Top Picks: The digital magazine Marvelous, 'Gravity' on DVD and Blu-ray, and more

A new app compiles clips from documentaries by Ken Burns, writer Mitch Horowitz details how the idea of thinking positively took the US by storm, and more top picks.

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    Jazz and the Philharmonic
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    One Simple Idea
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Artistic exploration ...

An impressive roster of award-winning artists and rising stars explored the intersection of jazz and classical music at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami. Jazz and the Philharmonic features Bobby McFerrin (pictured), Chick Corea, Dave Grusin, Terence Blanchard, Eric Owens, Desmond Richardson, Shelly Berg, and the University of Miami’s Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra. Together they infuse classical works with contemporary improvisations, creating an evening of pure delight. It premières Feb. 28 on PBS.

... where classical meets jazz

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Sometimes cerebral cool, sometimes smokin’ hot, pianist Helen Sung’s première on the Concord Jazz label, Anthem for a New Day, deftly navigates the jazz idiom while engaging her classical roots. Jazz standard “It Don’t Mean a Thing,” Duke Ellington’s paean to swing, is treated with a quiet, playful turn while Sung’s own composition “Chaos Theory” demonstrates the full range of her jazz chops as she lets loose across the keyboard. Sung boldly embraces both her passions.

Roots of positivity

Your thinking influences your experience. It’s an idea so completely accepted that we tend to take it for granted. But – as Mitch Horowitz ably demonstrates in his thoughtful, well-researched book One Simple Idea – it took America by storm when Mary Baker Eddy (the founder of the Monitor) and other 19th- and early 20th-century thinkers first proposed it. Horowitz has done his homework; his “spiritual history” of the many facets of what many call “positive thinking” makes a fascinating read.

Pocket history

Documentarian Ken Burns has made a long career of retracing America’s footsteps. His new iPad-exclusive app, simply titled Ken Burns, collects close to four hours of clips from his many works, including “Jazz,” “The Civil War,” and “The Central Park Five.” People can comb through these videos, including new introductions from the filmmaker, or queue up thematic playlists. One theme, Innovation, comes free of charge. Unlocking the full experience costs $9.99.

Space travel

Dazzling space visuals arrive in your living room with the DVD and Blu-ray release of Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as two astronauts in peril. The movie, directed by Alfonso Cuarón, is a front-runner for the Best Picture Oscar, and its entrancingly eerie opening scene alone will make you feel the immensity of space. It’s available on Feb. 25.

Online distraction

Do you find yourself procrastinating by trolling through funny videos and breathtaking nature photos reposted by your friends on Facebook? Consider Marvelous for your next online distraction. It’s a digital magazine that “explores natural and human wonders” ranging from close-up photos of animal eyes (truly freaky) to “melting china” sculptures to a video of a toddler discovering rain for the first time. Check it out at


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