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Six Picks: Recommendations from the Monitor staff

Vince Guaraldi in his essence, 'Life on Mars' TV series now on DVD, creativity at its best in '500 Tables, and more.

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Courtesy of HBO

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Prank film, pointed message

The merry pranksters of left-wing activism in "The Yes Men" (2003) are back with a sequel, The Yes Men Fix the World, to debut on HBO July 27, 9 p.m. This time, their elaborate hoaxes involve going on BBC news representing Dow Chemical, Union Carbide's parent company, to announce that the firm will pay reparations for the Bhopal pesticide factory disaster in 1984. They also tackle Katrina relief as well as publish more than a million faux editions of The New York Times, announcing the end of the Iraq war. They bedevil their targets, but also ask a good question: What if we did things differently?

Guaraldi in his essence

Most likely you know the Vince Guaraldi Trio from the Peanuts TV specials, most notably "A Charlie Brown Christmas." But the pianist/composer with the handlebar moustache was a popular attraction for West Coast jazz fans for years before and after his Peanuts fame. A new collection, Vince Guaraldi: Essential Standards, aggregates material from his "legitimate" jazz career, including his early 1960s radio hit "Cast Your Fate to the Wind," and selections from the ground-breaking Bossa Nova album "Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus."

Time-warping detective

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