We welcomed 115 writers and readers to our reception on Thursday, August 11, at Tre Piani restaurant in Forrestal Village. A critical mass of poets, writers, and artists, traveling from as far away as Woodbridge and Philadelphia, showed up to celebrate their work and the work of others. Some writing groups attended enmasse – teachers bringing students.

Each short story was introduced and its author acknowledged. The poets read their work, and when the poet could not attend, a colleague often stepped in to do the honors.

Our next opportunity to meet readers will be at the Westin Hotel, also in Forrestal Village, at the Princeton Chamber and U.S. 1 Trade Fair on Thursday, September 15. See you there!

Bring Back Princeton Rep

In 1995, Palmer Square agreed to donate to Princeton Rep some office space in return for their agreeing to stage an annual Shakespeare Festival on our Green. Within five years the high quality of their productions and the resulting success of the event required Princeton Rep to expand their Shakespeare Festival to the amphitheater in Pettoranello Gardens, where two productions per year were served up. They were of such incredible quality that they attracted the attention of critics from the New York Times, who were amazed that a small community, such as ours, could stage this wondrous event.

Anyone who took in Princeton Rep’s rendition of the "Comedy of Errors," which was set in the Miami of the 1980s, or their "Merry Wives of (West) Windsor," or the 2004 production of "Romeo & Juliet," witnessed theatrical greatness in action. Their adaptations were simply brilliant.

Thus it was to the great consternation and dismay of many, when the Princeton Parks Department decided to extinguish this shining light of creativity that emanated from our midst and replace it with an expanded summer film festival combined with a little bit of opera. Now I am not saying that film and opera aren’t perfectly good cultural mediums, but they hardly substitute for the originality and quality of the Shakespeare Festival.

In short our summer cultural activities have headed south; now, if you want a show about a confused young man looking for direction following the untimely death of his father, you won’t get "Hamlet," but you could get "Tommy Boy." If you want a production about a bunch of men, running around in togas and behaving badly, you won’t get "Julius Caesar," but you could get "Animal House." If your drama taste is for a show about an annoying fat man being taken down a couple of notches, you won’t get "Merry Wives of Windsor," but you could get "Porky’s." (If I think about it long enough the Shakespeare analogy for "Dumb & Dumber" will also come to mind.)

I hope that in 2006 the Parks Department sees the light and converts this summer of our discontent into a chorus of "All’s Well That Ends Well," by allowing Princeton Rep to resume its Shakespeare Festival at the Pettoranello Gardens.

David S. Newton

Palmer Square Management LLC

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