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A Harvard drop-out, and the daughter of a French psychoanalyst and an American illustrator-novelist-playwright, she was working as a writer for The Village Voice when she met Michael Zilkha, who later became her husband. A wealthy heir to England's Mothercare retail empire, Zilkha was just starting ZE Records with Michel Esteban. Zilkha persuaded her to record a song called "Disco Clone", an eccentric pastiche dance record written by Ronald Melrose, a classmate of hers at Harvard. The original recording, released as ZE001, was produced by John Cale and was the first to be issued on the ZE label. A later version featured the uncredited Kevin Kline trying to seduce the breathy Cristina.
"Disco Clone" was a cult success and encouraged ZE to release a full-length album in 1980, which was produced by August Darnell (aka Kid Creole). The album was later reissued as Doll in the Box. Cristina also issued, on a 12" single, a poker-faced cover of Peggy Lee's "Is That All There Is?" with new lyrics which led its authors, Leiber and Stoller, to sue and get it withdrawn for many years. Later, she released a cover of the Beatles' "Drive My Car". She also released a track, "Things Fall Apart", produced by Was (Not Was), on ZE's Christmas Record, in 1981.
Cristina's second album, Sleep It Off, was produced by Don Was and released in 1984 with a sleeve design by Jean-Paul Goude (a year before he used the same idea for Grace Jones). Her lyrics dryly detailed a world of urban decadence, but the record flopped, and Cristina retired to domestic life in Texas. She and Zilkha divorced in 1990 and she returned to New York. She has more recently contributed learned essays and reviews to publications such as London's Times Literary Supplement, while battling a debilitating illness. Her two albums for ZE were reissued in 2005.
Discography[edit source | edit]Edit
Studio albums[edit source | edit]Edit
- Cristina (1980, Ze Records)
- Sleep It Off (1984, Ze Records)
- Doll in the Box (2004, Ze Records) - Expanded re-issue of Cristina
- Sleep It Off (2004, Ze Records) - Expanded re-issue