A couple weeks ago at the Lyric Opera House, Jackson Browne took a moment to tell the audience why he likes Baltimore.
Is it because he recorded much of his acclaimed 1977 release "Running on Empty" at nearby Merriweather Post Pavilion and the Cross Keys Inn (which is now the Radisson Hotel, I believe)? Is it because he loves crab cakes or Berger cookies?
Nope. Browne likes Baltimore because he watches "The Wire."
"I think it's a good show," he told the crowd (here's a link to my review of that show).
"Do you have an awareness that show was shot here?" he asked.
In the five years I've lived in Baltimore, I've been asked about "The Wire" too many times to count. At first, I was intrigued by all the questions. Then I got sick of being asked if Baltimore is really as bad as it looks on the HBO series, and started rolling my eyes at the questioner.
These days, I pretty much repeat what I read on the blog Stuff White People Like:
If you need to impress a white person, tell them you are from Baltimore. They will immediately ask you about The Wire and how accurate it is. You should confirm that it is “like a documentary of the streets,” the white person will then slowly shake their head and say “man” or “wow.” You will be seen in an entirely new light.
Don't get me wrong -- I loved watching the show, especially seasons one and four. And though the show's creator (and Baltimore Sun alum) David Simon has gone out of his way to berate me (that's another story), I definitely admire his work.
Apparently, so does Jackson Browne. How's that for random?