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Owen and Elsie (born Smith) Hartt at the time of their marriage.

Myself being honored by the Mayor of my home town, Minto. It was the best place in the world for me to be born. Beside me is my Mom’s Mom. The people whose houses she cleaned to help feed her family were astounded that the cleaning lady’s grandson was so honored by their Mayor. At the time I had been invited to speak at The University of New Brunswick in nearby Fredericton.


My mom was Church Of England (Anglican/Episcopalian). Her father was a blacksmith. The automobile wiped him out. Her family knew poverty. Her mother cleaned other people’s homes to put food on their table. Her brothers became mechanics. They built a thriving business. I am proud of all of them.

My dad was Roman Catholic. His family is Roman Catholic. They lived on the top of a hill in Minto, New Brunswick. The hill is called Hartt’s Hill. I loved the house my dad grew up in. My father’s brother, Douglas Hartt, served as Director of Public Works Canada in the government of Pierre Trudeau. That’s as high in the Civil Service as one can rise in this country.

At the time of their union a marriage between an Anglican and a Roman Catholic was more frowned upon than the union of a man and woman of different skin shades. I won’t use the word “race” because it is a fiction. We end race by refusing to talk about what does not exist. There is one race, the human race. It comes in a variety of colors, like the rainbow.

My parents were strong enough to stand up to both their families. Both families wanted my mother to abort the child she carried. I’m glad my mother and father were strong because otherwise I would not be here.

Ed Keenan, of The Toronto Star, said walking through my door, “Reg, you’re the only person in this city who stands up.”

I’m not, of course.

I love my mother and father. Without them and with their wonderful stubborn strength neither I nor my brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces would be here.

A few years back after a sold out show I had done at Montreal’s 1,000 seat Rialto Theater I returned to Toronto to find all my beer drunk. My dad was living with me at the time. John Alcorn had created an amazing New York style jazz piano bar on Church Street in the middle of the gay ghetto called MY TREEHOUSE. It was a wonderful place. They had no money so I postered for them and they gave me a bar tab.

I took my Dad over to My Treehouse. The music, as always, was first rate. I met and became friends with the mother of Toronto’s jazz and blues scene, Jodie Drake there:    . Jodie became a wonderful mentor to me (one of my many mentors).

As the night rolled wonderfully on and each artist that followed played music most never hear my Dad and I got drunker and drunker.

In vino veritas.

Suddenly my Dad turned to me and said, “I have hated you since you were born for in the moment I saw you I realized I had to die.”

I thought to myself, “Finally…something that makes sense.”

My father had gone wild after my birth.

In 1968 I began to study THE I CHING, an ancient Chinese Oracle. One of the things THE I CHING teaches is that when we realize we die we do one of three things. We turn to drink. We turn to religion. We accept our fate, go on with our lives and teach:    .

In that instant my love for my father knew no bounds. He had told me the truth.

I grew up in a garden of hate. It was a good garden to grow up in. My youth prepared me for my life. For the last twenty years I have been at the center of a storm of hate that would have withered most and which should have withered me:  .

It hasn’t.

Jodie Drake at The Cineforum for Marc Sleep’s wonderful Salvador Dali Dinner (prepared from The Salvador Dali Cookbook).

Marc Sleep’s wonderful Salvador Dali Dinner. Marc was a stranger I met by chance whom I invited to live with me. One day Marc said, “I’ve cooked for Princess Di! I’ve cooked for Tom Jones! All I can cook in this town is hamburgers and pizzas. I’m a cook. I have to cook.” I said, “Let me show you something.” I showed him my copy of The Salvador Dali Cookbook. The rest is legend.

Salvador Dali and his cook book. Marc Sleep, a stranger I invited into my home, cooked a wonderful dinner from this cook book.

The day after the night at MY TREE-HOUSE one of Canada’s premiere journalists, Michael Valpy, came  by to interview me for a story in the country’s newspaper of record, THE GLOBE AND MAIL. I told Michael what my Dad had said. Michael replied, “First born sons.”

In that moment so much became clear. The Greeks understood it for in their records Cronus, the father of the gods, devours his children so that they will not outlive him.

So much became clear. I loved my father more.

Michael wrote a wonderful piece. In it he said, “Reg Hart  is what living in a metropolis is all about. He personifies the city as a meeting place of ideas, as a feast of experience and discussion and debate, as a triumph over the banal and soporific of the original and provoking.

So what do we do when we are the child hated? We love those who hate us. Doing that we don’t become like them.

What do we do when we are the child cast out? I welcome others who have been cast out.

What do we do when we are the child despised? I welcome others who have been and are being despised.

Today we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Just about everyone probably including The Pope gets it wrong when it comes to The Christ.

How so?

Remember those shepherds to whom the angels sang? Well, those shepherds were among the most despised people in the land because their work kept them from religious observation and God alone knows what those men are up to in those hills with only sheep and no women. After all, when David was a shepherd he loved Jonathan as a “man loves a woman” and everyone but the most self deluded knows what that means.

And then throughout his life Jesus is eating and drinking with the people the orthodox shun. The priests, the Sadducees, the scribes (lawyers) say constantly, “If this man were a prophet he would not allow these people to touch him.”

The conventionally Christian are brother and sister to those who despised the people Jesus loved.

I welcome the despised into my life. Always have. Always will.

Last week a major Canadian television network called to say they had read a really good story about my work  on the web. They said, “We’d like to do a story.”

After we finished speaking I surfed the web to see if I could find the story. I didn’t find it. I did, however, find this:

List of famous male orators, listed by their level of prominence with photos when available. This greatest male orators list contains the most prominent and top males known for being orators. There are thousand of males working as orators in the world, but this list highlights only the most notable ones. Historic orators have worked hard to become the best that they can be, so if you’re a male aspiring to be a orator then the people below should give you inspiration.

List features Santa Rita Durão, Reg Hartt and more.

While this isn’t a list of all male orators, it does answer the questions “Who are the most famous male orators?” and “Who are the best male orators?”

Aditya Shankar asked if he could live with me. Adi grew up queer in Bombay, India. He said, “I knew I was queer when I was 8.” He was here when the shit hit the fan in India over homosexuality and religion. Religion in India has a hard time with sex period. Jesus taught the truth sets us free. The word “religion” comes from the Latin “re” which means “back” and the Latin “ligare” which means “tie.” The word religion means to tie back, to restrain, to bind. It has nothing to do with Faith. It sure as fuck does not set us free.

Wow! Really! Fucking wow!

I sent it to some of the members of my blood family. Not one word of, “Hey, that’s great!”

That is because there are two road we can walk in life.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Like Robert Frost I took the road less traveled. That has made all the difference.
Do I believe in Jesus? Yes, I do.
Do I believe in religion? No, I do not.
We are in this world to become strong.
If our strength comes from hate it is a weak strength indeed.
When our strength comes from love it is an unbreakable strength.
“Be still. Vengeance is mine. I will repay you,” states God.
Jesus calls us to love those that despise us, to do good to those who hate us.
Were all of us to do that right now then all of this world’s wars would end right now.
The truth is that ain’t gonna happen.
Journalists like Robert Fulford  (whom I love) will embrace the eye for an eye and the tooth for a tooth of The Hammurabi Code and Leviticus. They turn their back on the words, which in the words of the atheist Kurt Vonnegut, are the only antidote to the poison of the Hammurabi Code and Leviticus. What are those words? They come from Jesus, They are uttered daily by all who say the prayer he gave us. Those twelve words are, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
Like water pouring over a rock those words pour from the lips of the stony hearts of men and women without penetrating them.
I am no stranger to hate.
I speak for all who are hated by those who see themselves a righteous.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all who are cast out, despised, and hated. You are my brothers. You are my sisters.
You are my family.
As I said, I had a strong mother and a strong father. They raised me strong.
Strong enough to stand up to and to endure the haters. Join me.
My admissions are by donation because that way everyone who wants to can come. As well, as we give we receive. Those who give little get little. Those who give much get much. Further we are told by Jesus that whatever we give we will receive back multiplied a thousand times over with the gift of eternal life tossed in.
Jesus also teaches that those forgiven little love little while those forgiven much love much. He adds that God loves a good sinner.
“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
Reg Hartt, you are going to burn in Hell:

Don’t be a good sinner. Be a great sinner.


Where is Jesus this day? This Christmas? Well, he’s not in your churches listening to your heartless hymns.

He’s with the homeless, the hungry, the naked, the sick and the people locked in our prisons. He’s with the homosexual who just got beat up by good Christians on their way to church.

He has no time for the comfortably pious.

That’s gospel:  .

–Reg Hartt 12/25/2018.

Many years ago I quoted, “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp.” The congregation of The Bathurst Street United Church rose as one, shouted, “We won’t have that here!” and showed me to the door. I flagged a passing cab. The driver said, “What happened there?” I said, “I quoted the poet who said, ‘A man’s reach should exceed his grasp.’ I never got to ‘or what’s a Heaven for?’ They shouted, ‘We won’t have that here’ and showed me to the door.” He said, “My God, they are all losers.”


A full sized authorized replica of The Shroud Of Turin hangs in my home. Look at the beating it bears witness to. This is our model. Like Jesus we are called to invent nothing, deny nothing, stand up and speak up. Do that and this world will beat the Hell out of us. Nonetheless, we have no other choice. I’m with Jesus.

Jane Jacobs and her family first came to my programs the week they arrived in Toronto in 1968. When I meet them on the street her children constantly say, “Our mother loved you.” Jane Jacobs’ ideas when first expressed in her book THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN CITIES outraged academia because they went against the grain of what academia chooses to believe. Jane’s last book DARK AGE AHEAD is a prescient warning that was and is being ignored. “I had wonderful teachers in the first and second grades who taught me
everything I know. After that, I’m afraid, the teachers were nice, but
they were dopes…I have a lack of ideology, and not because I have an
animus against any particular ideology; it’s just that they don’t make
sense to me…they get in the way of thinking. I don’t see what use they
are…University and uniformity, as ideals, have subtly influenced how
people thought about education, politics, economics, government,
everything…We are misled by universities and other intellectual
institutions to believe that there are separate fields of knowledge.
But it’s clear there are no separate fields of knowledge. It is a
seamless web.”-Jane Jacobs.

Jane Jacobs was a regular at Reg Hartt’s programs from her arrival in Toronto in 1968. No one ever said of Toronto promoters David Mirvish and Garth Drabinsky, “The best part of what they offer is what they have to say.” TORONTO LIFE said, “People come for the movies. They come back for Reg Hartt. He is the principal attraction. He can weave a talk on Bugs Bunny’s genitalia into an eloquent discourse on free speech.” Nonetheless, The City of Toronto’s mayor, its councilors, its bureaucrats, the province and the country’s politicians turn a deaf ear to Reg Hartt. He has no problem with that. When have these ever listened. As Jane Jacobs herself said, “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. Yes, from Justin Trudeau down to Toronto Councilor Mike Layton they ignore the real order struggling to emerge. We are that order. Continue the struggle.

Said David Beard in a Toronto Star piece from 1980, “Reg Hartt is overworked, under-financed and snubbed. We should be paying tribute to him” Michael Valpy: “Reg Hart  is what living in a metropolis is all about. He personifies the city as a meeting place of ideas, as a feast of experience and discussion and debate, as a triumph over the banal and soporific of the original and provoking.

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