Now that’s love: ‘Ballad’ of Psychic TV rocker

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If it weren’t true, the love story behind “The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye” would seem like something out of a Pedro Almodovar film. The documentary on industrial rock pioneer Genesis Breyer P-Orridge opens Friday in Atlanta.

“The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye” follows Breyer P-Orridge, the British rock ground-breaker from alternative bands Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV, through a physical transformation that pushes the usual bounds of love. When Genesis met the love of his life, American nurse Lady Jaye, the two started a pandrogynous love affair that shocked many. Instead of having children, they decided to show their commitment to each other by pursuing something … different.

In 2000, Genesis and Lady Jaye began a series of cosmetic and sex reassignment surgeries to closely resemble each other. Genesis, long influenced by queer Beat Generation writer William Burroughs, deemed the transformatons “Creating the Pandrogyne.” In 2003, on Valentine’s Day, came the ultimate act – the two underwent surgery for breast implants and woke up holding hands. It was the most subversive and risky act of the artist’s career, P-Orridge has suggested.

It took director Marie Losier eight years to make the film. When she first saw Genesis perform in concert, she was blown away, she admits . Shortly after that, she met the musician at a gallery. Emails were exchanged, and Genesis insisted Marie meet Jaye. Less than two weeks later, she and her cameras started traveling with them.

“When we met and talked, Jaye told me I was the one to tell their story,” Losier says.

As she followed Genesis and Lady Jaye around, nothing was off limits for her camera, which both surprised and delighted her. She really didn’t know what the tone of the film was going to be as she shot it, but says she thought it would be about Genesis and Lady Jaye’s legacy in the music industry. The result really became more about their bond.

“When I saw the footage of them together finishing each other’s sentences, I knew it was something different,” the director says. “This was a love affair.”

Lady Jaye died in 2007, and the film captures the couple’s 15 years together as lovers and professional partners.

During the course of filming, Genesis and Lady Jaye had their surgeries. It is featured in the film although Losier admits she wasn’t terribly interested in showing the logistics of the medical procedures. Intimate discussions with the couple and some Psychic TV concert and backstage footage are also in the mix.

Losier premiered the movie at the Berlin Internation Film Festival last year, where it won a Teddy award for the best LGBT documentary. Since that time, she has been slowly showing it around the world. She stills works a full time day job in New York, and the last year has been a “rollercoaster,” she says. “Every weekend, I go to a different state.”

“The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye” opens in Atlanta on Friday at the UA Tara Cinemas 4. Check out more stills from the film and their lives in the gallery below.

imageJim Farmer is an Atlanta-based freelance writer and public relations professional specializing in film promotions. He has been a theater and pop-culture critic for more than a dozen years and is the director of Atlanta’s annual Out On Film LGBT film festival.

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