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“An art form requires genius. People of genius are always troublemakers, meaning they start from scratch, demolish accepted norms and rebuild a new world. The problem with cinema today is the dearth of troublemakers. There’s not a rabble-rouser in sight. There was still one, but he went beyond troublemaker to court jester. He clobbered the status quo. That’s Godard. We’re fresh out of ‘bad students.’ You’ll find students masquerading as bad ones, but you won’t find the real article, because a genuine bad student upends everything.”—Henri Langlois

“Rebellion is not a sin. Rebellion is a sign of two things: intelligence and having a spine. If someone says you are rebellious say, ‘Thank you.’”—Reg Hartt

Stamp out fun.—Jane Jacobs.

My mother loved Reg Hartt Jim Jacobs

“Forget about the movies. I’d rather listen to Reg.”—Petunia.

Toronto has many great bars as does every city. The best ones are cheap. Cheap bars attract bright people.

For a great bar with Mexican food go to SNEAKY DEE’S up the street from The Cineforum:

On Yonge Street try: . One of my lads used to cook there.

The King Street area where TIFF is primarily located caters to the theater crowd. These are people with money to burn (theater tickets ain’t cheap). They are not people who think. People with money never are. They don’t have to think.

It’s the poor folk who have to think.

My mom could make a single dollar do the work of twenty. I learned from her. She was a good teacher.

If your goal going out is to impress people with your ability to spend money King Street is the place to do it. Any fool with money to burn can do that.

There are a number of other bars around the city where folks go to be seen. Such people naturally attract the attention of robbers and thieves. Then they wonder having put their bait in the water why they lure sharks into their lives.

A few years ago a man at THE NATIONAL POST called saying he wrote a weekly column on where different Toronto celebrities dined, drank and shopped.

I said I dine and drink at my kitchen. He said. “Where’s that?” I said, “My kitchen.” This went on for a fair bit until I finally said, “Look I used to go to restaurants and bars. When I did I tipped generously. Generally the service was rude (not always, Allen’s on The Danforth is always first rate. When I want to go out that’s where I go) and one day after particularly rude service I realized that with the amount of money I had just spent on myself I could feed a bunch of people. At that point I stopped eating and drinking out. I started doing it at home where I got more bang for my buck just like my mom taught me.”

He said, “You are the only person I have talked to for this column who makes sense.”

I don’t go to TIFF.

I don’t go to TIFF parties. Never cared for the people I met at them.

THE LONELY PLANET listed my CINEFORUM at the top of its list of places to see in Ontario and in Toronto.

TIFF, who bought ads in it, were at the bottom. They bitched. They got moved to the top. The power of money put them there.

Merit put me there and has kept me there.

THE CINEFORUM, located in my home, is private. Folks are invited to bring their own food and drink. The Beer Store is directly across the street so I have the best selection at the best price. There is a Liquor Store around the corner on College.

Smoking, of course, is not allowed inside but folks can and do smoke in the patio in the back.

You won’t find me speaking at TIFF but you will find I am included among the fifty greatest male speakers of all time.

As that list includes neither Socrates nor the Buddha nor any of our great Native American speakers (the least among Native Americans has a wonderful poetry in their voice that is a delight to listen to) nor Jesus (who when he spoke dropped his aitches and was able to pull thousands) so I take my inclusion on it with a grain of salt.

So if you like me learned from your mother the importance of making a single dollar do the work of twenty drop by.

There are not many folks around today who have learned that.

The Cineforum is small. It seats only 17.

Brit painter Peter More called it the most perfect place on earth to see a movie.

A writer in The UofT Varsity stated, “I have rarely felt a film’s greatness in film class. I have often felt it at Reg Hartt’s Cineforum.

The one bit of praise I am proud of came from the author of the pivotal book THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN CITIES. Her last book, DARK AGE AHEAD, is a warning about the massive dumbing down we are now experiencing. It is a warning ignored (as most are). Her name is Jane Jacobs. She was my friend, mentor and spiritual mother from her arrival in Toronto in 1968 up to her death in 2006.

Over a few beers in her home she said to me, “The best part of what you offer is what you have to say.

I hear there are going to be a lot of stars this year at TIFF.

A journalist said, “You don’t go to TIFF!?! Don’t you want to meet the stars?!”

I said, “Why would the stars want to meet me?”

I am not so desperate that I want to be able to say that I was in a room Merryl Streep entered or Keannu Reeves entered  or Jack Nicholson or any of hundreds of others entered.

These people stand on chalk lines. They speak words that were written for them. When the going gets rough a stunt person steps in or cgi takes over.

These people are not real they are reel. They are not heroes. They get well paid for the fakery they are part of.

Don’t get me wrong. I love their movies. But that’s all they are. They are imitations of life. Fake pearls well crafted but still fake.

The hot dog vendors we pass by on the streets of our city are more hero than they are. No one pays them to take risks. No one writes their lines. When the going gets rough no one steps in to take their place. They have to tough it out like you and I.

So are this city’s many mothers making one dollar do the work of twenty so they can feed and dress their kids more hero than a Hollywood star with big bucks sending their kids off to expensive schools.

Get a life folks. TIFF is only about movies.

The folks who run it are well heeled and well paid.

So, if you like that sort of thing, go there.

According to The Toronto Star’s Joe Fiorito I teach like Neal Cassady drove a truck. Well, anyone in a truck driven by Neal Cassady did not have to repeat the experience to remember it.

The folks who run TIFF are all nice folk but no one ever said of them they teach like Neal Cassady drove a truck.

Nor did anyone ever say one of them is everything Jane Jacobs wrote about? That is because they aren’t.

But then Jane was a shit disturber. They aren’t.

Their government funding depends entirely upon not stirring up shit.

The function of the artist is to disturb. His duty is to arouse the sleeper, to shake the complacent pillars of the world. He reminds the world of its dark ancestry, and shows the world its present and points the way to its new birth. He is at once the product and preceptor of his times.“-Norman Bethune.

I’m with Norman.

Jane wrote, “Old ideas are sometimes found in new buildings. New ideas are found in old, run down buildings.”

THE CINEFORUM is in an old run down building. New ideas have been and are being found here.

Drop by The Cineforum. I’d enjoy having a beer with you. I enjoy meeting people.

You bring the beer. Your dollar will go farther here.

–Reg Hartt

P.S. A friend of mine who’s been to prison hearing of my recent trials said, “You were set up.”

I said, “Yes.”

He said, “How are you handling it?”

I said, “Like I always do. I’m standing up.”

He said, “Good for you. God bless.”

Coming in here Ed Keenan, one of the few writers in this city who can write, said, “Reg, you’re the only person in Toronto who stands up.

I said, “There are others.”

You won’t find them in Toronto’s film community.

A city that sees value in rules, but no value in letting Reg Hartt bend them, has no right to claim Jane Jacobs’ legacy, writes Edward Keenan.

The city should drop its misguided fight against Reg Hartt…

I am a friend of Reg Hartt. So is anyone who can appreciate a man who teaches the way Neal Cassady drove a bus. I mean that, where you have style wrapped around content and tied with a ribbon of beat improvisation, there you have angels. Harvey Pekar was an angel. And I’ve never met anyone with wings who did not have an ego. Nor is this an easy town for a man who is larger than life, and does not suffer fools.You might like to know that the friends of Reg Hartt included the non-fool-suffering Jane Jacobs, who knew a thing or two about what, and who, makes life worth living in the city; that’s good enough for me.

Michael Valpy in THE GLOBE AND MAIL: “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 of the original and provoking over the banal and soporific.”

And you will permit me an observation: if Martin Sheen can come to town and stand on the picket line with striking hotel workers, why won’t our senior cineastes stand up for Reg Hartt, as the city moves to strike him down?“–Joe Fiorito.

As Ed said, “Reg, you are the only person in Toronto who stands up.

You won’t find men who stand up at TIFF.

Life leaves us with but two choices: stand up or bend over and agree to get fucked.



Look behind THE PUNISHER and you will see posters for THE REG HARTT FILM FEST. Reg Hartt is part of the Marvel Universe. When people enter The Cineforum they become part of The Marvel Universe.

Jane Jacobs’ last book is a warning ignored about the mass dumbing down we now find ourselves mired in.



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