10:41 am Sep. 18, 2012
Watson, if you don’t recall, is one of the many characters Eddie Murphy played in Coming To America. He’s the jheri-curled lead singer of Sexual Chocolate, decked out in his blue tux and ruffled shirt to sing his ear-splitting version of Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All” to a small smattering of applause.
At the Metropolitan Museum of Art this weekend, Kaye (who Linzy refers to as the “Romantic Loner”) certainly owed some debt to Watson. In the video and live performance that comprised this weekend’s “Warhol Cabaret,” Linzy, as Kaye, belted out R&B covers with a black-suited backup band, wore a tux, and even sported a similar hairdo. The tepid applause he received on Saturday was also reminiscent of the movie. The event, held on Friday and Saturday, was part of the kickoff for the museum’s new exhibition Regarding Warhol,
Linzy’s video art routinely invokes stock characters from various strains of pop culture (most often soap operas), who he then gives voice to address questions of race, sex, gender, and love. Since The New York Times wrote about him “A star is born” in 2005, Linzy, whose unique work he always worried would have trouble fitting into the art world, has had a meteoric rise to fame. His mining of pop culture for his characters makes him a fitting choice to complement the Warhol exhibition, which looks at Warhol’s influence over the past five decades of art.
Before Kaye appeared in the flesh, a 20-minute video titled “Introducing Kaye (Romantic Loner)” was shown. In it, Kaye croons on the toilet and in the shower with a floating projection of artist Dan Colen looking morose.
“Please tell me what I gotta do..do…do,” he sings.
“Once you fall in love with yourself,” a deep, robust voice from above replies, "you will see everything is already in place."
“What’s in place—my nature; gayness, straightness, strangeness—what’s in place…place…place?” Kaye says.
Linzy’s voice echoes over various quick-cut scenes of Kaye lying naked in bed with a heart-shaped cutout/ greenscreen projection, flashing indistinct images, on his chest, over his crotch. Kaye sings into a mirror to a more upbeat tune, strolls along a lush-looking landscape, and sits at a desk feverishly shuffling papers. Eventually, over such scenes, a spoken-word piece from James Franco titled “Darkness I Fall” is heard, along with Kaye’s moans (though these render Franco’s words largely unintelligible). (Linzy’s glittering social life and connections to stars in art, fashion, and Hollywood makes him a fine choice for a Warhol event as well; his friendship with Franco even scored him a bit part on “General Hospital.”)
Linzy performed twice on Saturday night at the Petrie Court Café, the normally sleepy eatery with a wall of glass facing Central Park. The location, it turned out, was not the best choice. Not only did the light still streaming into the café during the 6:30 performance obscure the projections, but the mostly older customers who weren’t there expressly to see Linzy seemed at best bemused, at worst annoyed by the film and performance. Some diners barely paid attention. Evidently his audience for the previous night’s performance had been much larger, but there were only about ten people there just to see the show.
Linzy forged on bravely anyway. After a short pause Linzy’s band emerged—two guitarists, keyboardist, trumpeter, saxophonist and drummer. The drummer set the beat, a trumpet blared, and Linzy made his entrance, quickly and coyly, as “Kaye,” in a black suit and long wig.
“This is my ‘Romantic Heart Suite,’” Linzy said before belting out a medley of soul-tinged covers like “Have You Seen Her,” by the Chi-Lites and “Celebrate” by Whitney Houston, as well as a few original numbers. An older couple started clapping to the beat during one of the more upbeat numbers. Others barely turned away from their meals. One woman, noticeably disturbed by the performance, opted to move her seat.
“Please feel free to groove with us,” Linzy said before launching into his final number, but there was precious little grooving.
“Thank you,” Linzy said at the end of his set, rather curtly; then promptly left the stage while a disjointed series of claps echoed through the dining room
“Well that was interesting,” an older woman said to her dinner date.
More by this author:
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