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Snap Judgments: Film

The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye (Adopt Films)

One charming feature of Marie Losier’s latest documentary, in local theaters this month, is its total failure of exposition. If The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye seems randomly beamed in from outer space, that just goes to show its commitment to the material. For the sake of easier access, here’s some background: Once upon a time, the onetime San Franciscan Genesis P-Orridge, frontman of proto-industrial noise outfit Throbbing Gristle, fell in love with a pretty young dominatrix called Lady Jaye. Their partnership was a charmed accumulation of poignant whimsy and unbridled creativity; eventually, maybe inevitably, it involved an ultimate consummation, the “Creating the Pandrogyne” project, in which the soul mates underwent plastic surgery to more closely resemble each other. When Lady Jaye died in 2007, or “dropped her body,” as Genesis nicely puts it, hearts were broken but the spell was not. Appropriately enough, Losier’s crazy quilt of home-movie and performance footage (including a mesmerizing 1981 Kezar Pavilion show) seems giddily undomesticated. Reveling unapologetically in the self-exploratory artfulness of bohemian East Village chic, this is simply one sincere and affecting answer to the question of how to really live and love like an artist. A-