Courtesy of Smithsonian Channel

Top Picks: 'The Jungle Book,' 'Building Star Trek, and more

A new companion version to Van Morrison's stirring 1974 live album '..It’s Too Late to Stop Now... Volumes II, III, IV & DVD' is a must, a video taking you behind the curtain with 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' set designer Christine Jones is tantalizing, and more top picks.

Home in Los Angeles

What does “home” truly mean, in particular to people living in the Los Angeles area? The podcast Home: Stories From L.A. explores this, with host Bill Barol talking with subjects including a producer with various TV mementos and a writer from the East Coast who was able to adjust to her new residence. Check it out at

‘Trek’ inspiration

How have ideas seen on the classic TV series “Star Trek,” which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, influenced our own world? The new Smithsonian Channel program Building Star Trek explores how the show helped create dreams for the science and technology community with devices such as a universal translator, and it looks at the creations that are being worked on for the future. “Building Star Trek” premières on Sept. 4 at
8 p.m.

Extraordinary jungle

Disney’s live-action take on The Jungle Book, now available on DVD and Blu-ray, has extraordinary computer-generated effects, with the jungle and its menagerie of beasts and critters looking positively lifelike. Actors Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, and Christopher Walken voice their characters wonderfully.

Van Morrison must

Van Morrison fans, rejoice! There’s a new companion version to his stirring 1974 live album, titled ..It’s Too Late to Stop Now... Volumes II, III, IV & DVD. It’s peak-period Morrison, and none of the recordings overlap with the original album. The additional treasure-trove of these early 1973 live recordings capture Morrison at his fiery, mystical zenith, backed by his best band ever, the Caledonia Soul Orchestra, who provide hypnotic grooves and deep, Memphis-via-California grit befitting the master of Celtic soul. It’s a must for any fan of Van the Man. 

Joel Ryan/Invision/AP/File

Stage magic

Already read the script for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and wondering just how the story comes together onstage? Tickets for the West End production may be hard to obtain, but a video taking you behind the curtain with set designer Christine Jones includes tantalizing glimpses at some of the scenery and effects that bring the story to life. See the video at

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