It should be noted that these are not the sort of people most of us are likely to run into every day, even at Little Five Points. They’re avant-garde artists who sought to create the ultimate in performance art with their bodies as the medium.
“The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye” is not your run of the mill love story, but a documentary about two people who coined the term “pandrogyny” and set out to define it. They married on Friday the 13th in 1995 and celebrated Valentine’s Day 2003 by getting breast implants together.
The British P-Orridge, born Neil Andrew Megson, met Jacqueline Mary Breyer in her native New York when he was sleeping off a wild night of clubbing in the dungeon of a dominatrix. It was love at first sight. That same day, sensing he’d be receptive, she dressed him in a green velvet jumpsuit and leather miniskirt and they went out on the town.
Marie Losier’s film has a style to match its subjects — crude and home video-ish, going into great detail about some things while skipping over such key points as the transition from Throbbing Gristle to Psychic TV, and pausing at times for lengthy concert footage. Losier’s restless camera prowls whatever space it’s in.
Two things remain consistent: music, mostly by Psychic TV, on the soundtrack; and the love of Genesis for his late wife. She died in 2007, providing something of a downer ending, despite a “show must go on” epilogue.
With some Ls and Gs still having trouble accepting Bs and Ts, pandrogyny is going to test the limits of a lot of people’s tolerance. Though not presented in exploitative fashion, the film is likely to be seen as a freak show by the majority of viewers.
“The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye” is obviously aimed at a niche audience, and those curious or cool enough to want to see it are likely to be satisfied.
Top photo: Genesis Breyer P-Orridge (center) and Lady Jaye P-Orridge (left and right) seek surgery to look more like each other in the documentary film, ‘The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye.’ (courtesy Adopt Films)