Top Picks: New Tony Bennett CD, social media scorecard, PBS' Prohibition documentary and more
Tony Bennett releases a CD of star-studded duets, new online tool measures your social media influence, Ken Burns produces a three-part PBS series on Prohibition, and more top picks.
It seems as if Tony Bennett has been around forever ... twice. But the man still swings and croons with the best of them at any age. Tony Bennett Duets II features pairings with Lady Gaga, Aretha Franklin, fellow crooner Michael Bublé, the sultry Norah Jones, Willie Nelson, heartthrob John Mayer, and the late Amy Winehouse, who proves beyond question that she belonged in this galaxy of stars. Culled from the great American songbook, the 17-track album has only a few clunkers.
How influential are you?
In a Twitter-obsessed world, everyone's trying to break into social media, and Klout (www.klout.com) tells you if you're succeeding – it delivers a Klout score, from 0 to 100, on your social media influence. The number is derived from your true reach (number of people who share or reply to your posts), amplification (how often someone shares or responds to your posts), and your network (how influential your friends are).
A pop diva returns
In Bette Midler: The Showgirl Must Go On, the divine Miss M returns in a Las Vegas extravaganza taped at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. This gently R-rated (for language and sexuality), 70-minute DVD includes all her biggest hits – from "The Rose" and "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" to "From a Distance" and "Wind Beneath My Wings." She is backed up by the Harlettes, the Caesar Salad Girls, and a 13-piece band. The show, which aired on HBO, was nominated for a 2011 Emmy.
Training the humans
Buck Brannaman, who runs horse-training clinics around the country, says, "A lot of times, rather than helping people with horse problems, I'm helping horses with people problems." Brannaman is the subject of Buck, a graceful look at the man who was the inspiration for Robert Redford's role in "The Horse Whisperer" and who has also been called "the zen master of the horse world." Out on DVD Oct. 4.
America's great experiment
Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns turns his lens on Prohibition. The three-part PBS series runs Oct. 2-4, with live online streaming timed to the broadcasts. Set in the era of bathtub gin and notorious gangland criminals like Al Capone, the series explores the lead-up to the passage of the 18th Amendment, Prohibition's rocky course through American culture – and its eventual end.
Liszt: My Piano Hero is a CD tribute to the famed composer by Chinese piano superstar Lang Lang. The occasion is a celebration of the Hungarian composer's 200th birthday. This collection includes Hungarian Rhapsodies No. 6 and No. 15, Liebestraum, the Liszt/Schubert Ave Maria, and La campanella from Grandes études de Paganini.