Top Picks: Imogen Heap's new album 'Sparks,' the PBS documentary 'Big Men,' and more

Classical music lovers can check out streaming concerts, ballets, and operas from all over the world on medici.tv, the PBS documentary 'Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning' by Lange's granddaughter Dyanna Taylor looks at Lange's impact on our perception of the 1930s and '40s, and more top picks.

Philistine Films

Searching for home

Filmmaker Annemarie Jacir presents a spare and moving drama based on the 1967 mass Palestinian exodus to Jordan. Trapped in a refugee camp, a young boy yearns to find his father, from whom he and his mother were separated during the upheaval. When I Saw You is now out on DVD.

Bright ‘Sparks’

Imogen Heap doesn’t need a drummer. For her fourth album, Sparks, the British songwriter created beats by sampling sounds such as the slam of a dishwasher door, a baby’s heartbeat inside a womb, and an egg cracking on a bowl. She also traveled to India, Bhutan, and China to assimilate exotic musical traditions into her electronic pop. Heap’s ambitiousness paid off. Her sparks of imagination catch fire on joyful songs such as “Minds Without Fear,” “Xizi She Knows,” and “Lifeline.”

Big oil in Africa

The “POV” documentary Big Men, directed by Rachel Boynton, explores the relationship between foreign companies and African countries after oil is discovered, focusing on the progress of American company Kosmos Energy in Ghana. The film also visits Nigeria, where militants who believe average citizens do not benefit from the discovery of oil blow up oil pipelines. The film airs on PBS on Aug. 25 at 10 p.m.

Classical concerts

Lovers of classical music will want to check out medici.tv, which streams concerts, ballets, and operas from all over the world. Visitors can watch more than 100 live streams a year free of charge, and some can even be viewed for several weeks after the initial broadcast. Members can pay a monthly fee for unlimited access to a library of more than 1,300 performances. Medici.tv also has a free app, available on iOS and Android devices. 

Master Photographer

A new documentary about Dorothea Lange, photographer of “Migrant Mother,” will première on PBS’s “American Masters.” Lange took enduring images of poverty in the Great Depression, mass migration during the Dust Bowl, and the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. Her images and dedication to social justice made her a major photographer of the 20th century. Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning is by filmmaker Dyanna Taylor, Lange’s granddaughter. It airs Aug. 29 at 9 p.m.

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.