The Nomi Song | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The Nomi Song


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With his neo-Kabuki makeup, stylized art deco costumes, and proudly gay marriage of rock and grand opera, countertenor Klaus Nomi was by far the strangest performer to surface during the punk/new-wave explosion of the late 70s. He was also one of the first celebrities diagnosed with AIDS, still shrouded in mystery at the time, and his lonely death in 1983 seemed only to enhance his alien mystique. This documentary by Andrew Horn--best known for East Side Story, a history of Soviet musicals--collects moving testimony from the New York artists and musicians who befriended the shy Berliner and helped create his head-spinning stage show. The performance footage is stunning both visually and musically, but through it all Nomi remains an enigma, a pained misfit whose incredible self-transformation isolated him long before he became ill. In English and subtitled German. 96 min. Reviewed this week in Section 1. Music Box.

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