The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye
Directed by Marie Losier, The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye chronicles Psychic TV and Throbbing Gristle founder Genesis Breyer P-Orridge's recent career and second marriage, both defined by P-Orridge's surgically aided transformation from a man who occasionally liked to dress as a girl into a "pandrogynous being" who shared physical characteristics (including blond bob, artificially plumped lips, and breast implants) with wife Jacqueline Breyer, a/k/a Lady Jaye. The defining aesthetic of P-Orridge's work comes out of the cut-up techniques of William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin, whose mentorship of Genesis is documented in Ballad. P-Orridge's deep romantic and creative bond with Jaye became both the site and the subject of his most elaborate radical collage. Ballad is an homage to that collage, a nonliner patchwork of Losier's intimate 16mm footage of the couple's home life (all of it captured without sync sound), threaded with archival material and documentation of art and music performances, glued together by Genesis's narration. This impressionistic approach eschews traditional biography, instead giving the viewer the feeling of being inside a moment, without necessarily providing all the information we might need to contextualize what we're seeing. Just like Losier's previous shorts (made in collaboration with Guy Maddin and the Kuchar brothers), borrowing stylistic signatures of their work but always circling back to her own signature interest in the mutability of gender and sexuality, Ballad functions as a dreamlike portrait of her subjects.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.