Located at the City Winery, a famous restaurant near New York City's ground zero monument, a Friday Luncheon Special was being prepared for the Tribeca Film Festival 2012 accredited press. The menu did not appear to be a typical elaborate array but rather simplified. The luncheon special was not food. It was music to be performed by Sixto Diaz Rodriguez. He is the reason the documentary Searching for Sugar Man was made. The film was chosen to screen in the Tribeca 2012 film festival documentary feature program.
Sixto Diaz Rodriguez was a musician and songwriter from the 1960s (70s). His first single 1967, I'll Slip Away was recorded on the Impact Label. Three years later he was discovered by Motown guru's and signed with Susseux Records producing two albums: Cold Fact in 1970 and Coming From Reality in 1971. The albums didn't sell very well and therefore, dropped by the label company while he was in the middle of writing songs for his third album. The reason for the lack of sales is still a mystery. He was often described as a younger Bob Dylan in style. Sixto wrote songs about the need for social reform, social injustice and brought awareness to the issues like poverty in the U.S.— a topic not well received. The message in his music took a political stance on the cruelties of the inner city poor. The sixth child of Mexican immigrants who moved in the 20s to the Detroit, Michigan area gave him credence to address the atrocities. A few years later Susseux Record label company folded. Rodriguez thought it best to change his career path and never looked back. Rodriguez's story is featured at the Tribeca Film Festival 2012 in the documentary section. Searching for Sugar Man is Rodriguez’s forty-years of fame unbeknown to him.
Malik Benedjelloul, Swedish Filmmaker/Director of the documentary Searching for Sugar Man accompanied Rodriguez to the Friday Luncheon Special and showed three clips of the film. He also engaged with the press in a short Q & A (question and answer session). The main reason for the Friday Luncheon Special was to listen to Rodriguez and his music. And, that we did! The press enjoyed an intimate concert with the famed performer-- somewhat similar to a living room concert. It was unique. It was special. It was memorable. It was food for the soul.
Rodriguez, a gentle, unassuming man displayed the character of a showman. Yes! He was born to be on the stage. Rodriguez sang several songs: some from his 1970s Cold Fact Album, some new songs and a few he did not write. Between songs he shared about his life. He told us that he played by ear and threw out funny one-liners.
While tuning his guitar he said, "Some people compare a guitar to a woman… being temperamental, unpredictable, sensitive; but, I don't think that is being fair to the guitar"...laughter from the press filled the room. He continued to drop the one-liners shared here below:
"The mystery of life is that you don't know when it ends".
"Free Love is too expensive".
"About love - don't be a silent partner".
His closer was a message from his song Sugar Man - "Stay off drugs, stay smart, don't start".