Top Picks: Molly Wizenberg's memoir 'Delancey,' the 'Independent Lens' film 'The New Black,' and more

The Smithsonian Channel's documentary 'Shark Girl' follows one woman's effort to educate the public about sharks, 'Doctor Who' actor David Tennant stars in the thriller 'The Escape Artist' on PBS, and more top picks.

Shark Girl

For the love of sharks

Australian native Madison Stewart began scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef when she was 12 years old. Disturbed by its decline, she left mainstream schooling two years later to become an activist for the reef’s largest predator, sharks. Shark Girl is an hour-long documentary on her continuing efforts to educate the public away from fear and toward knowledge of sharks’ importance to maintaining the health of the reef. She also advocates against the sale of shark meat, which can contain dangerous levels of mercury. It premières June 15 on the Smithsonian Channel at 8 p.m. EDT. 

New era for civil rights

A new film for “Independent Lens” on PBS, The New Black, examines the African-American community and the wide range of stances – pro and against – that its members took on the issue of gay rights leading up to the 2012 election, when Maryland passed the Civil Marriage Protection Act, which legalized same-sex marriage there. It airs June 15 at 10:30 p.m. EDT.  

Courtroom thriller

Kick off your summer with a thriller on PBS’s “Masterpiece: Mystery!” David Tennant (“Broadchurch” and “Dr. Who”) plays a star defense lawyer renowned for his talent for clearing devious criminals in The Escape Artist. But his passion to represent anyone in a fair trial is tested to the extreme when he defends an accused psychopathic murderer and the case engulfs his own family. Viewer discretion is advised. It airs June 15 and 22 at 9 p.m. EDT.  

Inspired works 

For those music fans of both liturgical and secular organ music, Albany Records offers Celestial Wind: Organ Works by Robert Sirota, featuring a collection of his works written for his wife, organist Victoria Sirota. They include Toccata (1979); Four Pieces for Organ (1975); Easter Canticles, Cello & Organ (1993); and the featured title, Celestial Wind (1987). In addition to the organ pieces played by Victoria are several works with Sirota on piano and Norman Fischer on cello. 

Restaurant memoir

Molly Wizenberg, a Seattle food blogger and author of “A Homemade Life,” has released a new memoir that chronicles the first five years of her marriage to Brandon Pettit in Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage. “Delancey” picks up where the first memoir left off with their exhilarating, messy, and stressful attempt to open a wood-fired-pizza restaurant with no experience and a modest business plan. It’s not a spoiler to say they succeed – brilliantly. Wizenberg’s compelling and thoughtful voice continues to be a joy to read.

Bee-autiful portraits

If you appreciate flowers in your garden or fresh vegetables every spring and summer, now you can get a close-up look at the bees that help to make them bloom. Sam Droege, head of the bee inventory and monitoring program at the US Geological Survey, and a team of colleagues have figured out how to take detailed photographs of the more than 4,000 species of bees that live in North America. Check out Droege’s photos on Flickr ( and read more about their work in National Geographic (

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