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Nomi Song, The [Import]

Klaus Nomi , Ann Magnuson , Andrew Horn    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Born Klaus Sperber in Essen, Germany, Nomi dressed like an alien, sang like an angel, and electrified new wave-era New York. The classically trained tenor moved to the US in the 1970s. Influenced by Maria Callas, Marlene Dietrich, and 1950s sci-fi films, the "opera-singing pastry chef," as writer Glenn O'Brien described him, developed a unique look and sound that stood apart from every other act to emerge from the East Village. At the height of his fame, he caught the eye of David Bowie, with whom he performed on Saturday Night Live in 1979. Unfortunately, his AIDS-related death in 1983 curtailed any chance to reach a wider audience. Andrew Horn's evocative portrait rises above the ordinary by documenting a scene as much as its most original participant. Aside from a wealth of archival material, The Nomi Song includes interviews with Kenny Scharf and Ann Magnuson (but alas, no Bowie). --Kathleen C. Fennessy

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Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  34 reviews
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will the World Ever Catch Up? June 16 2005
By J. Brady - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I have been waiting literally half my life for this movie. I first saw Klaus Nomi performing in Urgh! A Music War when I was 14 years old( like most other teens in small towns across America , Nomi wasn't exactly playing for them in the club down the street ) and have been fascinated ever since. By the time I had gotten my hands on his two albums, he was dead and gone and largely forgotten, one of the first victims of AIDS in the world of the arts. His music literally defies desciption. It is all over the place and very difficult to put into a category ( this is discussed at length in this movie .) If you have only a passing knowledge or curiousity of this extraordinary entertainer, you must see this film. If you are a fan, it will be a dream come true, like it was for me, and will fill in all the holes in the Nomi story. It is his life, told with pictures, anecdotes, lots of concert footage, old interviews with Klaus himself and new interviews with those who knew him before he became famous. A MUST SEE.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Klaus Nomi-Here For A Little While Sept. 5 2005
By F. S. Barton-Coleman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Caught this film a couple of months ago at an independent film workshop and could hardly hold back the tears. I saw Klaus Nomi in Columbus, Ohio during his whirlwind tour of the Midwest and still have my red and black button with the Nomi profile. It sure was different back then-the folks in Akron were so enchanted by this strange little man that he ended up on the cover of the Akron Beacon-Journal Sunday magazine-holding a huge oversized old boot from a flea market and smiling the most bemused little grin of astonishment. Through the interviews and private film footage on this DVD we get to see a little bit of the man beneath the make-up. The segments in Aunt Trudi's dollhouse almost broke my heart as she talked about what a happy little boy he had been and how all the children would come running when he came for a visit-contrasted with the way he died-alone and friendless as did so many others in the early 80's.

Buy this as a souvenir of a time that was filled with so many possibilities and so much tragedy. Klaus's life was certainly filled to the brim with both.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Portrait of A One-of-a-Kind Artist in a One-of-a-Kind Decade July 17 2005
By Dorian Tenore-Bartilucci - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
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 late 1970s and '80s. Nomi, with his outer space alien persona, was so avant-garde that 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 1979 performance with David Bowie on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE (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.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravo! Bravissimo! Sept. 5 2005
By Randy Buck - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I knew Klaus in 70's New York, and am delighted to see him preserved for other generations in this wonderful documentary. Particularly pleased by two things: there's lots of wonderful performance footage of him, so you can get a clear idea of what his stage persona was all about. And the film also shows his sweet side, literally and figuratively. Klaus, underneath the persona he so brilliant constructed, was actually rather shy, very dear, and was a TERRIFIC pastry chef -- how wonderful that talent's documented here, too! Highly recommended to anyone with even a casual interest in the downtown art scene of thirty years ago.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Documentary on The One And Only Nomi, the Singing Alien Nov. 5 2005
By Tsuyoshi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Don't say you're not interested in Klaus Nomi. If you never heard of him, it doesn't matter. If you want to hear something unique and extraordinary, here's Nomi, whose genre-defying, mind-bending mixture of styles is simply captivating. And here's a documentary about his tragic short life, which itself is as captivating as his songs.

Born Klaus Sperber in Germany, Nomi became part of New Wave movement in New York in the late 70s. And his eccentric style is still amazing to see. Tightly clad in the bizarre costumes coming directly from grade-B sci-fi films with completely white-wasked face, Nomi appears as if giving an oracle, and when he starts to sing, what a song! His is curious blend of pop and opera with beautiful falsetto. He is literally a singing alien.

This documentary consists of the interviews with those how knew Nomi. What is revealed here may not be surprising to the viewers who have some knowledge about Nomi, but to the people like me, who are interested in the 70-80s, the comments and footages about him and the surrounding NY club scenes are still precious. Sure, most of the footages are private films with bad image and sound quality, but they still vividly bring the feeling of the times to life.

Probably the most interesting moment in the film would be the song of David Bowie on Saturaday Night Live in 1979, in which Klaus Nomi appears one of the backsingers. Clearly this is, or should be, the turning of Nomi's career, and after this point, many interviewees, quite honest about Nomi's complex personality, are not always kind to his behaviors.

Though Nomi is gone forever, his originality can be still felt if you watch the film. With the lack of some materials (for instance, Bowie or the artists in Japan who briefly worked with him), and with less than satisfactory comments from Nomi himself, 'The Nomi Song' may not be as incisive as it should be, but still intriguing even for non-fans of Nomi. Watch this, and buy his CDs if you want something very different.
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