The unlikely life and career of Detroit singer-songwriter Sixto Rodriguez could have been the stuff of Hollywood fiction. Instead Swedish documentarian Malik Bendjelloul's Searching for Sugar Man told Rodriguez's real story, snagging the Oscar for Best Documentary and reviving the now-70-year-old Rodriguez's musical odyssey. Rodriguez played the Motor City bar scene in the late '60s, writing songs full of trenchant commentary addressing the political and social upheaval of the time, sounding like a cross between Dylan and Phil Ochs. He recorded a pair of albums in 1970 and '71 that were primarily folk-rock, laced with soul and funk, and tinged with quirky psychedelia. Both albums tanked and Rodriguez retreated into even greater obscurity stateside. But copies of the albums wound up in Australia and South Africa, where, unbeknownst to him, he became as big as any rock star of the day, some songs even becoming anti-apartheid anthems. With the help of Bendjelloul's film, Rodriguez is finally getting due recognition on his home turf 40-something years late.
Wed., May 15, 7:30 p.m., 2013
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