Font Size

Stedmond Pardy came to The CineForum to see Salvador Dali, heard Reg Hartt, found his muse and moved in:, 

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

Yes, it is possible to create a space that fosters talent in droves..

I did it in Toronto at my CineForum.

There were no classes, no courses, no teachers.

There was not, not one thing, that is found at conventional art schools and colleges.

What there was and is was and is an environment completely free of regimentation and structure.

This is not to say there was not regimentation and structure. There was. There always is. It is however a natural regimentation and structure not one imposed from without.

The Chinese Oracle THE I CHING teaches that while inferior men try to create order out of what they see as chaos the superior man always recognizes the order in what others see as chaos.

Jane Jacobs, in her landmark work THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN CITIES, wrote, “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.”

Perhaps you can’t understand that. It is frankly fucking amazing how many urban planners who boast of having studied Mrs. Jacobs’ ideas don’t understand that (which, by the way, exactly mirrors what those ancient Chinese sages stated millennia ago in THE I CHING). I said to Mrs. Jacobs’ son Jim, “The reason people from the middle class upwards do not understand your mother’s book is because she wrote it from the perspective of the dirt poor.”

Said Jim, “YES!”

Andy Warhol in his various factories unconsciously created an environment that could and did give birth to artists.

Allen Ginsberg did the same at THE BEAT HOTEL in Paris again unconsciously.

The problem with conventional schools, colleges and universities is they just do not work.

The truth is they are not supposed to.

Their real function is to create legions of incompetent people.

I am not the only person who has recognized this.

Jane Jacobs states the same:

Nassim Nicholas Taleb states the same in his books SKIN IN THE GAME, ANTIFRAGILE and others.

John Taylor Gatto states it in his essay AGAINST SCHOOL , in his book THE UNDERGROUND HISTORY OF AMERICAN EDUCATION    and in videos on the web too numerous to count.

David Mamet states it in his books TRUE AND FALSE and BAMBI VS. GODZILLA.

Ellis Marsalis said it to his sons Branford, Delfeayo and Wynton, “Most teachers say you should go to school to get your degree to have something to fall back on. Aside from being a huge lie, that also creates a very high level of mediocrity, because nobody who really believes that is going to take the leap of faith required to be a serious artist. Stay out of school.”

Bernardo Bertolucci said it, “Film students should stay as far away from film schools and film teachers as possible. The only school for the cinema is the cinema. The best cinema is the Paris Cinematheque. The best teacher is its founder Henri Langlois.”

Henri Langlois was a walking bear of a man who embodied chaos. Stated Langlois, “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.”

Until myself Canadian Cinema, fuck it, the entire Canadian art scene has not had a bad student.

George Bernard Shaw said it, “My schooling not only failed to teach me what it professed to be teaching, but prevented me from being educated to an extent which infuriates me when I think of all I might have learned at home by myself.”

Bertrand Russell said it,”Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education.”

Ivan Illich said it, “School is an institution built on the axiom that learning is the result of teaching. And institutional wisdom continues to accept this axiom, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.”

Montesquieu said it, “We get three educations. The first is from our parents; the second is from our schoolmasters. The third is from life. The last makes liars of the first two.”–Montesquieu.

Jane Jacobs said it, “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.”

Plato said it, “He who without the Muse’s madness in his soul comes knocking at the door of poesy and thinks that art will make him anything fit to be called a poet, finds that the poetry which he indites in his sober senses is beaten hollow by the poetry of madmen.”

My sister, whom I love dearly, said to me yesterday, “When you talk no one listens.”

She’s right about a lot of things.

She’s wrong about that.

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

Contrast that with Gordon Bowman who, in XTRA! magazine wrote, “Reg Hartt talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks…”

Judith Merril, my long time friend, second mother (and the mother of modern speculative fiction), was fond of saying, “We only really learn in conversation after sex.”

Robert Sawyer, a Canadian SF writer, wrote in his obituary of Judy in THE GLOBE AND MAIL that she made passes at many young SF writers: .

That’s not a fault on her part.

The fault lies with the people she made passes at for not accepting them.

What they could have learned from her in conversation after is beyond measure.

Said J. G. Ballard, “Judith Merril was the strongest woman in a genre created by weak and ineffectual men.”

There is only one kind of creative energy.

It is not found in our heads.

It is found between our legs.

It and it alone is the fountain of life.

Like Jesus I have known hatred without just cause.

I am deeply grateful for that.

It makes me one with Our Lord.

Our greatest creation as artists can only be ourself.

Everything else is bullshit.

Johan Fichte, father of our education system, said, “It is impossible to erase the disobedience gene in people who have learned to think for them self.”

David Mamet said it wonderfully, “The educational process prepares those with second-rate intellects to thrive in a bureaucratic environment. Obedience, rote memorization, and neatness are enshrined as intellectual achievements.”

The CineForum like Andy Warhol’s Factories, THE BEAT HOTEL and Plato’s Academy is a place where young men and women have come, discussed ideas, gotten drunk (wildly drunk) gotten stoned (wildly stoned) and made love (wild love) with each other.

Here are some of them:

Bede McMenamin arrived here from New Zealand. On the plane he had read SIDDHARTHA by Herman Hesse. He’d been dropping acid from his early teens. When he got off the plane in Toronto he saw flyers for the film version of SIDDHARTHA and for my talk, WHAT I LEARNED WITH LSD. He said, “Wow! My two favorite things!”  He was 17 when he walked in. Bede writes, “My spiritual home lives in one place. The Cineforum. In my teenage years I read some great literature, that of Hesse, Wolfe, Thompson, and Kesey. These books were massively influential on my life while living in my native country of New Zealand. My Mother is Canadian, so I was granted a passport to her home country. At the ripe of old age of eighteen I left for the expansive north. Upon the plane flight i wondered to myself if Canada would encourage my interests. I landed in Toronto and wandered the city where I came across a series of posters. These posters talked of these interests. I went to the building where films and talks of these subjects were being shown. I had twenty Dollars to my name. The best twenty bucks I ever spent. There I met Reg. He knew more about what I wanted to know than any other I’d ever met. He encouraged me to continue my journeys. I traveled the entire country, east to west. Though, I always knew I had one place to call home. I could arrive at any time, unannounced, and shit broke, on the door step of Reg Hartt, and would be welcomed with open arms. He asked nothing in return, other then I pursue my interests in Art, Film, and Literature. The education I gained at the Cineforum is bar to none. I met many great friends there, and even had my brother come to join me for a time. We are both better people for the experience. I am now a working, and living, artist in Whanganui, New Zealand, and owe a great deal to Reg Hartt. As I’ve become older, he has only become more an influential, and important figure to me. His effect can be seen throughout my work, and the way of his living can be seen fulfilled on the opposite side of the globe. I want nothing more then to return to the doorsteps that speak of poetry, love, and life. The Cineforum is truly my home.”

Nicholas Capsaicin Fulford writes, “It was a long time ago, when I was somewhere between the ages of 16 and 18, and it was not the winter. I had come into Toronto from Peterborough and had ended up seeing a film at Cineforum. (Because of how inaccurate memory can be, I shall stick to a limited set of facts that I know rather than attempt to fill in the gaps to create a coherent narrative.) I know I was less than 18 because my grandfather gave me a car on my 18th birthday, and if I had a car, I would have had no need to spend the night in Toronto. By the time the film was over there was no means by bus to get back to Peterborough that night, and the idea of spending the night on the street had very little appeal. Reg offered me floor space, a pillow and a blanket. I slept without fear or interruption, and left in the morning. I remember it because it was a kindness from someone I did not know, and obviously I did not relish the prospect of spending the night outside in Toronto. Given that I am 61 years old – as of December 22nd – and this event happened when I was between 16 and 18, that would place it between 1975 and 1977. I had been out of contact with Reg until encountering him on Facebook a few years ago, and I recently ran into him when he was putting posters up on the street. That has been the extent of my contact over the years – almost. He showed up at Ryerson one day when there was a film event to show Metropolis, and unfortunately the club changed the film. (I was a student at Ryerson from 1981 to 1985.)”

Mackenzie Wright writes, “I first met Reg Hartt in 2012, when a friend and I attended a screening of Kid Dracula. As much as his rendering of the classic vampire movie was the initial draw, it ended up being the talk afterwards that took the cake. For about an hour, the two of us were granted the opportunity to listen to Reg’s profound, peculiar and, above all, impassioned musings. Far too much knowledge was dispensed over our short visit for us to make much sense of anything in particular. Still, one conclusion was undeniable… the man believed, and believed fiercely, in what he said.

“A year and a half later, I returned for another screening. Again, there was the post-movie talk. Or rather, this time it was a bit more of a dialogue; Reg ended it off by asking if I’d be interested in taking a room. It didn’t take too long for me to produce an answer. And to this day, I have no regrets about the 4 years I spent living in the Cineforum.

“Then again, “no regrets” is a poor way to describe my experience… the truth is, I struck it rich. I lived in a movie theater that never closed, I met the wonderful (and sometimes woeful) guests who came in to see Reg’s shows and I got to witness this athlete of speech perform his pieces night in, night out. He helped me put together screenings of my own choice on several occasions and shared freely in the multitude of experiences he had collected over his 50+ years of film programming.

“When one day I came to him with the news that I couldn’t make next month’s rent and that I’d have to move out, he told me to stay. In fact, I stayed a whole year, rent free, and he never asked for a thing. I know that there were more than a few others who were shown the very same benevolence, especially those who needed it far more than I did. There were the artists who hadn’t quite made it yet, the friends that had no place else left to stay and sometimes just the strangers who couldn’t get out of a losing streak.

“The big things like that are fairly easy to remember, but they fall short of the whole story. Most of the time, when Reg ate, the whole house ate. If I needed to talk, and everybody else was tired of listening, Reg wasn’t one to turn me away. He led me to poets, directors and other artists who had fallen through the cracks and did what he could to spread their works to the public. His own works are a boon not just to the city of Toronto, but to the world at large. There exists his interpretation of The Epic of Gilgamesh, the original The Night They Raided Rochdale and the many essential re-scorings of silent films that have otherwise languished beneath the strains of insipid orchestrations.

“Abrasive as his manner might sometimes be, Reg brings a certain vibrancy to the things and the people who happen to fall into his orbit. A thousand times over, I would take this kind of constitution, rather than settle for a more polite man. Without it, I very much doubt I would have ever met Reg at all.

“As to my own credentials, I have nothing of note to pin my reputation upon. I still rank amongst the half-formed artists whose elevator pitches outclass their actual work. All I have is my word; here it is.”

Andre Skinner writes, “I lived with Reg Hartt at The Cineforum between the years of 2000 to 2003. This letter is intended to maintain that Mr. Reg Hartt is an honourable man, an honest man and someone who most surely should not be under investigation for the activities for which he is being accused. During my time at the Cineforum we all shared meals which Reg prepared without question on a daily basis. Reg was always very respectful to anyone within the walls of his home, be they guests or tenants. Reg was a mentor to me in my formative years as an artist and musician. He was like a second father to me who actually understood my aspirations unlike my biological father, giving me a strong sense of belonging. Reg created a haven for young aspiring artists of all disciplines be it film, music, painting, dancing or other. The Cineforum was a safe place for artists, a very inspiring place for anyone who came to visit and it was a place of innovation, productivity and happiness. I have nothing but GREAT things to say about my time at the Cineforum and Reg Hartt.”

Bruce Simpson writes, “In the winter of 1989 – 1990 a fire in a separate basement apartment in of the house I was renting at the time, left me without a place to stay for many cold months. After exhausting my options of sleeping on friend’s couches, here and there, I began sleeping in a record store, that I then worked at, between the hours of midnight and 6am. One night, I ran into a friend, Vincent Hall, who, after hearing of my challenging living situation, took me in. He was renting a room in Reg Hart’s house. I had attended many of Reg Hartt’s cartoon events around the city and had been a big fan of his for years. Reg was a great host! I told him I was a fan of the early animator, Winsor McCay and he was nice enough to show me his extensive Winsor McCay animation collection. This was a tremendous gesture, as it was years before YouTube or even DVDs, so the opportunity to see animation from the early 1900s was IMPOSIBLE! Reg allowed me to stay on at his place for several weeks, which was very generous (considering, he didn’t even know me) and something I will always remember! Previous to the fire that upset my life, I worked as a magazine cartoonist (TSR’s Dragon Magazine, Amazing Stories). In gratitude, I did a number of posters for Reg to thank him for his kind gesture (images of Winsor McCay’s characters, Betty Boop, Popeye, and a portrait of Reg as Christ, which he has said is his favorite). Shortly after leaving Reg Hartt’s house, I began a career in animation. My clients have included Disney, Warner Brothers, Hanna Barbera, The CBC and the Art Galley of Ontario. I’m writing this letter to say my experience with Reg Hartt has been nothing but positive! He is a very generous person, and a Treasure to Toronto!”

Ron Fortugno writes, “I met Reg Hartt around 1994/1995 in Toronto, Ontario after attending a screening of his called, “The Surrealist Film Festival”. I had gone with my girlfriend, Catherine Campbell, to see it at the Cineforum, located at 463 Bathurst. I returned alone less than a week later to attend a screening of “Witchcraft through the Ages”. At this time, Reg and I spoke to each other after the screening, and soon I was returning regularly to the Cineforum, mainly to talk and hang out with Reg.

“We’ve been friends ever since.

“I moved into the house at 463 Bathurst within a year or two after we met and I made a full feature length film there of my own, called “El Rallado” (60+ minutes b/w 16mm). It would have been almost not doable without Reg’s help and guidance. I edited the film in his basement, I filmed it in and around the house, and I lived rent free in Reg’s house while he fed me for a year during it’s creation. I showed short clips of it (under 5 min) to people attending his screenings before the show. This also was a valuable asset as there is nothing like a live audience to prove whether a certain clip of film will work or not. I also helped run the screenings at 463 Bathurst as projectionist and door person, as well as learned a ton about the postering business through working with Reg. And about how to create effective advertising that catches the reader’s eye. And how to write good copy that draws the reader in. I also saw perhaps 500+ Reg Hartt “talks” while living there. What I’ve learned from the talks (they were performance based one might say) alone is immeasurable, not to mention what everyone else learned while attending. Reg Hartt used to speak to the public that attended his screenings before most screenings while I lived there. I believe this is what has made him as an artist and perhaps as a human being.

“This time was also the launch of my career as an artist.

“Since meeting Reg, I’ve gone on to become a professional musician, touring the USA regularly, and regularly being played on the CBC both here in Vancouver, and Nationwide, as well as the BBC in the UK where I’ve toured successfully 4 times. In fact, my music is played worldwide on radio stations and on the internet. I’m also starring as an actor in a web based episodic series being filmed in Portland, OR called “The Musicianer”. I recently won “best sci-fi actor” at the NJ film fest, and the first episode has won several “best episode” awards during it’s run this past summer at USA film fest circuit.

“ALL of my last 5 albums have gone to number 1 on the college charts in their respective category. I have zero label support, zero publicity support, do not apply for government grants as a rule, and am strictly a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) musician. You may or may not have heard of me since I am a DIY artist and as such, perhaps fly ‘under the radar’ a lot of the time? My stage name is “Petunia” and I front a band called “Petunia and the Vipers”. You can check us out on the web if you like to review everything I’ve just said about my career.

“I learned everything that I needed to learn about to survive as an artist from Reg Hartt. It’s hard to say whether I would have even discovered my life as an artist without him. Not that that would have been the end of the world, although 100’s of people have told me how I’ve changed their lives in positive ways through listening to my music and/or seeing me play live. A couple people have told me how my music has saved their lives.

“No doubt Reg has passed on this knowledge (or wisdom or savvy whatever you’d like to call it) to perhaps over 100 other successful working artists to date. “How to survive as an artist”, it’s certainly not easy, maybe one of the more difficult “jobs” you can have…I try to pass on what I’ve learnt to other young artists, perhaps over 100 others by now.

“There is no school that teaches this either.

“If you do not believe me about Reg and how he has been changing the lives of artists (and thereby the world) for over 50 years then please check out the info about Reg on the web, it’s all there.”

–cheers, Ron Fortugno (aka Petunia)

Peter Sumadh came to see Jean Cocteau’s THE BLOOD OF A POET. That night he decided he wanted to live with me. He was and is a hurricane walking which means he’s fucking awesome:

hey, so for those who don’t know – I try to do these Friday shows every other week at the Cineforum, which is run by…

Posted by WizTheMc on Friday, September 21, 2018

There are more, lots more.

Daniel Goggin works with bikes and chain metal. One day Daniel said to Reg Hartt, “The people I live with said they can’t live with me.” Said Reg, “I have room for you.” Daniel has been and continues to be the target of the same hate directed at Reg Hartt:

Donnarama Versace embodies with, genius and masculine strength at its finest in the best possible feminine attire. Beautiful and bold.

Donnarama Versace ( ,  ) , one of Toronto’s top drag entertainers called Reg Hartt in the middle of the night. He had one word, “HELP!”  Reg Hartt had two words, “Come here.”

Kiley May came to see METROPOLIS. After the screening the spirit moved Reg Hartt to ask, “Where are you living?” Said Kiley, “On the street.” Said Reg, “I have room for you.”

Yusuke Hoshi was a homeless didgeridoo player from Japan who said to Reg Hartt, “Canm IK live with yo, Master?”

Yusuke Hasegawa is another digeridoo player from Japan who came to The Cinforum and stayed for three years” , , , , ,

Richard Karadza is another artist who came for a movie and found a muse: .

Aditya Shankar came for a movie and found a muse: , ,

Criss Crossroads found a muse at The Cineforum: .

Dante Krysto was in a line-up behind Reg Hartt. Dante said, “I have to move in two days. I have nowhere to go.” Reg Hartt said, “I have room.” Dante said, “I have cats.” Reg said, “I have room for your cats.”

Vincent Morrisette Hall is a genius performer who told the scam talent agency across the street when we moved in here after they asked for a fortune to help him, “My talent pays for me. I don’t pay fort my talent. .

He’s right. He’s also a hero. Been fighting a disease that would have killed most by now.

Yes, THE CINEFORUM was inspired by Plato’s Academy in Athens, the salons of Gertrude Stein and Victor Hugo, the BEAT HOTEL in Paris as well as the original Paris Cinematheque of Claude Chabrol and Henri Langlois, the various factories of Andy Warhol, Gerrard Street Village in Toronto, The Bohemian Embassy in Toronto, 1960’s Yorkville in Toronto, Rochdale College in Toronto, Gary Topp’s Roxy and, oh, so much more.

And, oh, it is so much more than the sum of its parts.

It’s the single greatest artistic creation in the history of the world.

It’s everything Jane Jacobs wrote about in THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN CITIES.

Say Jane’s children, “Our mother loved Reg Hartt.”

The City of Toronto, however, does not love Reg Hartt. It has done and continues to do everything it can to destroy him and his work. That is precisely what makes Reg Hartt EVERYTHING Jane Jacobs wrote about.

Canada’s great journalist Pierre Berton gave his last public reading in Canada at Reg Hartt’s CineForum. When asked why by James Adams of THE GLOBE AND MAIL Berton replied, “I love Reg Hartt.

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

Yes, I do.

If Toronto wants a monument Jane Jacobs they should help instead of hindering me. As has been said, I am EVERYTHING SHE WROTE ABOUT.–Reg Hartt

Reg Hartt brought THE WIZARD OF SPEED AND TIME, Mike Jitlov, and the great Forrest J Ackerman to Toronto for fun.

Reg Hartt’s father said, “Never ask for permission. Always ask for forgiveness.”

Ron Fortugno entered The CineForum to see a movie. He stayed to become an artist. He’s now known as Petunia.

Al Aronowitz, the greatest journalist in American music, loved Reg Hartt and loved The CineForum.

The legendary Forrest J Ackerman at The Cineforum.

Aditya Shankar, from India, came to see Reg Hartt’s SEX & VIOLENCE CARTOON FEST. He fought the fight against hate of homosexuals in India from Reg Hartt’s home. ,

Marc Sleep was drunk in a Toronto bar when Reg Hartt invited him to live in The CineForum. Marc cooked a wicked dinner from The Salvador Dali cookbook.

Judith Merril, Reg Hartt, THE SALVADOR DALI DINER prepared by Marc Sleep.

Jodie Drake, grandmother of Toronto’s jazz and blues scene, was a guest in Reg Hartt’s home for Marc Sleep’s SALVADOR DALI DINNER.

Judith Merril, “the strongest woman in a genre created by weak and ineffectual men.”—J.G. Ballard

Mark Sleep with Owen Hartt, father of Reg Hartt.

Reg Hartt’s Cineforum in Toronto is a living breathing work of art, the first one ever. Like God, Reg Hartt made something great out of nothing. Not only that, by example he’s showing others how to do the same.

Reg Hartt is the fire this time. His fire rages on the wind.

John Smialek caw Reg Hartt and moved into his house.

Legendary animation artist Grim Natwick loved Reg Hartt. In his California home Grim pulled out his bottles of hard liquor and talked. It was a rare and wonderful night.

“Is it okay to sleep in the park? My father said, ‘My way or the highway,” Bruno “Buzz” Weckerle asked Reg Hartt in Queen’s Park one night. Reg said, “Come with me.” , .

“Can I live with you?” Rene Highway asked Reg Hartt. Those were wonderful years. Taught to hate himself Rene learned to love not only himself but everyone. He was love walking in the flesh. Everyone who saw him dance watched in wonder. He was Canada’s greatest male dancer.

CANADA – NOVEMBER 27: Worlds collide: Choreographer Rene Highway crosses science-fiction with Indian lore in new dance. (Photo by Patti Gower/Toronto Star via Getty Images)


My sister said, “Shut up. No one listens to you.” Clearly, much as I love her, she’s wrong and wrong big. We have to learn, much as we love them, to leave our families behind. Let them try to catch up with us. Miles Davis’ father wanted him to be a lawyer. We have way more than enough lawyers. We had only one Miles Davis. He was the man. We have to be our own man.

Jerzy Zaborski taught archaeology, Egyptology, and Numerology. He came to hear Reg Hartt speak on the Sumerian story of Gilgamesh. He stayed to talk all night with Reg Hartt. He said, “People can learn here.” Reg said, “Some do. Most don’t. Pleased to meet you. Would you care for a beer? He did and, luckily, Reg had a fridge full. They spoke until dawn about things most do not dream about.





« »