Top Picks: the Spirit of Goodwill, Nancy Reagan, 'Freakonomics' the movie, and more

The Spirit of Goodwill uplifts, Nancy Reagan on PBS, the film version of 'Freakonomics,' and more recommendations

Courtesy of PBS
Terry Wigfall, lead vocalist and sax player, singing at concert for the US Mayors Convention 2009 with the Spirit of Goodwill Band.
"You Can Draw in 30 Days," by author Mark Kistler.

Gifted group

"For Once in My Life" is a sweetly upbeat look at an unlikely group of musicians in Miami – the Spirit of Goodwill Band. This group of talented music lovers is assembled from workers at the Goodwill Industries Center in South Florida and includes many with both physical and mental challenges. The documentary follows the group as it prepares to perform for a US mayors' convention and concludes with the rousing performance in front of some 440 mayors and their guests. Airs on PBS, "Independent Lens," Feb. 1 at 10 p.m.

For Space lovers

The new "NASA App" from iTunes includes a frequently updated shuttle and rocket launch schedule (next up Feb. 23), high-quality astronomy "pictures of the day," and summaries of nearly 70 of NASA's current missions. Sighting opportunities for the International Space Station – generated based on user location – will leave space lovers starry-eyed.

a complicated lady

Scheduled to coincide with the centennial of President Reagan's birth, the PBS documentary "Nancy Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime" is an hour-long biography of one of the country's most striking first ladies. Full of intimate details, including comments from Ron Reagan Jr., the film also includes interviews with a wide range of historians, family friends, and members of the Reagan White House inner circle. Airs Feb. 6 at 10 p.m.

Geekdom's best ideas

In honor of its 150th anniversary, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's MIT Museum will display 150 multimedia objects representative of the institute's culture and impressive legacy of innovation. Assembled based on suggestions by students, staff, and alumni, the MIT 150 Exhibition will live on as a permanent online archive – a testament to the endurance (and importance) of geekdom.

the 'fun' side of economics

"Freakonomics," the film version of the bestselling book about incentives-based thinking by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, is out on DVD. From the makers of "Super Size Me" and "Jesus Camp," it examines the goals that motivate people and why they do what they do from an economics standpoint, using hilarious and insightful examples such as the sumo wrestling world and the impact of the names we bestow on our children.

Ready ... Set ... Draw!

Desktop doodler? Secret scribbler? Here's the next step. Mark Kistler's "You Can Draw in 30 Days" is a clear and concise drawing class in a book that completely eliminates prying eyes and peer pressure and will get you feeling every inch the artiste in no time. You'll learn the basics of perspective, 3-D drawing, shading, and anatomy. Pencils not included.

Ten best movies of 2010

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