‘Lady’ tour de force
Actress Maggie Smith delivers a great performance in The Lady in the Van, which centers on Miss Shepherd, a homeless woman who parks her vehicle in the driveway of a playwright (Alex Jennings). Even though the role is no longer fresh for Smith, who also played Miss Shepherd on stage, the performance certainly is – Smith gives it everything she’s got. The film is available on DVD and Blu-ray on April 19.
Backstage pass to ‘The West Wing’
For fans of the often prescient “The West Wing,” there’s no greater gift than the debut of The West Wing Weekly. In the podcast, Joshua Malina and Hrishikesh Hirway playfully and reverentially discuss each episode of the beloved TV series a decade after it signed off NBC. Malina, who joined the cast in Season 4, is a frequent collaborator of series creator Aaron Sorkin, so he offers a unique insider perspective. With 154 episodes to cover and promises of special guests, “West Wing” fans can’t wait to hear – in the words of President Bartlet – what’s next.
Solving sports mysteries
While some sports memorabilia sit in a Hall of Fame, other items are missing or their authenticity is in doubt. The new Smithsonian Channel series Sports Detectives attempts to track down these items, such as Muhammad Ali’s 1960 Olympic gold medal and the saddlecloth worn by Secretariat in the 1973 Kentucky Derby. The search often involves fun elements of suspense as well as an exploration of what these sports moments meant to the American public. “Sports Detectives” premières April 24 at 9 p.m.
Traditional Irish music meets jazz
If your idea of Irish music is one endless jig, it’s time you met The Gloaming, an Irish-American supergroup whose album The Gloaming 2 is already one of the year’s most talked-about albums. Since their debut in 2014, The Gloaming have become a phenomenon, filling packed concert halls around the world with their blend of traditional influences, jazzy piano, and the moving, gorgeous vocals of Iarla Ó Lionáird.
Need help memrise-ing?
Looking to practice your Spanish on the way to work? The app Memrise lets you practice your language skills with various tools, including audio and images that give you memory tricks. If you want a break, take courses on topics like modern art and constellations. The free app is available on iOS and Android.