Actor Gina Gershon has played lesbian/bisexual characters not once, not twice, but in three major roles: half-naked, all-evil bisexual dancer Cristal Conners in Showgirls (1995); sexy butch ex-con Corky in Bound (1995); and tattooed rocker Jacki in Prey for Rock & Roll (2003). If that’s not enough to make her a bona fide lesbian icon, she also counts Ellen DeGeneres as a friend.
Last month, Gershon released a new CD, In Search of Cleo, a collection of songs telling the true story of the loss, search and recovery of her cat, Cleo.
Gina, are you sure you’re not a lesbian?
With the exception of “Watch Over Me,” which was written by out producer and musician Linda Perry, the songs were all written or co-written by Gershon. They are not merely about her cat Cleo, however. Gershon means the collection to be a metaphor about losing and searching for love.
Beginning Oct. 7, she will be performing songs from In Search of Cleo live at New York’s The Box. She took time out from rehearsals to talk to AfterEllen.com about writing songs, cats, Corky and how Prince tried to change her name.
AfterEllen.com: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us.
AE: Yeah. Although we love her, it’s not about Ellen, though. Our Editor in Chief, Sarah Warn, chose the name because when Ellen came out, it was a watershed moment in lesbian visibility.
AE: [Laughs.] Exactly.
AE: How does she fit into it?
AE: Can’t say I have, but I’ve heard of it.
AE: Like what? About where Cleo might be?
AE: And an inspiration to write songs?
I never originally was going to marry these two ideas. But [while] writing the music, I was in this very strange space and dealing with death and breakups and bad relationships, and Sonya explained all of those [things] but through my cat’s eyes, through his point of view. It was really trippy.