Meet the real Joni
The woman who defined "singer/songwriter" and routinely revealed her most intimate longings, passions, and failures in her stunningly original songs, has always been reluctant to reveal Joan Anderson, the troubled, lonely recluse behind the artist Joni Mitchell. Canadian writer Katherine Monk's new bio, Joni: The Creative Odyssey of Joni Mitchell, lifts the veil on her fellow countrywoman. Her account of Mitchell's dramatic rise to fame and countless love affairs, which inspired her songs, makes for a riveting read.
The wealth behind the greatness
Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford – these titans of industry and commerce laid the foundations of modern America with their business and philanthropic acumen. History Channel brings the era to vivid life in a new, eight-hour series, The Men Who Built America, on Oct. 16. These five, self-made men, as ruthless as they were visionary, set the stage for the US to become a global superpower.
Pop song tribute
Jazz vocalist Kurt Elling's 1619 Broadway: The Brill Building Project makes real the notion "it's the singer, not the song," with his tribute to the studios where some of the most popular American tunes were written. Elling twists "Pleasant Valley Sunday" into a satiric romp, while "On Broadway" gets a full jazz make-over. The singer's four-octave baritone makes each highly recognizable number his own. Longtime collaborator Laurence Hobgood blankets the music around the vocals, keeping the toe-tapping beats lush and sophisticated.
What Tom saw
Veteran newsman and former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw brings his passion for history and perspective from decades of reporting to his latest venture on the Military Channel with The Brokaw Files, a new series launching Oct. 15. The iconic reporter shares his reporting and personal insights about events and the people who shaped them, from Ronald Reagan's last interview in office to the beaches of Normandy to the fall of the Berlin Wall to the events of 9/11.
Cutups in cars
This might be the funniest bit on the Internet: Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee (just remove the spaces and add .com) is Jerry Seinfeld's Web-only collection of video shorts that's exactly what it sounds like: car-mounted and cafe cameras capturing unscripted, wit-saturated exchanges between Seinfeld and the likes of Ricky Gervais, Larry David, and Alec Baldwin. Seinfield's a car connoisseur, so offbeat vintage vehicles are part of the show. The first two-month "season" just ended. More, please.
Let's play ball!
A League of Their Own, the story of the women who played baseball while the men were away during World War II, comes to Blu-ray for the first time for the film's 20th anniversary Oct. 16. The movie generates plenty of humor while examining a slice of Americana. Geena Davis, Lori Petty, and Tom Hanks give standout performances.