Top Picks: International light displays, the albums of classical music Grammy nominees, and more
The website Complex provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse into Amazon's warehouses, PBS airs the history of a renowned ballet company, and more.
Courtesy of Claire Stefani
Light up the night
Craving more holiday lights than your tiny yard can hold? Check out National Geographic's gallery of the Top 10 places to see light displays all over the world, from Vienna, which boasts a multitude of white lights, to MedellĂn, Colombia, which has huge 3-D figures and an airplane made of lights, among other sights. Go to http://bit.ly/hlights.
Norwegian jazz/electronica guitarist Eivind Aarset has teamed up with producer and sample master Jan Bang on Mr. Aarset's first recording as leader for the renowned Munich-based ECM Records. The mysterious and subtle collection on Dream Logic features bowed, looped, and otherwise processed guitars, set in a landscape of mbira, percussion, and atmospheric sound samples. It's a perfect soundtrack for a moonlit wander across a frozen fjord.
Classical Grammy nominees
The Grammy nominations offer some perfect stocking stuffers for classical music lovers this year: Kim Kashkashian for her album KurtĂˇg/Ligeti: Music for Viola and AndrĂˇs Schiff for his recording of J.S. Bach's Das Wohltemperierte Clavier. Ms. Kashkashian's performance of solo music by the great Hungarian composers KurtĂˇg and Ligeti is what many critics are calling a landmark recording. Mr. Schiff returns to Bach as a veteran, earning more acclaim for his New Series recordings of the Goldberg Variations and the six partitas.
One of the Mac's best calendar apps has hit the iPhone. The $2 Fantastical (pronounced Fantastic-cal) handles the transition to touch screens with grace and speed. It pulls in your existing iPhone calendar and makes adding new appointments a breeze. Type in a full sentence, such as "Lunch with Alex at Boloco on Tuesday," and Fantastical smartly creates a calendar entry.
What happens after you click "buy" on Amazon to purchase that DVD for your brother-in-law? The website Complex gives you a glimpse into the online retailer's backstage area with its gallery of photos taken inside an Amazon fulfillment center, from towering five-level shelves to aisles of boxes stretching as far as the eye can see. Check out the gallery at http://bit.ly/amazoncenter.
Celebrate the arts
Family TV viewing gets a boost with two celebrations of the American artistic spirit. CBS broadcasts the 35th Annual Kennedy Center Honors on Dec. 26, at 9 p.m. as a two-hour special. Honorees this year include Buddy Guy, Dustin Hoffman, David Letterman, Natalia Makarova, and Led Zeppelin. On Dec. 28, "American Masters" on PBS spotlights a national institution with Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance. The documentary details the founding and blossoming of what many called the "third ballet" company in New York during its heyday. Learn how Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino fused classical ballet with the energy and dynamism of American modern dance.