Roulette rolls into Downtown Brooklyn
by Lisa A. Fraser
Aug 16, 2011 | 6141 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
No, it’s not a gamble. In fact, Jim Staley was very sure of the space located at 509 Atlantic Avenue at the corner of 3rd Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn.

He was so sure about it, he is almost done moving his non-profit music and visual arts organization, Roulette Intermedium Inc., to the 7,000-square-foot location.

Leased from the Brooklyn YWCA in 2010, Staley says the space was a perfect fit for his group of artists, who have presented experimental musical performances in Soho since he founded Roulette in 1978.

When Roulette unveils its new season on September 15, fans and new audiences can bet that the venue will do its part in adding to Brooklyn’s rapidly soaring image as a world-class performance art destination.

“It’s a perfect performing arts space,” Staley said. “There is a great feel about it. When you come into the room you don’t want to leave. We knew that once we could make it work financially, it would be the best option for us.”

In fact, the space that Roulette will occupy is no stranger to the stage. It used to be a theatre space called Memorial Hall, complete with a stage (which Roulette will now use) and balconies. The space was obsolete for a number of years, but now the lease between the two forms a perfect partnership.

Roulette also received grants from Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and Councilman Stephen Levin, along with others, all wrapped into one funding agreement from the city that will help equip the space.

The newly renovated space will offer two levels of seating for up to 400 people (600 standing), a multi-channel sound system, a massive projection screen for multi-media and film events, state-of-the-art lighting, a modular stage and a specially designed floor to accommodate dance and other innovative performances that Roulette is known for.

Staley and his crew are currently putting the final touches in place, but in September the season will kick off with a four-night grand opening celebration featuring performances by Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Kaiia Saariaho, Margaret Leng Tan, Marc Ribot’s Film Noir, and many more.

Staley says audiences can expect eclectic sounds and multimedia incorporation during performances, as well as “a lot of great music and a wide range of work.”

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