Come On Up for Kalup and Franco’s Rising



James Franco stepped out of the spotlight for a few months after hosting the Oscars, presumably while he worked on his half a dozen degrees, created a college course (about himself), directed dance theater, and vied for the screenplay for Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian. Recently, performance artist Kalup Linzy announced the release date of a collaborative EP with the actor—which seemed unsurprising after their performance at Campari’s 150th anniversary last year—and their first video for the album is now circulating various corners of the internet.
More and more, it’s become clear that in addition to being super-handsome, smart, talented, and ridiculously ambitious, James Franco is also a total weirdo. We know, we’re a little late on that—but we’ve been making a lot of excuses for him. That art exhibit he created featuring a close-up of someone defecating? Art school is a crazy time for a lot of people. His stint on General Hospital? Returning to his television roots.  His 62-credit quarter at UCLA? Maybe he was just trying to stay busy. So when we heard about his latest project with performance artist Kalup Linzy, aptly named Kalup and Franco—which by the way, we are hoping one day evolves into a bizarre buddy cop comedy—we found ourselves surprised at how we had slowly grown accustomed to the movie star’s highly unconventional artistic approach. The video is definitely strange. Images of Linzy singing with a green screen sunset in the background, a floating wig, overlaid glimpses of James Franco’s signature maniacal grin, and dreamy shots of the pair sitting down compose most of the video’s simple imagery. There’s also concert footage that features Kalup reclining on a couch while singing, which seems like a really comfortable way to do a performance.

The song, an R&B track, is an uplifting anthem from Kalup about shining and rising, despite bad times and others trying to bring him down. It’s an almost tongue-in-cheek sentiment we can appreciate, from both artists, as they debut this unusual project that seems almost normal in their post-modern catalogues of work.

Breaking: On July 4, in honor of American independence and the newly won right for gay men and women to marriage, Linzy and Franco premiere “Rising” (Cardopusher Remix) exclusively on

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