On the Beat

Bucher vacation revelations – Part 2

By Jim Bucher


Photo:  The Buchers on vacation at the Hollywood Bowl

 Ok, if you were here last week – in this very same spot – you know that I’m writing about my vacation with my two teenage daughters to visit my brother in California. If you need to catch up, just grab last week’s copy of your Dayton City Paper or jump online.

We have just landed at LAX  (Los Angeles International Airport), which is under construction. Last time we were here, it was also under construction. So, my guess is it’s always under construction.

Next stop: rental car. But of course you have to take a shuttle to get a car, which means tipping. Everyone in this town has their hand out, and I’m not talking about the panhandlers. So, after a 15-minute drive to the car rental facility, I jumped off to beat the crowd that was also planning on renting a car. After all was said and done, my $350 Internet rental rate was almost double. Why? Well, user tax, tire tax, gas tax, this tax, that tax – and the car we originally rented looked a whole lot bigger online than in person.

Finally, we’re in the car and off to our hotel in Los Angeles. A really cool one, too – the Biltmore Los Angeles, where before the Dolby Theatre, they would hold the Academy Awards ceremonies.

“This hotel is celebrating its 90th anniversary,” our parking attendant said as we reach the hotel valet parking. He also has his hand out. So, you’re going to tell me that the hotel is nine decades old and ask for a tip for that bit of history? I need to move here – of course, with my hand out.

As we check in, they have me and my two teenage daughters in a king bed. Well now, I love my kids, but that would be a little tight and sorta creepy, too.

As we arrive on the 11th floor we inquire about the big, gold sign on an easel that reads, “Motion Picture Filming in Progress.” The whole floor is being refit for a six-part gangster series on TNT called “Lost Angels.” They took down the modern lights, put up the old elevator arrows that count the floors and replaced the fire extinguisher with an old fire hose in a glass case. This was a well-marked movie prop, so as not to confuse a real firefighter in case of an emergency. They had cardboard duct taped over the floor, cables everywhere and seemed to be using the stairwell. I did inform one of the tech guys that both my daughters are at Stivers School for the Arts and can act, plus I was in TV for almost 30 years, you know, if you need us for anything. I got the “Don’t call us, we’ll call you” look. Oh well, didn’t hurt to try. So, when you see “Lost Angels” soon, remember we were there – behind the scenes, of course.

OK, back to this great city.

The Hollywood sign is awesome. Capital Records building, where all the greats recorded and modern song stylists work to this day because of the rich sound obtained there. We saw the L.A. Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl on the very night they debuted their new multi-million dollar sound system and new HD jumbo flatscreens.

Now don’t get me wrong, I loved it. But I wondered how millions of people before me enjoyed music at the bowl without amplification and TVs. It worked fine for them, why not now? In the next day’s L.A. Times, the music/theater critic agreed with me. How about that?

Hollywood and Highland Avenues is the hotbed for touristy things. The Chinese Theatre is there – you know, the one with all the stars’ footprints and signatures in cement. This is also a popular place for pickpockets. We escaped, pickpocket free.

Next was a night courtesy of my brother, who is a big shot with the Music Center here – which is like our Victoria Theatre Association – at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, which also one time hosted the Academy Awards. The event was the “Dizzy Feet Foundation’s Celebration of Dance” annual fundraiser. This group was founded by Nigel Lythgoe, the creator of “So You Think You Can Dance” (formerly of “American Idol”), and others to support, improve and increase access to dance education in the United States. On stage, we experienced the most talented group of dancers from all genres, with big name emcees like Paula Abdul, “Glee” actress Jane Lynch and even John Mayer stopped by.

Well, there’s much more to talk about, like gas prices hovering around $4.20 a gallon, my daughter Chloe getting stuck in the hotel elevator with a portion of a wedding party, one of whom was claustrophobic, but all made it out safely.

My obsessive nature when it comes to singer/entertainer/icon Frank Sinatra led me to drive to Palm Springs just to see his grave, the home he lived in and I even took a spin on Frank Sinatra Drive with “That’s Life” blaring out of the car speakers. Plus, it’s been almost 24 hours since I’ve had to tip anybody.

Life is good!




The views and opinions expressed in On the Beat are the views and/or opinions of the author and do not reflect the views and/or opinions of the Dayton City Paper or Dayton City Media and are published strictly for entertainment purposes only.


For more than 25 years, “Buch”  has been a local television icon. Known and loved by thousands in the Miami Valley, his followers describe him as trust-worthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and a role model. When it comes to promoting your business, Buch has the ability to grab your customer’s attention. Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.


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For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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