What’s new at the Princeton Public Library for teens? Well, in case
you haven’t heard, the entire third-floor of the new library, which is
dedicated to youth services, has an area designated just for teens.
It’s a bustling place after school, where kids go to finish homework,
conduct research, or meet friends.
Beginning this Friday, January 14, once again teens can gather there
one Friday night of each month at 7 p.m. to watch movies. For free. In
collaboration with the Arts Council of Princeton, the library is
co-sponsoring a film series, designed in part by teens, to appeal to
students in the ninth grade and higher. Adults are welcome, too. The
series enables high school students to experience different types of
film genres, including full-length feature films, short films, a range
of animated and unconventional features, plus experimental and
surrealistic short films.
Each screening begins with popcorn and refreshments. After the film is
finished, a discussion takes place – with or without a moderator.
Susan Conlon, teen services librarian at the Princeton library,
explains that the film series has been around on for several years and
continues to evolve. It was originally proposed by Mengfan Wu and
Sanda Win, Princeton High School students who wanted to combine their
interest in filmmaking with a project that would fulfill their
community service obligation. The two students approached the library
about working together to create a film series for teens. Mengfan is
now a sophomore at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts,
while Sanda is a freshman at Bryn Mawr College.
Today the committee consists of two girls and four boys, ranging from
sophomores to seniors, who work with Conlon, Sue Roth, the library’s
readers’ services coordinator, Randi Lund, and Janet Stern of the Arts
Council, and Marilyn Campbell, a film scholar. The adults and high
school students work together to pick the six films they think would
best appeal to a teen audience.
Initiated in the summer of 2002, the teen film evenings started with a
series called "How to Read a Film: Cinema for Teens." The first series
included a screening of Charlie Chaplin’s "Modern Times," and included
guest speakers with expertise in either filmmaking or cinema studies.
While the first series was put together by adults, high school
students soon asked to be involved in the process. By the winter of
2003, the students had put together a film series called "Rebels on
Film." This series included films such as "Rebel Without a Cause,"
"One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest," "Twelve Angry Men," and "Chocolat."
In the summer of 2003, the series was called "Age and Rage and Growing
Up in America" and included films like, "Say Anything," "Donnie
Darko," and Spike Lee’s "Do the Right Thing."
Conlon lives in Princeton Junction with her husband, Joe, with their
three teenage children, Nick, 19, Erin, 17, and Mary, 14. "The film
series is fun," Conlon says. "Getting involved in the planning process
allows the kids to interact with others their own age who may have
similar interests, and it allows them to be creative. For those who
come and watch the free films, we provide an opportunity for teens to
do things apart from their families. That’s part of growing up."
Several of the student film advisors have been on the committee for
the past three years. "Due to the number of kids who return to the
committee each year, we’ve had really good continuity in the
committee," Conlon says. "But we’re losing several seniors after this
upcoming spring planning session and we’d like to add some new
people." Conlon encourages high school students from Princeton and
surrounding areas to contact her at 609-924-9529, ext. 247, if they
have an interest in joining the committee.
The next series, "Far Out Films," begins on Friday, January 14. The
films in this series include: "Brazil," a Terry Gilliam film on
January 14; "Triplets of Belleville," one of last year’s nominees for
the Academy Award for animated films, on February 11; "The Furies,"
including discussion with director Al Nigrin afterward, on March 11;
"Waking Life," on April 8; and a film still to be determined on May 6.
"We try to pick films that aren’t box office hits, because we assume
that most people have seen those," Conlon says. "We try to find films
that maybe didn’t get a lot of attention, or were overlooked, just
excellent films that people would be interested in seeing. The kids on
the committee tend to be pretty serious. When they like a film they
want to share it with people. They’re good at picking films that will
appeal to their peers, and provoke a discussion."
The library shows films in the summer and winter and plans the series
in the spring and fall. The series is open to anyone in the greater
Princeton area. Attendees do not have to be teens in the Princeton
school district to attend. Attendees do not even have to be teens, but
should be at least in the ninth grade.
On March 11, Albert Nigrin, an award-winning experimental media artist
who is a cinema studies lecturer at Rutgers University, and the
executive director/curator of the Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media
Arts Center, shows his film, "The Furies." It is a 25-minute, black
and white, silent film sited on the Raritan River, based on the
classical Greek Play, "Euminides." The protagonist in the film,
Orestes, is haunted by three female phantoms sent down from the gods
to pester anyone who commits murder in his own family.
Along with "The Furies," Nigrin will be showing "Street of
Crocodiles," a film by the Brothers Quay, who are known for their
animation. Terry Gilliam, of Monty Python and Brazil fame, sums up the
filmmakers’ style by saying that the identical twins are "Americans
who came to Europe and somehow wound up working in a style that felt
like Polish animation."
Nigrin, who will be on hand to talk about both "The Furies" and
"Street of Crocodiles," says "I’ve been making experimental films
since the 1980s. The message I’ll impart to the teens is that film
involves more than the mainstream movies they see at the multiplex
cinemas. Independent films have a very difficult time getting out into
the world. They’re short. They’re not commercial. There are no ad
placements. But in many ways they’re much more interesting and
exciting than mainstream movies. In addition, I’ll talk to them about
what I do at the university, and tell them that they can do this as
well. You don’t have to be Spielberg to make films."
Far Out Films, Princeton Public Library, 65 Witherspoon
Street, 609-924-9529. Free for teens eighth grade and up, also for
adults. 7 p.m.
Voices Chorale seeks sopranos, baritones and basses for its spring
performances. Rehearsals are on Monday evenings in Ewing. For an
appointment: auditions@voices chorale.org or call 609-799-2211.
Kelsey Theater seeks dancers, three men and three women, ballet or
modern dance trained for a production of "The Unicorn, the Gorgon and
the Manticore." Choreography by Jessica Moss. Audition at Mercer
County College, physical education building, room 225, Saturday,
January 22, at noon. For information call 609-731-2429.
Roxey Ballet will hold auditions for the main company on February 27,
noon to 2 p.m. at Trisha Brown Dance Company Studios, 625 West 55th
Street, New York City. For information call 609-397-7616, ext. 809.
Gallery 14 invites area photographers interested in membership or
exhibiting in the Hopewell gallery to submit portfolios on Saturday,
January 22, and Sunday the 23, between noon and 5 p.m. Submit 12 to 15
images, unframed, matted, in protective clear covers and a biography.
Visit www.photosgallery14.com or contact David Miller at 609-577-0564.
Day of Relief, Full Circle Family Massage, 329 Princeton Hightstown
Road, East Windsor, 609-371-0888. Massages given as benefit for
Tsunami victims with a goal of $5,000 for Habitat for Humanity
International, to help put 50 families back in habitable dwellings.
All proceeds from massages go to benefit. Sunday, January 16, 10 a.m.
to 6 p.m.
American-Pakistaki Forum of Mercer County is collecting funds and
clothing for the tsunami victims. Bring your donations to the office
of New Horizons Montessori School, 59 Cranbury Road, West Windsor,
weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 609-252-9696 for information.
Wegmans Food Markets, has donated $100,000 to the American Red Cross
International Response Fund, and now offers shoppers the opportunity
to make a donation of $1 or more to the fund at check-out. All of the
money will go directly to the relief fund.
Care, Auction Drop, and UPS Stores, are collaborating to raise funds
for the people of South Asia. Bring used and new camera, computers,
and consumer electronics to any of the 3,700 UPS Store locations and
use the code 0198 so that funds go to CARE. For information visit
www.auctiondrop.com or call 800-DROP-IT-OFF.
Princeton Area YMCA invites applications for Gold Star Teacher Awards.
Three area teachers will receive prizes and recognition for their
creativity and compassionate commitment in the classroom. One must be
a K-8th grade teacher with three full-time experiences in the public
school district of Cranbury, West Windsor, Plainsboro, Lawrenceville,
Montgomery, or Princeton. At the gala, to be held on June 2, winners
will receive cash awards, classroom equipment including laptop
computers, digital camera, and DVD players. Applications available at
the schools or by calling 609-497-9622, ext. 210.
Register for the New Jersey Brain Bee competition to be held Saturday,
January 29, 2 to 4 p.m., at the Shering-Plough Research Institute in
Lafayette. Registration, which closes on Friday, January 14, is free.
The top three finishers receive cash prizes and the top winner goes to
the International Brain Bee Competition in March. Call Carrie Markgraf
High school students are also eligible to compete in Fairleigh
Dickinson University’s program, New Jersey Business Idea Competition
for High Schoolers, that recognizes commercially feasible ideas. The
deadline is Saturday, February 5. Winners will be announced on March
1. For information visit www. Fdu.edu/rothman or call 973-443-8842.
Princeton Newcomers Club is offering half-price memberships. The next
meeting is Friday, January 14, 11:45 a.m. at the YWCA in Princeton.
Membership is not limited to Princeton residents. Visit
newcomers or call 609-514-0288.
SeniorNet offers a free series of computer-related topics including
digital cameras and identity theft beginning Tuesday, January 18, at
Ewing Community Center, 320 Hollowbrook Drive, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Visit
www.ewingsnet.com or call 609-883-1009.
Pennington Dance offers classes in ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, hip-hop,
and Pilates, as well as workshops in African dance and original
Broadway repertoire. Call 609-737-7596 for information.