Top Picks: iTunes' online concerts, 'Star Trek Into Darkness' on DVD, and more

Singer Plácido ­Domingo performs Verdi's baritone arias on his new album, Billie Jean King is honored on 'American Masters,' and more top picks.

PBS
Vivian Howard in 'A Chef’s Life'
'Verdi' by Plácido Domingo
Star Trek Into Darkness

Baritone beauty

After a lifetime of performing Verdi as a tenor, Plácido ­Domingo, one of the world’s most beloved tenors, now turns his talent to Verdi’s baritone arias. In celebration of Verdi’s 200th birthday, Domingo – whose career now spans 52 years – sings arias from “Macbeth,” “Rigoletto,” “La Traviata,” “Don Carlo,” and “La Forza del Destino” on Verdi by Sony Classical.

Mobile live concerts
Didn’t get out to see as many concerts as you wanted to this summer? Tickets too pricey? No problem. iTunes is streaming a month’s worth of top pop acts  – live from London – right to your iPhone or iPad, every day Sept. 1-30. Just download the iTunes Festival app and you’ll get free access to Katy Perry, Elton John, Arctic Monkeys, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, John Legend, Vampire Weekend, and many more – live or on demand.

Trekkie library
The crew of the USS Enterprise sets out on a new adventure in the film Star Trek Into Darkness, which arrives on DVD and Blu-ray Sept. 10. Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) must contend with a mysterious new enemy, and the friendship between the two is the film’s emotional core. We think series founder Gene Roddenberry would approve.

Scanning for crime

What would it do to the American legal system if people accused of a crime could simply be placed inside a brain-scanning machine and MRI techniques used to determine whether they were lying or telling the truth? Actor Alan Alda hosts an intriguing new series that investigates that question by presenting a fictional trial about a shooting in a convenience store. If technology and all its implications unsettles you, then tune into this two-part series, Brains on Trial, to keep abreast of just what it might be capable of doing someday. It debuts Sept. 11 on PBS.

Equal playing field
Billie Jean King is the consummate competitor, a groundbreaking athlete, and a role model for millions of young women. American Masters: Billie Jean King profiles this plain-spoken tennis champ who made world headlines in 1973 with her defeat of Bobby Riggs in what was touted as “The Battle of the Sexes”; her founding of the Women’s Tennis Association; and the establishment of equal prize money in the US Open. A host of luminaries are interviewed, including Gloria Steinem, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Venus and Serena Williams, and Chris Evert. It airs on PBS Sept. 10.

Down-home cooking

Every foodie knows there is no such thing as too many cooking shows, so PBS is feeding that appetite with a sweet, Southern tale. A Chef’s Life is about the travails and triumphs of gourmet cook and aspiring restaurateur Vivian Howard as she and her husband leave New York City to launch a fine-dining establishment in tiny Kinston, N.C., where she grew up. The 13-week series lifts the veil on farm-to-table menus with a real-life family drama. It debuts Sept. 14.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.