America's Forgotten Pop Legacy

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Author Joshua Gamson discusses his biography "The Fabulous Sylvester: The Legend, the Music, the Seventies in San Francisco." The book tells the story of Sylvester James, a gay, African-American drag queen who found mainstream success in the late 1970s and early '80s with a string of Top 40 disco hits. The book is just out in paperback. Also: composer Neil Rolnick previews his "iFiddle Concerto," with violin soloist Todd Reynolds. The piece, which combines computer technology with an orchestra, gets its premiere Friday night by the American Composers Orchestra at Zankel Hall. Finally, there's a growing interest these days in pop music's vaudeville roots in the early 20th century. Despite the primitive sound of the old records and the offensive material of blackface comedians and other "ethnic impersonators" there is still much to be learned from these early recordings. Slate.com music critic Jody Rosen details recent efforts in this area.