Kalup Linzy (2008 Visual Arts) has released the feature film component of his Creative Capital project, Romantic Loner, online through YouTube. Romantic Loner tells the story of Linzy’s alter ego, Kaye, who, after a series of failed relationships, attends an artist residency and has an intensive period of soul-searching. The majority of the film was shot at Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, CA, in 2012, when Linzy was supported by an Alumni Awards Residency. Along with the film, the Romantic Loner project also encompasses two shorts, prints, a live performance event, and an original soundtrack album, which is available through iTunes and other digital outlets.
In conjunction with the release, Tribeca Film Institute and MoMA are co-presenting a live performance version of Romantic Loner at MoMA PS1 on Sunday, April 14 at 4:00pm. Accompanied by a six piece band and video projections, Linzy will perform original songs from the film, including Man Pussy, Chest Full of Tears and Kaye’s Theme (OK), along with cover tunes.
I connected with Kalup to learn more about how the Romantic Loner film, the music and what’s next for this prolific artist.
Jenny Gill: You started working on Romantic Loner during a residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts in California, and the idea of “soul searching” is a key theme in the work. How did your experience at Headlands shape the project?
Kalup Linzy: I wrote a treatment for the film and applied to the Headland’s alumni residency. After receiving word that I had been selected, I shot scenes here in Brooklyn, planned what I could make happen at Headlands, and what else needed to been done when I returned. Because I had been at Headlands in 2010, I knew where I was going and what to expect. The artist residents receive a stipend, free meals, cars to check out and drive. I was there for four weeks and was able to shoot plenty.
Jenny: That sounds like a fantastic experience. A lot of your earlier work has been influenced by old Hollywood movies and soap operas. Do you see this project relating to that past work, or does it represent a new direction for you?
Kalup: All my work is very character-based, so I do see it being related in the way that I developed this new character, Kaye. Kaye was tailored to appear in independent films. After working on the show General Hospital in 2010, I took notice of how they created a character based on my work to fit into daytime. Kaye is a video artist/singer whose story will be told through song, video art and independent filmmaking.
Jenny: Music plays a central role in Romantic Loner. Can you talk a bit about the soundtrack? Did you collaborate with other songwriters or musicians, or did you write all the music yourself?
Kalup: The soundtrack includes 22 songs that I wrote and produced in 2011 and 2012. They are mostly new songs, but I did include the song “I Love You” that I co-wrote with James Franco. His voice (singing or doing spoken word) also appears on other tracks that I hadn’t released previously. A version of “I Love You” was used in Cynthia Rowley’s fashion show back in 2011. Because visuals have always played a strong role in my music, I felt these songs, along with newer material, fit well into Romantic Loner.
Jenny: What other projects are you working on right now?
Kalup: I am working on a Romantic Loner performance and a 2-D installation for a one night event on Saturday, May 25 in Hong Kong during the art fair for the collector Yana Peel. I’m also working on the ninth installment of my Conversations Wit De Churen series Dayz of Our Ego. I’m making a family character tree for some of my characters: the Queen-Rose Family, which includes The Braswells (Leelabell, Nora Lee, Jada, Tyrone, presumed dead Taiwan, and Nucuavia—all from All My Churen), Melody Set Me Free characters (KK Queen, Patience O’brien, Rose, Jacob, Hope Jones and Summer), plus new characters that haven’t appeared in any of the series yet. After that, I will work on my second feature, Art Jobs and Lullabies.
You can watch the Romantic Loner film and explore Linzy’s other video and performance work on his YouTube channel.