Imagine a pied piper singing in falsetto, wearing sequins, and leading the young people of the nation to San Francisco and on to a 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.
Yale-trained sociologist Joshua Gamson uses Sylvester's life to lead us through the story of the 1970s, when a generation took off its shame. Celebrity, sociology, and music history mingle in this endlessly entertaining story of a singer who embodied the freedom, spirit, and flamboyance of a golden moment in American culture.
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.
“The Fabulous Sylvester is a well written, touching, dignified biography of a gay, black diva who never really fit into any minority but managed to achieve his dreams of stardom. Now that's what I call a man.” —John Waters
“[A] superbly written, wildly entertaining, frequently hilarious, and finally bittersweet saga.” —Time Out New York
“Delightful . . . I'm not sure I've ever read an account of a life that has so much sheer joy, raffishness, and humor on each page. . . . As fables go, this is a good one.” —Newsday
“[Gamson's] prose is playful and furious . . . putting the singer's story into sociological context [and capturing] the astonishing scope of AIDS with grace and indignation.” —Entertainment Weekly