Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Oscars: Searching For Sugar Man

[purchase the Soundtrack]

The winner for Best Documentary Feature at Sunday’s intermittently entertaining, but generally overstuffed, politically incorrect and dull Academy Awards broadcast was Searching for Sugar Man, a film about the musician Sixto Rodriguez and the his unusual career. Although I haven’t seen the movie yet, I am aware of the story and won’t ruin it for those who want to be surprised. The music was recorded back in the early 1970’s, but most of it holds up today.

My wife and I attended the Newport Folk Festival last summer, and it was an incredible experience. The Rodriguez story was getting a bunch of press. Anyone who has been to the festival, or other similar events with multiple stages, knows that you have to make hard choices, and we chose to skip Rodriguez’s performance, in a tiny, indoor stage where we would have had to wait on line and risk not getting in, in favor of seeing New Multitudes, the band that included Jay Farrar, Jim James, Will Johnson and Anders Parker playing original music composed for Woody Guthrie lyrics at the second largest outdoor stage. They were great, and I don’t regret seeing them. But as we were walking there from seeing Trampled By Turtles, we saw Rodriguez walking into the festival grounds. Yes, that is sort of like the old David Letterman bit, “Brush with Celebrity Greatness,” but without the writer’s embellishment.

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