Miracle on 57th Street. Thomas Wolfe said that America is not only the place where miracles happen, but where they happen all the time. This is the story of a miracle, a true-life fairy tale, and appropriately enough it begins with the intervention of the Almighty. Artur Rodzinski, music director of the New York Philharmonic from 1943 to 1947, was an eccentric, a health nut who drank only milk from goats he raised himself and who kept a loaded revolver in his back pocket whenever he conducted. Rodzinski said that God told him to hire 24 year old Leonard Bernstein, to be his assistant conductor. In the fall of 1943 Rodzinski decided to take a vacation, spend a little time with his goats, and called in Bruno Walter to conduct seven concerts in ten days. Only hours before one of those concerts (in the program, works by Schumann, Rosza, Strauss and Wagner) Walter fell ill. Rodzinski was only four hours away, in his farm. But he declined to come back to Carnegie Hall: "Call Bernstein. That's why we hired him." The concert was broadcast over radio and a review appeared on page 1 of The New York Times the next day: "Young Aide Leads Philharmonic; Steps in When Bruno Walter is Ill". In the same size type as another that read, "Japanese Plane Transport Sunk." More inside.
"His voice was otherworldly — you couldn't believe the sound". Everyone who ever heard Klaus Nomi's voice had the same comment: "It can't be real." You hear that response throughout "The Nomi Song," the documentary about the obscure German-born artist who was a fixture on the New York music scene in the late '70s-early '80s, and a legitimate pop star in Europe. He was also a mystery, even to those who knew him. The film primarily covers the years between his 1978 New York club debut - which was captured on film - and his AIDS-related death in 1983 at age 39. Nomi never had an album officially released in the U.S. but was wildly popular among New York clubgoers as well as in France and his native Germany. More inside.