Font Size

Witnessing

2pm Sunday, July 29, August 5.                                                                              

Reg Hartt, 463 Bathurst Below College Across From The Beer Store. 416-603-6643.   

“The law says I can’t help you. THE LORD says I must. What do I do?”

“That’s your question,” I said to the man before me.

“Then I guess I have to hire you,” he replied.

There are two kinds of people. The lesser not only are unable to break the law of the land to do the right thing they punish those greater than themselves.

I wanted nothing to do with the man who had hired me. I had thought him a fraud. I found out he wasn’t.

He was a Jew who had converted to Jesus. He ran a mission. I learned more from him in the short time I was with him than I had in all the years before that as one.

The list of people I welcomed into my home over the years who were homeless when I met them is huge.

Now the City of Toronto says my home is only zoned for three unrelated people.  Can’t bring in any more homeless folk. Too many people think being a Christian means parking your ass in a Church once a week listening to someone prattle about the love of God. It doesn’t. Too many people think GOD will damn us for who we have sex with. GOD won’t damn us for anything. We damn ourselves by our refusal to help the helpless. Unless this city has a change of heart for the better it is time to shake the dust from my feet. The authorities of his day beat the crap out of Jesus. Can we really expect them to do less to us? “There is a quality even meaner than outright ugliness or disorder, and this meaner quality is the dishonest mask of pretended order, achieved by ignoring or suppressing the real order that is struggling to exist and to be served.”—Jane Jacobs, THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN CITIES. Jane Jacobs was dirt poor when she wrote that. That is something many who read her book fail to realize.  In her own way Jane Jacobs was Christ.

The best part of a Reg Hartt program is what he has to say.”—Jane Jacobs.

Here are some of those I broke the law to help:

Alexandre Hamel was touring with WALT DISNEY ON ICE. It was 2004. He came here the first time just before Christmas. He asked if he could crash here instead of staying at the hotel Disney put him up in. He asked if he could live here when the tour was done. After a career as a figure skater he saw his future only in shows like DISNEY ON ICE and LAS VEGAS ON ICE. That is what the heroes of his youth were doing. While staying here Alex partied, got drunk, got stoned, did some presentations. One morning he woke up to realize he did not have to look for work. He could create his own work, create his own life. Today he is revolutionizing figure skating globally through his company, LE PATIN LIBRE.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkoNCMH6aNY

https://www.lepatinlibre.com/

Rene Highway was one of Canada’s greatest male dancers. One day he said to me, “I’d like to live with you.” He did. Through him I learned the true history of the peoples native to this land. One day Rene was picking wild berries. Bugs were swarming all over the people with him. They asked Rene, “How come the bugs are not swarming you?” Rene replied, “Before I began to pick berries I told them I would leave them some.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/René_Highway

Robert Naismith and I go back to Rochdale College in the late 1960s. A few years ago I was out posting flyers for my programs. I saw Bobby. We walked together. As he talked I found out he was living on the street. I said, “I have room for you.” Bobby said, “I have no money.” I said, “I did not ask you to pay me. I have room for you.” Bobby came in. Once he had an address he was able to get his bearings. http://whatsontonight.ca/production/1455/, 

http://passemuraille.libsyn.com/theatre-passe-murailles-50-for-50-podcast-bob-nasmith

Al Aronowitz. Al Aronowitz was the legendary journalist THE NEW YORK POST sent down to Greenwich Village in the 1950s to write a hatchet piece on a bunch of crazy young men who spouted poetry, flashed switch blade knives and smoked pot. Al at the time was a crime reporter. His editor’s son was hanging out with those people. His editor figured Al, being a crime reporter, would wrote a piece that would get them busted. He didn’t. Instead Al wrote the first positive press about Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs. He met a young fellow in a laundromat to whom he said, “Come with me.” Then Al took Bobby Zimmerman to meet Allen Ginsberg. Zimmerman became Dylan. Al brought Dylan with him when he went to interview THE BEATLES when they played Shea Stadium. Discovering they had never smoked pot Al put a towel under the door, opened the window and transformed the music. THE BEATLES were so grateful they gave him part of an album. When I met him Al was homeless. His wife had died from cancer. Miles Davis, who had little love (rightfully) for white folk called. “Do you need help?” said Miles. “No,” said Al. Quietly Miles paid the bill for Al’s wife’s funeral. He had just finished a book. Al said, “No one will give me a reading.” I said, “Come to Toronto. Stay with me. We will do readings.” Al did. After that Al returned to America. He did readings everywhere. His favourite place though remained my Cineforum in Toronto. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Aronowitz, http://www.blacklistedjournalist.com, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/02/AR2005080202209.html?noredirect=on, https://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/04/arts/music/al-aronowitz-77-a-pioneer-of-rock-n-roll-journalism-is-dead.html.

Daniel Goggin is one of Toronto’s best bike mechanics. He popped in one day looking like his plug had been pulled. I said, “What’s the matter?” Daniel said, “The people I live with told me they can’t live with me.” I said, “I have room for you.” After a few months I said to Daniel, “Do me a favor.” “What?” he asked. I said, “Say ‘thank you’ for me to those people who could not live with you.” When James  “Dr. Jamie” Gillis began smearing me with street posters Daniel was one of the few who stood up. As a result he found himself smeared with street posters. Daniel discovered there is an open offer of $500 to have him killed. Gee, I wonder who’s behind that? Here’s Daniel himself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v96QfcjaR2U,  http://reghartt.ca/cineforum/?p=22045 .

Aditya Shankar, The Face Of Gay Youth, India, asked if he could live with me. That was a wonderful year.

Aditya Shankarhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LgcM5VNZOU  ) arrived here one day for my cartoon festival. There was just Adi. Afterwards I invited him to have a beer. We talked. Adi decided he’d like to live with me. Not only did Adi come out to all of India from here he also fought the fight between religion and homosexuality in India from here. Adi was the face of Gay Youth India during that battle. Here’s Adi dancing at World Pride Toronto: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVkSw49SY-k  .

Peter Sumadh, The Mad Dalton. Al Aronowitz said, “The new Messiah will tear up the money.” We’re all called to be The New Messiah. I tore up thousands in Montreal when it became clear to me the people I was working with were not very good. As a result of coming back a day early Peter Sumadh walked into my life. He stayed in for over a year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhGiCuKGnA0  . Peter was one of the most important people I met. He’s also one helluva poet. He got invited to Charlesville, France. He slept in Arthur Rimbaud’s bed. It does not get better than that. Through Al my work is connected to THE BEATS. Through Peter it is connected to Rimbaud and Verlaine: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Rimbaud   , https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Attraction_Review-g661459-d2476652-Reviews-Musee_Rimbaud-Charleville_Mezieres_Ardennes_Grand_Est.html .

Petunia walked in here one day to see a show. He wound up living here. A lot that was good happened. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rMfd38jqtg , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxVVX64D5-o , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddBrLu0619I .

Chris Colledge stormed in here one day saying, “I’m homeless. Where am I going to live.” I said, “Here.” Chris left us forever a while back. He broke a lot of hearts. He just got tired of dealing with the bullshit:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRuByaSTtiQhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIcnqrfeEUo .

Donnarama is one of Toronto’s wickedest female impersonators. One day he called in a panic. I said, “Come here.” Living with her/him was kool: https://www.youtube.com/user/donnaramatoronto   .

Dante Abug. “I have to move in two days. I have no place to move to,” Dante said two people behind me in the lineup at the KFC at Queen and Portland. I said, “I have room for you.” Dante said, “I have cats.” I said, “I have room for your cats.” https://www.facebook.com/GagaWinehouse .

Bruno Weckerley. It was just after midnight in Queen’s Park, 1968. A fellow asked, “Can you sleep in the park?” I said, “No. It is supposed to rain. You can get arrested. What happened?” He said, “My father said, ‘my way or the highway.'” I said, “Come with me.” Bruno lived with me for quite a while. Through him I discovered THE I CHING. He became part of a band called Leigh Ashford:   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leigh_Ashford . In 2004 I went to see SPIDER-MAN 2. When the movie started it seemed utterly banal. I felt as if something important had left my life forever. I left the theater. I came home. Everything seemed okay. The next day I got a call from Bruno’s sister. She said, “Bruno died yesterday.”

Nima Hoda. Nima came to see my presentation THE NIGHT THEY RAIDED ROCHDALE. He wound up moving in. He helped me install the best 3D system in Canada here. He changed my life for the better.

These are just a few. There are lots, lots more like Mark Sleep from Australia who cooked a wonderful dinner from The Salvador Dali Cookbook,http://reghartt.ca/cineforum/?p=22692 , Stedmond Pardy who grew into a first rate poet here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFIdpoWOZGE , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vj7TaNZUW4M, Bede who came for the LSD talk fresh off the plane from New Zealand and who states, “I would not be the person I am without you,” his brother, Leo and their friend Toby from New Zealand, Dennis from Brazil who also came for the LSD talk and stayed, the wonderful Japanese artists Yusuke Hoshi, Yusuke Hasegawa: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BF66IxHcmvw , 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCeqynhP-xk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmPvCyaHF9U 

Then there is the wonderful Alexei Wood in wandered in for THE SEVEN SAMURAI and stayed for the summer: https://www.sacurrent.com/the-daily/archives/2017/12/21/sa-photojournalist-alexei-wood-found-not-guilty-on-all-7-inauguration-day-charges  , Robert Beaudoin who came to see TRIUMPH OF THE WILL wearing his grandfather’s SS uniform and moved in, Ilya Bazarov the wonderful Russian genius, Richard Karadza whose art remains on exhibit here, Karl Bustamante, Jeff Klassen, Julia Fox,

In 1968 I arrived at my then venue THE PUBLIC ENEMY on a rainy Saturday night to see the family of Robert and Jane Jacobs waiting outside to see Lon Chaney in the 1923 film, THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME. Two years later when I was Director of Cinema Studies at Toronto’s Rochdale College I saw Mrs. Jacobs’ picture in a newspaper. I discovered she had written a book titled THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN CITIES. I bought it and read it (many times). In 1969 the CBC interviewed her:  “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   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUO20–hXw8       .

It has been said that I am everything Jane Jacobs wrote about. What I am proudest of (and what makes me EVERYTHING she wrote about) is that the City Of Toronto sees absolutely no value in what I have done. To this moment it continues, despite massive endorsement from not only the city but also from around the world to stamp me out.

Well, this time they have given me a reason to pack my bags.

If I can no longer have the joy of inviting wonderful people to share my life then it is time to move.

Many think the sin of the cities of the plain, Sodom and Gomorrah, was homosexuality.

It wasn’t. It was lack of hospitality to strangers.

It will go better at the Judgment for Sodom and Gomorrah then it will for Toronto.

The Man Watching  
By Rainer Maria Rilke

I can tell by the way the trees beat, after
so many dull days, on my worried windowpanes
that a storm is coming,
and I hear the far-off fields say things
I can’t bear without a friend,
I can’t love without a sister.

The storm, the shifter of shapes, drives on 
across the woods and across time,
and the world looks as if it had no age:

the landscape, like a line in the psalm book, 
is seriousness and weight and eternity.

What we choose to fight is so tiny! 
What fights with us is so great. 
If only we would let ourselves be dominated
as things do by some immense storm, 

we would become strong too, and not need names.

When we win it’s with small things, 
and the triumph itself makes us small. 
What is extraordinary and eternal
does not want to be bent by us. 

I mean the Angel who appeared
to the wrestlers of the Old Testament:

when the wrestlers’ sinews 
grew long like metal strings, 
he felt them under his fingers 
like chords of deep music.

Whoever was beaten by this Angel 
(who often simply declined the fight) 
went away proud and strengthened
and great from that harsh hand, 
that kneaded him as if to change his shape. 
Winning does not tempt that man.  
This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively,  
by constantly greater beings.

                –Translated by Robert Bly

 

–Reg Hartt (Crazy-Wisdom-Yogin) 7/26/2018.

Matthew 25:31-46 The Final Judgment “When the Son of Man comes…before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers you did it to me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”Press:

Toronto alternative-theatre founder stands up to bullying threats

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/toronto-alternative-theatre-founder-stands-up-to-bullying-threats/article549053/

Cineforum – Heritage Toronto

http://heritagetoronto.org/cineforum/

Michael Valpy:  http://reghartt.ca/cineforum/?p=99

What has been written: http://reghartt.ca/cineforum/?p=23784

The City Should leave Reg Hartt alone:

https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2016/06/28/the-city-should-leave-cineforum-alone-editorial.html

Curtains at Cineforum? Quirky living room cinema busted for bylaw breach

https://nowtoronto.com/news/curtains-at-cineforum/

The Cineforum: Reg Hartt and Toronto’s Alternative Film Scene

http://theinnisherald.com/the-cineforum-reg-hartt-and-torontos-alternative-film-scene

Last picture show may be looming for Reg Hartt By Bruce DeMara

https://www.thestar.com/entertainment/2008/11/25/last_picture_show_may_be_looming_for_reg_hartt.html

Cineforum deserves a happy ending to its saga: Keenan By Edward Keenan Columnist

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/06/27/cineforum-deserves-a-happy-ending-to-its-saga-keenan.html

Fiorito: We gotta have Hartt By Joe Fiorito Columnist

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2010/09/15/fiorito_we_gotta_have_hartt.html

THE TORONTO STAR 1979 Bob Clampett

http://reghartt.ca/cineforum/?p=235

“The Cineforum is like a university. People can learn there. Reg Hartt is living absolutely the life he is teaching. That is the highest compliment I, as a Buddhist, can pay. He is a Crazy-Wisdom-Yogin.”-Jerzy Zaborski (Tibetan Lama who accompanied The Dalai Lama on his first journey across Canada. Archaeologist, Egyptologist, Sumerologist.”

“Reg Hartt teaches like Neal Cassady drove a bus.”–Joe Fiorito, Toronto Star.

Film maven Reg Hartt vows to keep screening at home cinema 

Controversy has never been a stranger in the life of Reg Hartt, whose living-room movie theatre has screened everything from classic Looney Tunes to Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will, to the homosexual adult film Boys in the Sand

http://nationalpost.com/posted-toronto/film-maven-reg-hartt-vows-to-keep-screening-at-home-cinema

Last Christmas At The Cineforum? Reg Hartt Says Maybe, Then A Lot More

http://toronto.citynews.ca/2008/12/12/last-christmas-at-the-cineforum-reg-hartt-says-maybe-then-a-lot-more/

The Cineforum Is Dead! Long Live the Cineforum!

https://torontoist.com/2010/08/the_cineforum_is_dead_long_live_the_cineforum/

Lawrence Solomon: Jane Jacobs rules as Ford strikes a blow for film freedom

http://nationalpost.com/opinion/lawrence-solomon-jane-jacobs-rules-as-ford-strikes-a-blow-for-film-freedom

Bidding Farewell to Reg Hartt’s Cineforum, Again

https://torontoist.com/2016/06/reg-hartt-cineforum-closes-again-2016/

Reg Hartt The Cineforum Revolvy

https://www.revolvy.com/main/index.php?s=Reg%20Hartt

The house that Hartt built

https://thevarsity.ca/2015/10/25/the-house-that-hartt-built/

THE CINEFORUM IS BACK (AGAIN)

https://www.blogto.com/film/2011/01/the_cineforum_is_back_again/

Shroud of Turin replica caught in bylaw battle

By  Michael Swan, The Catholic Register

https://www.catholicregister.org/item/23681-shroud-of-turin-replica-caught-in-bylaw-battle

THE SHROUD OF TURIN in a friendly place

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6BkjcDfKZE

 

   .

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                 

« »