It was still pretty early when I got into LA tonight. As the sun set over the hills, it made everything look sepia-toned, almost as if I were flashing back to an earlier trip to Burbank. But then I realized that it was all due to the haze and smog, and my “look at the pretty orange buildings” was a little like being enchanted by seeing a rainbow in an oil slick.

The hotel is a lot more like the kind I’m used to staying in — functional but nothing to write in your blog about. All the hotel info is pretty aggressive about reminding me I’m right in the thick of Hollywood, what with Warner Brothers right across the street and the Disney Channel building looming overhead. As much as I’ve been going on about how I’m tired of all the slick, manufactured family-friendly theme park environments I’ve been staying and would rather “keep it real,” the prospect of sitting alone for hours in a Best Western didn’t seem that appealing.

So I headed back down to Hollywood Boulevard to take another stab at the tourist thing. The three-mile drive to Hollywood & Highland took 40 minutes (only 10 minutes of that were due to my getting turned around and inadvertently ending up at the NBC studios). I really wanted to see a movie at Grauman’s Chinese, for the theater more than the movie itself, so I was willing to see anything. They were showing The Dukes of Hazzard.

All right, maybe not anything. I checked over at The The The El Capitan Theater, which was showing Sky High, something I actually kind of almost want to see. But Disney apparently doesn’t want kids out too late on Tuesdays, because the last show was at 7 and I’d missed it. So back to Grauman’s. I was already 20 minutes late for the current show, and the whole point of going to a big movie house is to see the previews and the theater and the curtain opening and all that, so I decided to wait for the next show. Ten PM. Which meant almost three hours sticking around Hollywood so that I could get the chance to see The Dukes of Hazzard.

Overall I guess it wasn’t a total loss. I had a way over-priced but pretty good dinner at the tourist equivalent of a swank LA restaurant. I got to visit a Hot Topic, which is kind of like a mall-friendly conglomeration of Haight Street (right down to the adjoining Gap store). And I got another round in the Disney ice cream parlor, which had already forgotten all about Herbie and was now pushing princess dresses. Those guys work fast! None of the dresses were in my size, unfortunately.

As for the theater itself, it’s pretty cool. I imagine watching a good movie there would be awesome; as it is, the theater isn’t cool enough on its own to warrant seeing something lame. It’s got a great interior (although I was more impressed by the Fox in Atlanta), an enormous screen, and the best sound system I’ve ever heard in a theater.