A guitarist’s guitarist
Grammy-winning guitarist David Russell shines on his new album, “Sonidos Latinos” (Telarc), a showcase of solo guitar works by five Latin guitar masters including Augustín Barrios Mangoré and Jorge Morel (Morel dedicated two pieces to Russell). The six-string tunes range from lively dances to beautiful ballads. A guitarist’s guitarist, Russell combines virtuosic talent with a respect for simple, beautiful melodies and cadences. More important, the audio quality is so good, you’ll forget Russell isn’t in the room.
In the “we are women, hear us roar” category, the eternally ageless animal-rights activist Betty White will host NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” on May 8 at the head of a glittering cast of former SNL GRRR-L power. The show will feature such SNL alumnae as Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, Molly Shannon, Ana Gasteyer, and Rachel Dratch.
Music of the spoken word
“Six Centuries of Verse” may help anyone who gags at the words “classic poetry.” The ambitious DVD series, which runs more than six hours, surveys various periods in English-language poetry and the “greatest hits” of writers from Chaucer to Ted Hughes. Respected actors read the work – and subtitles are available – which helps viewers understand and appreciate the text. “Six Centuries of Verse” (Athena) is a great tool for teachers, or for those who want to reacquaint themselves with this enduring art form.
Two paths, one ending
In 1968, America was a country on edge – full of deep racial tensions and conflict over a foreign war. PBS brings the era to life and traces the fateful collision of Martin Luther King Jr. and his assassin, James Earl Ray, in “Roads to Memphis,” a two-hour “American Experience” docudrama on May 3 at 9 p.m. Using a cross-cut narrative that employs stirring historical footage of King as well as recreations of Ray’s prison break and stalking of the civil rights leader, the show is a valuable cautionary tale about the power of individuals to affect the course of a nation – for good or evil.
Deepak Chopra has been dubbed “the poet-prophet of alternative medicine” and was one of Time magazine’s 100 icons of the past century. Tune in to Link TV’s “Oneness: The Big Picture,” featuring Chopra and Riane Eisler on Sunday, May 9, at 9 p.m. In a live Web chat at 10:15 p.m., ask the man himself any question the film might raise. The film and Web chat will be streamed in their entirety at LinkTV.org.
Love in a cold climate
Sink into the Russia of Boris Pasternak in a newly restored “Dr. Zhivago,” a special 45th anniversary edition. On Blu-Ray and DVD with a new documentary, the epic love story directed by David Lean in 1965 has a leisurely tempo that requires patience. There’s even an intermission.