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Right now I am more concerned about my lost cat Berlin than anything else.

This morning I removed most of the posts on this site.

I discovered THE I CHING by chance in 1968.

I discovered THE I CHING by chance in 1968. It teaches the superior man is like water. When blocked he rises up and moves on.


Well, it is time to clean the slate and start fresh.

The screenings here started by chance. American pianist Cecil Taylor has said that the key to success in the arts is to find someplace small where we can present our ideas on a regular basis without being interfered with. “Do that and the whole world comes to your door,” he said.

When, in 1992, I invited the audience to come down here for what I thought would be one night after an altercation with the management of a bar I at the time had been asked to program out of the people who came said, “We like this.” I realized that completely by chance I had found my small space.

And, indeed, the whole world has come to my door. My CINEFORUM is listed in the world’s number one travel guide, THE LONELY PLANET, at the top of its list of places to see in Ontario and in Toronto. I would think the City would see that as an asset but that is not the case.


"Reg Hartt's Cineforum is everything Jane Jacobs writes about."

“Reg Hartt’s Cineforum is everything Jane Jacobs writes about.”

Despite the fact that public support for the work done here has been overwhelmingly positive the axe has come down.

This, to me, is a cause not for sorrow but for pride. THE CINEFORUM has been under attack right from the moment it began in 1992. In a piece published that year in EYE weekly Laura Lind wrote, “Reg Hartt’s Cineforum is everything Jane Jacobs writes about.”

Well, if the place were not under constant attack it would not be everything Jane Jacobs wrote about. So, for me, it is a cause for celebration that the axe has fallen.

On Sunday, November 13, I presented NOSFERATU and GILGAMESH at THE FREE TIMES CAFE at 320 College in Toronto. The owner, Judy Perly, invited me in. I go where I am invited.

I printed up 5,000 flyers to promote the programs. In the past I could have done it with just 300 flyers. Today, however, commercial posterers have taken over the scene. They poster for hire. They ignore the city’s postering bylaws (which are well thought out and fair). They cover and destroy everything they are not paid to post. As it turned out, 5,000 was barely enough. By the time November 13 arrived I had about 50 flyers left.

In THE RAMSDEN DECISION the Supreme Court of Canada defended street postering as freedom of speech for people without access to mainstream media. That is most of us. Commercial posterers make it freedom of speech for those who can pay them. Those who can pay them are the people using mainstream media. It seems no one understands this right now.

Added to that the person behind the consistent complaints to the city about my program began posting flyers by the hundreds (on top of the thousands he has already posted) that were and are designed to bring upon me nothing but devastation.

This, too, is a matter for pride.

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.

People don’t like being disturbed. This accounts for why genuine artists are always attacked in their time. The voice speaking out and up is always an unwelcome one.

For years I have been able to stave off the city bureaucrats but not this year. This year they went after my landlord.

Again, this is a cause for celebration. Think of how many times city bureaucrats forced Andy Warhol for example to close a venture. Then think of how much Andy enriched and continues to enrich the life of the city that gave him so much grief,

When I arrived in Toronto we had just lost Gerrard Street Village and were about to lose The Bohemian Embassy and Yorkville. This has been the history of Toronto. I had a venue at the end of Yorkvile on the east side of YONGE at the time. I called it THE PUBLIC ENEMY.

It was there, in 1968, I met the family of Robert and Jane Jacobs. They came because they had seen a street flyer for the 1923 Lon Chaney film, THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME.

Mrs. Jacobs saw street posters as the newspaper of the streets. They were until the last few years when commercial posterers stole the space from the people it is meant for.1ab

It was not until 1970 when my program was at Rochdale College (another place that stuck in Toronto’s craw) that I found out Mrs. Jacobs had written a book titled THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN CITIES.  Her last book, DARK AGE AHEAD, published two years before her death, warned that we are heading into hard times. It ought to be re-issued with the title DARK AGE NOW.

Many people have spoken out against the death of the programs here. To all their voices a deaf ear was turned.

But, again, this is a cause not for sorrow but for celebration.

The city said that if some “minor” changes were made it could continue.

It’s a small cut that kills.

I have never operated this program as a business. I deliberately chose things I knew would not interest many. I chose them because they interested me.

Some of those programs turned out to be things a great many people actually were interested in.

The main thing for myself, though, is the marvelous community that grew out of here and which extends around the world.

That community grew because I saw and see the people who come into my life not as customers or patrons no, not even as friends. I see them as we are called by the best thinkers to see them. I saw and see them as family.

I have no regrets. Something remarkable happened here that could only have happened because I welcomed strangers into my home.

It turns out the very thing that made this work is the thing most held against it.

“Thus, according to Elizabeth Glibbery, the Toronto and East York Manager of the Municipal Licensing & Standards Division, it operates as a place of public assembly, for which the building is not zoned. [He is] inviting in people who may not be known to him,” Glibbery told us, when asked how a group of people gathered at the Cineforum differs from a group of friends gathered to watch a DVD at any other apartment in the Toronto.” .

2016 marks the 100 birthday of Jane Jacobs. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate it than to represent everything she wrote about.

City Inspector Elliott deBarros wrote to my landlord, “Your tenants stated position that “anyone who shows up on my doorstep is considered a friend”, and thus, he should not be considered to be open to the public, seems at best disingenuous. Additionally, his acknowledgement that The Cineforum is a destination listed in travel guides as a “must see” for visitors to Toronto also suggests that this is other than a regular gathering of friends and colleagues…. Should you find yourself in the unfortunate position of having to issue me a subpoena to attend at any proceeding you may wish to bring against your tenant, I would be legally obligated to attend.” He makes it sound as if I have done something here my landlord should be ashamed of.

THE CINEFORUM is dead. Toronto did a few things to honor Jane Jacobs this year just as much of the world did. One gallery re-created the room in which she wrote in Toronto. There were walks.

But here, at 463 Bathurst in Toronto was demonstrated EVERYTHING she wrote about in THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN CITIES. That really is the way to celebrate her 100th year. I have often been described as “cantankerous.” That is a good word. Jane Jacobs was cantankerous. We need more cantankerous people. Be one.–Reg Hartt 11/16/2016.

Here are some of the voices The City Of Toronto chose to ignore:

“REG HARTT 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.”–GLOBE AND MAIL.

“Hartt has been a credit to Toronto for decades. “–NATIONAL POST.

“Reg Hartt’s stated position that “anyone who shows up on my doorstep is considered a friend”, and thus, he should not be considered to be open to the public, seems at best disingenuous. “–Elliott deBarros, MLS TORONTO

(Disingenuous adjective
1. not candid or sincere, typically by pretending that one knows less about something than one really does. synonyms: insincere, dishonest, untruthful, false, deceitful, duplicitous, lying, mendacious;

“I am a friend of Reg Hartt.”—Joe Fiorito, Toronto Star.…/fiorito_we_gotta_have_hartt.html

Jane 1 Toronto’s War On Fun–hXw8

Cineforum falls victim to Toronto’s war on fun

BY JON SUFRIN |  APRIL 9, 2010 AT 9:30 AM

A classic Cineforum poster (Image: Travel Pod)

After surviving near-certain doom in 2008, Reg Hartt’s one-of-a-kind Cineforum has been shut down for doing what it has always done, namely, running a theatre in a house. According to Cineforum’s Web site, Hartt received an e-mail in March notifying him that his advertising habits (ie., the ubiquitous black-and-white posters all over the city) had been reported to the Toronto Advertising Hall of Shame and the licensing and standards committee. Shortly after, Hartt was notified by the city that Cineforum must close. The irascible film archivist has defeated opposition before—he was shut down in 1992 but reopened with a little help from his friend Jane Jacobs—and he’s not exactly known as a pushover. As such, we don’t think we’ve heard the last of the Cineforum just yet.

Toronto alternative-theatre founder stands up to bullying threats


Davisville Psycho

Bureaucrats have no Hartt The city should leave Cineforum alone: Editorial

The city should drop its misguided fight against Reg Hartt’s cult institution. Cineforum deserves a happy ending to its saga: Keenan

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.

Fiorito: We gotta have Hartt

The city of Toronto is trying to shut down Cineforum, the film program Reg Hartt runs from his home.

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

Critical Acclaim

Not many people got fan letters from Jane Jacobs. I got several. Here are two.

Not many people got fan letters from Jane Jacobs. I got several. Here are two.


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We took Jane Jacobs seriously.

We took Jane Jacobs seriously.

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It's hard to beat praise from Chuck Jones.

It’s hard to beat praise from Chuck Jones.

Ren & Stimpy Creator John Kricfalusi lived in my house. He looked after my dogs when I went to Europe.

Ren & Stimpy Creator John Kricfalusi lived in my house. He looked after my dogs when I went to Europe.



One of the many "strangers" who have come here.

One of the many “strangers” who have come here.

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