Top Picks: TEDTalks on Netflix, a family circus on PBS, and more

Martin Scorsese examines the Quiet Beatle, Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem supply old-fashioned country music, and more top picks.

George Harrison: Living in the Material World
Manhattan skyline
Chattman Photography
Some Bright Morning by the band Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem

New York through one architect's eyes

Treasures of New York and "The Real Deal" profile Costas Kondylis, the architect responsible for creating many of the buildings that define the modern Manhattan skyline. From 2000 to 2007, he designed some 65 buildings or nearly one every six weeks. His works include Trump World Tower, Manhattan Place, and Silver Towers. It airs in New York City on May 2, and then is available online at the PBS site.

Now streaming

Netflix has inked a deal with TED (a nonprofit that brings people together from the fields of technology, entertainment and design) to make the conference's buzz-creating TEDTalks available on Netflix's website. Netflix users can check out innovative speeches delivered by figures such as Al Gore, James Cameron, and former Prime Minister Gordon Brown on topics like "Beasts, Bugs & Bio-wilderment" and "Chew On This."

A gleeful string band

If you have a hankerin' for that old-time country music, pick up the CD Some Bright Morning, a collection of lively tunes on traditional instruments such as the ukulele, banjo, recycled percussion, stand-up bass, fiddle, and guitar. Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem infuse their joyful yee-haw music with soulful lyrics.

Olympic triumph of another kind

Jesse Owens, the cautionary tale of the 1936 African-American Olympic superstar, is the story of the 22-year-old son of a sharecropper who triumphed over perilous odds, including the racist policies of Adolf Hitler's prewar Germany, where the Games were played. He became a hero and world champion, winning four gold medals. But it is also about the fleeting quality of fame and the way Americans idolize athletes when it suits their purposes, and forget them once it doesn't. Airing on PBS May 1, this film is part of the "American Experience" series.

A struggling circus act

Circo, a film on PBS's "Independent Lens" series, documents the hardscrabble life of the Ponce family circus, an itinerant group of performers fighting for their survival amid a severely depressed Mexican countryside. Airs May 3.

The quiet Beatle

Legendary director Martin Scorsese turns his attention to the quiet Beatle in the documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World, available on DVD May 1. The documentary is a deep look into Harrison's life that not only shows his childhood in Liverpool and his time with The Beatles but gives equal screen time to his later years and solo work. An impressive array of interviews include Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Martin, Eric Clapton, Pattie Boyd, and others.

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