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“Reg Hartt’s Cineforum is everything Jane Jacobs wrote about.”–Laura Lind, EYE Weekly.

“If you look about, you will see that only operations that are well established, high-turnover, standardized or heavily subsidized can afford, commonly, to carry the costs of new construction. Chain stores, chain restaurants and banks go into new construction. But neighbourhood bars, foreign restaurants and pawn shops go into older buildings. Supermarkets and shoe stores often go into new buildings, good bookstores and antique dealers seldom do. Well-subsidized opera and art museums often go into new buildings. But the unformalized feeders of the arts—studios, galleries, stores for musical instruments and arts supplies, backrooms where the low earning power of a seat and a table can absorb uneconomic discussions—these go into old buildings. Perhaps more significant, hundreds of ordinary enterprises, necessary to the safety and public life of streets and neighborhoods, and appreciated for their convenience and personal quality, can make out successfully in old buildings, but are inexorably slain by the high overhead of new construction.
“As for really new ideas of any kind—no matter how ultimately profitable or otherwise successful some of them might prove to be—there is no leeway for such chancy trial, error and experimentation in the high-overhead economy of new construction. Old ideas can sometimes use new buildings. New ideas must use old buildings.”–Jane Jacobs, THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN CITIES.
THE CINEFORUM is everything that Jane Jacobs wrote about.  So am I. What makes us both everything she wrote about is that both myself and the Cineforum have been and continue to be under relentless attack from city officials.
In a CBC piece in 1969 Jane Jacobs stated, “There doesn’t seem to be much creativity at the top. It seems to me that Toronto has a split personality, a civic schizophrenia. On one level there is the spirit of individuals and small groups who do things…what you might call the vernacular spirit. This is all very informal, ingenious, quite romantic and full of fun, a great deal of fun. It seems to me that the official spirit of Toronto is stamp out fun. It’s pompous, impressed with mediocrity if its very, very big and expensive,”–Jane Jacobs–hXw8  
Right now at this moment I have to make extensive repairs or lose everything.
What most who read Jane Jacob’s book THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN CITIES is that she wrote that book from the perspective of the dirt poor.
I mentioned this to her son, James. “You are right. We were dirt poor when that book was written,” said James.
This is why City Planners and politicians have such great trouble understanding her ideas. They for the most part have never been in the situation Jane and her sister were in when they arrived in New York with little money. They settled on a daily diet of pablum because it gave them all the nutrients they needed at the lowest possible price.
I don’t even want to think of what a daily diet of pablum tasted like.
I have been told to get rid of my paper archives as they constitute a potential fire hazard. I called Cameron Bailey at TIFF. He called back, said he would see what they could do but I have not heard from him since.
I tried the City of Toronto Archives. They were going to send a couple of archivists over to pick and choose.
I told them not to bother.
Who could have imagined in the day that the hovels in which Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud made love today would be marked with plaques honouring the time they spent there. These were old buildings that served to give birth to modern poetry as the two most important poets of their time in their love making gave birth to a dynamic and totally new child/idea.
How could the Belgian police who measured the anus and penis of Verlaine know that one day the man they so treated would be honoured by their nation.
Many people have come to my Cineforum. Now and then some have asked if they could live here.

One such was Peter Sumadh. Peter writes: “Belfast-based musician/writer The Mad Dalton (aka: Peter GW Sumadh), was born in Dundee Scotland to an English Mother and Trinidadian Father. He moved to Canada at the age of seven w/ his first guitar that had been given to him by a neighbor.

When he left home in his early teens, he had already begun writing poems, songs and short stories, returning first to England and then to his native Scotland.

Making his way back to Toronto, he discovered Reg Hartt’s Cineforum where he met ‘blacklisted’ New York journalist and former Beat confidante Al Aronowitz, the man who smoked the Beatles their first joint and where he went on to experience: “…the single best education I could have ever possibly imagined…’”

Peter was invited to Charlesville, the town Rimbaud grew up in. He stayed in Rmbaud’s house. He slept in Rimbaud’s bed. What greater honour can there be for a poet?

Peter is one of the many who have found my home the place where they were born.

Rob Salem, of THE TORONTO STAR, said, “Reg Hartt has had an amazing impact given the size of the venue and the esoteric nature of the programming. He’s had an incredible impact on the city. No one else is doing it. No one else has ever done it.”

Whether you agree with that statement or not (and many do agree with it) the important thing to realize is that nothing and no one lasts forever.

The tide of change sweeps all in its path under the rug.

My archives need a home. These date back to the 1960s. The art work on the walls need a home.

The world laughed at the idea that anyone would pat $100 for one of Andy Warhol’s Soup Can paintings when they were new. Today they sell for over $11 million each.

They would not have been able to do that had they been tossed away in the trash which many at the time thought the right place for them.

My admissions have always been by donation. That was so that everyone no matter how poor could find a way in.

Experience shows that while more than a few gave the least they could and felt it more than enough others gave all they could and felt it was not enough.

Who knows? Down the road there may well be plaques, a lot of plaques on this old row house. Those plaques will state:

  1. Home of Reg Hartt’s Cineforum. It was everything Jane Jacobs wrote about.
  2. Belfast based poet THE MAD DALTON lived here.
  3. Poet Stedmond Pardy lived here.
  4. Alexandre Hamel, creator of Le Patin Libre, lived here.
  5. Singer Petunia lived here.
  6. WIZtheMC lived here.     .–Y1-fqMuw
  7. There are many more such as Australian chef Marc Sleep who cooked a dinner here from THE SALVADOR DALI COOKBOOK and Aditya Shankar who fought the battle between religion and homosexuality in India from here:   ,
  8. Al Arnowitz, the blacklisted journalist, loved The Cineforum.   It was his favorite place to give readings.                                                               “Reg Hartt has had an amazing impact given the size of the venue and the esoteric nature of the programming. He’s had an incredible impact on the city. No one else is doing it. No one else has ever done it.”–Rob Salem.


Drop by THE CINEFORUM in Toronto. Make a donation. Watch one of our programs. WIZtheMC is returning soon from Europe.
See  a piece of art you like make an offer of $1,000.00 or more as a donation. Then give it a new home. –Reg Hartt

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