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The Don't-Miss List: Tony Bennett, 'Top Chef' and More

See it! Hear it! Read it! Do it! The best of movies, TV, music, books and beyond

By Pamela Miller | November 2, 2012

MUSIC

Viva Duets, Tony Bennett
 
Seven decades, two world wars and 13 presidents ago, the son of an Italian immigrant who was a Queens grocer landed his first gig as a singing waiter in 1940s New York. In the years since, Tony Bennett has served in World War II, marched with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., sold out Carnegie Hall and crooned for presidents and queens. He was the first celebrity to do a cameo role on The Simpsons. His work as a painter hangs in the Smithsonian. He has won 16 Grammy Awards and sold 50 million records. He released "Duets II," the highest charting and best selling CD of his career, at the age of 80. Now at 86, Bennett works his magic with Latino artists — from such household names as Marc Anthony and Christina Aguilera to international stars, like Vicentico, frontman of an Argentine ska band. If only we could bottle Bennett’s swing.
 
MOVIES

The Loneliest Planet
 
What don't you know about the person you fell in love with? This tension-filled film follows Alex (Gael Garcia Bernal) and Nica (Hani Furstenberg) a few weeks before their wedding as they backpack with a guide across the spectacular landscape of the Caucasus Mountains in Eurasia. The drama hinges on one of those split-second decisions that can wreck or reverberate through a relationship forever. Entertainment Weekly writes: “Exploring the ends of the earth, this amazing movie suggests, can't outrun the loneliness within each human speck.”
 
TELEVISION

Top Chef Seattle Season Premiere,
Bravo, Nov. 7
 
Expect crustaceans on the menu and coffee house venues when Tom, Padma and Gail head to the Pacific Northwest for the reality series that’s still every foodie’s favorite. As Top Chef heads into its 10th season, half the fun is guessing how the challenges will tie to the locale — whip up a breakfast to cure a rock band’s hangover? Bake a coffee cake using only your thumbs? Catch a salmon with a toothpick? — while the other half is predicting which cheftestant is most likely to dice a digit.

BOOKS

Thanksgiving: How to Cook It Well, Sam Sifton
 
Distraught Thanksgiving cooks contemplating putting their own heads in the oven used to seek solace by dialing up Sam Sifton on The New York Times Thanksgiving help line to talk them down. Now, the renowned columnist has put his comforting wisdom in a book. It’s a reassuring mix of traditional recipes (“You can read about how to make a turkey out of tilapia somewhere else.”); debate-ending declarations (“You don't stuff the turkey, period.”); and words to meditate to (“Perfect is unattainable always.”)
 

WORTH THE TRIP

The Scream, MOMA, New York City
 
“Could only have been painted by a madman.” Some say the inscription penciled onto The Scream was Edvard Munch’s own declaration. Others believe a vandal marred the work. What’s not in dispute is that one of the most ubiquitous images in modern art is also the most expensive artwork ever snatched up at auction, thanks to a mystery collector who dropped $119.9 million this past May. (Who’s the madman now?) Some art world elites dismiss this copy, created by the artist two years after the original; The New Yorker called it a “half-bored knockoff.” Still, it’s worth a trip to MOMA, where it’s on view until April 2013, as this could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go nose-to-nose with the maniacal masterpiece before it’s forever sequestered in some billionaire’s living room.
 
Pamela Miller is a freelance writer who lives in Los Angeles.

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