GURDJIEFF HERITAGE SOCIETY FURTHER
"THE ORIENTAL STREET"
This is a unique
aspect of the Work that has been almost forgotten in
the last forty or so years.
As Mme. de
Salzmann undoubtedly foresaw when she so strongly
encouraged the idea of this project in the early
Sixties, the time and effort we spent on it gave us
many lasting and profound impressions.
For years all
the New York groups worked together with dedication in
a sincere attempt to recreate as authentically as
possible the music, dance, food and atmosphere that
surrounded Mr. Gurdjieff in his youth. In November of
1963 a spacious hotel ballroom in midtown Manhattan
was rented as the venue for a large public
presentation and - President Kennedy was assassinated
- and everything had to be cancelled!
But preparations for
“The Street” during those years brought together
members of all the differing groups, including the
children, and made for a warm unity in the Work.
Gathering for much careful planning and active
international research also generated meaningful
outreaches to many of the ethnic communities in the
New York area and overseas with resulting fruitful
contacts and lasting friendships.
obtained exotic traditional near-eastern instruments
and sought out Turkish, Armenian and Arab masters to
teach them their use. Months of rehearsals prepared us
for high quality performances of choral, orchestral
and dance events while busy crews ambitiously mastered
costume making, arts and crafts and large quantity
food preparation. Also tackled were new skills in
publicity, public relations, commercial and financial
For the first
time some of us began to wake up to how little we
really knew about Mr. Gurdjieff’s roots and homeland,
his early years, his Greek Orthodox family background,
their traditions of patriarchal hospitality and so on.
We began to better appreciate his music, the meaning
and origin of his Movements and to be more open to the
subtleties of his humor and use of allegory.
Oriental Street would certainly have been a fantastic
fund raiser, but just preparing for it was deeply
inspiring and instructive - and even - perish the
thought - a Work event that was great fun!
Some of us valued and
preserved much of the material that was gathered back
then and it is still lovingly preserved in our
archives - and in our aging memories.
Surely it would
be a shame if it weren’t shared and passed on.
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Gurdjieff International Review comments on GEORGE
GURDJIEFF: A Documentary Film
In the Spring 2001 Issue, Vol. IV No. 2.
(This Unique 1976 French TV Documentary, was finally
re-located as a
project of The Gurdjieff Heritage Society, was preserved, and the Society
arranged for the translation to English and the text
Georges Gurdjieff: A French
first English text of a 1976 French language
documentary film—produced by Jean-Claude
Lubtchansky—on the life and teachings of G. I.
Gurdjieff. Narrated by Pierre Schaeffer and
interspersed with interviews of Michel de Salzmann,
René Zuber, Philippe Lavastine, Maurice Desselle,
Henri Tracol, and Jean Vaysse, each of whom knew
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Recently, we were shocked to discover that, although
the new edition of the
Gurdjieff Annotated Bibliography listed
approximately 3000 "Gurdjieff" books and articles
currently available, the entire New York Public
Library system contained only 61 examples, (even
omitting "All and Everything"). We felt this was
something we could do something about.
We are now working with the
central research section of the NYPL to set up a
special Gurdjieff Division. Randy Berenek and his
recent successor John Bacon (Directors of "Planned
Giving") with Beth Diefendorf ("Chief of Research
Departments") have agreed to evaluate, coordinate and
redirect materials as we provide them to appropriate
departments such as Research, Dance, Music, and
In addition, more books related to the Gurdjieff Work
will become available in research division of the New
York Public Library. We should remember that Mr.
Gurdjieff wrote to us all: "I intend that the first
series of my writings shall be made freely available
without payment to all who are in need of their help."
(Circular Letter, January 13, 1949).
For UPDATES regarding the Library Project, as continued after the
death of Dushka Howarth in 2010, see the "News"
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