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Six Picks: Recommendations from the Monitor staff

Susan Boyle's 'Dream' CD, McCartney concert magic at New York's Citi Field, D.C.'s holiday celebrations on TNT, and more.

December 21, 2009



Six hours of celebration

The largest multicultural arts celebration in the nation performs a six-hour, free community event at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in downtown Los Angeles every year. And for the first time, this year it will stream live at www.kcet.org. The Dec. 24 event, which runs from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., includes everything from an aerial dance company to an a capella choir to a band that blends flamenco, Armenian, Arabic, and Greek sounds.

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A killer returns

What do you do if you’re sure someone is guilty, but have no proof? That’s a conundrum that Chief Inspector Wexford has grappled with ever since his first murder case as a young constable. Locking eyes with a man walking his dog, Wexford knew he’d found the killer. Decades (and a couple of suspicious deaths) later, the man has returned to Kingsmarkham, and not even Wexford’s trusted partner believes he’s guilty. Fans of Ruth Rendell’s complex mysteries will find themselves rewarded by “Monster in the Box.”

No longer just dreams

After a meteoric rise to fame, “Britain’s Got Talent” legend Susan Boyle has released her debut album, “I Dreamed a Dream” – a collection of classics and pop covers with a lovely, honest sound. The album, which has broken sales records on both sides of the Atlantic, opens with soft, low-key tracks and builds to the final stirring and powerful renditions of “Who I Was Born To Be” and “Silent Night.” The album won’t rock your world, but it will warm your heart.

Christmas in D.C.

TNT ushers in the holidays with its annual “Christmas in Washington,” premièring Dec. 20, at 8 p.m. (ET/PT). Mary J. Blige, Neil Diamond, Sugarland, Rob Thomas, and Usher will join host George Lopez in the cable channel’s holiday celebration, annually attended by a gaggle of Washington glitterati, including the president and first lady.

For history buffs

Just in time for the 2010 Census, digital archive site Footnote.com has launched the Interactive Census Project, which aims to digitize every census document since 1790. The first two online are from 1860 and 1930. The site, which partners with the Library of Congress and the National Archives, already holds more than 60 million scanned historical documents and claims to have the Web’s best documentation on the Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War II, and the Vietnam War.

McCartney magic

Paul McCartney and his crack four-piece band stopped by New York’s Citi Field last summer and dropped a glorious love bomb on the very site of the Fab Four’s first US concert 45 years earlier. He looked and sounded every inch the rocker he was then as he and his band brought the adoring audience to its feet again and again for Beatles, Wings, and solo favorites. “Paul McCartney: Good Evening New York City” (Hear Music, $19.98) captures all the excitement on two CDs and a DVD.

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