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June 15 , 2011

The Fabulous Sylvester

The Legend, the Music, the Seventies in San Francisco


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

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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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