Read Nicole Gluckstern's interview with documentary filmmaker Marie Losier about her new film, The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye, here. Below, extended thoughts from Losier and film subject and musician-performance artist Genesis Breyer P-Orridge.
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge: It was Lady Jaye, when we started to take the whole idea of pandrogeny more seriously and dedicate our lives to it, she immediately said, "We really need to find somebody to just follow us around and film us." And within a week we'd met Marie. We call it the "of course" factor. "Of course" we met Marie, because we were supposed to meet Marie, and it's amazing how often that comes up, the "of course" thing. So from then on it wasn't conscious anymore, it was just that Marie was around whenever she felt there was something to film, or she would say "I have this idea that I would like you to dress as a mermaid and pretend to swim with a house on your back...."
Marie Losier: Mike [Kuchar] is the person who taught me how to make films, just to make them. He's actually the first person I made a film with, ever ... the person who taught me how to load a roll of film in my camera. And he's so clumsy, and everything always falls apart ... so I didn't think twice, like "Oh, ok, if I can make a film that way I don't have to think too much [about the process], no worry." And it works. It's also a joy. Mike and George [Kuchar] were always like, "filmmaking is a hobby, just enjoy it."
On DIY filmmaking:
ML: It took a long time, [seven years]. I had no budget and I did everything on my own time and budget. No crew, no producer. [I had] this tiny 16mm Bolex with no sound or anything, so it was a pretty archaic way of entering that world, but for me, it became very very beautiful because I was there and I was a part of it, but also, like a ghost who would just record beautiful moments...but was not intruding.
GPO: In the beginning, as you know, it was basically just driven by [my and Lady Jaye's] insane love for each other, the sense of wanting to literally consume each other and just find away we could somehow blend our bodies together as well as our minds and become a new-formed being whether it was in this dimension or another. But during that we had a lot of dialogues ... about the implications and possibilities, and at some point it came back into my mind [something that William S.] Burroughs said to me in 1971: "How do we short-circuit control, and where is control located?"
It came to us that control is a recording, and DNA is a recording, and it terms of the human body and its potential and its ability to mutate and evolve, then where you have to look is DNA. And if you want to change the recording, you cut it up, you deny it its natural flow. And that's what we realized we were doing, that we were quietly saying we will not let our bodies grow and look the way that DNA expects us to. We will say "we refuse," and that became a really powerful thought for us ... it loosened up our way of seeing things. We both thought, if we can break the pattern of DNA, even in simple ways, perhaps that will give people the breathing space to think about the future. If you can imagine that the body can become basically anything once you remove DNA as a monopoly ... or suppressive doctrine ... once you take away this idea that the body is sacred and a finished item, which it's not, in our opinion, far from it, then everything becomes possible.
On the sweet hereafter:
GPO: Myself and [the late] Lady Jaye [are still] involved in pandrogeny, [just] she is now working in the immaterial dimension. The ultimate point for us personally was that when my body is dropped for her to maintain a sense of individual spirit through it so that when it's my turn to leave this body we can literally find each other and literally become one. There's lots of things that she noted that are still being manifested. She's absolutely always around.
SFBG: One thing I really like about the film are all the domestic scenes, people running around the kitchen and throwing barbecues. Do you have a sense of relief that that side of you is now in the public view, that people can associate you with domestic tranquility?
GPO: Definitely, thank goodness. The only thing that Jaye wanted to achieve was to be remembered as a great love affair, so for all of us involved, the band, our friends, are really thrilled that that's what happened.
The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye opens Fri/9 in Bay Area theaters.