Photographer Christopher Brown's collection Path of Beauty: Photographic Adventures in the Grand Canyon is a revelation of small details in far-removed crevices that often go unnoticed by visitors. The famous vistas are here, too, but portrayed lovingly in subdued light. Brown offers a sense of place rather than spectacle. His essays blend science, art, and spiritual matters in an easy back and forth. "Walk in beauty," he exhorts. His photos show us how.
No band but the Beatles commands more love from its homeland than Oasis. The Oasis sound, equal parts grit and grandeur, is full frontal on Oasis: Time Flies 1994-2009, a collection of their singles. Most of the stadium singalong hits are here: "Supersonic," "Wonderwall," "Don't Look Back in Anger," and they still pulsate with rock star swagger. All three are from the first two Oasis albums, and that's the only problem with this collection – they shoulda quit while they were golden gods. On the whole, though, when Oasis were good, they were great.
The world yearns for peace, especially at this time of the year. But it's not an easy task. A new five-part reality series, The Peacemaker: L.A. Gang Wars on A&E launching Dec. 16 at 10 p.m., documents the labors of a former Los Angeles gang member as he tries to negotiate genuine peace between warring factions of the city's street gangs. It is rough material, but the show is worth watching to understand more of what it takes to bring peace to strife-torn neighborhoods.
Shaking up Christmas music ...
Pink Martini – the Oregon retro-cool band – has a new holiday album, Joy to the World, with old favorites ("Silent Night," "Little Drummer Boy," "Auld Lang Syne") as well as the band's usual sprinkling of cultural references from Japan to esoteric regions of Old Spain. Simple, chic, cool.
... And Christmas classics
A Chanticleer Christmas: Holiday Favorites is a new collection of well-loved Yuletide faves that was broadcast live on National Public Radio in its debut earlier this year. The album features the all-male ensemble singing its silky a cappella music in Stanford University's Memorial Church. The song list includes such classics as "The First Nowell," "Away in a Manger," and "O Holy Night," as well as their most famous song, Franz Biebl's "Ave Maria."
Manna from … Savannah
For reads that feed our foodie souls, our tastes run to the lush worldliness of Saveur magazine and the delectable clarity of anything published by America's Test Kitchen. But Paula Deen's Christmas ($8.99), a special edition of her magazine, made us want Ms. Deen to be our mama (sorry, mom). The 165 family recipes include catfish with olive-tomato relish and chilled pear soup with spiced ginger crumbs. That's good eatin'.