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Top Picks: Ellen DeGeneres, Eric Clapton, PBS documentary on William Kunstler, and more recommendations

Ellen DeGeneres' new cable comedy special, Eric Clapton at the Crossroads Guitar Festival in Chicago, lawyer William Kunstler as the subject of a PBS documentary, and more top picks.

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Comedienne in her element

Ellen DeGeneres stars in her fourth cable variety/comedy special on TBS, "Ellen's Somewhat Special Special," featuring music and magic as well as her own slyly gentle comic routines. Acts include: Grammy-winning country trio Lady Antebellum; top Australian magician James Galea; The Catwalk Acrobats; and the Japanese group Kabuki Expert, appearing in the United States for the first time to perform the viral-video sensation Matrix Ping Pong. The show tapes live at a Chicago comedy festival June 16 and will air on TBS June 27 at 9 p.m.

Cosmopolitan country

Everyone in Nashville knows the go-to guy for impeccable harmony vocals and tasteful guitar stylings is Jim Lauderdale. The cosmopolitan country singer and songwriter is a linchpin for ballyhooed albums by Lucinda Williams, Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, and countless others, but his own albums are where the real gold lies. "Patchwork River" (Thirty Tigers), a collaboration with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, features Lauderdale's strengths – soul-drenched vocals, steely guitar riffs, and even a detour into Memphis R&B.


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