A crowd streamed into the deserted West Bank neighborhood bar that I was using as a library for a quiet read. They brought their dogs and an AA meeting's worth of lit cigarettes. It was as if the bar's quiet was transformed into a Fellini movie soundtrack with dogs snarling and barking along with the similar sounds of people coughing up lung oysters. Except it looked and felt more like the Alfred Hitchcock movie, The Birds, as the birds start gathering for an attack. Then, without a squawk, "it" happened. The juke box is turned off and everyone turned to the television for - Steven Seagal, Lawman.
This was a television show about the half-time actor and full-time nut-case, Steven Seagal as he moonlights as a Jefferson Parish cop. Jefferson Parish ended the show when Seagal's administrative assistant accused him of sexual predation and holding her captive in the Peppy LePew inspired locale of Lafitte, Louisiana. However, Jefferson Parish's sonorous announcement still sounded to me like a combination of Gomer Pyle and Inspector Renault, "Surprise, surprise, surprise - I am shocked, shocked to find we have (Stephen Seagal's legal troubles) in Jefferson Parish." Too harsh? Go ahead and perform Jefferson Parish's missing due diligence by searching, "Stephen Seagal, legal trouble."
Anyway, turns out that this bar's regulars play a drinking game based on the show's ridiculous situations. Shots are downed when Seagal spouts zen-glish to Met-rie cops. More shots when everyone ducks under their tables as Seagal touches a gun. Half way into the show, the alcohol collectively kicks in and the entire bar is synchronized into giddy drunk. Someone shouts, "Seagal spray paints on his artificial hair" and they start buying beers for their dogs. This bar is a form of focus group due diligence that should have stopped the show on its merits two seasons ago.
Seagal recently announced he is touring as a blues musician. Blues - the music I loved as a authentic cultural relic of the American underdog. Blues - which too many modern practitioners have packaged with a subtle minstrel spin that increased sales but reduced the music into the formulaic, yawn-inducing dreck that WWOZ's Christy Grimes derisively labeled, "hippie blues." Now the-music-formerly-knows-as-the-blues is getting the shark-jump treatment as the greatest serial imposter of our time, Steven Seagal declares himself a blues musician.
Need more reasons to support public broadcasting? Just go visit that horrible radio neighborhood to the right of 92 MHz.
Saturday midnight to Sunday 3am
"Music you've never heard by musicians you've never heard of..."