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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Fabulous Sylvester

The Fabulous Sylvester

The Legend, the Music, the Seventies in San Francisco

Joshua Gamson



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.

ALA Stonewall Book Award - Winner, Lambda Literary Award - Nominee




When I die,

my angels,


Black diva

drag queens,

all of them


and seductive,


Praise for The Fabulous Sylvester

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


Reviews from Goodreads

Joshua Gamson

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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