Favorite

The week's best releases from the pop-culture universe. 

CD -- The Cellar Door Sessions: This exhaustive, six-disc set chronicles Miles Davis' four-night stand at a Washington, D.C. club in 1970. Edited sections were excerpted on the genre-busting Live-Evil album, but this is the first time most of the material has been released. Things really get cooking on the last two discs, when guitarist John McLaughlin joins in, assisting Davis -- who plays trumpet through a wah-wah pedal -- in setting the template for avant-jazz. Soak in the sounds that have influenced every chill-out DJ on the planet.

BOOK -- Chas Addams Happily Ever After: Addams -- the late New Yorker cartoonist who inspired The Addams Family -- married several times. So who better to riff on love than a guy who couldn't keep from falling in and out of it? The typically wry and morose cartoons (many of them never seen before) feature such images as a fairy-tale prince and princess filing for divorce -- "We're not living happily after," they claim. Perfect for your Valentine's Day sweetie.

DVD -- Hallelujah/The Green Pastures/Cabin in the Sky: Celebrate Black History Month with this trio of pioneering African American movies. Long before the civil rights movement, black filmmakers were making movies to take their minds off war, poverty, and racism. Loaded with plenty of jazz and blues (as well as appearances by music legends Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington), these movies -- released for the first time on DVD -- serve as the launching pad for more than seven decades of black cinema. Shaft, Do the Right Thing, and Training Day wouldn't have been made without them. Then again, neither would Big Momma's House.

TV -- 360 Degrees of Oscar: Turner Classic Movies' month-long tribute to the Academy Awards cribs its concept from the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" game. It starts at 6 a.m. Wednesday with Mogambo, starring Sinatra plaything Ava Gardner, who's in the next movie with Kathryn Grayson, who stars in the film after that. It all ends on March 3 with the Van Gogh biopic Lust for Life. And in case you're keeping score, several of the films can indeed be connected to Bacon.

DVD -- The Tomorrow Show With Tom Snyder: Punk & New Wave: On the surface, Snyder's button-down style seems completely antithetical to punk music. Yet in the late '70s, the late-night talk-show host invited many of the genre's best bands to appear on his program when no other TV show would have them. This two-disc set includes performances and interviews with such luminaries as the Ramones, Patti Smith, and Elvis Costello. Best is a typically contentious sit-down with former Sex Pistol John Lydon, who lives up to the name "Rotten."

CD -- With Love & Squalor: We Are Scientists, the latest new-new-wave band to combine skittering guitars and snagging hooks, are a bunch of smartasses. But they're still more welcome than most of their impeccably dressed and increasingly smug contemporaries (we're looking at you, the Bravery). Their debut album will have you dancing to their musical experiments. If only lab work were this catchy.

COURTESY FLUSH, PLEASE -- Fashion Police: The Style Network's attire-oriented show (airing at 10 p.m. Monday) is really just another excuse for the E! affiliate to parade overdressed celebs in front of the cameras. Catty hosts Robert Verdi and Bobbie Thomas take shots at red-carpet wear and runway disasters, but it's the beauty tips -- designed to help regular folks look like stars -- that really exasperate. Like an eyebrow wax and $200 jeans are all we need to look like Jude Law.

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More by Michael Gallucci

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