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Top Picks: Korean food, hipster farmsteads, self-appointed superheroes, and more

A culinary tour of South Korea on PBS, farming skills for city dwellers, a documentary on caped vigilantes, and more recommendations.

"Kimchi Chronicles"

Craig Ruttle/AP

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Urban farmers

Urban Homesteading, by Rachel Kaplan with K. Ruby Blume ($16.95, Skyhorse Publishing), is a how-to guide for sharpening "heirloom skills" (raising chickens, growing food, canning, seed saving, composting, etc.) within city limits. The authors are advocates of preserving the planet for future generations through sustainable living. Packed with information and photos, the book has proved so popular with urban hipsters it has already sold out its first run. A second shipment is expected in mid-September.

Don't call it a comeback

Sultry soul singer Joss Stone hit the ground running with her smash debut "Soul Sessions" in 2003. Since then, the talented Brit's record sales have slid downhill. Last year she dumped her label; relocated to Nashville, Tenn.; and started fresh with a funkier, stripped-down, rootsy sound produced by Dave Stewart of Eurythmics fame. Think of Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, and Tina Turner in a blender and you'll get the drift of Ms. Stone's new release "LP1." The songs have your typical themes of love and betrayal, the band is tight, and oh, can this girl sing!

Self-appointed superheroes

The quirky HBO documentary "Superheroes" follows real-life crusaders for justice in the mean streets of America's cities. From San Diego to New York, solo crime fighters actually don masks and capes to patrol their neighborhoods to help rid the towns of crime and evildoers. There's some raw language and violence, but it's a fascinating look at a passionate subculture. Airs Monday, Aug. 8 on HBO.

A sense of wonder

In Curiosity, Discovery Channel launches an ambitious, 60-episode, global television series addressing "fundamental questions and underlying mysteries of our time." Topics will include space, biology, geology, medicine, physics, technology, nature, archaeology, history, and the human mind. The five-year, multimillion-dollar project debuts Aug. 7.

A sense of wonder

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Rio, the G-rated animated tale of rare birds, smuggling, and romance in colorful Brazil, comes to DVD on Aug 2. Voice talents include George Lopez, Anne Hathaway, and Jesse Eisenberg.

Korean soul food

Following in the footsteps of PBS's "Spain ... on the Road Again" comes the Kimchi Chronicles, cohosted by Marja and Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Marja's quest to reconnect with her Korean heritage through cooking takes viewers on a food-oriented tour of South Korea. Heartwarming, entertaining, and delicious, "Kimchi Chronicles" is now airing on your local PBS station. Check kimchichronicles.tv for listings.


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