Font Size

XTRA! arts editor Gordon Bowness once wrote, “Reg Hartt talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks…”

 

After a few beers in her home Jane Jacobs (author of THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN CITIES, DARK AGE AHEAD and a thinker the world listens to) said, “The best part of what you offer is what you have to say.

 

Gordon Bowness is a feather blowing in the wind. Jane Jacobs was an eagle soaring in the sky.

 

In 1981 when my lover of seven years got the itch he turned everyone I knew against me. They said, “If you do what we want we will stay in your life.” I said, “The price is too high.”

 

That same year I read for the first time the Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh. It is our first piece of recorded literature. The story was found on clay tablets discovered in the ruins of Babylon. Alfred Hitchcock said, “Your first film should be a silent film.”

 

I decided to make my first film not only a silent film but also the first story and to do it as a child when it first starts to draw draws.

 

I brought the great animation artist Grim Natwick, creator of Betty Boop for Max Fleischer and principal artist on the character of Snow White for Walt Disney to Toronto in 1982, 1982 and got drunk with him in his own in California. Said to me, “When you speak I am reminded of Max Fleischer and Walt Disney.” Of GILGAMESH Grim said, “That is a wonderful idea. You can do it very simply in limited animation.” He had more to say. I listened.

Grim Natwick’s Century of Learning

The year everyone I knew in my life walked out (1981) I read a cover story in PSYCHOLOGY TODAY titles, “The value of the homosexual experience.”

 

The author stated that while the vast majority of LGBTQ people murder themselves with alcohol, drugs and sex a few do not.

 

The role of the hero is to stand alone.

 

Katharine Hepburn stated, “I want no part of the group dynamic. By nature it is always second rate.”

 

She is right.

 

While Gordon Bowness may not value the work I have done and am doing a great many do.

 

When called a queer as a boy growing up in New Brunswick I intuitively took the advice of Queer artist Jean Cocteau who stated, “Whatever the world condemns you for, make it your own. It is yourself.

 

I came to Toronto in the mid 1960s at a time when it was illegal to be homosexual determined to be out and open. Why? Because the great threat was and always is slander. If I was out there was no threat. Those who were openly out were called trash by those in the closet.

 

Beginning in 2000 I became the target of a continuing campaign of slander maintained by a man who posts flyers for a business and sells used bike out of a back alley garage.

 

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Worse than the words of our enemies is the silence of our friends.”

 

I know all about the silence of friends. A stranger new to Toronto called. He said, “I want to write a piece on this. I know the claims are bogus. He did. It was published IN THE GLOBE AND MAIL. Here it is: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/toronto-alternative-theatre-founder-stands-up-to-bullying-threats/article549053/  .

 

Ed Keenan, of THE TORONTO STAR, coming through my door said, “Reg, you are the only man in Toronto who stand up.” I said, “There are more but not many.” Read what Ed wrote here: https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/06/27/cineforum-deserves-a-happy-ending-to-its-saga-keenan.html .

 

In 1992 after a great deal of thought I self published GILGAMESH as an epic free verse poem.

 

I gave copies to friends including:

 

Jane Jacobs (THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN CITIES, DARK AGE AHEAD): “Very, very powerful.”

 

Thomson Highway, “Remarkable.”

 

Judith Merril (the mother of modern SF): “A page turner.”

 

Al Aronowitz (author of THE BLACKLISTED MASTERPIECES. Aronowitz introduced Bob Dylan to Allen Ginsberg and The Beatles, Mick Jagger to Miles Davis and me to New York at the Thalia Threatrethat same year (1992): “It made me tingle.”

 

John Robert Colombo: “I did not know Reg Hartt is a poet. I did not think free verse suited to the epic form but Hartt pulled it off. GILGAMESH is better than anything by the half dozen people who regularly win prizes for poetry in Canada. Hartt has travelled the hero’s journey to the dark side of existence. He has returned with a story to tell. The sexual scenes are suitable barbaric.”

 

Rene Highway (Cree dancer with whom for several years I had the joy of sharing a house: “Wonderful.”

 

Being an artist is not being an entertainer.

“A great artist lets himself go. He is natural. He swims easily in the stream of his own temperament. He listens to himself, he respects himself. He has a deeper fund of strength to draw from than that arising from rational and logical knowledge.

 

“The function of the artist is to disturb. His duty is to arouse the sleeper to shake the complacent killers of the world. He reminds the world of its dark ancestry, shows the world its present and points the way to its new birth.  He is at once the product and the preceptor of his time….In a world terrified of change, he preaches revolution – the principle of life.  He is an agitator, a disturber of the peace, quick, impatient, positive, restless and disquieting.  He is the creative spirit of life working in the soul of men.”—Dr. Norman Bethune

Make no mistake. GILGAMESH is disturbing. The film of it will be even more disturbing.

 

You can pick up a copy of the book at my CineForum  in Toronto.

 

At a presentation I gave on it one man stayed while everyone left. He said, “People can learn here.”

 

I said, “Some do. Most don’t. What do you do?”

 

He said, “I teach archaeology, Egyptology and Sumerology. You are a Crazy-Wisdom-Yogin.”

 

I said. “I hear crazy often enough. What does the rest of that mean?”

He said, “It is the highest compliment I, as a Buddhist, can pay. It means you are living absolutely the life you are teaching.”

 

I replied, “I would not say that as I know how far below the mark I fall. Would you care for a beer.”

 

We drank and talked of things few dream about. I learned his rank as A Buddhist was extremely high. I learned that he had accompanied The Dali Lama on his first journey across Canada. He said, “If you quote me please put a flame after my name to indicate my rank.”

 

 

You probably won’t find Gordon Bowness at my programs. You would find Jane Jacobs. She said, “Old ideas are sometimes found in new buildings but new ideas are found in old buildings.”

Old ideas are sometimes found in new buildings at TIFF.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The CineForum is in an old building. New ideas gush from it.

There is a Beer Store across the road. Bring your own to share.—Reg Hartt

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YonLUG7gRyY&t=86s

A great many people have found their Muse at Reg Hartt’s CineForum.

Here are three:

WIZ THE MC is one of the many who found his Muse at Reg Hartt’s CineForum: https://sidedoormag.com/blog/2020/2/9/wizthemc-found-the-one-1

Petunia found his Muse at Reg Hartt’s CineForum: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxpnkWjpzpo&t=2s

Alexandre Hamel of LE PATIN LIBRE found his Muse at Reg Hartt’s CineForum: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkoNCMH6aNY

Aditya Shankar came to The CineForum for Reg Hartt’s cartoon fest. Afterwards he had a beer with Reg Hartt. He asked, “Are you married? Do you have kids.” Hartt said, “I’m as queer as a three dollar bill.” Adi said, “I knew I was queer at 8 in Bombay. Can I live here.” Adi fought religious intolerance against LGBTQ people in India from his home with Reg Hartt: https://reghartt.ca/cineforum/?attachment_id=24237 , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVkSw49SY-k , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RUKM3YySH4 .

People in Toronto keep trying to destroy Reg Hartt.

Maybe it is time he wiped the dust of Toronto from his feet.

https://financialpost.com/opinion/lawrence-solomon-fords-blow-for-film-freedom

While you probably won’t find Gordon Bowness, Michael Coren, Mitchell Raphael or others like them listening to Reg Hartt you would find the late great Al Aronowitz. Al is pictured here At The CineForum in Toronto who he said, was his favourite place on earth. https://www.peterharrington.co.uk/the-blacklisted-masterpieces-of-al-aronowitz-146261.html , https://www.rocksbackpages.com/Library/Publication/blacklisted-masterpieces-of-al-aronowitz%2C-the . Life requires of us the courage to stand alone. Reg Hartt stands alone. So too should you. “I want no part of the group dynamic. By nature it is second rate.”–Katharine Hepburn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

« »