BY Ari Karpel
August 11 2011 9:15 PM ET
“I knew she wanted me to go to college,” he says. It also proved to him that she cared.
Once Linzy was away at school, becoming a performance artist was a natural evolution. He would lip-synch Erykah Badu songs for his friends at parties, often with a towel on his head. His audience said he reminded them of RuPaul, and they complimented his legs. “I wasn’t paying that much attention to my legs until they said [that],” he says. “They planted some of those seeds. My career was not so much by accident but by interest and response.”
Which is pretty much how it has progressed. The performance artist met Franco when the actor and perpetual grad student crashed a Linzy speech at Columbia University. “I was giving a talk there about soap operas,” Linzy says, switching into a grande dame voice, “about my undying love of soap operas!” Franco was about to do General Hospital, and he pitched Linzy to the producers.
Not everyone gets Linzy’s work. “My family liked All My Churen,” he says, “but the more perverse I got, the less they like it in the art way”—that is, with the depth of interpretation that someone schooled in art might bring to it. “I don’t always know if mainstream gays appreciate the work. If I feel like people don’t relate, I don’t force them to. I just don’t share it.”
But the General Hospital writers understood Linzy’s strange appeal, though “they knew that only so much of it could work on TV,” he says, laughing.
Not only was it a glam experience (“I had my own dressing room!” Linzy says), it brought his oeuvre to a level that would have impressed his father, who passed away without seeing any of Linzy’s work.
“He was older; he didn’t have a computer,” Linzy says. “All he knew was that I played the piano in church and I grew up singing on his porch.”
Linzy and his grandmother were longtime CBS soap watchers, but he was informed about the goings-on in Port Charles because his father was a lifelong General Hospital fan.
“Men watched soap operas because women did, whenever they were home,” Linzy says.
Landing on that soap was therefore particularly meaningful, Linzy says: “I thought he must have been looking out.” And the Daytime Emmys were the capper because this year’s ceremony, in Las Vegas, took place on Father’s Day.
“I kind of kept missing him…” Linzy says. “I was like, I’m going to the Daytime Emmys. I wish I could just go see my father, but I’ll just go be starstruck.”