The social significance of singer/songwriter/performer/cultural phenom Sylvester James (1947-1888) is only now beginning to be acknowledged by social critics and theorists, not to mention the general public. In this film, director Tim Smyth captures the essence of the gender-bending pioneer who refused labels and stood for self-expression and self-actualization unhampered by prevailing prejudices and oppressive stigmas related to gender expression and sexual orientation.

 

When people tried to contain Sylvester within a box or tag him with a label, he simply and emphatically stated "I'm Sylvester" -- implying, "my essence cannot be contained." In this regard, he stood as an example for all human beings, tragedies of his personal life notwithstanding.

 

Tim Smyth has done an excellent job of gathering both archival footage and historical reflection by those who knew Sylvester, and my only complaint is that this film isn't longer.

 

 

Here's a sneak peak at Tim Smyth's musical documentary short "Sylvester Mighty Real"