front of Blair Arch this week to film scenes for the new movie Admission, based on a 2009 book by Jean Hanff Korelitz. Tina Fey, Paul Rudd, and other stars of the film were spotted by The Daily Princetonian, and Fey took a moment to chat with Nobel laureate John Nash *50, the inspiration for another film set at Princeton, A Beautiful Mind.
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This is the first post in our summer series about Dale Award recipients.
Having grown up reading stories like Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Jackson Dobies ’14 always had wanted to raft on the Mississippi River with his brother, Justin. In March 2012, he received a Martin A. Dale ’53 Summer Award that would finally let him do it.
“To find out I was getting $4,000 to do something completely outrageous was so cool, and completely ridiculous,” he said.
Dobies’ summer adventure, which he describes as “a kind of Huckleberry Finn old American adventure where we get away from technology and live on the river, cook our own meals and totally support ourselves,” began June 22. Dobies and his brother spent three weeks before the start of the trip constructing a 24-by-8-foot raft from a pontoon boat built in the 1970s (purchased for $4,000). The raft is made up of “two huge 24-foot tubes with a flat deck on top,” according to Dobies.
June 21, 2012
Daniel Rattner ’13, the artistic director for Princeton Summer Theater, has ambitious travel plans for the next two months — on stage, at least.
He’s selected a season of plays designed to take audiences on a tour of Europe and a weekend getaway to upstate New York, all while seated in the cozy confines of the Hamilton Murray Theater.
“We wanted to provide shows that took people to totally different places,” Rattner says. “So we have a play set in Sweden, one in London, one in Paris, and then one set in the Catskills. The idea, with different time periods and different locations, is that you step into the theater and feel like you’re in a different world entirely.”
The season begins tonight with the debut performance of A Little Night Music. Below, Rattner describes each play, in order of performance. For showtimes and tickets, visit princetonsummertheater.org.
June 11, 2012
The Princeton Shakespeare Company production of The Compleat Works of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged) has become a Reunions tradition. Below, photographer Elizabeth Martin ’14 captured these scenes of the performance in the East Pyne Courtyard on June 1.
The following is an excerpt from the 2012 PAW Reunions Guide. To download a PDF of the full guide, click here.
One spring day, a group of seniors from the Class of 1912 were drinking beers around a table at the old Nassau Inn. The more they drank, the more foam spilled out of the sides of their mugs — and the more stains they got on their clothes. One member of the tipsy crew had a novel idea: What if they could design something to wear that was expressly for drinking beer? And with this idea, the beer jacket was born.
The beer jacket celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, though in fact it didn’t start out as just a jacket. The 1912 crew decided to don full suits — denim overalls with a workman’s jacket — when it came time to guzzle their favorite brews. Denim was phased out in 1914 when members of the senior class decided to make their suits in white canvas instead, which would remain the fabric of choice until recent years. After World War II, the beer suit was downsized to just a jacket, without overalls, to accommodate the seniors who still were wearing military attire.
When the Class of 2012 debuts its jackets at the P-rade this year, it will join 100 years of Princeton alumni who have worn their jackets not only as a way to protect their clothes from spills, but as a means of identifying and uniting the senior class. As Michael Jimenez ’12, the designer of this year’s jacket, puts it: “The jackets add a resounding sense of camaraderie.”
The jacket of each class carries a distinctive logo, which comes to serve as the unofficial emblem of the class. The designs, which originally were stenciled on the back shoulder of the jacket, often reference events from campus or national news that affects the graduating class. The black armbands on the Class of 1920 jacket, for instance, mourned the disappearance of beer drinking due to Prohibition, while the ’26 jacket celebrated the class’s narrow escape from the University ban of automobiles on campus.
Exactly one week before Bob Dylan’s 71st birthday, students in AMS 332: Bob Dylan celebrated the end of the semester with a field trip to Greenwich Village. Professor Sean Wilentz led the tour, making stops at the Kettle of Fish bar, Cafe Wha?, and the Washington Square Hotel, among other famous Dylan haunts. The last stop on the tour was the site of the Eighth Street Bookshop, once owned by Wilentz’s father. “I still get the spooks when I come here,” said Wilentz. “New York changes, but it never changes all that much.”
For Wilentz, the class was a return not only to his personal roots but also to the subject of his bestselling book, Bob Dylan in America. Wilentz saw the book as an “exploration,” which renewed his interest in the singer and inspired him to create the seminar through Princeton’s Program in American Studies. The program’s multidisciplinary approach lent itself particularly well to a study of the musical magpie. “It allows people to come together who speak in different idioms,” said Wilentz.
The seminar embraced a variety of genres and periods in Dylan’s career. Each week consisted of extensive listening in addition to biographical, historical, and literary studies. The class “started off with a bang” — the electric controversy of 1965 — then progressed chronologically from Dylan’s formative folk years, through his dabblings in rock, country, gospel, and other styles, to the present. Wilentz made a conscious effort to transcend the conventional image of Dylan as a protest singer — “the young man with the guitar and harmonica singing ‘Blowin’ in the Wind.’” The syllabus encompassed some of Dylan’s more recent work, including tracks from his so-called Christian period in the 1980s, his 2003 film, Masked and Anonymous, and his latest album, Christmas in the Heart.
May 29, 2012
PAW’s 2012 Reunions Guide celebrates a century of beer jackets and covers the plans for this year’s major-reunion classes, from ’47 to ’07. Read an interview with author Liza Mundy ’82, browse the menu of on-campus exhibits and performances, and “clear the track” with a special crossword puzzle by Graham Meyer ’01.
Look for the Reunions Guide at headquarters sites on campus or download a tablet-friendly version by clicking the cover image at right.
In his second State of the Union address, Abraham Lincoln said, “We can succeed only by concert. It is not, ‘Can any of us imagine better?’ but ‘Can we all do better?’” This line inspired former U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley ’65 to write his seventh book, We Can All Do Better, which he introduced to an audience of nearly 200 in McCosh Hall May 9 on the first stop of his national book tour.
Bradley, a onetime presidential hopeful who now serves as a managing director at the investment firm Allen & Company, wrote the book out of frustration with America’s current political gridlock in the face of overseas war and economic difficulty, exemplified by the debt limit debacle in Washington last summer.
“When you look and see the fragility and inequality of our economy, if you see the direction of our foreign policy, if you see the paralysis in our national dialogue, it’s relevant — can we all do better?” he said. Bradley also emphasized personal responsibility, asking, “Can each of us do better? Can we find that part of ourselves that honors the selfless and project it into the world we live?”
Bradley, a history major at Princeton, relied heavily on U.S. history to create practical, cautiously optimistic recommendations in three areas — the economy, U.S. foreign policy, and domestic political institutions.
The Class of 2015 met on the steps of Blair Arch May 4 to pose for its freshman photo, reviving a tradition that had lapsed in recent years. To celebrate the revival, we’ve dusted off a copy of the freshman photo for another ’15 – the Class of 1915. The 1915 freshmen, on the steps of Whig Hall below, wore collars and neckties; this year’s crop favored T-shirts on a warm, sunny afternoon. Today's ’15ers also posed without the coating of flour and water that earlier freshmen received from mischievous sophomores who aimed to spoil the photo shoot. (That tradition died out in the 1920s; read more about it – and watch footage of one flour attack – on Reel Mudd, the video blog of the Mudd Manuscript Library.)
Matthew Weiner, Princeton’s new associate dean of religious life, takes a broad view of his job. A practicing Buddhist, he is reaching out to all students — not just those who observe religious practices — as part of his interfaith community.
“I understand interfaith to be both religious and secular communities,” he says. “A key goal of mine is making a case to secular students and [University] departments that understanding and partnering with religion is important.”
Weiner, an interfaith organizer for more than 20 years, noted that Princeton has been a leader in interfaith relations and could become a national model for developing interfaith leaders. To that end, he has already used the skills he culled during his nine years at the Interfaith Center of New York, a “totally grassroots” organization where, as program director, he developed a network of 500 religious leaders who focused on social change by addressing issues of domestic violence, hate crimes, and environmental justice.
The interfaith work of the Office of Religious Life (ORL) was, Weiner said, “already rich” when he arrived on campus Sept. 1, succeeding associate dean Paul Raushenbush. Weiner is trying to initiate new programming in places “where the role of religion is important, but people don’t know it is.”
April 19, 2012
Most D.C. tourists come to the White House hoping for a glimpse of the president. But for Princeton students who visited 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. April 13, bees were the main attraction.
The BEE Team, a group of student beekeepers who look after two beehives at the West Windsor Fields, was invited on a private tour of the hives and the White House Kitchen Garden with White House beekeeper Charlie Brandts and executive pastry chef Bill Yosses.
“My favorite part was listening to Charlie speak to us as one beekeeper to another,” said Eric Penalver ’13. “He was really informative, fun to listen to, and passionate about what he does.”
BEE Team sponsor Rocky Semmes ’79 organized the trip after hearing that First Lady Michelle Obama ’85 included a beehive in the White House Kitchen Garden. “Since she’s an alum, I thought it might work and would be a great opportunity for the club,” Semmes said.
Students were particularly eager to pick Brandts’ brain after learning the White House bees produced 225 pounds of honey last year – more than four times the amount the BEE Team typically extracts from its two hives. That’s partly because the White House gardens have some bee-friendly vegetation not found near the Princeton hives, and partly because the BEE Team students, most of whom had never tried beekeeping before joining, are conservative about how often they harvest.
April 17, 2012
How does science inform public policy? Can regulating science undermine essential human values?
On April 13 and 14, 22 scholars and writers, including prominent physicist Freeman Dyson and former University president Harold Shapiro *64, sought to answer these questions in a public conference on “Governing Science: Technological Progress, Ethical Norms, and Democracy,” hosted by the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions.
Participants and conference attendees discussed the role science plays in the “elevation” and “reduction” of man, the abuses and limits of science, and how to govern science ethically in a democratic republic.
The conference concluded with a panel discussion headed by Robert P. George, founder of the James Madison Program and the McCormick Chair in Jurisprudence, featuring Shapiro and Donald W. Landry, a professor of medicine at Columbia University.
The panelists examined the importance of trust in governing science and discussed questions from George and the audience about the ethics behind government grants; politicization and globalization of science in issues such as climate change; science education; and the role of government science councils such as the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, which Shapiro chaired from 1996 to 2001.
Shapiro remained optimistic about science education and the level of support research has from the government, foundations, and universities, calling it a “miracle” that American society invests as much as it does in scholarship.
Ultimately, the panelists concluded, the greatest challenge in governing science might lie in the very fact that scientific thought is constantly changing.
“Something that puzzles me is people’s unwillingness to accept the uncertainty of our condition,” Shapiro said. “Part of life is to learn to deal with that uncertainty.”