Top Picks: Brian Wilson, 'Prime Suspect,' Canada's Garrison Keillor, and more
Brian Wilson sings Gershwin, 'Prime Suspect' comes out on DVD, Stuart McLean's storytelling is like Canada's answer to Garrison Keillor, and more recommendations.
'S Wonderful Brian Wilson
The iconic Beach Boys singer/songwriter leaves behind some recent hokeyness with his new album: "Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin." The homage has the panache one might expect of a "Pet Sounds"-era Wilson. The marriage of these two seminal American songwriters sounds just as one might expect: classic Wilsonian vocal harmonies and great pop orchestrations meet the debonair flair of Gershwin. Double genius.
Canada's Garrison Keillor
Writer and radio star Stuart McLean is the Canadian counterpart to "A Prairie Home Companion's" Garrison Keillor. He is the author of six sweet, insightful, and very funny short story collections that revolve around a fictional Toronto couple, Dave and Morley; their kids; pets; wacky friends; and Dave's used record shop, The Vinyl Café. McLean is also the genial host of Canada's most popular weekend radio show (also called "The Vinyl Café"), which broadcasts weekends on some US public radio stations, as well as online. To find your nearest station, go to www.cbc.ca/vinylcafe/home.php.
Jane Tennison, detective
"Prime Suspect: The Complete Collection" stars award-winning Helen Mirren in her iconic TV role as Detective Jane Tennison, widely hailed as one of the great characters of our time. This groundbreaking police drama broadcast on PBS won seven Emmys, eight BAFTAs, and a Peabody. The box set, which arrives Sept. 7, includes nine feature-length mysteries as well as a 50-minute behind-the-scenes special.
Tall tales from a master
"The Best Candy in the Whole World," by Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter/storyteller Bill Harley, arrives Sept. 14, just in time for a new school year. This audio compilation is a selection of traditional folk tales reimagined by the laconic humorist alongside two original tales. From the boy who gets the best candy in the whole world – and learns an important lesson – to gentle musical stylings, the tales are deceptively simple. A sweet treat for all ages.
A forgotten hero
The Marquis de Lafayette was a teenager when he crossed the Atlantic to support the American Revolution. He became George Washington's protégé and a powerful advocate for the fledgling nation in the court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. PBS's "Lafayette: The Lost Hero," which premières Sept. 13 at 10 p.m., is a passion project of the aristocrat's descendants and seeks to restore his name in the minds of modern Americans.
Art at your fingertips
On the fifth anniversary of hurricane Katrina, PBS has launched a new arts site, www.pbs.org/arts, a venue for virtual exhibitions. The first one, "Ruin & Revival," is by New Orleans artist Thomas Mann.