Category: Blogcast

Dispatch: Lesley Flanigan

Experimental electronic musician Lesley Flanigan chats about her upcoming streamed performance at Roulette—a solo set for voice and minimal sine-wave electronics intended to be heard by listeners at home using their headphones. Though Flanigan will be performing live at Roulette for this event, there will be no sound amplified within the performance space. Why should there be? Flanigan talks about her work as a sculptural practice, and sound as a sculptural material that can be shaped and experienced through amplification, or lack thereof.

Experience Flanigan’s performance Headphone Space on Friday, February 26 on roulette.org. For more on her work and process, tune in to Roulette TV.


Lesley Flanigan is an experimental electronic musician living in New York City. Inspired by the physicality of sound, she builds her own instruments using minimal electronics, microphones, and speakers. Performing these instruments alongside traditional instrumentation that often includes her own voice, she creates a kind of physical electronic music that embraces both the transparency and residue of process — sculpting sound from a palette of noise and subtle imperfections. Her work has been presented at venues and festivals internationally, including The Red Bull Music Festival at Saint John the Divine (New York), De Doelen (Rotterdam), Sonar (Barcelona), The Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park (Chicago), the Guggenheim Museum (New York), The Kitchen (New York), The Broad Museum (Los Angeles), ISSUE Project Room (Brooklyn), TransitioMX (Mexico City), CMKY Festival (Boulder), the Roskilde Museum of Contemporary Art (Denmark) and KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin.


As part of our Roulette at Home digital initiative, Dispatches is a set of brief communications or small collections of new work from artists, sent directly to our community—a way to remain connected and engaged in a time marked by distance, isolation, upheaval, and change.

Dispatch: Doron Sadja

Sound and light artist Doron Sadja chats with us about his postponed project at Roulette—a multichannel sound work that explores the unexpected or unwanted artifacts that occur when frequencies collide in space. Defined through a play of sonic phenomena, the work is composed using simple sounds that are designed to interact along the sonic plane: disturbing each other, cancelling each other out, and creating new sounds that exist only in the ear of the listener. Central to the work is the theme of extreme density, and an interest in how multiples of identical (or nearly identical) sounds can be spatialized to create intensely disembodied sonic experiences.


Doron Sadja is an American artist, composer, and curator whose work explores modes of perception and the experience of sound, light, and space. Working primarily with multichannel spatialized sound – combining pristine electronics with lush romantic synthesizers, extreme frequencies, and sonic phenomena, Sadja creates hyper-emotive aural architecture. Although each of Sadja’s works are striking in their singular and focused approach, his output is diverse: spanning everything from 250 speaker Wave Field Synthesis works to kinetic sculptures capable of moving sound in 3 dimensions, string orchestra works, and large scale immersive sound and light environments inspired by auditory and visual phenomena.

Sadja has performed and exhibited throughout Europe and the US, including Atonal Festival and Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, PS1 MoMa Museum and Roulette in NYC, Norberg Festival in Sweden, CBK Museum in Amsterdam, and the Institute for Electronic Music and Acoustics in Austria. Sadja has collaborated with Tony Conrad, Aki Onda, Mario Diaz de Leon, and Audrey Chen amongst others. Sadja founded the West Nile (RIP) performance space in Brooklyn and is currently teaching electronic music performance and composition at dBs Berlin in their Bachelors and Masters degree programs.


As part of our Roulette at Home digital initiative, Dispatches is a set of brief communications or small collections of new work from artists, sent directly to our community—a way to remain connected and engaged in a time marked by distance, isolation, upheaval, and change.

Dispatch: Crystal Penalosa

Resident artist Crystal Penalosa discusses her upcoming performance and the importance of breath.

On January 26, 2021, as part of her Roulette residency, interdisciplinary artist Crystal Penalosa presents Breath Cycles. This evening-length durational performance will engage audience members from the safety of their homes to participate in a mindfulness practice called breathwork. This practice can be helpful in lowering blood pressure, tension and physical pain, as well as provide psychological benefits such as dealing with anxiety, stress, and trauma.

Penalosa notes that this performance serves as “a way to take a collective deep breath. To take a moment to get in touch with something that is so essential—something that keeps us alive.”

The basic right to breathe has been under threat in the U.S through ongoing police brutality and the current public health crisis. This performance invites the audience to consider or build upon their own relationship to their breath, as well as provide a reflective space through music and text. Audience members viewing from home will be guided through the simple practice of breathing with intention.


Crystal Penalosa (she/they) is an artist and interdisciplinary designer based in New York. Their work focuses on self-compassion practices while engaging with authenticity and personal safety. She has performed collaboratively and presented solo works in New York at The New School, MoMA PS1, Roulette, Issue Project Room, SPEKTRUM in Berlin, and at the Golden Pudel in Hamburg. She currently works with the veteran underground record label Generations Unlimited, Voluminous Arts record label, and with the New Jersey Governor’s Office of Innovation.

Dispatch: Matt Mottel

Artist Matt Mottel discusses his latest project opening Roulette’s Winter 2021 season on January 15. Mottel_Mottel: The Image is a Seed is an artwork by Mottel anchored by the historic photographic archive of his father, Syeus Mottel. Syeus, a diaristic photographer, documented both artistic happenings, like the annual Avant Garde Art Festival organized by Charlotte Moorman, and political demonstrations, such as the Levitation of the Pentagon in Washington DC in April, 1967. In performance at Roulette, archival color slides and digitally scanned negatives are projected in tandem with the music and staged action.


As part of our Roulette at Home digital initiative, Dispatches is a set of brief communications or small collections of new work from artists, sent directly to our community—a way to remain connected and engaged in a time marked by distance, isolation, upheaval, and change.

Dispatch: Phill Niblock

On the 10th anniversary of Phill Niblock‘s Winter Solstice Concert at Roulette, Roulette co-founders Jim Staley and David Weinstein chat with Niblock about the concert’s history and its enduring life at the organization.

Phill Niblock Resources:

2019 Studio Visit

2000 Roulette TV Episode

Phill Niblock’s Solstice Tradition by Kurt Gottschalk


Niblock’s minimalistic drone approach to composition and music was inspired by the musical and artistic activities of New York in the 1960s, from the art of Mark Rothko, Carl Andre, Sol LeWitt, Donald Judd, and Robert Morris to the music of John Cage and Morton Feldman. Niblock’s music is an exploration of sound textures created by multiple tones in very dense, often atonal tunings (generally microtonal in conception) performed in long durations.

6 Hours of Music and Film will be presented virtually on December 21st, 2020 and available for free on a variety of streaming platforms. Roulette’s theater is currently closed for public performances as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the safety measures that Roulette has put in place to keep staff, artists, and the public safe.


As part of our Roulette at Home digital initiative, Dispatches is a set of brief communications or small collections of new work from artists, sent directly to our community—a way to remain connected and engaged in a time marked by distance, isolation, upheaval, and change.

Announcing Roulette’s 2021 Van Lier Fellows

Roulette is excited to announce the selection of vocalist Charmaine Lee and violinist/violist and interdisciplinary performing artist Eddy Kwon as 2021 Van Lier Fellows. They will join Roulette’s Resident and Commissioned artists in presenting new work at Roulette in 2021.

Our long-time partnership with the Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund of the New York Community Trust has enabled Roulette to offer year-long fellowships to a number of outstanding young artists to create, rehearse, experiment, and investigate new directions in their craft.


Eddy Kwon (they/them) is a violinist/violist, vocalist, composer, improviser, and interdisciplinary performing artist based in Brooklyn. They are a United States Artists Ford Fellow, Hermitage Fellow, and Johnson Fellow for Artists Transforming Communities (Americans For The Arts). In addition to a rigorous and evolving solo practice, they collaborate with artists of diverse disciplines, including The Art Ensemble of Chicago, Senga Nengudi, Tomeka Reid, Degenerate Art Ensemble, Jens Lekman, and Lizzy DuQuette. They have performed throughout the Americas and Europe, including the Kennedy Center, Big Ears Festival, SESC Pompeia, Barbican Centre, Berlin Jazz Festival, Festival Banlieues Bleues, and more. Recent commissions include the Contemporary Arts Center Cincinnati, National Performance Network, and Colorado College Creativity & Innovation. www.eddykwon.net

Charmaine Lee is a New York-based vocalist from Sydney, Australia. Her music is predominantly improvised, favoring a uniquely personal approach to vocal expression concerned with spontaneity, playfulness, and risk-taking. Charmaine uses amplification, feedback, and microphones to augment and distort the voice. She has performed with leading improvisers Nate Wooley, id m theft able, C. Spencer Yeh, and Ikue Mori, and maintains ongoing collaborations with Conrad Tao, Victoria Shen, Zach Rowden, and Eric Wubbels. She has performed at ISSUE Project Room, the Kitchen, Roulette, the Stone, and MoMA PS1, and participated in festivals including Resonant Bodies, Huddersfield Contemporary, and Ende Tymes. She has been featured in group exhibitions including The Moon Represents My Heart: Music, Memory and Belonging at the Museum of Chinese in America (2019). As a composer, Charmaine has been commissioned by the Wet Ink Ensemble (2018) and Spektral Quartet (2018). In 2019, she was an Artist-in-Residence at ISSUE Project Room. Charmaine is currently a member of the Editorial Board of Sound American. www.charmainelee.com

Mary Prescott’s Mom’s Thai Rice Soup (aka Porridge)

On December 19th, Mary Prescott presents Tidaan interdisciplinary performance examining intergenerational cultural identity through the artist’s maternal lineage. Integrating music, dance, and word, Prescott investigates her mother’s undocumented Thai ancestry, her experience as a Southeast Asian immigrant raising biracial children in Midwest America, and the resulting impact of these histories on her, her daughters, and granddaughters.

Tida is an exploration of my unknown personal history, which I have been researching through my maternal ancestry, and my Mom’s experience as a Thai immigrant who raised a biracial family in Minneapolis.

It comforts me, when I miss my Mom the most or when I just need relief from loneliness, to cook food that tastes like hers. Although by now she makes a lot of delicious American dishes, her superb Thai food is what has always stood out. It is home food, simple and delicious, and the flavors are uniquely hers. When I make it (although mine never tastes quite the same as hers), it still brings me back into her kitchen where I am together with family, cared for and content.

Since COVID prevents us from gathering in-person for the performance, I thought I would find a way for us to connect that is just as physical, sensory and special as sharing a space with one another. So, I invite you to make one of my Mom’s easiest and coziest recipes, Thai Rice Soup, to eat while you watch the show! It really is easy, and you might even already have many of the ingredients you’ll need in your kitchen. It is the taste of my home, my culture, and my comfort. And through this simple dish, we can share the experience of a performance and a meal together.”

Mary’s Mom’s Thai Rice Soup (aka Porridge)

Every year since I was little, I have awakened the day after Thanksgiving to a steaming hot bowl of what we in my family call porridge! Porridge is our version of a turkey and rice soup that my Mom makes with leftovers from the previous day’s Thanksgiving feast. What makes her version of this soup so special and unique are the Thai seasonings that she adds. This soup is a taste of my home, the flavors of my Mom’s cooking, of coziness and comfort!

Since turkey is something we usually only eat around winter holidays, I often make this soup with chicken instead. After roasting a whole bird, I separate and save any remaining meat from the bones, and use the carcass to make my own stock. I just simmer it in a crockpot with water, a couple carrots, stalks of celery, an onion, garlic and bay leaf overnight, then strain it in the morning. It’s all ready to go for porridge without any fuss! I like this method, because you use every part of the bird without wasting anything, and I feel that is a good way to honor the animal and the earth that gave us nourishment. If you don’t have homemade stock, you can use any store bought version that you have on hand.

This recipe is easily adaptable for vegetarians or vegans, with the exception of the fish sauce. I have seen vegan versions of fish sauce, but have never tried them, so can’t speak as to how well they mimic the real thing. You’ll have to try, and let me know!

Porridge is home food, meaning there are no real measurements for it. I’ll include approximations for how I make one serving, but please feel free to adjust anything to your own liking and quantity! There’s lots of room for improvisation!


Prep time: 5 minutes (use rice and chicken or turkey that have already been cooked!)
Cook time: 5-10 minutes
Total time: 10-15 minutes
Servings: 1 – 2 (easily adjusts to serve more… just multiply all quantities by number of servings)

Soup Ingredients:

  • 1 c. cooked white rice (I use white jasmine rice… that is the standard in Thai households, but any white rice will do.)

  • 2 c. chicken or turkey stock

  • ⅓ c. chopped carrot

  • ¾ c. cooked chicken or turkey, cubed

  • ½ T fresh ginger, julienned

  • Pinch of salt (not too much, as the sauce we will add later is also quite salty!)

  • A few twists of freshly ground pepper to taste

Optional: 

  • A few pieces of Thai pickled cabbage (I never have this in my kitchen, so I always leave it out, but my Mom loves adding this ingredient!)

Garnish ingredients:

  • 1 T roughly chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1 T sliced scallions

  • 1 clove of garlic, minced

  • 1-2 T vegetable oil (avoid using olive oil as it interferes with the flavor profile of this dish)

  • A drizzle of toasted sesame oil

Sauce ingredients:

  • Fish sauce (An essential ingredient to practically all savory Thai dishes. If you don’t already have it in your kitchen, you should be able to find it fairly easily at most grocery stores or online. Note: soy sauce is not a good substitute for fish sauce… it’s a totally different taste!)

  • Juice from one lime (MUST be fresh squeezed!)

  • 2 or 3 fresh Thai chilis, sliced (if you can’t find Thai chilis, you can substitute a fresh jalapeno or any other fresh hot pepper)

Directions:

  1. Make the soup: In a 2 quart saucepan, heat the stock, rice, carrot, chicken, ginger, salt and pepper over medium-high heat until it reaches a gentle boil. Reduce heat, and simmer about 5 minutes, or until the carrots are cooked.
  2. Toast the garlic: While the soup is simmering, add vegetable oil to a saute pan over medium heat. Add garlic, stirring frequently. Keep an eye on this! The garlic will toast very quickly, in just a minute or two, and can burn easily if left for even a few seconds too long. As soon as the garlic starts to turn uniformly light brown, remove the pan from heat. It will continue to toast for a few moments after that. Set aside.
  3. Make the sauce! In a jar or small bowl, mix equal parts Thai fish sauce and freshly squeezed lime juice. Add Thai chilis or jalapeno.
  4. Put it all together: Ladle your soup into a bowl. Garnish with cilantro, scallions, toasted garlic (and the oil you toasted it in), and toasted sesame oil. Spoon a few spoonfuls of the fish sauce/lime juice concoction over your soup to taste. Add a lime wedge to squeeze over the entire dish if you like! Serve!

The sauce and fresh garnishes are really what make this soup so special and so flavorful! Also, once you have these ingredients in your fridge, you’ve got all the makings for another one of my favorite comfort foods, the Thai omelette. Okay… twist my arm, here’s the quick recipe for that: beat two eggs. Heat a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil on medium-high heat in a saute pan. When the oil is very hot (but not smoking), add the eggs, and then add sliced scallions, chopped cilantro, and spinach (if you like spinach, which I do!). Flip like an all-star to cook the other side. Done! Serve over a bed of warm jasmine rice. Spoon that lime/fish sauce “sauce” over the top. Devour hungrily like you need comfort and you need it now!


Mary Prescott: Tida premieres Saturday, December 19th 2020 on Roulette’s livestream channels.

Studio Visit: Anjna Swaminathan

Roulette TV visits composer and our Van Lier Fellow Anjna Swaminathan in her home to discuss her latest project premiering Monday, November 16th. Rivers Above, Floods Below is an homage to the experience of immigrants, reflected in the meteorological phenomenon of “atmospheric rivers,” large bodies of water which collect in the atmosphere above the tropics and later rain down in a different place entirely. This work considers the possibility that much like these bodies of celestial water, our homes, too, are not stationary, but exist in the very possibility of our migration. Our global collective relies on a memory of homelands that have been colonized, spliced, and severed time and time again, but while we are so often nostalgic for a home that is broken, we more easily find community in new lands that don’t feel beholden to the same burdens of conflict and status quo. Much like the rivers brewing and creating movements above, Swaminathan considers the massive rivers of protestors who have flooded the streets against injustice in recent months. What if this, too, is a deluge of cosmic importance?


Anjna Swaminathan is a queer multidisciplinary artist, composer, violinist, vocalist, writer, theatre artist, and dramaturg. As an artist with a passion for sociopolitical work, community building, and critical consciousness, her artistic practice is an extension of her activist spirit. Informed by her rigorous training in the Carnatic and Hindustani music traditions of India, Anjna creates in New York’s vibrant creative music and improvisatory scene, in hybrid classical compositional work, and in her own multidisciplinary projects. She is a disciple of violin maestro Parur Sri M. S. Gopalakrishnan and Mysore Sri H.K. Narasimhamurthy and continues her training in Hindustani music with Samarth Nagarkar. Since 2018, Anjna has been under the compositional mentorship of Gabriela Lena Frank with whom she is exploring the creative possibilities of using Western Classical notation as a mode of communication for her deeply rooted Indian classical compositional and improvisational ideas. As an educator, Anjna has a strong commitment to mindfulness-based music-making, socially conscious and empathetic principles, and expression-oriented rigorous practice.

Dispatch: Gelsey Bell

In this dispatch, we catch up with vocalist and composer, Gelsey Bell. A frequent collaborator in many projects presented at Roulette—including tonight’s We Can Change the Country—Bell shares her own recent projects including a self-guided soundwalk through Green-Wood Cemetery titled Cairns, online operas with ThingNY, and her newest composition with Varispeed: The Blurring Test—a work which incorporates artist Peggy Wild’s chat bot, asking us to prove humanity to the computer.


Gelsey Bell is a singer, songwriter, and scholar. She has been praised by The New York Times as “one of New York’s most adventurous musicians.” She is a Resident Artist at the HERE Arts Center, has been both a Resident and Commissioned Artist at Roulette, and received a Foundation for Contemporary Arts award for music/sound. She is a core member of thingNY, Varispeed, and the Chutneys. Recent works include the sound walk, Cairns, for Green-Wood Cemetery (available through bandcamp); SubtracTTTTTTTTT and A Series of Landscapes, made with thingNY for live online performance; and shuffleyamamba, created with Yasuko Yokoshi. She has released multiple recordings including Home (the Chutneys), This is Not a Land of Kings, and Empty Words (Varispeed). Performance highlights also include Dave Malloy’s Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812 (Broadway) and Ghost Quartet, Robert Ashley’s Improvement and Crash, and Kate Soper’s Here Be Sirens. www.gelseybell.com


As part of our Roulette at Home digital initiative, Dispatches is a set of brief communications or small collections of new work from artists, sent directly to our community—a way to remain connected and engaged in a time marked by distance, isolation, upheaval, and change.

Dispatch: Darius Jones

“I wanted to create a piece that reflects the chaos that I feel our society is in and how we can’t seem to find balance. I’m hoping through witnessing and experiencing art that embodies this, that maybe it helps us find ideas and ways to combat what we are experiencing.”

In a piece inspired by and sharing a title with James Baldwin’s essay “We Can Change the Country” composer, Darius Jones discusses his latest piece premiering this Monday at Roulette on the eve of the 2020 Presidental Election.


Darius Jones has created a recognizable voice as a critically acclaimed saxophonist and composer by embracing individuality and innovation in the tradition of African-American music. Jones has been awarded the Van Lier Fellowship, Jerome Foundation Commission, Jerome Artist-in-Residence at Roulette, French-American Jazz Exchange Award, and, in 2019, the Fromm Music Foundation commission at Harvard University. Jones has released a string of diverse recordings featuring music and images evocative of Black Futurism. His work as a new music composer for voice culminated in a major debut performance at Carnegie Hall in 2014. Jones has collaborated with artists including Gerald Cleaver, Oliver Lake, William Parker, Andrew Cyrille, Craig Taborn, Wet Ink Ensemble, Jason Moran, Trevor Dunn, Dave Burrell, Eric Revis, Matthew Shipp, Marshall Allen, Nasheet Waits, Branford Marsalis, Travis Laplante, Fay Victor, Cooper-Moore, Matana Roberts, JD Allen, Matthew Shipp, Nicole Mitchell, Georgia Ann Muldrow, and many more. The New York Times named Jones among the Best Live Jazz Performances of 2017 for his Vision Festival performance with Farmers by Nature. In 2018, Darius premiered across the United States a major new composition entitled LawNOrder, a dramatic commentary on social justice and American politics. Jones’ music is a confrontation against apathy and ego, hoping to inspire authenticity that compels us to be better humans.


As part of our Roulette at Home digital initiative, Dispatches is a set of brief communications or small collections of new work from artists, sent directly to our community—a way to remain connected and engaged in a time marked by distance, isolation, upheaval, and change.