Back in Vegas, land that I love

So Britney Spears was chattering on about absolutely nothing with her worldly mouth when I decided to ask her a newsworthy question. This was when Britney was lying about being a virgin, and it seemed obvious I should ask her what she was doing to "help out" Justin Timberlake.

You know. There are things. You can do. That are nice. For others. While guarding your "virginity."

"Next question," she huffed, then spit out her gum and started munching chips or something equally crunchy, maybe her publicist’s bones.

At the time, November 2001, this was a relevant exchange that was picked up by media across the country, since B.S. was making millions of dollars by squeezing her virgin lie into a school skirt. Britney, ever the loose cannon, later owned up to her actual sexual data.

Anyway, that was back when I was the music critic here from 2000 to 2005, writing about singers and rockers, and occasionally penning feature stories, such as telling you what orgies looked like inside swinger clubs. Answer: nakedy.

Now I’ve returned to write for you after working in Chicago for a while. A few years ago, the Sun-Times talked me into doing some glorified typing as the TV critic.

My report: Chicago is cold like the tundra, but the bodies are warm.

I had some fun there. I gave thumbs-ups to "30 Rock," "Family Guy," "Rescue Me" and other fun shows. "Good Morning America" asked me to dissect reality TV a few times. I called Jon Stewart a "snarkellectual."

But how long can a man who was born to live in Silicone Valley stay away?

This time at the R-J, I won’t be reviewing concerts or TV. Jason Bracelin is the rock critic, and Chris Lawrence covers television, and they’re great.

Instead, I’ll be critiquing the city’s Gatsby parties and splashy events, interviewing celebs and hangers-on, and profiling entertaining people, places and things that are cool, dumb dumb dumb, or impossible to ignore.

My column will run in this spot on Tuesdays, on the cover flap of the front page on Fridays and on the front page on Mondays.

I’ll also be blogging with other columnists at, which is about to get another new entertainment splash that will prove again we cover Vegas life better than anyone.

If you see me out, say hi. And tell me a good story. A factual story. If you have to lie in Vegas, you’re not living it.


As a reminder, here are some choice moments from my earlier days at the R-J:

• I said Britney in concert "didn’t just suck, she suckity-suck sucked." Yeah, that seems safe to proclaim now. But when I first panned B.S. in March 2004, a pop station screamed alarm and convinced an elementary school class to mail me a signed protest thesis.

Prince drove me around backstage at the Anaheim, Calif., arena. In his dimly lighted and lavender-smelling dressing room, he showed me his song lyrics diary and handed me a Jehovah’s Witnesses pamphlet. He was down-to-earth and generous. He reminded me of my older brother, but purpler in spirit.

Stevie Wonder blessed me. I don’t know what that was about. ‘Twas sweet, though.

Natalie Merchant sang to me on the phone. I love that hippy, but I obsessed over Liz Phair.

• I got a little freaked-out at a Snoop Dogg concert after he chanted "(Expletive) Suge Knight." I hid at a 50 Cent concert when he showed up on stage with 20 or so bodyguards, who kept scanning the crowd for guns. Scary. Yet neither was as intimidating as Dennis Miller leaving an irate message on my voice mail.

• I told everybody to buy music by then-unknown singers Feist and Carla Bruni. Now, Feist is famous for those Apple commercials, and Bruni is married to the king or whatever of France. Elf power!

Doug Elfman’s column appears on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Contact him at 383-0391 or e-mail him at He also blogs at

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