In Memoriam A Tribute to Genesis Breyer P-Orridge
My Encounter with the Third Kind
My story with Genesis P-Orridge begins 16 years ago in a typically miraculous New York City coincidence. Before I had ever met he/r, I’d seen he/r perform at a concert at the Knitting Factory playing the second part of a Suicide evening with Alan Vega. For me, watching Genesis perform was pure enchantment. He/r words from the stage hovered somewhere between song and speech, deeply poetic, primitive, at times frightful. It completely hypnotized me. I had never seen anyone like he/r and fell under the spell of her voice and unique sense of humor and melancholy. A week later, I was at a gallery opening in SoHo, one of those sardine-can spaces where you can barely walk and hardly breathe. Being relatively small, I got pressed into a corner where I inadvertently stepped on someone’s toes. I turned to apologize and there was Genesis smiling, talking with the Icelandic singer Björk, he/r gold-capped teeth glittering down over me. We spoke briefly, but in that time I felt something special had passed between us. S/he asked me about my films and gave me he/r address and cell and asked me to call he/r and come over to meet he/r and Jaye. I knew immediately that I had to film this perplexing and powerful figure, perhaps as a way of understanding what I had experienced, but moreover to have proof of the existence of a being I was convinced had arrived from somewhere else! Whether it was fate or pure clumsiness, this marked the beginning of our artistic collaboration, one that would develop into a close friendship and powerful creative adventure of love.
It is a strange moment to write as so many people are disappearing with a virus and we are confined to our homes, with memories and uncertainty ahead. Yet I keep positive and now I am asked to write down a few moments of my many years of friendship and filmmaking with Genesis and Lady Jaye, only the best and most tender and hilarious moments return to my heart and head. I have so many stories it is hard to focus on one, so I try to take a simple one that brings much warmth to my day. I am happy to be close to Alice and Edley (Edley ODowd, Alice Genese) and connected in order to keep the memory and friendship of life in NYC and of Genesis alive and tender. Often when we were filming (what would become The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye ) I would stay a whole day or weekend at their home in Brooklyn. One day Jaye and Gen asked me to film and help them with a surprise, so I went down in the basement where they were and where all the archives were, boxes with labels like: Brion Gysin, Willam Burroughs, Coum, Vinyls, cassettes tapes, TG, Mail Art, etc. and I saw them both head toward one of the boxes, a whole huge cardboard box of Barbies that belonged to Caresse or Genesse, I do not remember. They were laughing to tears and started undressing tons of Barbie dolls! So I jumped to my Bolex camera and this scene became a giant chase into the basement with baby dolls, and little dolls’ outfits flying into the air…then the rest ended up being set up by Jaye and Gen in the garden like a crazy dollhouse—in the trees, flowers, pots, tables, gravels. The garden became an insane baby field and a great set for a film shoot with Gen and Jaye laughing like two young girls from high school! Simple but fun memory of my weekends filming with them.