The French-American film Round Midnight, directed by Bertrand Tavernier and starring my late husband, Dexter Gordon, as a jazz musician in Paris in the late 1950s, premiered in New York City 30 years ago today. As I near completion of Dexter’s biography, Dexter Calling: The Life and Music of Dexter Gordon, memories of the film come flooding back. They are bittersweet, as many of the performers have since passed away, most recently Bobby Hutcherson (1941–2016), who died this past summer. Bobby plays Ace in the film and delivers one of its most memorable lines. In the hallway of the Hotel Louisiane, Ace is holding a bowl of jambalaya as Buttercup walks past. He says, about living in Paris, “It would be the best city in the world if I could just find some okra.” Dexter loved that line, and whenever he repeated it to Bobby, they would both burst out laughing.
When most people think of technology, they think of Silicon Valley, Stanford and legions of brogrammers. It’s quite specific, simultaneously a monolith and monoculture. What people don’t think of are the smaller, specialized loci popping up around the country, the Kansas Cities and Detroits out there that are worthy and in need of just a little water, fertilizer and sunlight. The events group Techweek, which lands in New York today, exists to be this catalyzing force, and it’s led by a woman only three years out of a midwestern university. Now, less than a year into her CEO role, she has a plan to expand into the wild world of digital media. Everyone, this is Amanda Signorelli.
In this series of interviews about the emerging video space, we’ve spoken with thought leaders in live streaming, product development, content recommendation and massive end-to-end delivery solutions. One of the critical facets we have not yet explored is advertising in Video on Demand (VOD). Enter Chris Pizzurro of Canoe.
Friday, September 30
The Limericist’s Valediction
I’m not sorry if I’ve upped your dander
Or upset you with obnoxious candor.
But I’m saddened and tearful—
No, no, not at all cheerful—
To say farewell to dear Mediander.
The Wonder begins as a nurse, Mrs. Elizabeth “Lib” Wright, travels to a tiny village in the remote “dead centre” of Ireland in the 1860s. Lib, who describes herself as a widow, is one of the legion of female British volunteers who responded, some years earlier, to Florence Nightingale’s call to join her in Crimea, to care for wounded and dying British soldiers during the Crimean War. That harsh novitiate—compounded of the horrors of the battlefield and Nightingale’s relentlessly strict oversight—changed Lib’s life. Her training has made her, in the middle of the Victorian era, a new sort of woman: professional, in control of her emotions, knowledgeable, scientific. What happens to her in Ireland will remake her again.
One of my stay-at-home guilty pleasures these days are those detective-mystery series currently flooding the PBS prime-time airwaves. Based on popular crime novels featuring quirky murder-solving characters, these television shows typically originate in the United Kingdom and then make their way to America a few years later. There’s Sherlock, of course—a highly contemporized adaptation of the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle detective stories that has become immensely popular on both sides of the pond—and over the summer I became addicted to two others: Grantchester (based on mystery stories, by James Runcie, about a clergyman in 1950s England who sleuths in his spare time) and Midsomer Murders (set in the English county of Midsomer, where upscale Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby solves crimes in adaptations of Caroline Graham novels).
In practice, content recommendation is difficult to get right (as you’ve probably noticed while scrolling through countless “recommended for you” duds on streaming video providers). There are so many subtleties baked into a good movie or TV show that extend beyond blunt user behavior profiles. Maybe this is why it took an empathically minded French film fan, rather than an engineer, to solve the problem of good recommendation and bring it into the realm of 2.0.