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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
As a preteen, I became aware of Klaus Nomi's (as well as Nina Hagen's) music through my Public Library. I'm pretty sure that Klaus was dead by the time I had discovered him, but his image has remained with me for over 20-years!! Like nearly everyone-else, I first heard his music through a copy of "Urgh!!: A Music War" (and the Bowie-appearance on SNL!!), and loved "Total Eclipse." What can you say about the late-seventies, early-eighties that hasn't been said before? It was a culturally-vibrant time when people still took SERIOUS artistic-chances. While I see a few rumblings with the kids these-days, most of it comes-off as "apeing," and is mostly-unoriginal. Kids, take some lessons from Klau Nomi, THIS is what is original. So original, it has yet to be surpassed.
I have to say that director Andrew Horn did an extraordinary job on this film in every-respect. My only complaint is: where are the interviews with Nomi's contemporaries, like Gary Numan, Nina Hagen (a glaring-omission), Lydia Lunch and others? Otherwise, this film is about as perfect as one could ever hope. For the uninitiated, and for the fans-alike, this film will be a revelation of unknown-scenes and players, and the loss-for-words power that was Klaus Nomi. It also underscores how underwhelming most culture and music have been since-then. Perhaps, we are close to a "new-change" in the counterculture, and a move-away from it being entirely "youth-oriented." Now, THAT would be revolutionary! While my favorites of this era have traditionally been the likes of Devo, PiL, the Ramones, the Talking Heads, Bebop Deluxe, Pere Ubu, Blondie, Gary Numan, Kraftwerk, Nina Hagen, Suicide, Killing Joke, Wire, Throbbing Gristle, etc., Nomi is utterly unique. And that is probably what is "typical" of that wonderful, cultural-era. Miss it? You-bet! Apparently Rush Limbaugh is a "fan" of Klaus Nomi's music, and encourages people to buy the albums through links at his site! NOW the Weimar-connection is becoming clear. With his recent-addiction to powerful-synthetic narcotics (oxykotin), he kinda reminds me of the closeted Herman Goering.
We can thank-the-Gods for the people who documented these groups, scenes, and beautiful people. Without them, documentaries like "The Nomi Song" would be almost impossible (as with the Velvet Underground-- shame on you Andy). The "New Wave" referred to what the American-branch of "punk" called-itself in its early-days, and it was pretty diverse. Unfortunately, things changed for-the-worse when punk-orthodoxy cemented things into the boring, three-chord pap we're stuck with nowadays. But this happens with all cultural-waves. They eventually become the problem after the initial-shock they provoke. Kinda like a joke that was funny...the first-time. Fine, be boring if you want, but there will always be people who like variety and something that challenges them. Watch this documentary (better-yet, buy it now). It will move you, unless you happen to be an emotionally-retarded homophobe. Then, go buy every Klaus Nomi CD in-print. Then, go make the world a little brighter. Create things that amaze you and your friends. Be magical. Life is short. The amazing, and short-life of Klaus Nomi proves this adage.
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