The Fabulous Sylvester: The Legend, the Music, the Seventies in San Francisco

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Macmillan, Jan 24, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 336 pages
3 Reviews
A journey back through the music, madness, and unparalleled freedom of an era of change-the '70s-as told through the life of ultra-fabulous superstar Sylvester. Imagine a pied piper singing in a dazzling falsetto, wearing glittering sequins, and leading the young people of the nation to San Francisco and on to liberation where nothing was straight-laced or old-fashioned. And everyone, finally, was welcome-to come as themselves. This is not a fairy tale. This was real, mighty real, and disco sensation Sylvester was the piper. Joshua Gamson-a Yale-trained pop culture expert-uses him, a boy who would be fabulous, to lead us through the story of the '70s when a new era of change liberated us from conformity and boredom. Gamson captures the exuberant life, feeling, energy, and fun of a generation's wonderful, magical waking up-from the parties to the dancing and music. The story begins with a little black boy who started with nothing but a really big voice. We follow him from the Gospel chorus to the glory days in the Castro where a generation shook off its shame as Sylvester sang and began his rise as part of a now-notorious theatrical troup called the Cockettes. Celebrity, sociology, and music history mingle and merge around this endlessly entertaining story of a singer who embodied the freedom, spirit, and flamboyance of a golden moment in American culture.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - vesuvian - LibraryThing

Big, beautiful, a heavenly voice. Born in Los Angeles, Sylvester went to San Francisco. There, he (kind of) conquered the city, made some memorable recordings, and died. Scholarly work. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - AaronB - LibraryThing

For the most part it was an enjoyable enough read, particularly the histories of the young inner-city, cross-dressing disquotays. Mid-way through the book it gets a bit tedious (the writing and ... Read full review

Contents

Get Ready for Me
1
Like on flngel Come Down Honey
14
Sequins at Noon
41
Jaded Lady
61
Big City Blues
72
Scratch My Flower
88
Sundays at the lephant Walk
106
Flame On the Dance Floor
155
everybody ls One
168
Sell My Soul
184
Living on the Legend
202
Why Dont Vou Take Me
241
The Red Kimono
261
Notes
273
Acknowledgments
291
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About the author (2006)

Joshua Gamson teaches at the University of San Francisco. He is the author of Freaks Talk Back: Tabloid Talk Shows and Sexual Nonconformity and Claims to Fame: Celebrity in Contemporary America. He lives in Oakland, California.

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