33-three-year-old performance and mixed-media artist Kalup Linzy met actor and jack-of-all-trades James Franco at the Raleigh Hotel during Art Basel Miami Beach in 2009. A spark was lit, with Linzy becoming Franco's muse. True to both artists' styles, their subsequent two-year collaboration has taken manifold forms—a July 2010 guest spot on the daytime soap "General Hospital," performances at Campari's 150th anniversary and last winter's Sundance Film Festival, and a pop-house single, "I Love You," which the duo put out in February. The latest is a lush synthpop track, "Rising," released this week. "It's intended to be inspiring," says Linzy. "It has a Motown type of sound, and I wanted to release it now—with Independence Day on the way and gay marriage just approved."

The song is a slow-paced, Mary Wells-influenced anthem on perseverance and triumph over adversity. It's accompanied by a music video, shot in low-grade production quality, which mainly depicts a shirtless Linzy floating and singing his way through a lightning-shot, cloud-filled, red and burnt orange sky. Images of Franco and Linzy sitting in dazed states of melodic abandon open and close the video.

The video is in keeping with Linzy's DIY style of drag, in which the artist makes minimal (if not to say tasteful) adjustments to suggest genderbending.


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):


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