Top Picks: Carole King and James Taylor, 'Disgrace,' 'Obsessive Consumption,' and more recommendations

Carole King and James Taylor collaborate on new CD, postapartheid tale of 'Disgrace' now on DVD, an entertaining look at consumer culture in 'Obsessive Consumption,' and more top picks.

Princeton Architectural Press
A page from 'Obsessive Consumption: What Did You Buy Today?' by Kate Bingaman-Burt.
Deutsche Grammophon

Drawing credit

Faced with mountains of postgraduation debt, artist Kate Bingaman-Burt started drawing every item from her credit-card statement as a form of penance until her bills were paid. That idea led to her drawing one of her purchases every day accompanied by witty commentary. "Obsessive Consumption: What Did You Buy Today?" (Princeton Architectural Press) pulls together a selection of those ink drawings from pens and pizza to fake fangs and a mattress as a tongue-in-cheek peek at consumer culture.

Man and whale

"Into the Deep: America, Whaling & the World" on PBS May 10 at 9 p.m. is at once an adventure story, a commercial narrative, and a cautionary tale about our relation to the natural world. Whaling elevated some of America's most unlikely ports into international destinations and fueled the worldwide trade in whale oil. But it also helped drive the leviathans to near extinction and prompted a reevaluation of the practice in nearly every country. The show also offers the true story behind Herman Melville's "Moby-Dick," and is a soulful look at why the novel endures.

You've got a friend

He may not be sweet baby James anymore and her tapestry is full of many more colors, but boomer icons James Taylor and Carole King are as appealing and their music as hummable as ever in their "Carole King, James Taylor: Live at the Troubadour" CD and DVD. The recording captures a 2007 performance celebrating the 50th anniversary of the famed West Hollywood club and memorializes their own debuts on the same stage back in 1971 at the dawn of their long solo careers. The set arrives on May 4 and will air on PBS in June.

One stop

For savvy travelers who like to keep track of what airlines charge for incidentals – that soda, the aisle seat, a blanket – offers "Airline Fees: The Ultimate Guide," a handy online chart.

Postapartheid tale

"Disgrace," a fiercely unsentimental postapartheid tale of retribution based on the celebrated J.M. Coetzee novel, is a complex story that in the end offers a measure of hope. Newly out on DVD.

Medieval love songs

Guillaume de Machaut was a 14th-century French composer and poet in the "courtly love" tradition. Robert Sadin is a Grammy-winning arranger and producer who has assembled top international musicians to render his arrangements of Machaut's music in a modern, global-music setting. "Art of Love: Music of Guillaume de Machaut" (Deutsche Grammophon) includes such luminaries as Charles Curtis, Milton Nascimento, Madeleine Peyroux, and Cyro Baptista among others. The result is a tasty stew of Brazilian, African, jazz, Moroccan, and other contemporary world musics that allow the beauty of the original melodies to shine through the groovy new frames they are set in.

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