The Culture Arts

Top Picks: The Science Channel series 'The Planets,' the MotionX-GPS app, and more

The movie 'Wilson' stars Woody Harrelson as a man who discovers he has a teenage daughter, the venerable Newport Folk Festival is a rare opportunity to see some of the best groundbreaking female singers live, and more top picks.

Wilson Webb/20th Century Fox
  • Staff

Groundbreaking singers

This decade is witnessing a flowering of groundbreaking female singers (hello, Adele!), and the venerable Newport Folk Festival is a rare opportunity to see some of the best of the colorful bouquet live. If you didn’t attend this year’s just-concluded festival, NPR offers up full performances by the fierce Alynda Segarra of Hurray for the Riff Raff, Shovels & Rope’s Cary Ann Hearst, country star Margo Price, the poignant Adrianne Lenker of Big Thief, and the rambunctious trio Wild Reeds. You go, girls! Hear them at www.npr.org/series/newport-folk-festival.

Explore ‘planets’

The new Science Channel series The Planets explores topics ranging from places like Mars and Venus to exoplanets and the possible planet Planet 9. The program is hosted by former astronaut Mike Massimino, who was part of missions involving the Hubble Space Telescope. It premières Aug. 22 at 10 p.m.

Italian flavor

Author and journalist Helene Stapinski spent her New Jersey childhood hearing family legends about her great-great-grandmother Vita, who grew up poor in southern Italy and was said to have committed a murder that forced her to flee to the United States. As an adult, Stapinski finally travels to Italy to investigate – only to uncover a more surprising story. Murder in Matera, Stapinski’s account of her adventure, is an enjoyable read rich with Italian flavor.

App guidance

The MotionX-GPS app can become a valuable part of your outdoor experience whether you’re hiking, skiing, or involved in other activities. Among other features, it provides topographic maps and road maps, and it allows you to save personal waypoints so you can remember where you found a good picnic spot. The app is $1.99 for iOS.  

Hangdog protagonist

The movie Wilson stars Woody Harrelson as a man who discovers he has a teenage daughter (Isabella Amara). Monitor film critic Peter Rainer writes that Harrelson is “ingratiatingly hangdog” as the title character. The movie is available on DVD and Blu-ray.

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