Like harp? On Monday, December 3rd hear the students of harpist Elaine Christy in recital in the Princeton University Chapel. Winner of the American Harp Society’s National Harp Competition and harp instructor at Princeton University Ms. Christy has recorded the album “Celestial Sounds of Christmas” together with flautist Patricia Davila. The concert begins at 8:00 p.m and it’s free.
Also on Monday, the Princeton Public Library presents Chris Finian, chairperson of the National Coalition Against Censorship and is a trustee of the Freedom to Read Foundation. He will discuss his latest book, “From the Palmer Raids to the PATRIOT Act: A History of the Fight for Free Speech in America,” a chronicle of the evolution of free speech in the United States. Starting at 7:30 p.m. and it’s free.
On Tuesday, December 4th, the Princeton Public Library’s World CineClub screens the 1961 Academy Award-winning film, “Divorce Italian Style,” starring Marcello Mastroianni, presented in Italian with English subtitles. It’s free and starts at 6:00 p.m. A dinner paired with Italian wines and post-film discussion follow at Mediterra, a short walk from the library.
Two holiday open house events begin on Wednesday, December 5. The Morven Museum and Garden, the former New Jersey governor’s mansion and 18th century home of Richard Stockton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, begins it’s Festival of Trees with 13 galleries adorned for the holiday by area businesses and garden clubs. The Morven Museum is at 55 Stockton Street is open Wednesday to Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 4:00. Admission is $5.
The current New Jersey governor’s mansion, known as Drumthwacket, opens its doors on Wednesday with rooms decorated for the season using natural garden materials by eleven garden clubs from throughout the state of New Jersey. Wednesdays through December 12 and Sunday, December 9 between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., reservations are necessary, and a $5 donation is requested.
Ever wondered how they figure out what to put in the flu shot? At the Institute for Advanced Study, hear Arnold Levine, head of the Institute’s Simons Center for Systems Biology address that question in his talk, “Tracking Influenza Virus Epidemics of the Past Century: Can We Predict Next Year’s Epidemic?” Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. in the Institute’s Wolfensohn Hall on Einstein Drive, the talk is free.
On Thursday, a half-hour from Princeton, Pennsbury Manor, the dream house of Pennsylvania’s William Penn opens for two “Holly Nights.” The 43-acre historic plantation will be lit by candles, luminaria, and torches and present music, carol singing, bonfires, hot mulled cider, historic crafts demonstrations and guided tours of the manor house by candlelight. Thursday and Friday from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. at 400 Pennsbury Memorial Road in Morrisville, Pennsylvania. Admission: $7.
On Friday, December 7, The Lewis School, 53 Bayard Lane opens its doors for their annual “Tree of Light Celebration,” featuring an outdoor tree overwhelmed with lights, music, and holiday fare. The Lewis School Chorus, Koleinu, American Boychoir School Choir singers, the Princeton University Nassons, Tigerlilies, and Wildcats will perform. From 7:00 to 9:30 p.m. the event is free with donations benefitting the scholarship program.
What might three former First Ladies reveal if they could? On Saturday, December 8, Emmy Award-winning actress Elaine Bromka presents her one-woman show: “Tea for Three: Lady Bird, Pat, and Betty.” A touching, funny play revealing the personal cost of what Pat Nixon called, “the hardest unpaid job in the world.” 3:00 p.m. at the Princeton Public Library, admission is free.
Princeton University’s Program in Theater & Dance and McCarter Theatre present a reading of Joshua Casteel’s play “Returns,” based on his own experiences as an Abu Ghraib interrogator. Directed by David Gothard, associate director of the Abbey Theatre, Ireland’s national theater, the reading will be followed by a panel discussion including the playwright, the director, Emily Mann, McCarter Theatre artistic director; and Nadine Strossen, president of the ACLU. In the Lewis Center for the Arts, 185 Nassau Street, this is free event, with reservations strongly encouraged.
And the final open house of this report: On Sunday, December 9, Historic Rockingham in Kingston — General George Washington’s last war-time headquarters — will have its Candlelight Open House. The site will be decorated with colonial greens, docents in period dress and uniform will guide hourly tours, military reproductions, and refreshments. John Burkhalter on flute and Gvin Black on harpsichord — The Practitioners of Musick — will perform English flute music and refreshments will be served. On Route 603 in Kingston from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Registration is recommended and admission is $5.