Kalup Linzy, SweetBerry: Sampled and LeftOva
Posted by: Dusty Hoesly
Beloved New York video and performance artist Kalup Linzy strutted on stage in a fine-looking dress (only to wear a black polka-dotted swimsuit later). Local jazz group The Ben Darwish Trio played tight, funky soul music as SweetBerry (Linzy’s alter ego) sang songs of lust and love lost, alongside two backup singers. Despite some initial soulful material and excitement, the show became more of the same as songs drifted into one another and too much time passed between them.
SweetBerry’s lyrical themes revolved around relationships. “I was sampled and left over,” she sang about heartbreak. Going for a night on the town, she sang “Keepin’ it cute… fabulosity.” A song she dedicated to toxic relationships included the chorus lines “fuck you, go to hell too” and “fuck you, kiss my ass too.” In a song of self-inflating positivity, SweetBerry invited spectators to take a mic and sing “This Ain’t No Chewing Gum” as their voices were digitally modulated towards the upper registers. Later, she sang “sittin’ on the edge of my couch, waiting for my piece of trade,” a tune set to Redding’s music though making it about sex.
Further songs repeated similar themes and ran into each other musically; it became hard to distinguish one song from the next in terms of tone or melody. The sound quality at the Washington High School auditorium was not good, though people didn’t seem to mind. Animated video sequences were totally out of context and meaningless for those who haven’t seen Linzy’s films (also shown as part of TBA), as was the split-image film footage from Linzy’s “Churen” series. I left after three more songs, wishing the show maintained the fun and energy with which it began.