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Our arts writers’ pick for the week of Nov. 17

Posted 10:39am on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013

The Star-Telegram arts writers spotlight what’s rocking their world this week.

1 The Greatest Ears in Town: Arif Mardin was one of the legendary producers of the pop-rock era, having worked with everyone from Aretha Franklin to Barbra Streisand and Willie Nelson. His life and influence are chronicled in this engaging documentary, out now on DVD, that includes footage and/or interviews with some of the stars he has produced. Along with Muscle Shoals, the doc about the groundbreaking studio playing this weekend at the Modern, this is a good way to get in touch with pop’s roots.

— Cary Darling

2 The Beatles, On Air — Live at the BBC Volume 2: In an era of carefully managed media appearances, it’s impossible to imagine a superstar band goofing around and, even more unlikely, performing live on a weekly radio show. But that’s just what the Beatles did in the early ’60s, appearing on countless BBC broadcasts and, often, airing out classic sides that never made it onto their albums. On Air — Live at the BBC Volume 2 follows the wildly popular first installment (released in 1994), and features 63 tracks, none of which overlap with the initial volume. There are 37 previously unreleased performances here, ranging from sparkling run-throughs of hits like She Loves You or Please Please Me to surprising covers like Words of Love and Memphis, Tennessee. For Fab Four fanatics, this is a veritable treasure trove.

— Preston Jones

3 Royal Street Jazz : Granbury resident Robert W. Cook took home the Silver Star Award, the highest honor, out of a field of more than 1,000 entries, in the National Watercolor Society’s 93rd annual competition. His amazingly detailed watercolor of a New Orleans street corner, Royal Street Jazz, was chosen to be the best submission by the executive director of the San Diego Museum of Art, Roxana Velasquez Martinez del Campo. Perhaps the fact that he formerly owned a Dallas architectural illustration firm gave him his precise edge over the competition.

— Gaile Robinson

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