Barbara Walters TV Special, Google Art, and More Culture Picks

Each week, The Daily Beast sifts through the cultural landscape to choose three top picks. This week, Barbara Walters and David Letterman talk about their heart surgeries, Google zooms in on museum walls, and fashion designers court even younger stars.

A Riveting, Revealing Hour of TV

Barbara Walters doesn’t like to talk about her personal life. She’s typically the most private host on The View, yet the show’s 81-year-old doyenne is now very candidly discussing her open-heart surgery from last spring. Life after the knife is explored in her TV special, A Matter of Life and Death, featuring interviews with Bill Clinton, David Letterman, and other survivors. The program manages to avoid the maudlin, in part because these patients are trained entertainers, writes Howard Kurtz. There's a touch of cheesiness (dramatic music, slow-motion shots, gauzy reenactment) but the emotional spine is the frankness of the interviews. And given the collective star power, the program, airing Friday at 10 p.m., will probably persuade some folks to seek treatment before it's too late.

Google’s New Museum Street View

Museums can offer one thing no one else can: intimate, in-person encounters with great works of art, no bells or whistles necessary. This week, Google and 17 great museums trumpeted a new initiative, The Art Project, which takes Google Maps’ Street View technology and brings it indoors. Instead of exploring a cityscape, the project lets you take a virtual stroll through rooms in great museums. Instead of zooming in on a dry cleaner or restaurant, you zoom in on fine paintings and sculptures. Sometimes, you can keep zooming until you’re at a sub-brushstroke level. This new innovation allows us, maybe even encourages us, to look at art as it was never meant to be seen.

Fashion’s ‘It’ Girls Get Younger

Hailee Steinfeld impressed filmgoers in the Coen brothers’ True Grit, and now the 14-year-old star is charming major designers. She donned a fun, age-appropriate Prada mermaid dress at a recent awards show—and quickly became a style starlet to watch. As Isabel Wilkinson writes, Steinfeld is only one of a growing crop of teen—and even pre-teen—stars now being wooed by major designers. Valentino and Chanel are fighting to get their dresses on stars younger than ever before. Elle Fanning, Chloe Moretz, and Willow Smith are making themselves viable fashionable forces, and have the unique ability to reach a young—and influential—audience. Thankfully, they’re wisely choosing what to wear down the red carpet—Prabal Gurung, Marchesa, Rodarte, and Christian Louboutin seem to be favorites.