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THE NOMI SONG

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If you don't already know who new-wave oddity Klaus Nomi was, or have some familiarity with New York's late-1970s downtown scene, you might find Andrew Horn's documentary about the enigmatic singer somewhat elusive. Horn unfortunately doesn't provide much context; for instance, he supplies no dates, as if being a video performer in 1978 were no different than in post-MTV 1982. Regardless, Nomi, a German elf who dressed like an androgynous space alien and sang opera to a cult audience of punkers and art-whores until his death in 1983, is a fascinating subject, even if Horn and the Nomi contemporaries he interviews today fail to penetrate the performer's slavishly cultivated exterior. There's a great sad story lurking somewhere in this film, but Horn can't bring the various threads -- music, art, money, fame, AIDS -- together into a meaningful piece of whole cloth. Nonetheless, with its rare footage, Song is recommended for fans, or for those simply interested in an underground art/music curio. In English, and some German, with subtitles. Starts Fri., May 13. Harris

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