Trending
MOST READ
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013

Best Craft Beer Selection

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
Sky High: Getting acquainted with Christopher Ware’s Paramour

Sky High: Getting acquainted with Christopher Ware’s Paramour

Food & Drink: Christopher Ware leads our group into a lofty conference space with mile-high ceilings, two giant wooden tables and possibly the comfiest... By Jessica Elizarraras 10/1/2014
The Different Types of Roommates You Might Encounter and How to Deal

The Different Types of Roommates You Might Encounter and How to Deal

College Guide 2013: If you’re going to be in a college dorm, a spacious apartment, a cramped shared bedroom or anywhere on a college campus for that matter, be prepared for your... By Mary Caithn Scott 8/20/2013
Savage Love: Friend in Need

Savage Love: Friend in Need

Arts & Culture: A straight male friend practices sounding and has for years. I am pretty sure he does other things that he isn’t telling anyone about... By Dan Savage 10/1/2014
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Screens & Tech

'Searching for Sugar Man' tells inspirational story of disregarded musician

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

Not done yet — Rodriguez is on tour again. Catch him at Austin's Antone's on October 21.



Related stories


Prophet. Inner-city poet. More popular than Elvis Presley. The numerous ways mysterious Mexican-American folk singer Sixto Rodriguez (also known as Jesús) is passionately described in the fascinating documentary Searching for Sugar Man are all heartfelt. From the interviews with producers who reminisce about his short-lived career to the political insight he brought to South African musicians during apartheid, Rodriguez, as captured by first-time filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul, is nothing short of a legend.

So, what exactly happened to the man some say was as lyrically gifted as Bob Dylan, but never found the success he deserved in the U.S.? Are the rumors of his on-stage suicide during one of his concerts true or merely part of a larger-than-life myth? Most importantly, what Sugar Man attempts to answer is this: Where do unfulfilled dreams go to die? The answer is definitely not to a city like Cape Town, where, unbeknownst to Rodriguez, he had earned cult superstar status only a few years after he was dropped from his record label in the early 1970s.

For those who are unaware of the Detroit-born musician's life story, Bendjelloul's overview of the events leading to musicologists and fans digging up the facts of his whereabouts will feel like a revelation. For those who already know of Rodriguez's musical reincarnation, there is still much to be appreciated about a film that examines a cruel reality — natural talent can only take you so far before the public decides your fate. If it had been left up to those who were advocating for him, it's anyone's guess how high Rodriguez could have soared.

During the opening scenes of Sugar Man, two of Rodriguez's former music producers remember back to the first time they saw him perform on stage. Collectively, they say he was nothing more than "a shadow of a man … with his back to you … and this voice." In many ways, Sugar Man doesn't upend their vague description in the slightest. As the credits roll, he is still that same enigmatic character, despite Bendjelloul's attempt to clear the air and really analyze the thoughts and emotions that formed Rodriguez's past work.

Maybe, however, the music is supposed to speak for itself. Although Rodriguez is a man of few words, Sugar Man proves his admirers will not allow him to fade away again. For Rodriguez, unfulfilled dreams do not die. They simply evolve into inspiration for other wandering souls just like him.

Searching for Sugar Man

★★★ ½ (out of 5 stars)

Dir. Malik Bendjelloul; feat. Sixto Rodriguez, Stephen Segerman, Clarence Avant, Dennis Coffey, Eva Rodriguez, Regan Rodriguez, Steve Rowland (PG-13). At the Bijou.

Recently in Screens & Tech
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus