While many people around the US were glued to the 85th annual Academy Awards last night, I was actually in a movie theater, watching what I later learned had won the Oscar for best documentary feature: Searching For Sugar Man. If you’ve seen it, you know the kind of infectious elation that makes a story like that stand out. The fact that it’s about a protest singer from Detroit makes it that much cooler.
I lived in Detroit for a while in 2000 and 2001. My first apartment was steps from the only intersection clearly shown in the film (Second and Prentis). I experienced first-hand the complete and utter lack of municipally funded snow removal that leads to someone like Rodríguez looking like he’s about to fall and break a hip multiple times in the film. While watching it I even realized that my friend had actually dated one of his daughters while we were both students at Wayne State University, the singer’s alma mater. Over the course of my time in Detroit I came to understand that the city had a lot of character — a fact which shines through clearly in the character of Jesús “Sixto” Rodríguez.