I recently found my way into a media and technology industry conference where I "accidentally" bumped into the chair of the CRTC, Konrad von Finckenstein, who was surprisingly charming. Our conversation couldn't have been more different from the experiences I've had at CRTC hearings, where commissioners bear down on you with condescending glares, like feudal lords against the backdrop of a row of flags, the CRTC logo hanging overhead in place of a medieval coat of arms.
Maury Chaykin died this week on his 61st birthday. Some obits called him a character actor. It's basically a film-TV term -- where Maury mostly worked -- as opposed to star. Another term is supporting actor versus leading man. It's a shame he didn't do more stage work, where physical typing isn't as great. I once wrote a play on the Montreal Canadiens; a sports type who met the actor cast as Rocket Richard said, "You can't have a fat Rocket!" But you can and we did. Maury was a beautiful guy in his prime but not a typical movie lead; yet he'd have made a great Lear or Prospero. Asked by Jian Ghomeshi for a role he felt he'd nailed, Maury joked, "Hamlet," making you think it may have been on his wish list.
One of the most acrimonious and unproductive political seasons in recent memory breaks for summer this week with calls from an influential Conservative for more "raw debate" and an end to stifling political correctness.
Kory Teneycke is former media chief for Stephen Harper. He is now vice-president of a fledgling all-news television network, Sun TV News, and is ready to take his talent for stinging invective to a larger stage -- and, his critics fear, to accelerate the trivialization of our politics.
On the advice of admirable TV journalists, I recently watched the first two episodes of Broadchurch. They said it could be the next Downton Abbey, which didn't really move me. Also that it was "tweeted about more than any drama in U.K. history," which sounds like an orphan stat created by PR. But it's a cops 'n crime show and I'm hooked on those. (Don't know why. I'll get to that.)
Watching a film about Jack Layton barely two years after his most untimely death, there is one question you have to ask: Is it too soon?
The tears are barely dry, and it seems only yesterday the beautiful chalk tributes were scrubbed from Toronto City Hall at the behest of Toronto's current mayor.
But upon viewing the film, one realizes it will merely be the first of many. Jack Layton's life was rich with story, and Jack the film is just the first dramatic survey of the life of Jack Layton.
It feels as if crime news -- think Oscar Pistorius -- is more prominent than it's ever been. Not just where it always rules, in tabloids or all-news radio, but on "serious" outlets like CNN, the New York Times or the CBC -- fast becoming the Crime Broadcasting Corporation. There have always been places where journalism retreats in order to escape dull, headscratchy things like politics and economics. These refuges include weather, natural disasters, traffic accidents, celebrities, awards shows -- I'd like to see a survey on whether crime tops that list right now.