Dear Readers: One of the benefits of writing this column for the past 75 years has been the opportunity to befriend the occasional reader--typically a like-minded freak who shares one or more of our pet obsessions. A prime example is Keith Bacon, an L.A. resident who introduced himself in 2001 and promptly won our eternal friendship by giving us an original shooting script for Showgirls. Since then, Mr. Bacon has revealed himself to be the closest thing Last Days has to a Southern Californian doppelg...nger, and when we found ourselves in need of a stand-in column-writer, Keith stepped up to the plate, penning this week's column from the hideous wilderness of Los Angeles. Enjoy Last Days L.A. --David Schmader


In the lingering aftermath of Britney Spears' trashy "I do/I don't" Vegas-wedding train wreck, a report on declared that "raunch is out," citing sluggish album sales from already fading pop tramps including Britney, Pink, and similar artists. Last Days Los Angeles looks forward to watching the baseless career of Britney Spears crash and burn, and hopes that her increasingly erratic behavior does indeed lead to her becoming "the next Michael Jackson," as has been suggested around town in the meanest sense of L.A. industry- speak. Perhaps in response to Britney's post- annulment attempts at publicity spinning ("We landed on Mars that day--why aren't they talking about that?" she pleaded in a recent MTV interview), Associated Press science writer Andrew Bridges reported today on the California Institute of Technology's extensive licensing agreements for the Mars rover. "We did it more for publicity than as a commercial hit," said Frederic Farina, assistant director of Caltech's office of technology transfer, in understated reference to rover-related products appearing everywhere from toy-store shelves to fast-food chains. Last Days Los Angeles sees this development as a hopeful sign that humpy, science-savvy dorks will someday eclipse idiot bimbos in popularity, and take their rightful place in the sex symbol stratosphere.


This morning brought news of a stunning upset to the Democratic presidential-candidacy race, as Senators John Kerry and John Edwards placed first and second in the Iowa caucuses, stripping Howard Dean of his frontrunner status. Meanwhile, on a soundstage located near the wrong side of the tracks in L.A., Last Days Los Angeles witnessed another stunning upset, this one thrown by a front-stripped adult entertainer on the set of a soft-core short. Before storming off the closed set, the angry adult diva declared, "I don't need other talent coming in here and making critical comments right in front of my face when I'm trying to improvise." Last Days L.A. heartily applauds the unnamable actress for her well- deserved hissy fit, while praying that certain people in the porn industry (as well as our upstanding-citizen parents) never read this stupid, stupid newspaper.

-- Also today, Bob Barker, the orange-hued game-show host who turned 80 last month, signed on for his 33rd season as host of The Price Is Right. A primetime ratings winner in recent years, the television institution continues to draw throngs of hyperactive college students and tourists in homemade T-shirts to CBS Television City, where they all line up before dawn for a chance at semifabulous prizes. Last Days L.A. would love to share our hilarious story of an elevator encounter with Mr. Barker, but it's too damn long. Come on down and stalk him for yourself.


Today the Recording Industry Association of America sued 532 computer users it claimed were illegally distributing songs over the Internet, the latest round of lawsuits since a federal appeals court blocked the use of special copyright subpoenas to identify targeted file sharers. Lawyers worked around the subpoena setback by filing their cases against "John Doe" defendants, identified only by their numeric Internet protocol addresses, with actual names and addresses expected to be disclosed through court proceedings. In the wake of the RIAA's latest move, Last Days L.A. envisioned business as usual among countless "John Doe" employees of Los Angeles-based record labels, for whom a typical day involves hawking stolen promotional items on eBay or securing free CDs and comp concert tickets, as no one in the music industry would ever dream of actually paying for any of that stuff.


Los Angeles has long been regarded as a birthplace for trends, from drive-through fast food to stuccoed mini-malls (with sincere apologies from Last Days L.A. for those atrocities in particular). We've always wondered if our city-in-the-spotlight might also be responsible for much, much worse, and there could be no better category to investigate than the time-honored Last Days fascination with horrifying personal grooming habits. Responding to our request for such stories, Hot Tipper Rob wrote in today with some disturbing new routines making the rounds at a quintessential Los Angeles location: the gym. While Last Days L.A. has personally witnessed several incidents relayed by Rob, including the snot-spraying "farmer blow" in the shower and shaving in the nude, his latest observation blew us away: pubic-hair and butt-crack blow-drying. "Started by elderly men of Eastern European descent," Rob wrote, "this phenomenon is gaining momentum among all ages, nationalities, and sexual orientations." Last Days L.A. wants to know: Is this just us? Have Seattle gym bunnies also been giving their swimsuit areas a self- administered blowjob, or is Los Angeles once again leading the way toward the pending apocalypse? Write us at


Finally reaching the overhyped end of its 10-year run, the hit television series Friends taped its final episode tonight under extra-tight security at the Warner Bros. studio. "We're like very delicate china right now," said cast member Jennifer Aniston in an interview with reporters last week. "And we're speeding towards a brick wall--inevitable pain." Ugh.

-- In a much more tragic loss under eerily similar circumstances, acclaimed fashion photographer Helmut Newton died within a few miles and hours of the final Friends taping, after his Cadillac sped out of control while leaving the Chateau Marmont and smashed into a wall.

-- Also today: The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported on the senseless destruction of a Seattle landmark: the J. C. Black house located on Queen Anne Hill across from Kerry Park. Last Days L.A. would like to point out that no Californians were involved in the destruction of this historically and architecturally significant structure. In fact, the guy behind the sneak attack was described as "a Seattle investor who grew up in the Northwest." So there.


In direct violation of natural Californian law, today brought no devastating riots, wildfires, earthquakes, mudslides, or Courtney Love encounters.

SUNDAY, JANUARY 25 Nothing happened today (except for Lost in Translation's well-deserved wins at the Golden Globe Awards).

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