What’s more important: production values or a good story? In this film, artist Kalup Linzy recounts the making of his video, "Keys to Our Heart" (2008), taking inspiration from black-and-white movies and music banned from the radio in the 1930s. Drawing on his experiences lip-syncing songs at family gatherings, Linzy incorporates the process into his work by recording all of the dialogue with his own voice, modulating the pitch and tone, and enlisting friends to play the various parts. Linzy describes how the imperfections in his work give it a texture, creating layers and tension that enhance the storytelling. Casting himself in drag as Lily, modeled after performances by Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, Linzy studies melodramatic gestures to bring the character to life. "Keys to Our Heart" features performances by Lawanda Hodges, Alison Folland, and Joshua Seidner.

Kalup Linzy (b. 1977, Clermont, Florida, USA) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

Learn more about the artist at:
art21.org/newyorkcloseup/artists/kalup-linzy/

CREDITS | "New York Close Up" Created & Produced by: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Editor: Brad Kimbrough & Wesley Miller. Cinematography: Andrew David Watson. Additional Camera: Don Edler & John Marton. Key Grip: John Marton. Sound: Nicholas Lindner. Associate Producer: Ian Forster. Production Assistant: Paulina V. Ahlstrom, Don Edler, Amanda Long & Maren Miller. Design & Graphics: Crux Studio & Open. Artwork: Kalup Linzy. An Art21 Workshop Production. © Art21, Inc. 2012. All rights reserved.

"New York Close Up" is supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; Toby Devan Lewis; Lambent Foundation; the Dedalus Foundation, Inc.; and the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc. Additional support provided by The 1896 Studios & Stages, and by individual contributors.

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