Monday, January 12, 2009

A look into the Uranian Phalanstery; the place i have worked for the past 5 years

The Uranian Phalanstery was conceived in 1959, by the Rev Relytor alias Richard Oviet Tyler. "The organization was his Magna Opus" declares his wife and co-founder Dorothea Bear Tyler alias Mm. Reab. Since its conception the Uranian Phalanstery has been a translucent harbor for the conjecture of art and gnosis. Establishing a home in the Lower East Side of New York City in the early 70's amongst a then dwindling population of Hungarian Orthodox Jews, and an incoming of a Puerto Rican nationals; the Phalanstery came to life.

Now, to understand the Phalanstery one has to discover a little about its Prime Organizer, and founder, the person who would preside over the circles of music and dance. Richard Tyler was born in Lansing, Michigan April 1st, 1926. He was the only child to an Artist Father and Mystic Mother. "Richard thought that life was a joke" Dorothea chuckles as she tells me of Richard's days of service during WWII in Japan as a Paratrooper. He was the kind of personality that would end up in the brig for robbing a Japanese bank, "disappearing with piles of void paper money. Guns, blazing to the sky".
He first met Dorothea at the Chicago Art Institute (CAI), where he was amongst the select few, to have had his own show at the Institute while still a student. After graduating from the CAI the couple moved to New York, and created the Uranian Phalanstery (UP). The first flower of the organization was the free press pushcart. Richard, a painter, would sell his publications of Art Gnosis, works similar to that of William Blake books, via his pushcart. Woodblock, set-type, and collage all found expression in his publications.

Both of the founders were heavily influenced by "Tibetanism". Richard was an initiate of Tibetan Tatoo Healing, and coordinated therapy's with The Dalai Lama's Medical advisor. He had a tattoo healing practice at the Phalanstery, along side another Tibetan practice: reading the 49 day "Bardo of the Dead" for deceased members. The UP Burial Society offered inexpensive burial services for Members.

The UP established a home to the First Gnostic Lyceum of New York, 328 East 4th Street, in 1974. The Lyceum a growing bush of archival art works and rare musical instruments, guided and guarded by cosmological factors; fueled the music and dance circles held on the holy days of multiple calenders."This was Richard greatest art work" Dorotea enthusiastically repeats. Granted, Richard was a well liked high class artist, selling work to the Rockefeller Collection, The Smithsonian, and the Moma.
Monroe Wheeler the curator of art at the Moma then, for print, came to ask Richard whether he would like to show, and was declined indicating that "the cosmological factors were not currently in favor". Mr. Wheeler in tune with an intuitive perspective, saw the quality of a deep visionary, in the work of Richard Tyler.

Along with Richard there stands a growing group of Uranian Phalanstery Agent Artists shared their creative energies at the UP circles, The events are still going strong 26 years after the Rev's departure. Some one once said "You can kill a man but you can not kill an Idea"; i apply this quote to the UP, which is an incubator of social and personal creativity(s). Many artist both famous and infamous, alive and dead are still being displayed in multiple mediums of manifestation at the UP, with no hype and little pretention elemenst so often used as devices in the Art "world" at large.

I arrived at the UP door, close to five years ago. Dorothea has been my teacher and God Mother. Through her i have been quided to discover the strange and timeless colors of the Uranian Phalanstery.

1 sun

a season of thanks giving: Medi's Ash e Reshteh

As we move into the new year 2009, i would like to express how great it is to turn the corner with you. And as an expression of my gratitude i would like to share a piece of my kitchen with you. This is a traditional Persian stew, made with a combination of greens, beans, noodles, and the traditional sour cream "kashk". The undertaking is no easy affair. But let that not deter you. To make it easier, i have included possible substitutions for some of the ingredients, i encourage any questions regarding this dish or feed back as to how you make your ash e reshteh.

Ash e Reshteh.
2 tbsp olive oil
3 large onions, peeled and sliced thin

7 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper

1 tsp turmeric
1/3 cup dried red kidney beans,
1/3 cup dried chickpeas
1/3 cup dried navy beans
(wash, and let the beans soak over night)
1 cup of brown lentils

4 cups of beef broth, (substitute for Veg broth to make this Vegitarian)
1/2 pound of reshteh, persian noodles (can be replaced with any lenguine size rice noodle)

1 tbsp all purpose flour
1 cup coarsley chopped scallions
1 cup of chopped dill
2 cups coarsley chopped parsley
7 cups, of spinach (two bunches)

1 fresh beet peeled and diced in 1/2 cubes
2 cups Kashk, can be found as liquid whey (replace with sour cream)


1 onion, peeled and finely sliced

6 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp turmeric

4 tbsp of dried mint flakes

now lets begin cooking:

1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large, and i mean Large, pot... saute the onions and garlic. remember cooking is fun. Add salt, pepper, and turmeric. Add kidney,navy, and garbonzo (chick peas); saute that for a few minutes.

2. Pour in ten cups of water and bring it to a boil, skim the froth as it foams, and reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 45 min.

3. add lentils and beef (or veg) broth, cook for an hour

4. add noodles and flour,add some olive oil, and cook for about ten minutes.

5. Greens time...add scallions (or chives), dill, parsley, spinach and the beet. Continue cooking, stirring from time to time for 30 minutes or until beans are tender. Add water to cut the thickness, and season with salt and pepper to taste. by this point you understand why it took me two days to make this dish. Have some one help you, it will make the cooking more enjoyable.
but i am afraid it still would require two days.

6. stir in the 1 & 1/2cups of Kashk (or sour cream), this i hope is a good time to sing a song about the glory of the wooden spoon.... nice, we are almost there.

Making the Garnish:

Saute the onion and garlic with the oil and turmeric. Once the roots have caramelized, gather them over your ash, add extra sour cream, and sprinkle an abundance of dried mint leaves over everything.

Noush e jahn-et (Nourish your soul)