Memento Mori is a term in Latin meaning we’re all mortal. You never know when your time is up. Gorgeous, warm, talented, funny, 38-year-old Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge departed planet earth October 9th. S/he passed away from heart failure as a result of an undiagnosed complication in her two-year struggle with stomach cancer. But Lady Jaye lives in perpetuity inside her “other half,” cult figure, musician and artist Genesis Breyer P-Orridge.
In 1999, they created an art project called pandrogyny inspired by the “cut up” method developed by Beat writers Brion Gysin and William Burroughs. Calling themselves Breyer P-Orridge, to transcend limitations of self, body and gender, they cut themselves up into a “third being” resembling each other thanks to surgery and other body modification techniques. In keeping with pandrogyny, both Genesis and Jaye used the pronouns “s/he” and” her.” Hardly your typical couple, they celebrated Valentine’s Day 2003 with matching breast-implant operations.
This celebration of Lady Jaye’s life, will be held at PARTICIPANT INC.
in their new quarters on the Lower East Side and is free and open to
all. The gallery, known for showing unconventional artworks, featured
the art project and performance series of Genesis and Jaye in 2005.
Expect the unexpected, including a room filled with their friends: creative and outrageous performers, musicians and artists.
entertainment event per se, there will be lot of surprise performances
including the music and go go burlesque of The Candy Cabaret, comprised
of avant-garde guitarist Bryin Dall, Miss Marti, Lady Jaye’s close
friend and vocalist of Beaut, performer, dancer and burlesque
extraordinaire Julie Atlas Muz, drag performer and personality Hattie
Hathaway (AKA Brian Butterick) and controversial performance artist
and rock musician Kembra Pfahler, the lead singer of the cult glam-punk
band The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black. The evening will showcase
documentary video and film footage of Lady Jaye’s performances created
by Marie Losier and Laura Parnes; a slide show created by Laure Leber,
and other installations.
Along with Genesis, Lady Jaye was a band-member of Psychic TV/PTV3 and Thee Majesty. Known as Miss Jacky and Shecky Domination, back in the 1980s and early 1990s, s/he was an actress and model who performed in the original House Of Domination at Jackie 60. S/he appeared in Off-Off Broadway theater productions and experimental films and was a member of BlackLips Theatre Cult with Antony of the Johnsons and the so-called “lunatic” Dueling Bankheads. Scott Ewalt met Jaye when they both were in the go-go dance troupe at Jackie 60 and recalled her as “always considerate and always so extremely elegant.”
Genesis and Jaye met each other in 1993 on West 23rd Street in the dungeon of a mutual friend, writer Terence Sellers. “I’d crashed on the floor and woke up the next morning and saw through the doorway a tall slim and beautiful woman in a Brian Jones haircut and 1960s style jeans, smoking a cigarette.” Although friends warned her Genesis was “bad news,” it was love at first sight for both.
An underground legend and worshiped by her fans, Genesis P-Orridge has always lived life on the edge, although living with Lady Jaye transformed her into a mellower being. Once labeled the “Wrecker of Civilization” by the British tabloids, Genesis’s goal has always been to shake up complacency and the status quo. In 1976, s/he co-founded Throbbing Gristle, one of the first industrial bands, coining the term “industrial music.” Psychic TV3 blends psychedelic, punk, electronic, and experimental music. P-Orridge has released more than 200 CD’s to date and has shown her art in numerous galleries and museums. A noted pagan and practitioner of magick, in the early 1980s s/he founded the Temple ov Psychick Youth, a group propounding non-mysticism and channeling sexuality for the creative process. Genesis has always used her body as a canvas and laboratory. In 1989, s/he was profiled in Modern Primitives, the bible for tattoo acolytes, and was a pioneer of tattoos, piercings, scars, cuttings, and other body modifications. S/he spent 18 months removing his teeth and replacing them with gold implants. S/he continues to dress like his late wife and s/he still feels her presence in her house, which is filled with Jaye’s image.
I myself met Genesis and Lady Jaye during an interview at their home in August, observing first-hand the couple’s close bond but was shocked to hear of her death only two months later. On October 9th, they were at their home in Brooklyn taking it easy before resuming Psychic TV3’s world-wide fall tour. A bit fatigued, Lady Jaye suddenly felt ill and died in Genesis’s arms. Her last image recorded is of her giving the finger into her camera phone. Although she never made it to 2008, she’d told her other half her slogan for the upcoming year was “Fuck ‘em all!”
S/HE IS (STILL) HER/E: A Memorial Gathering To Celebrate The Life and Art, Loves and Laughs of Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge 1969-2007 (aka Miss Jackie & Schecky Domination), Sat. March 8th 7 pm, PARTICIPANT INC. Gallery, 253 East Houston St., (betw Norfolk and Suffolk Sts.), free (donations of red wine welcomed), 212-254-4334.