Year: 2019

Best-bets for Aug. 27: Finals near for music, comedy, more

1) “America’s Got Talent,” 8-10 p.m., NBC. The last couple weeks have sent 14 acts to the semi-finals, including dancers, acrobats, two comedians, a violinist and lots of singers. Now 12 more perform, with the last seven spots (plus a wild card) being filled Wednesday. Here are two magicians, an aerialist, a dog act and comedian Jackie Fabulous, plus lots of music – three singers (one of them opera), some beatboxers and the Detroit Youth Choir … also, a guitarist and Gonzo (shown here) the tambourine master. Read more…

Bluegrass: A regional sound goes global

This was supposed to be regional music, rural music. Then bluegrass spread way beyond that.
“Big Family,” the new PBS film, starts by quoting Bill Monroe (shown here), a pioneer of the sound: “Bluegrass has brought more people together and made more friends than any other music in the world.”
Then it shows that impact. We hear Monroe’s “Blue Moon of Kentucky” on his own 1947 record .. and on the flip side of Elvis Presley’s first record in 1954 … and from a modern Japanese group.
Yes, the Japanese love bluegrass. “They treated us like the Beatles,” says Jeff Hanna of the Nitty Gritty Dirty Band. Read more…

Best-bets for Aug. 26: Song & dance & rap

1) MTV Music Video Awards, 8 p.m., MTV, BET, CMT, VH1, Nickelodeon, TV Land, Paramount, Comedy Central. In the old days, MTV avoided rap; not any more. Missy Elliott (shown here) gets the Video Vanguard award and does a medley; Big Sean, Lil Nas X, Lizzo and Bad Bunny perform … leading, MTV says, to a big rap finale. Also performing: Taylor Swift, the Jonas Brothers, Normani, J Balvin, Rosalio, H.E.R. and Shawn Mendes with Camila Cabello. MTV reruns this at 10:30 p.m. and 1 a.m. Read more…

Seeking a life of ease and e’s

vr notic how important th lttr “” is in daily lif?
I did rcntly, whn it scapd from my computr. Thn I …
OK, I’ll quit doing that and start using the “e” again. I just wanted to show what my life was like for a while: Suddenly, inexplicably, my laptop’s “e” didn’t work. In the aftershock, Bjork (shown here) became my favorite star. Read more…

Best-bets for Aug. 25: “Power” starts, “Instinct” ends, Halston reigns

1) “Halston,” 9 p.m. ET, CNN (barring breaking news). Somewhere near the top of the pop-culture world was the designer (show here with models) named Halston. He made Jackie Kennedy’s hats, Liz Minnelli’s gowns, the uniforms of Braniff stewardesses; handsome and articulate, he partied with Warhol, proclaimed on TV shows. Still, people knew little about him. Roy Halston Frowick was from Des Moines and Evansville, Ind. With rich detail, this describes his wild time at the top … and the finance schemes that toppled him. Read more…

Week’s top-10 for Aug. 26: From rap to bluegrass

1) MTV Music Video Awards, 8 p.m. today (Monday), MTV, BET, CMT, VH1, Nickelodeon, TV Land, Comedy Central, Paramount. Assembling a mega-list of stars; MTV lets its sister networks simulcast the show, then reruns it at 10:30 p.m. and 1 a.m. Taylor Swift (who ties Ariana Grande with 12 nominations) does two songs; Missy Elliott (shown here), who gets the Video Vanguard award, does a medley. Also performing: Lil Nas X, Jonas Brothers, H.E.R., Normani, Lizzo, Bad Bunny, Shawn Mendes with Camila Cabello, more. Read more…

Best-bets for Aug. 24: Ten hours of family crises

1) “Web of Dreams,” 8-10 p.m., Lifetime. Now the Casteel saga is complete. Over five Saturdays, Lifetime has had adaptations of the V.C. Andrews novels. The first three starred young Annalise Basso as Heaven Casteel (shown here). In “Heaven” (rerunning at noon), her father sells her to a cruel family … In “Dark Angel” (2 p.m.), she finds her grandfather’s mansion … In “Fallen Hearts” (4), she’s lured back there… In “Gates of Paradise” (6), her daughter faces tragedy … Then “Web” flashes back to the family secrets. Read more…

Best-bets for Aug. 23: It’s time for some vintage fun

1) Movies, cable. To re-live some long-ago fun, catch the delightful “Ghostbusters” (1984) — shown here with Harold Ramis, Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd — at 7 p.m. on AMC. The fairly good “Ghostbusters II” (1989) follows at 9:35. For a newer hit, “Descendants 3” is at 8 p.m. on Disney; if you include delayed viewing, this bright musical drew an extraordinary 11.2 million viewers for its debut. Read more…

Best-bets for Aug. 22: Bye-bye, golf and “Baskets”

1) “Holey Moley” season-finale, 8 and 9 p.m., ABC. Each era, alas, has a different legacy. In 1969, we had the summer of Woodstock; in 2019, we have the summer when miniature golf (shown here) became a primetime, big-network sport. Now we get a champion, with sports stars dropping in. It’s golfer Michelle Wei in the first hour, gymnast Gabrielle Douglas in the second, basketball’s Steph Curry (who produces this show) in both. He even asks why there aren’t more mini-sports. Mini-basketball maybe? Read more…