Every DJ and drag queen and anybody in the music industry, hell any creative person or artist or outcast or flaming homosexual or log cabin Republican should read this great biography, about the fabulous Sylvester, the stylish and classy singer. Sylvester loved nothing more than being mistaken for Josephine Baker or Billie Holiday…or at least for a beautiful fish covering their songs.
from The Fabulous Sylvester – “When most of the girls, Disquotay members or not, grew dissatisfied with water balloon bosoms and towel hips, a lot of them took hormones, since as Duchess tells it “everyone wanted titties and the soft hip flow.” Dooni, the future Sylvester, taught them how to whittle pieces of foam with a razor blade, tapering them down the thigh and up toward the waist. They would cut the rear out of a girdle and insert a foam ass and hips, sometimes getting ready for a party would not be unlike suiting up for a football game.”
“Some of the queens, like Diane Moorehead and Jackie Hoyle, had jobs to get “pennis for our fashions” using their pay to buy material, beads, wigs. Some were too effeminate to be employable, as Jackie put it “Ain’t nobody going to hire you with no eyebrows.”
“Hibiscus wore a gold lamp shade, coconut halves for breasts, and a grass skirt with nothing underneath. Kreemah sported a platinum wig done up with red feathers, and a red Empire velvet dress, and danced tango-style with one of the satin palm trees. Harlow’s natural blonde hair fell in pre-Raphealite cascades. She wore emeralds at her ears and neck, and a backless silver satin gown cut low in front, and a white fur fox draped over her shoulders that allowed her to discreetly flash her breasts. Dusty Dawn wore pigtails and a sailor blouse, and swayed to the music while exposing her breasts. Scrumbly also flashed, lifting his hoop skirt to jump through a hula hoop.”
“People still look at me as some kind of spokesman, Sylvester told the New Musical Express in 1982, but I think my career has transcended the gay movement. I mean my sexuality has nothing to do with my music. When I’m fucking I’m not thinking about singing.” The opposite was actually true, he was recording on the gayest record label on Earth, where free people and music were entwined like the roots of a tree.
“A lot of people didn’t recognize Sylvester at first, what with the hat, the wheelchair, the emaciation. It’s Sylvester, you’d hear, and cheers would begin. It’s Sylvester! Obviously he was very sick, obviously he had AIDS, obviously he was dying. You’d see people put hands on their mouths, tears, cheers, silence, Sylvester!”
“Sylvester’s hair was bright red and his lips painted pink and his brown face made up tastefully for an evening occassion, his tall body wrapped in a gold embroidered red kimono. Everyone agreed he looked like Sylvester. Everyone agreed he would be pleased to be such a sight to behold. He looked like a sleeping little boy, dreaming himself into being. He looked slim, with the body of a teenaged Dooni who had banged tambourines and roller skated – so ridiculous, so unafraid – down a South Central street. He looked like a film star or princess, taken tragically before her time. Flawless, on a Monday.”