The Nomi Song

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Personally, I never heard of Klaus Nomi. But back in the late Seventies, when he landed in New York from his native Germany, he might as well been from Mars. Because this aspiring rock singer, sang in an operatic style with a soprano which immediately endeared him to the bohemians of Greenwich Village. He developed enough of a cult following to have lines around the block outside clubs for his concerts.

He perhaps peaked  when he appeared on Saturday Night Live as a back-up singer to David Bowie, managing to upstage the star in the process. As weird visually as he was vocally, Klaus looked and dressed like your favorite Martian. And his arresting appearance probably played as big a role in his success as his unusual warblings. Tragically, he contracted AIDS while still on the rise, so his life ended before his career had a chance to blossom fully.

But because he was lucky enough to leave behind reams of videotape of of his automaton act, the androgynous oddball is able to enjoy 15 more minutes of fame posthumously. Director Andrew Horn has strung together several of his profoundly bizarre performances, here, into as riveting a documentary as I can remember.

The Nomi Song also contains interviews with Klaus' contemporaries, handlers and hangers-on, though they seem to know precious little about the otherworldly icon. This only serves to enhances the mystery surrounding an entertaining alien who arrived and departed way ahead of his time. I’d be curious to see how Klaus would fare on American Idol, though I suspect that Simon Cowell would gong him in less than 30 seconds. Yet, undeniably Herr Nomi had a certain something some people of Earth apparently appreciated. Falsetto from another planet.

Excellent (4 stars)
In German and English with subtitles
Running time: 96 minutes
Distributor: Palm Pictures

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