Art Basel Miami Beach

Chance Encounter at Art Basel Miami Beach Leads to James Franco EP

If you were disappointed by the lack of James Franco at the James Franco event during O Miami, you may finally get to hear the mega star read prose aloud. And you can even do it in the privacy of your own bedroom -- right there next to your Freaks & Geeks posters. In July, Franco is releasing an EP called Turn It Up with performance artist Kalup Linzy.

Although described as songs, the tracks are more aural performance art consisting of Franco's spoken words and Linzy's R&B warbles. in the released snippet (posted after the jump), the actor reads lines from Joni Mitchell poetry ("This pain in me has arrested me / making fun of me, you don't need love.") We're not too cool to admit that it's really quite beautiful.

Franco and Linzy (who is from the Orlando area and often performs as a drag queen named Taiwan) locked eyes at Art Basel Miami Beach in 2009 and have

been collaborators ever since. It makes us think that perhaps we should

be doing more mingling and less snarking, because the only thing we got

out at last year's Art Basel was this photo round-up of oddly dressed art snobs.

Anyway, as the story goes, Franco was drawn to Linzy's infamous soap opera-inspired Conversations Wit De Churen video series and soon invited him to appear on General Hospital, where Franco was playing an artist named Franco. You may have to read that sentence a few times.

In 2010, they formed band-art duo Kalup & Franco, performing the soundtrack to Cynthia Rowley's show at New York Fashion Week and at a Campri party, among other random events.

Although the Guardian compares the above snippet from "Rising (Both Sides Now)" to James Blake's "blubstep" (which we take to mean emo lyrics laid over dance beats), there's no telling what the EP's two other songs sound like. The only details from label Dutty Artz is that two songs are produced by DJ Rupture, and a third song is written and produced by Linzy.  Kalup & Franco's live shows are no help either. They've ranged from twee pop-house to old-school crooner ballads a la Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra.

The label has said that each Turn It Up track will be turned into a music video. We imagine renaissance man Franco will choreograph, direct, edit, and star in said videos and probably even HTML code a web site on which to stream them. And we imagine he will looked stoned and apathetic while doing it all.

Here's Linzy performing "Asshole" at Miami's Moore Space back in 2008 during an era he probably calls "The Pre-Franco Years":

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Amanda McCorquodale