Planet Weekend Picks, Jan. 27-29

Friday, January 27

Princeton Environmental Film Festival, Princeton Public Library – The Princeton Environmental Film Festival, which has become a top annual Princeton event, kicked off Thursday and runs until Feb. 12. Film screenings are free. For a full film festival schedule, visit Screenings Friday:

Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air, 4 p.m. Hummingbirds take extraordinary to a whole new level. They are the smallest warm-blooded creatures on the planet, but they are also among the fastest. With wings that beat up to 200 times every second, they are among nature’s most accomplished athletes, the only birds able to hover, fly backwards, and even upside down. Using cameras able to capture over 500 images a second, the hummingbirds’ magical world can finally be seen and appreciated. Amazing footage shows these little powerhouses are far more than delicate nectar gatherers — they are also deadly predators. And watch as the birds display their elaborate mating rituals, showing off with nose dives that subject them to over ten G’s of force — enough to cause an experienced fighter pilot to black out! A talk by Charles Leck will follow the film.

Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?, 7 p.m. Experts take viewers on a journey through the catastrophic disappearance of bees and into the mysterious world of the beehive. The film unveils 10,000 years of beekeeping, illuminating the deep link between humans and bees and how that relationship has been lost due to highly mechanized industrial practices. Beekeeper Gunther Hauk calls the crisis, “More important even than global warming. We could call it Colony Collapse of the human being too.”

Wine Tasting at CoolVines – Explore Cabernet Franc at the Spring Street shop between 5 and 7 p.m. Free.


The Convert

The Convert, McCarter Theatre – World premiere of Danai Gurira’s new play set in the region that would become Zimbabwe circa 1895. Directed by Emily Mann. Berlind Theatre, 8 p.m. Tickets $20-$60. Free pre-show talk in Berlind rehearsal room at 7:15 p.m. (also showing Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.).

Folk Dance, Princeton Folk Dance – Beginners welcome, lesson followed by dance, no partner needed. At the Suzanne Patterson Center, 45 Stockton Street, begins at 8 p.m., admission $5.

Saturday, January 28

Science on Saturday, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory – “Exploring the Warped and Violent Universe” presented by Nergis Mavalvala, department of physics, MIT. Register on site beginning at 8:15 a.m. For students, parents, teachers, and community members. Photo ID required. Forrestal Campus, Route 1 North, Plainsboro. Program begins at 9:30 a.m., free.

Talk and Demonstration: “Amazing Animals” – New Jersey Audubon will visit the Princeton Public Library to share the many traits and characteristics of the animal kingdom from insects to mammals. Live animals native to our state will add to the learning experience. In the library community room. Free.

Panel Discussion on Documentary Film Making at the Princeton Environmental Film Festival – Ever wanted to shoot a documentary? Join this discussion by and Q&A with a panel of filmmakers on the nuts and bolts of documentary filmmaking, including advice for beginners. The program includes a sneak preview of “Sourlands,” a new film about human and ecological sustainability in central New Jersey by director Jared Flesher. Princeton Public Library, free.

PEFF screenings include “Shellshocked: Saving Oysters to Save Ourselves” at 12:30 p.m. and “Rescuing the Raritan” at 2 p.m. “Revenge of the Electric Car” will be shown at 7 p.m. In the film. Director Chris Paine takes his crew behind the closed doors of Nissan, GM, and the Silicon Valley start-up Tesla Motors to chronicle the story of the global resurgence of electric cars. Without using a single drop of foreign oil, this new generation of car is America’s future: fast, furious, and cleaner than ever.

Flamenco with Soledad Barrio and Noche Flamenca –  See why internationally acclaimed Soledad Barrio is call “a gift from heaven to Flamenco on earth.” McCarter Theatre, tickets $20-$54,

Cafe Improv – Music poetry, comedy and more at the Arts Council of Princeton, starting at 7 p.m. and running until about 10. Admission $2. For a schedule of performers visit,

The Swinging Poodles

The Swinging Poodles at Small World Coffee – Frederique Magne and John Harrity play jazz standards with an improvised swinging music feel, and make you discover some lesser known gems along the way. Beginst at 8:30 p.m. at the Witherspoon Street location.

Sunday, Jaunary 29

Winter Concert, Princeton Girlchoir – “United in Song” presented by all six choirs at Richardson Auditorium, Princeton University. Tickets $30, 4 p.m.

Independent Film Making in Israel –  An afternoon with Israeli filmmaker Dani Menkin. presented by the Program in Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University, McCormick Hall 101, free.

Community Family Dance with the Princeton Country Dancers –  Old-fashioned dance for all ages with all dances taught at the Suzanne Patterson Center. No experience needed. Live music. 3-5 p.m., tickets $5.

“Food Stamped” screening at the Princeton Environmental Film Festival – “Food Stamped,” is a documentary about a family that lived on a food stamp budget. Post film discussion features the directors via Skype, Mark Smith, director of Crisis Ministry’s Hunger Prevention, and Liz Cohen of Yes We Can Food Drives, which donates food to Crisis Ministry. Donations of fresh produce are welcome. Princeton Public Library, 1 p.m.

Wassailing the Apples with Terhune Orchards – Terhune owners Pam and Gary Mount honor an old English custom by gathering around the apple tree to sing songs and toast to the health of the trees in the coming year. Activities include music, songs, and a bonfire with marshmallows. Entertainment by Spiced Punch Consort and Molly Dancers. Farm wagon rides available. Wine tasting room open for hot mulled wine and snacks. Farm located at 330 Cold Soil Road. Event runs from 1-4 p.m., free.