The Winter’s Tale is fantastic

I saw William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale last Thursday at the BAM in Brooklyn and loved it. The play is one of BAM’s “Bridge Projects” bringing together talent from London and New York.

The play is masterfully produced under the direction of Sam Mendez of American Beauty fame. I loved the effects and acting. My real criticism comes from the abrupt and unexpected tone change between the first and second parts. The first part is incredibly dark with its testament to the follies of jealousy and hasty judgment. The second part on the force of love as a means of redemption is incredibly light with farcical elements. The two parts tie the story well together and are compelling independently, but I expected a more gradual tone shift (admittedly that would have been hard to accomplish given the 16 year time difference between the two parts but something just “felt off” in the way it was done). I would have also cut out the dancing inflatable breast/penis scene which did not feel like it fit with the rest of the play.

As a side note, I was very impressed by Ethan Hawke’s acting. He often gets a bad rep, but I found him to be one of the very best actors in the play.

If you are in New York, check the play out!

Taken is a fun thriller

I meant to see this movie ever since I saw a preview in an Argentine movie theater almost a year ago. For some reason (probably because it’s French directed and produced), it came out in the US a few weeks ago, much later than in the rest of the world. It has done extremely well.

It’s essentially the story of a retired Jason Bourne played by Liam Neeson whose daughter is kidnapped while she is on vacation in Paris. We follow his desperate but deliberate search. I particularly loved the logical progression of the story as he went from clue to clue.

The movie is fast paced and thrilling. See it for a nice ninety minute escapade.

The Eligible-Bachelor Paradox

Last Spring, Mark Gimein, who is usually more known for his investigative journalism, wrote an interesting article using game theory to explain why there are seemingly so few eligible male bachelors in their 30s relative to the number of attractive, eligible women.

His thesis is that highly eligible women don’t bid aggressively for men as they are always hoping for someone better to come along. Less eligible women bid more aggressively and end up with most of the men.

It strikes me that his conclusion is correct but his analysis inverted: men are the bidders and women choose whether to accept the bids. Highly eligible women reject bids hoping for future higher bids. The jilted men in turn bid for less eligible women who accept the bids.

Regardless, if you are a single woman in your thirties look at the bright side: you must be highly eligible 🙂

The article makes for fun reading. You can find it at:

The Future of Media

I had the pleasure of being invited to a New Media dinner at Strauss Zelnick’s apartment in New York. It was a fantastic opportunity to reconnect with old Internet friends and to meet a slew of interesting characters. Jason Hirschhorn formerly from Sling Media was easily the funniest person in the room and made quite an impression with his stories, humor and impertinent yet astute commentary.

After the dinner, we all partook in a discussion on the future of media moderated by David Remnick from the New Yorker. The discussion ranged far and wide from Fred Wilson’s “There is no truth, I only want to read what the masses are thinking” to a few journalists from the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal vehemently defending the value of investigative journalism. Jason reminded us of the fantastic Epic video that emerged a few years ago where Google caused the demise of the New York Times which at the end became a newsletter for the elite.

There is no denying that the newspapers are under threat as they have never been before. They are facing increasing competition on the distribution side from the Internet while classified advertising and print advertising revenues are going away. Newspapers represent 3% of media consumption and 17% of advertising revenues while the Internet represents 20% of media consumption and 5% of advertising revenues. It’s not hard to imagine those shares of advertising revenues inversing.

Given the threat to the very existence of newspapers, many voices emerged defending the public value of the big brand newspapers, especially the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal. While their best days may be behind them economically speaking, I am actually not worried about the survival of these newspapers. Their business model significantly worsened, but it does not mean they will go away. Airlines provide a nationally critical service.

The industry as a whole has not been profitable over its entire history, yet they manage to survive. The same will be true of newspapers, even if it takes a few billionaires subsidizing them during the transition period.

There definitely seems to be a market for well written and researched papers and magazines. The Economist is currently increasing its readership and the Wall Street Journal is doing relatively well. One could even argue that the demise of local papers will strengthen the large brands.

It’s hard to tell where the media world will end up 25 years in the future. As someone pointed out, 10 years ago AOL had half the Internet and Infoseek, Alta Vista, Lycos and Geocities were the talk of the town.

There is no doubt the transition will be painful, but I am convinced there is a market for well researched reporting and I can’t wait to see how it all pans out!