Tea With Chris is a roundup of recommended links, posted every Friday. Here are a few of our favourite things from the Internet this week:
Carl: Peter Falk expressed more humanity in a shrug or a cough than most actors can bring to a whole Shakespearean soliloquy. He was a virtuoso of hesitation, doubt and resignation, but he could also ring arias of joy upon his shaggy brow. The spectrum of his work made him the soul of John Cassavetes’ greatest films, an inspired clown in his comedies, but also the redefinition of the TV cop show. His Columbo, a character it’s nearly impossible to imagine anyone else playing, was a kind of rumpled angel who meted out justice in a way that even his quarries had to delight in – a softie’s utopian ideal of law and order, in which authority punishes with reluctance and the truth is outed with a sigh of inevitability, that could only have originated in the 1970s. Falk embodied the best of that decade, a gentle dirty realism that lay upon his skin like a wrinkled overcoat. His death this week was the period to a quiet denouement. But we need his like again, to animate new dramas of understatement in an age of bluster and noise.
What Toronto’s listening to: I want there to be a new episode of this every day. Our friend Sheila told me that it made her terribly nostalgic for Toronto – even though she was already in Toronto.
Speaking of our town, here is a history of my favourite artistic tradition in Toronto, which is coming to an end this summer.
The writer Robert Kroetsch also died this week, in a car crash. A terrific Prairie poet, Kroetsch was true to the weirdness and funniness of the flatness, the seeds, the stones. Here’s how he described the urban development and decline of a Prairie town: “The gopher was the model./ Stand up straight/ telephone poles/ grain elevators/ church steeples./ Vanish, suddenly: the/ gopher was the model.” He was also an important novelist, essayist, critic and anthologist. His sad end doesn’t diminish the fullness of his life, the sort that people may remember better than they honoured it in his own time.
Chris: Something you don’t want a Serbian warlord to say about you during interviews: “I look forward to the day I can drink his blood.”
A Chinese company is replicating the entire Austrian village of Hallstatt (which was listed by UNESCO) in Guangdong province.
Since Toronto’s homophobic asshole of a mayor decided to skip next weekend’s Pride parade (along with every other event during the 10-day festival leading up to it), here’s a Flickr collection of old photos from historical gay-liberation events.