Speakeasy Cinema presents 'The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye'

· Tuesday February 28, 2012

Last year, a couple from Toronto refused to reveal their baby's sex. I was surprised at the number of people I knew who thought this was neither worthwhile nor progressive - and at the hostility with which they responded (“that's just stupid - what wankers!”) I thought it was cool. Why not? “Kids shouldn't be sexualised anyways” I told one relative, who replied, “It's not about sex - there are differences between boys and girls. They PLAY differently.” Really? Or do we teach them that?

The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye explores one couple's 'art project' to become increasingly like each other through plastic surgery; yes, the dude got breast implants. The fact that 'the dude', Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, is one of the most iconoclastic figures in underground rock from the last 30 years complicates and excites this story. Director Marie Losier made some good choices. By including passages on Genesis's childhood (totally vital) and career, the 'pandrogyny' project is represented as just one part of P-Orridge's life's work. There's less analysis than gender studies scholars will likely want, and less archival footage than industrial fans might enjoy, but Ballad finds the right balance to appeal to everyone.

Genesis has questioned society's rules in books, in the art gallery, and on LP so his project with Lady Jaye - which he adamantly states was her idea - extends this body of work, adding love, a desire to become one, and an alternative to having children to his artist's statement. At its core, Ballad is a love story unlike any you've ever seen, about intimacy, creativity, and genuine non-comformity. I recommend seeing it with someone you love while you're wearing each other's underwear.

RELATED LINKS: Primitive Calculators and special international guests at the Toff, Tue Mar 6