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The day, it's the life of the beings, but the night, it's the life of the things... (A. Daudet)

 

 

 

Biography

Born in New York on 16.9.1952, he studied at art college in New York.After graduating he began working as a filmmaker and graphic artist.He 1989 he was awarded a DAAD artist-in-residence bursary and moved to Berlin, where he continued to work as both filmmaker and writer.His films DOOMED LOVE and THE BIG BLUE were both shown in the International Forum section of the Berlinale.He co-wrote the 1997 documentary, EAST SIDE STORY, directed by Dana Ranga.1997

 

Filmography

1978 ELAINE.A STORY OF LOST LOVE

Co-Regie:John Meaney

 1979 SPACE CITY

Co-Regie:Robyn Brentano

1984- DOOMED LOVE

1988-  THE BIG BLUE

2004-  THE NOMI SONG

 

 

#Photo : Cinéma Village  - NYC / Nuart Theatre - Los Angeles

 

 

I - The Nomi Song

II- Inteview Andrew Horn

 

 

 

 

     

  The Nomi Song  

 

It’s hard to say which made a greater impression – his voice or the way he looked with his luminously painted white face? Klaus Nomi’s countertenor register and his outrageous outfits – greatly admired by David Bowie, for whom he later designed costumes – soon made him an icon of New York’s

underground scene. By the 1970s, he was an integral part of New York’s alternative culture, appearing in films, performing in clubs and making countless records.Nomi’s stage show oscillated between his own particular interpretations of Saint-Saëns “Samson and Delilah”, the Donna Summer hit “I Feel Love” and Chubby Checker’s “The Twist”. When he died in 1983 from an AIDS-related infection, he was by no means at the height of his popularity. Whether one encounters him on posthumous CD releases or commer-

cials for “Jägermeister” bitters – Klaus Nomi is as much in the public eye today as he was during his lifetime. In his documentary, Andrew Horn tells the story of Klaus Nomi from his birth as Klaus Spender in Bavaria in 1944 to his later stardom in New York.The film includes excerpts from Nomi’s shows

but also features interviews with his relatives, his former singing teacher and his many friends and colleagues. Klaus Nomi himself is even in on the proceedings – in the shape of a life-size mechanical doll created by the artist Pat Keck.

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Andrew Horn Interview

#by Isabelle Betemps (webmaster) 23/04/2004

 
 

How did cometo or discover Klaus?

 

A.H. : In, I think, 1978 I was working on a play in NY which was sort of a camp version of the Wagner opera, The Ring.  I did some film sequences for it,

like the Valkyries flying through the air and Brunhilda leaping into the flames, all with cut out figures I had made from photos of the cast members.  A couple weeks into the show, one of the performers, I believe she was a real opera singer (almost none of the cast members could really sing, and many of them actually lost their voices by the time the show opened) dropped out and was replaced by Klaus.  None of the cast members who I asked about it years later knew who he was or how he happened to get involved, he just sort of seemed to have appeared out of nowhere.  He played several roles in the show, including a Rhein Maiden, one of the Valkyries and his big part was The Forest Bird, all sung in his counter tenor voice.  This is where we first met and after that I would often ran into him on the street.  The East Village, at that time, was like a small town and we were always meeting our friends or acquaintances on the street on the way to somewhere or other.  So we would stand on the street corner and talk and he told me that he wanted to put a band together and work with synthesizers and I was sort of surprised, since I just assumed he was a serious opera singer it all seemed a bit weird to me.  Also this was in the middle of the Punk era and all this synthopop stuff was sort of looked down upon, so I didn't really take him very seriously.  Then several months later, I went to a show called New Wave Vaudeville where he made his first appearance as Klaus Nomi, dressed like a space alien, and singing an aria from Samson and Delila amidst clouds of smoke and he completely freaked everybody out.  He was the big hit of the show and the audience was literally screaming when he sang, they just couldn't believe it.  This performance is in the movie, by the way.

 

How did you get the idea of making a film about his life?
 

A.H. : It wasn't my idea at first.  I met one of the producers at the documentary film festival in Marseilles.  He has previously done a movie about the singer Nico, called Nico Icon and he wanted to do another similar film and thought about Klaus.  Since I knew Klaus a little and certainly lived

through that time in NY myself, I volunteered.  And over the course of the

production I sort of made the film my own.

 

What kind of emotions did the making of the movie involved ?

 

A.H. : Since, as I said, I lived through this time myself, I tried in a way to put

as much of myself into it as I could.  This doesn't mean I made myself a character in the story - I'm not at all - but I sort of had to relive a lot of memories of the time and things we used to do and recapture for myself the spirit we all had then.  One good reason why I felt I should make the movie is that I was pretty familiar with the scene then and as a result it was not very difficult for me to find a lot of the people I had to speak to - as well as dig up the materials I needed -  through my old network of friends.  So it was a matter of getting back in touch with people I hadn't seen in a long time, and becoming friends with people who I only knew slightly as well as getting together and forming new friendships with people I hadn't know then at all.  This was really a big joy for me in the whole production process and I hope that feeling is somehow communicated in the film.  

 

What was the reaction of the public for the premiere at The Berlin festival ?

 

A.H. : Well I won't say a film like this was for everyone, but the reaction was

really positive and those that liked it really liked it very, very much and I'm happy to say it won a prize at the end.  Plus it was totally sold out right from the beginning and all the shows were packed.  After the first show, I remember going to the ticket counter to see if I could find an extra ticket for a friend, because I was told that sometimes festival guests got tickets and then couldn't use them, so there were some returns  So, I asked for a ticket and, of course, I was immediately told there were no tickets and then when I asked if maybe somebody might return some, the woman just shook her head and said, "not for that film!"

 

When will we see the film in France ?

 

A.H. : There is no date yet, but we are trying to get the film shown in the cinemas.  Later it will be in Arte, since they are one of the co-producers.

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 Cold song' by Henri Purcell  * , Performed by Klaus Nomi, 1981

 

 


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