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Having failed to break into professional opera in his native Germany (where, as an usher in West Berlin's Deutsche Oper, he would serenade the staff after the 'real' performances were over) the diminutive Klaus Nomi headed for NYC in 1972. The vibrant New Wave/avant-garde gestalt of the mid/late '70's East Village proved to be fertile ground for the development of his unique talents. Working by day as a high-end pastry chef, Nomi began to stage his outlandish performances, first launching himself upon an unsuspecting public at the New Wave Vaudeville in 1978. The hip and cynical young audience was stunned by this weird combination of falsetto arias, booming classical orchestration, Kraftwerk-style electronica, futuristic costumes and outer space imagery. An odd assortment of artists, choreographers, designers, songwriters and musicians jumped on to the Nomi bandwagon and the phenomenon began to take off - first attracting thousands to South Manhattan events (including performances at ... Written by
Portrait of A One-of-a-Kind Artist in a One-of-a-Kind Decade
My husband and I were eagerly anticipating THE NOMI SONG, Andrew Horn's by-turns witty and poignant documentary about Klaus Nomi, the German singer/performance artist with the multi-octave range who took New York and then the world by storm for a brief, exciting period in the 1980s. Nomi, with his outer space alien persona, was so avant-garde even the avant-garde set wasn't quite sure what to make of him, but loved him all the same before his tragic death from AIDS (this was back when AIDS was still new and scary and known as "gay cancer"). Our 8-year-old daughter liked Nomi's "high, high voice" and kooky costumes. We adults liked the interviews with Ann Magnuson and other scene-makers from the era, as well as the chance to see such rarities as Nomi's performance with David Bowie on a 1979 SNL episode (which I remember seeing during its live broadcast back in the day). THE NOMI SONG also sports a treasure trove of DVD extras, including full-length musical performances, an Easter Egg feature for part-time pastry chef Nomi's lime tart recipe, and Lou Christie talking enthusiastically about Nomi's cover of his classic "Lightning Strikes Again" (Christie kinda starts talking about himself, too, but it's interesting and endearing). If you like 1980s New Wave music and all things offbeat, THE NOMI SONG is well worth seeking out!
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