celebrate the legend of this theremin-playing new york drag priestess

Peek into the world of Armen Ra–the Persian-Armenian concert theremin performer–in this heartbreaking film.

by Charlotte Gush
Nov 18 2015, 12:03am

Amanda Lepore, Sister Dimension, Patricia Field, Gwen Stefani and leading lights of the New York drag scene turned out for the premiere of indie film When My Sorrow Died: The Legend of Armen Ra and the Theremin. The film documents the life of Persian-Armenian performer Armen Ra, a refugee of the 1978 revolution in Iran living in exile in America, who became the 'high priestess' of the New York drag scene, but faced homelessness and alcoholism away from the glamour, before evolving into a self-taught concert theremin performer.

"The theremin is the vessel that atomises my sadness into beauty," Ra says in the trailer of the strange and seemingly magical instrument, played without touch, by hovering your hands over it -- the first electronic instrument ever invented, by Russian physicist Leon Theremin in 1920. The film follows Armen from the legendary drag clubs of New York to his debut theremin performance with Anthony and The Johnsons, recognition as one of the finest theremin performers in the world and recent work with Marc Almond and Nick Cave.

When My Sorrow Died: The Legend of Armen Ra and the Thereminis at Cinema Village in New York City until 19 November.



Text Charlotte Gush

New York
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armen ra