No-Escape Best Looting On the Eve of Destruction

If the world was gonna end, I wouldn’t stay in Los Angeles. I’d do what any gal in her almost-right mind would do: kidnap George Clooney, hijack a plane to Cape Canaveral, steal the space shuttle, go into orbit, say “sayonara” to spaceship Earth, and hope to be discovered by an alien life form that would insist that George and I get busy (in their shag-carpeted labs) repopulating the human race. But odds are you and I will have to stick it out in L.A. I mean, can you imagine the traffic on the I-5 at the end of time? In that case, consider this Plan B.

My first inclination might be to get a gun. But, please, don’t be ordinary during the apocalypse, get a crossbow. Yeah, a crossbow would be badass, part Robin Hood, part John Rambo. You’d hope you wouldn’t have to use it, but you’d be glad to have it if anyone out there were to push you too far. And should that happen, I invite you to tell your adversary, in your best Stallone drawl, “In town you’re the law, out here it’s me.” And if you are going to go with this whole crossbow thing, you better learn how to use it first.

The Pasadena Roving Archers (PRA) are so passionate for the sport, they hold free introductory classes every Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m. (A $5 donation for subsequent classes is requested.) It’s first come, first served (get there at least 30 minutes early to be fitted with the right equipment).

You’ll spend the morning under shady oaks on the Lower Arroyo Seco, shooting arrows into targets. Warning: These beginner classes often have lots of kids. But after you’re hooked, you can enroll in the six-week Basic Archery Instruction Program (BAIP), which attracts mainly adults and teens and costs $60, including instruction and equipment use.

If this leads to an affinity for the bow and arrow, you can become a member and shoot any day of the week. PRA offers three categories of regular membership: working (contributing at least 18 hours of work on the range annually), non-working and junior (under 18 years of age).

The club also hosts tournaments and competitions that include a bow hunt. Don’t get your PETA panties in a bunch; you hunt 3-D wooden animals.

Lower Arroyo Seco Park, west of Arroyo Blvd., half-mile south of Historic Colorado Street Bridge. (626) 447-7600 or (626) 577-7252 or

Now that you’ve got your crossbow, you’ll probably want to mellow out so you don’t get trigger-happy.

One of the best things about L.A. . . . ever is medical-marijuana clubs. In New York City, you can have sweet leaf delivered to your fourth-floor walkup by a sweaty kid on a bike with a messenger bag containing two different types of bud — cheap and slightly more expensive. But in L.A., medical-marijuana collectives are like artisanal shops, only with a hippie vibe and an underlying sheen of paranoia. Is it legal to be in there? If these places weren’t legal, why would they advertise in newspapers and hang neon pot-leaf signs in their windows? The law on that subject is, as Geena Davis (an Olympic-caliber archer, by the way) says in Thelma & Louise, “some tricky shit.” So I won’t name any shops by address, but will just say, Look for the lighted sign. They’re out there, and you can get a scrip for just about any illness for which pot brings relief, from cancer to cramps. The herb docs at these places are more like Starbucks’ baristas and will ask how you like your weed: Buzzy? Mellow? Do you need an extra shot of creativity? Or help sleeping?

And what’s the best strain to smoke during the apocalypse? A friend who used to work at a collective suggests God’s Gift or Purple Haze. Either, she says, can help you reach nirvana. And who couldn’t use a little enlightenment before the end of the world?

Nirvana aside, you should not attend the apocalypse looking like a dirty hippie. Think of the end of the world as we know it as your final prom. A toga seems biblical and appropriate — and comfortable. But then again, I was always a fan of Ginger on Gilligan’s Island— fuck prissy Mary Ann. It was mostly Ginger’s gold dress that attracted me; it was so shiny and glamorous. That’s the way to go out.

I didn’t want to write about Shareen Vintage. I wanted to keep it a secret. The makeshift shop, in an old warehouse in the area of town known as Frogtown if you’re old-school or Taylor Yard if you’re an urban-planning type, is more like a grown-up version of a girls’ clubhouse. A big chalkboard marks the entrance, and written on it in pastel letters is: “Girls Only. No Boys!!”

Shareen’s is filled with gorgeous vintage dresses worthy of the last party on Earth. You can find pieces from every decade. Want to go Jackie O.? Anita Ekberg? Jerry Hall or Ginger Grant? There’s a gorgeous selection of shoes, corsets, hats and handbags too. And every third Saturday each month, there is a $3 pile of unknown treasures. Tip: Wear underwear — there are no dressing areas, and women just strip to their birthday suits, swapping clothes and complimenting one another. (Okay, maybe some of you don’t want to wear underwear.)

You can even rent out the space for a private girls’ dress-up party (five-lady minimum). You bring the booze and food; Shareen will staff the shop.

350 N. Avenue 21, L.A., (323) 276-6226. Open Wed.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., ?Sun. noon-6 p.m.

Or, should you decide to go the Mary Ann route (she does kind of grow on you) . . .

The hell you say? I know, American Apparel has been co-opted by douchebags and hipsters, but you can take it back. Take back the leggings, T-shirts, the rainbow colors, the sweatshop-free, the L.A.-made. But please leave the unitard. No one takes the unitard into the hereafter . . . You don’t know how long the journey will be; what if you have to pee? The last remaining people on Earth shouldn’t have to strip down in a public toilet on the Highway to Heaven with their unitard around their ankles and their bips out. American Apparel’s not that bad. It’s just cotton and Lycra. Plus, deep down, you kinda think the billboards are hot. Admit it. Admit it now and God might forgive you.

6922 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd., (323) 465-6312; 2111 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park, (213) 484-6464; 1060 Westwood Blvd., Westwood Village, (310) 208-8292; 2654 Main St., Santa Monica, (310) 450-7360; and for more locations.

Of course, you’re going to require sustenance on your journey off the planet. How about a quick looting (brandish that crossbow!) of Whole Foods for some caviar and champagne? Forget about Trader Joe’s for the moment. You know Whole Foods is way better — you just don’t shop there, ’cause it’s so expensive. And then, yes, some sweets . . . It’s the end of the world; who cares about the calories?

Locations all over. Check for closest store.

One word: cupcakes. Another word: Lark. The postmodern signage and simple gray storefront belie the cuteness inside Lark, the little bakery that recently opened on Sunset Boulevard near Micheltorena. At Lark, you can gorge yourself on gorgeous little cakes of all varieties, from little icebox cakes, red velvet, carrot, creamy vanilla and strawberry shortcakes. They make the best alternatives to boring birthday cakes, and why settle for just one flavor? They’re great as hostess gifts for dinner parties, and they are a sure-fire way to get a man to love you (yes, they’re that good). Let him try to resist the sweet fudge of the chocolate-chocolate cupcakes, or the burnt sugary goodness of the mocha cupcakes. Tip: Make sure you fill whatever size box your cakes come in; otherwise, the gorgeous little things will shift and smush during transport.

3337 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake, (323) 667-2968.

Now that you’ve got your box of mixed cupcakes in hand, pray George Clooney isn’t visiting his Lake Como Italian villa when the shit hits the fan.

You can find the address of George Clooney’s house listed on the self-guided Star Map tour for only $6.99, and some Web sites sell the maps for only two bucks. But can you really trust the tourist hustle? Grab a copy of Bill Gordon’s The Ultimate Hollywood Tour Book, which has sold more than 40,000 copies and is considered to be the definitive celebrity atlas. It is updated every year, as Gordon obsessively pores through newspapers and real estate records so that he can keep tabs on who moved where. Gordon has said in an interview published in a book called Fame Junkies, “The truth is, many peoples’ lives are empty and they latch onto these celebrities. It’s easier to talk about celebrities than our own lives, which is another kind of escapism — not escapism from Vietnam or Iraq — but escapism from the boredom of one’s own life. Celebrities are probably of less interest to people who live exciting, fulfilling lives — people who are involved with their family and community. But how many people do you know who live exciting, fulfilling lives?”

No one, if it’s the Day After Tomorrow, Bill, but in the meantime: Grab Clooney!

If you have questions about sightseeing in movieland Los Angeles, e-mail ?Mr. Gordon at

If gorgeous George answers when you ring his door, tell him the world is ending (celebs can be so insulated), courtship is out of the question, flutter your eyes like Ginger, have some smoke, hand him a cupcake, and see if he’s game for repopulating the world. If not, don’t forget the crossbow.


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