Klaus Nomi

At Christmas time in 1979, I spotted a strange looking guy on a Fiorucci postcard, which read, “Klaus Nomi." I thought it meant ‘Merry Christmas’ in German, and bought the card. In December of 1979, I was in the studio for Bowie’s Saturday Night Live rehearsal. My dad (a VP at WNBC television) apologized for not getting me a seat inside the studio, but in the control room instead. This was even better, since it was right outside the dressing rooms!
The studio was buzzing with excitement. Jane Curtin and Larraine Newman were jumping around yelling, “Bowie is in the building!!!” I suddenly recognized Joey from Fiorucci in the hallway. He excitedly explained that Bowie had asked him to sing back-up on the show! Bowie stood with a weird little guy dressed in black, and introduced him to me as ‘Klaus Nomi’ (Joey Arias turned out to be a member of Klaus Nomi’s band). I was actually more excited to see my postcard photo come to life than to actually meet the legendary Bowie! I was enraptured by this elfin creature in exquisite makeup, pointed hair style and costume with a German accent. Klaus smiled sweetly and kissed my hand. He wore the softest black leather elbow-length gloves - quite glamorous! I asked who did their fabulous makeup (the meticulous details were not visible on TV). They boasted that they’d done each other’s makeup, “Joey did mine and I did his, and we did David’s!” Boys will be girls!
First they performed “The Man Who Sold The World." Joey and Klaus carried Bowie on stage because his bizarre Dadaist costume encased his legs.
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Klaus Nomi was a German minimalist with the most amazing voice and stage aptitude. He could not only block a scene as a director but inject himself as the star without forcing stardom on his subordinate players. The following video, The Cold Song, shows Klaus at his diva best for not only does he know, but the orchestra knows as well, they're bit players in this performance.

Step outside the performance and watch him. In other words, turn off your sound and look at how he carries himself. His outward caricature of robotic stiffness is in complete contrast to his vocal range of pure emotion. Watch it with the sound off, then watch it again with the sound on, then play it again with your eyes closed. The man has a sense of presence in complete opposition to the populist Three Tenors.
Quoted. Referent video:

Bonus fun video:


Me Myself said...

He's also in the last episode of season 2 of Venture Bros along with Iggy Pop and David Bowie.

Noah said...

Klaus Nomi

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