Six Picks: Recommendations from the Monitor staff
Delightful 'Pushing Daisies' now out on DVD, surging dance music from Congo's Kasai Allstars, a documentary about the fabled Warner Bros. studio, and more.
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Friends' vacation pics aren't always riveting, but if your friend is award-winning photographer Art Wolfe, you get to travel along as he takes them. In Episode 1 of PBS's second season of "Travels to the Edge," airing Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m., we visit the islands of Honshu and Hokkaido. From the dancing red-crowned crane to the majestic stillness of Mt. Fuji to the crush of the Naked Man Festival (G-rated), we learn about the Japan encountered by Wolfe, who captures moments of grace we might otherwise miss.
surging dance MUSIC
"In the 7th Moon, the Chief Turned Into a Swimming Fish and Ate the Head of His Enemy by Magic" is an ungainly yet apt title for this CD of tunes by the Kasai Allstars. Combining traditional, trance-inducing, ritual polyrhythms with traditional and modern musical instruments colored through buzzing electronic distortion, this Congolese group creates surging dance music. They sound like an aural equivalent of "magic realism" fiction: archaic yet futuristic, surrealistic yet coherent. This third release in the "Congotronics" series on the Crammed Discs label might just start a "buzz" for this crew.
If you're in southern California during the next 10 days, you'll discover that the triennial World Festival of Sacred Music is in full swing (until Sept. 28). Whether your taste runs to master throat singers or prayer drumming, there is something for everyone in the greater Los Angeles area. Check out the calendar of events, which serves as a mini-world tour of the music of worship at www.festivalofsacred music.org.
CELEBRATE THE MASTER
The late Leonard Bernstein would have turned 90 this year, but he's fresh in thought. "West Side Story," powered by his memorable score, will be revived on Broadway next spring. And this fall Carnegie Hall and the New York Philharmonic are producing a 50-event cornucopia of concerts, films, lectures, and exhibits (bernsteinfestival.org) showing all-things-Lenny. Could the 100th birthday of this composer-conductor-musician-teacher possibly top this?
Four brothers named warner
Hollywood is full of stories, but the history of one of its fabled studios is as absorbing as any film it turns out. "You Must Remember This: The Warner Bros. Story" is a three-part documentary about the powerhouse that the legendary brothers built. PBS airs the Richard Schickel oeuvre that uses excerpts from hundreds of studio clips and archival interviews with stars from nearly every decade, from silent movies through Busby Berkeley, Humphrey Bogart, John Wayne, Jane Fonda and on up to "The Matrix" and "Harry Potter." Starts Sept. 23 at 9 p.m.
In "Pushing Daisies," now on DVD, a pie maker with a Lazarus touch brings people back from the dead to discover who murdered them. Sounds morbid? Actually, it couldn't be livelier. The whimsical fantasy plays like an adult blend of Dr. Seuss and Roald Dahl with some old-time romance thrown in.