Six Picks: Recommendations from the Monitor staff

'This American Life' radio show in theaters, a new movie vault with downloadable classics, 'The Reader' on DVD, and more.

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    'Waiting houses' (1969) from 'Hundertwasser: complete graphic works 1951-1976'
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Radio on view

This American Life, the hit radio show, plans to make its humorous and profound stories visible for one night. On April 23, host Ira Glass (right), along with several contributors, will perform the show at the Skirball Center for Performing Arts at New York University and broadcast it live in a simulcast to 400 movie theaters nationwide. The theme of the two-hour stage version: "Return to the Scene of the Crime."

Art in a pocket

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Books designed to carry in a pocket often offer solace, but Hundertwasser: Complete Graphic Work 1951-1976 (Prestel) offers eye-popping ecstasy. With 98 color illustrations by the visionary Austrian artist and architect reproduced in shimmering, iridescent splendor, this jewel of an art catalog displays Hundertwasser's phantasmagoric way of celebrating nature and culture. With swirling, vibratory waves of Technicolor radiance, trees and humans appear on the brink of exchanging leafy abundance. Sun and moon light transform houses into glowing planets. Hundertwasser transformed the magical, pantheistic spirit in folklore and Surrealism, creating rhapsodic images awash in childlike glee and sage reverence for nature.

Never too late

Hard as it may be to believe, there are still Holocaust stories to be told and to be moved by. Swimming in Auschwitz unfolds the harrowing details of six women who passed through and then out of one of the war's most notorious death camps. This uniquely female perspective on what is now a well-documented story is unexpectedly uplifting in its generosity and humanity. Now out on DVD in time for Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 21, the film plays on PBS throughout April.

Reel deal

Hollywood's largest archive is opening its vaults to the public. Warner Bros. has uploaded 150 films onto WarnerArchive.com, available "on demand" or by special order DVD, and will eventually put the archive's entire 6,800 features online. Whether you order or not, breeze through a few preview clips that go back as early as Greta Garbo's silent movies.

No messing about

Mole, Ratty, Mr. Toad, and Badger were characters conjured up by Kenneth Grahame in letters to his son Alastair at boarding school. A new edition, The Annotated Wind in the Willows, edited by Annie Gauger (W.W. Norton & Co., $39.95), revisits those iconic childhood tales with beautiful illustrations, family photos, and poignant letters.

Complex reader

The film that finally gave Kate Winslet her best-actress Oscar, The Reader, comes out on DVD April 14. This compelling film with mature themes is based on a novel about Germany's efforts to deal with its wartime past. The package includes 11 deleted scenes, a conversation between actor David Kross and director Stephen Daldry, and a featurette on coming to grips with the past.

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