Kickin' Blues Brother

SEAGAL
Steven Seagal in Atlantic City. "I've played with the best of the best," he says, "and made a lot of people happy." His tour stops at the Birchmere tonight. (Koichi Kamoshida - Getty Images)

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By J. Freedom du Lac
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 27, 2006

ATLANTIC CITY

Steven Seagal is surrounded, and somebody's flashing a gun. Uh-oh .

Bring on the carnage and the mayhem and, just maybe, one of those epic post-brawl soliloquies in which the rock-'em, sock-'em action hero preaches about the environment as the bloodied bad guys limp away!

Okay, maybe not. Wrong scene, wrong script, wrong medium.

It's just past midnight at the House of Blues' Harlem Ballroom, and Seagal has been backed into a corner by the good guys: About a hundred autograph-seeking fans, one of whom has peeled back his shirtsleeve to flex his gun of a biceps in the hopes that the ponytailed martial-arts master, movie star and, of late, Muddy Waters wannabe will sign the arm with a Sharpie.

Seagal manages a smirk, then scribbles his name on the guy's skin. Next!

"I watch your movies every day," another fan says. Seagal nods, then signs the man's ticket stub.

Slumping behind a folding table, the 55-year-old actor appears exhausted and a bit irritable -- perhaps because he slept only an hour the night before, then spent half the day stuck in traffic en route from a gig in Hagerstown before getting onstage to lead his touring band through nearly two hours of high-octane blues. He pounds the table with his left hand, which is roughly the size of a bear paw. He exhales. He looks at his watch. The line keeps moving.

"Your movies inspired me to go into martial arts," says another fan. Seagal nods again and signs again, this time writing his name on the cover of an "Under Siege" DVD.

"Is there going to be an 'Under Siege 3'?" ("I hope so," Seagal says softly. Scribbles on an 8-by-10 photo.)

"You're awesome! When's your next movie going to be in theaters?" ("Probably next year." T-shirt. Keep moving, please.)

"Steven, I love your music ."


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