Disco isn’t dead! It’s alive and well and living in the hearts of gay and trans men everywhere that there is a club to showcase their talent and their daring.
The still popular 2006 book, The Fabulous Sylvester: The Legend, the Music, the Seventies in San Francisco by Joshua Gamson brings the 1970s and the liberation and freedom of the disco era in San Francisco vividly back to life. This is the biography of James Sylvester, otherwise known as “The Fabulous Sylvester”; a gay, African American drag queen with an amazingly high falsetto voice.
Sylvester, during his musical career, would have 3 major U.S. Disco hits and one International Hit, Do Ya Wanna Funk. He was at the epicenter of disco in Frisco and he was it’s cross-dressing diva queen. He would later be at the epicenter of the AIDS pandemic as it decimated entire wards of the city. He succumbed to the disease and passed from this earth in 1988. He was 41.
Gamson’s book is an amazing tribute to the life of this man. He must have been absolutely tireless in his pursuit of all who knew Sylvester. Published so many years after his death, it had to be hard work to track everyone down, but track them he did. Their accounts are detailed, often funny and, overall, a very telling look at the life of the complicated man they called a friend.