Last night found me watching two ambitious, if flawed and sometimes tedious, docs, to varying degrees of frustration.
The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye (dir Marie Losier) featured the intriguing premise that its titular couple sought to fuse themselves into one being: the Pandrogyne. Genesis P-Orridge's entire career has been spent shape-shifting, changing names, bands and identities, though it remained unclear whether the desire to fuse with Lady Jaye actually placed P-Orridge in the transgender camp (P-Orridge seems to prefer "we" as the pronoun of choice). Though P-Orridge's voiceover provided the narrative flow of the doc, in my mind, the important questions went unanswered: Who was Lady Jaye? What was their relationship about? And what is Pandrogyny? Instead Marie Losier's camera lingered on P-Orridge, mugging, showing off implant-enhanced breasts, performing turns and recounting scandals past. Lady Jaye remained in the background, breezing in and out of shot and saying almost nothing. It really never felt like the two names in the title were at all warranted. Genesis Remembers would be a more fitting title, as Lady Jaye is no longer with us.
Earlier in the evening, I spent a bum-numbing two hours sitting through This Is Not a Dream (dirs Ben Walters/Gavin Butt), a recap of the breakthrough of queer voices into the realm of alternative television, from cable in the 70s to the current You Tube "stars". Again, the premise intrigued, but the delivery was marred by interminable interviews with not very interesting people, badly edited. Bright spots included Vaginal Davis recounting the Fertile La Toyah Jackson project and Nao Bustamante's "intervention" on Joan Rivers' talk show (missed that, myself). But, a lot of it was unnecessary flab and could have been trimmed way, way down. Kudos to Dickie Beau for the live spots, which would have worked better in a reduced running time.