1 A live-in nanny, Vivian Maier also was an omnivorous Chicago street photographer whose subjects ranged from men lounging in doorways to kids splashing in Lake Michigan. Hers are human dramas, big and little, caught in the flush of life in the 1950s and ’60s. Her subjects seem unaware that they are being photographed. After her death in 2009, Maier’s photos and negatives were found in storage lockers and sold at auctions. Her fascinating work has now become the subject of celebrated exhibits, including “Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows” at the Mpls Photo Center through March 1. mplsphotocenter.com
5 When Pink brought her sold-out concert tour to the Twin Cities, we gushed about it both times. Now you can witness what the excitement was all about in the DVD “Truth About Love Tour: Live From Melbourne.” The close-ups of the bold pop diva somersaulting in midair — and singing or lip syncing — as she flies over the audience during “So What” are so amazing. But there are enough un-acrobatic numbers to convince you that she’s a first-rate pop vocalist and enough behind-the-scenes extras to show you that she’s a hard worker and a devoted mother.
3 “Razor Pony,” the opening and title track of Twin Cities music man Dave Simonett’s new six-song EP, quickly makes clear what this recording has to offer that much of his work with Trampled by Turtles doesn’t: space. With minimal help from non-TBT friends, Simonett traded the crisp and often fast instrumentation of his beloved band for a muddier, slower-stewing vibe, ranging from the ambient, Daniel Lanois-style remake of TBT’s “Midnight on the Interstate” to the ragged, semi-unhinged “Criminal” and “Repetition.”
2 Not every interesting show produced for PBS runs on traditional TV. “The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers” is a Web series that could double as a career recruitment tool. Each three-minute-or-so episode features a professional talking about both his or her work and what happens “when the lab coat comes off.” There’s a neuroscientist who’s also a cheerleader, a biologist who referees at roller derbies, an anthropologist who moonlights as a stand-up comedian and, of course, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, cosmic tie collector. www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/secretlife/scientists/
4 Margaret Hawkins’ entertaining novel “Lydia’s Party” tells the story of seven women — friends, mostly, but occasional frenemies — who have gathered each January for the past 20 years for a party. This year is particularly momentous: Lydia has cancer and has only weeks to live, and she plans to use the party as an opportunity to break the news to her friends. We learn the back story of the friendships — including the complications, jealousies and misunderstandings. This book feels like what lifelong friendships really are.
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