One of the most respected awards in fiction, the U.K.-based Man Booker Prize has been crowning a literary champion every year since 1969. This year’s “Booker dozen,” as it’s known—a list of 13 titles selected by a panel of judges—has now been winnowed down to six outstanding books. With no mainstream names on the short list, and with many eras and genres represented, it’s difficult to pick a favorite to win.
Film buffs have Rotten Tomatoes. Bookworms have Literary Hub. But where do theater lovers go to explore and rate their favorite live shows? Enter Show-Score, a just-under-one-year-old site that compiles and displays basic information, member and critic reviews, and links to ticket sales for all recent and current Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway shows. Its comprehensiveness and usefulness is astounding, but it’s the site’s numeric scoring system that makes it truly unique. Show-Score has found a way to quantify artistic quality while simultaneously honoring the diversity in the individual voices of the site’s users. In this way, Show-Score avoids the worst aspects of our culture’s need to pin a number and rank on every experience.
On October 26, 2013, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos argued before a group of film industry insiders—producers, buyers, directors—who had gathered to hear him give the keynote at that year’s Film Independent Forum in Los Angeles, that the movie business will soon die unless cinema owners embrace the distribution model Netflix has championed. Ideally, Sarandos would like to see all films—from big-budget summer blockbuster hopefuls to small, independent documentaries—released simultaneously in traditional movie theaters and via Netflix streaming. In the nearly three years since Sarandos’s chiding speech, theater owners have still not adopted the Netflix model; but neither has the movie business died as a result.
Engagement is the holy grail in user experience. Product engineers design for it; business owners strive for it; and users naturally want it. In discussions with owners and executives at cable, OTT, search-and-recommendation and video-streaming companies worldwide, Mediander has found universal agreement on the benefits of user engagement. A more emotionally involved customer is more likely to spend money on products and services. The connection between increased engagement and increased transactions seems like common sense.
In June 1986, I turned 16 and traded my learner’s permit for a driver’s license. That summer, filled with new freedoms and responsibilities, I went on my first unsupervised drives and began buying my music on cheap, car-playable cassettes instead of LPs. I drove my friends around hot Houston with the car windows down, blasting recent releases by Depeche Mode (Black Celebration), Prince (Parade) and R.E.M. (Lifes Rich Pageant), and, when the mood struck, Top 40 radio like Madonna, Wham! and Belinda Carlisle.
An expert villain classically trained at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Tom Hiddleston—or Loki, as you may know him—is starring in a TV miniseries adaptation of John le Carré’s novel The Night Manager, beginning its run on AMC tonight. The 1993 book was le Carré’s first with a post–Cold War setting, and it features the master spy storyteller’s typically shaded look at right and wrong.
The new Broadway show Bright Star is a redemptive story of love lost and love found, told through rousing bluegrass songs. Happily, it managed to push every button for this hardcore musical theater–phobe, offering fun yet not “show-y” tunes, pacing that held my attention, and an overall authenticity that lent purpose to the exciting choreography and truth to the evening’s big emotions. But primarily I wanted to see what the odd pairing of its famous cowriters—Renaissance man comedian Steve Martin and 1980s alternative folk-rock star Edie Brickell—would come up with.