Directed by David Schweizer, Pound is a riotously funny journey in which Gomez plays herself and some of cinematic history’s most notorious lesbians. In a situation of “unwanted celibacy”, she peruses dating websites and stumbles into a portal to “a cloud-based lesbian Bermuda Triangle” where famous fictional lesbian and pseudo-lesbian characters come to life. Check out our chat with Gomez about this exciting new production.
GO: We absolutely loved your solo play Lovebirds! In what ways is Pound different?
MG: Thank you. Lovebirds was a super-sentimental and cuddly tribute to the types of people I encountered when I came out at 18 in the lesbian bars of Greenwich Village. I thought Lovebirds would be my last solo show. But I always have a list of ideas for new shows in the back of my head. Pound started out with this basic premise: What if all the strange and desperate lesbian and semi-lesbian characters from the ‘60s film The Children’s Hour to the ‘90s film Basic Instinct walked into a bar—and I was there, too. Pound has that vibe. It gets down in the dirt. Lovebirds was pretty innocent and vanilla in comparison. Also, Pound is part of a queer performance festival, HOT! Fest at Dixon Place, so there will be lesbians and friends’ parties after all six shows.
How much of Pound is autobiographical? We want details.
OK. One of the stories about me in Pound involves the second time I ever fisted a woman. It didn’t go well, and I had to take her to the emergency room. She turned out OK. No damage, except to my reputation. She outed me as the fister to everyone on the hospital staff. I don’t think the janitor needed to know. And I haven’t had sex, with a person, in four years. Ouch!
You had us at “lesbian Bermuda triangle”… please explain that concept.
Cool. I wasn’t sure anybody still knew the legend of the Bermuda Triangle. In Pound there is a data cloud where these way-out, steamy, lesbian movie characters exist—a mystical place. And you can only get there via a certain sexual act.
What’s the most shocking (or surprising) thing audiences might see in this show?
I dance “The Wobble” badly.
Where did you get your imagination?
Growing up in Manhattan, the most interesting place on Earth, is a brain stimulant. Also, I went to Catholic school, so that’s where I got my twisted mind. Even when I was in relationships, I spent a lot of alone time watching strangers and making up their stories.
Do you conceive your characters first or the plot ideas first? How does your creative process flow—or, how does the material develop?
Fun question! I tend to channel my characters and their needs first—that leads to dramatic situations—and then, as my friend Michelle Tea has described, I start writing and barf out pages. Next, I read what I have and find a glimmer of plot in there. Then I do it all over again with the plot driving the characters. You have to write a lot and throw out a lot and have fun with it.
Robin Williams once called you “a lesbian Lenny Bruce”… what do you say?
I say Robin was good to me and was a genuine ally of the LGBT community before it was trendy. He was brilliant, and his passing broke our hearts. I miss him every day.
Who are your heroes?
I’m especially loving Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg for stepping up like she did for marriage equality. My other heroes are not famous names, just everyday people giving back. When I was 18, I was pretty sure my mom was going to kick me out of the house for being gay. So I took my 7-year-old sister Denise aside to explain why she might not see me for a while. I’ll never forget her little face processing it and saying she loved me, and it was OK to be gay. Now she counsels LGBT youth and is getting her degree in social work, and she’s a badass in general.
What do you think of the SCOTUS marriage equality decision?
What do you think of the religious right wingnuts who are losing their marbles?
They should be ashamed of themselves. They are godless, soulless hypocrites on the wrong side of history. They are certainly not above the law. The only explanation for their hysteria is that they are closeted gays.
Pound opens July 10 and runs through July 25 at Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie St, NYC. For more info and advance tickets, visit dixonplace.org or call 212-219-0736.