Top Picks: Yuja Wang and Gustavo Dudamel's new album, Brandon Staton's 'Humans of New York,' and more
PBS's 'American Masters' explores the life of Jimi Hendrix, CNN examines how environmentalists changed their views on nuclear power, and more.
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Nov. 22 marks the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. National Geographic’s Killing Kennedy, based on the book by talk-show host Bill O’Reilly, stars Rob Lowe as the president and is directed by Ridley Scott. The film tracks the movements of the killer and the leader of the free world as each moves toward that fateful moment. This is a compelling narrative without delving into conspiracy theories. It airs Nov. 10.
Powerful piano classics
The incandescent young Chinese pianist Yuja Wang teams up with the equally explosive Gustavo Dudamel (of the Los Angeles Philharmonic) in this Deutsche Grammophon album featuring two warhorses of the piano concerto repertoire. Wang plays works by Russian masters Rachmaninov (Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor) and Prokofiev (Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor) in this superb debut collaboration. They are accompanied by the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela.
Green, nuclear power?
To be anti-nuclear is to be in favor of burning fossil fuels, says one of the committed environmentalists at the heart of the documentary Pandora’s Promise, the latest from CNN Films. The movie details the intellectual journey these liberal environmentalists took as they changed their views on nuclear power. They point to statistics that may startle: Only 56 people died at Chernobyl, contrary to popular belief. They also compare the anti-nuke environmental movement of the past to the climate change deniers of today. It airs Nov. 7 at 9 p.m. on CNN.
New York stories
Since 2010, Brandon Staton has approached strangers in New York City and asked to take their photos and post them online on a website called Humans of New York (www.humansofnewyork.com). Eventually, he started adding a few poignant lines about his subject’s life stories. The profiles are as familiar as they are unique, revealing humanity in a New York outsized way. “Humans of New York” is also now available as a book featuring 400 of Staton’s photos.
Veteran rock star Sheryl Crow has been leaning country for a long while now. “Picture,” her 2002 duet with Kid Rock, was a big step, for sure. With her new album Feels Like Home, Crow has gone all in, with every track sounding like a modern country hit. Co-writing with some of Nashville’s star songwriters, Crow sounds comfortable and confident in the genre, singing better than ever on the new tunes, be they gritty (“Shotgun,” “Best of Times”) or pretty (the touching “Waterproof Mascara”). The girl’s done good.
Hendrix and his guitar
PBS’s “American Masters” focuses on Jimi Hendrix to celebrate what would have been his 70th birthday with Jimi Hendrix – Hear My Train A Comin'. It’s an in-depth look at his life and influence, and features commentary from his family, band members, and legends such as Paul McCartney. The film traces Hendrix from his humble beginnings in Seattle, a stint as a US Army Paratrooper, and as unknown sideman to R&B stars such as Little Richard. Who knew? It airs Nov. 5.