Ambassador of Americana Charles Phoenix has announced a new swoonworthy line of his & hers* vintage-inspired coordinated clothing. The matchy-matchy shirt/dress combos are a collaboration with Pinup Girl Clothing sold under the newly-formed Sir Charles of Phoenix brand. Not only are they super cute but they are available in a wide range of sizes.
Get'em while they're hot!
And, if you're in the Burbank area this Saturday, swing by the Pinup Girl Clothing boutique for the line's debut party from 6 PM to 10 PM. Charles will be there, along with some of his special Test Kitchen creations.
Hawaiian Honeymoon print
Calypso Castaway print
*Of course, there's nothing stopping you from making these his & his or hers & hers (or even they & they) sets. All pieces are sold separately. Read the rest
Pop culture historian Charles Phoenix, the culinary kitsch king behind the Cherpumple, accidentally created this Astro-Weenie Roast Tom Turkey Dog in his test kitchen a few years back.
His space-agey "bird" is made of "turkey meatloaf skewered and studded with turkey wieners, turkey kielbasa, ‘lil turkey smokies and fresh cranberries."
He writes, "I didn’t mean to do this, it just happened. I didn’t think about it, I just did it."
Previously: 'Addicted to Americana,' Charles Phoenix's new book on 'classic & kitschy American life & style' Read the rest
Creator of the Cherpumple (and other retro-fabulous foods) Charles Phoenix has a new book that celebrates "classic & kitschy American life & style." It's titled Addicted to Americana and it looks amazing!
Here's a look inside the book (click on image to embiggen):
The book is available for $22.32 on Amazon.
Charles is also on a book signing and comedy slide show tour (mostly in California). If you've never seen him perform, please do yourself a favor and get thee to one of his shows. They are a hoot. Read the rest
This week on HOME: Stories From L.A., a member of the Boing Boing Podcast Network:
Color slides were once the state of the art in family photography -- vibrant, immersive, ubiquitous. So ubiquitous, in fact, that millions, maybe billions of them survive. A conversation with midcentury pop culture expert Charles Phoenix: What can we learn from the vast shadow world of abandoned slides about the way we used to live in our homes?
If you like what you hear, please drop by the iTunes Store and leave the show a rating and/or review. And don't forget to subscribe:
iTunes | Android | Email | Google Play | Stitcher | TuneIn | Read the rest
The wonderful pop Americana historian Charles Phoenix shared this remarkable photo of an Ur-Pee-Wee from 1957.
A man posing between a beautiful bongo drum and colorful display of plastic wrapped jazz albums predicts the Pee-Wee Herman look. Strike a pose there is nothing to it! That gray glen plaid suit over a white shirt finished with a red bow tie is in no uncertain terms an AMERICANA classic of the highest order. And so is Pee-Wee.
Proto Pee-Wee, 1957 Read the rest
Charles Phoenix writes:
This is not an art installation in a snooty, big city gallery or museum. (Although it could be and should be.) This is the perky polka dotted wall of a sunshine state souvenir stand dressed with dozens kooky characters. They are to coconuts what tiki gods are to palm tree trunks. Each is hanging there just waiting to be bought, bagged and taken to a new, more permanent home like a patio, tiki bar or rumpus room. Each one has been carefully carved, painted and finished by hand then imported from the exotic island it came from for our pleasure.
Together on the wall they're certainly mesmerizing and nearly hypnotizing. They look at you every time you walk in the room. No two are exactly the same. Each has his, (or her) own personality. I'm not sure that today they would all pass the test of political correctness. Which one would you choose? Or do you just want them all?
Coconut heads on pegboard, Florida, 1960 Read the rest
Vintage slideshow presenter Charles Phoenix recently returned from my hometown of Denver, Colorado, where he visited a few of the retro-highights that the Mile High City has to offer, including The Cruise Room (a 1933 art deco bar), Arapahoe Acres (a mid-century post and beam modern neighborhood), Rockmount Ranch Wear (a western clothing store owned by a 106-year-old fellow who still comes to work every day), and the famous "Mexican" restaurant, Casa Bonita:
My number one priority was having a delicious Mexican dinner (and it was delicious alright!) at one of the most over the top themed restaurants ever and timeless-classic monument to kitsch, CASA BONITA. This very well preserved, and still-amazing-after-all-the years, Americana classic of the highest order is a spellbinding time warp of the year it was built, 1973. It’s worth a trip from anywhere to experience. Eight or so individually themed dining rooms overlook a central two story waterfall where human divers take the plunge Acapulco style every twenty minutes. Each dining room is more amazing than the next. There’s the stalagmite and stalactite room; the western room; Aztec jungle room; the Cinderella and Prince Charming Room and several others. You can even have dinner behind bars in jail. They also have a baby-scale puppet theater, scary walk-through monster cave, temptation filled gift shop and beret-wearing caricature artist. I can’t wait to go back!
Charles is being kind about the quality of the food there. When I was a kid the owner of Casa Bonita made a TV commercial to quell the rumors that the restaurant prepared their dishes with dog food. Read the rest
On the Disney Blog, John Frost writes:
Charles Phoenix, known for his retro-postcard slide show events, has started offering 'walking tours' of Los Angeles. If you've ever seen or heard Phoenix's talk, you know that alone would be worth the price of admission. But Phoenix tops it off by drawing a multitude of parallels between Walt Disney's crown jewel themepark of Disneyland, and the icons of Southern California that played such a major part in the development of Walt Disney the man.
(Thanks, John!) Read the rest
California 20th century populuxe historian Charles Phoenix has collected a zillion photo slides taken in the 1950s and 1960s and he travels around giving slide show presentations to large audiences. He also has a fun "slide of the week" mailing list.
Every year I recommend the gigantic kitsch fest to even my most jaded and snooty friends - and they love it too!!! And if you think the fair is beneath your station in life- think again – really! I’m here to tell you it’s is Southern California’s BEST KEPT SECRET.
The grand scale pop-culture gadget, garden and barnyard showcase is set in a treasure trove of vintage architecture, public art, neon signs, landscaping and unique permanent attractions from the 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s. While Disneyland celebrates its 50th year the Los Angeles County Fair continues in Pomona where it began 83 years ago in 1922. Pomona, by the way, is the city named for the Roman Goddess of Fruit – how perfect is that!
Among the endless wonderland of mesmerizing things to see there is this week’s slide of the Sunset Drive-in Movie Theater in THE MINIATURE GARDEN RAILROAD, LOS ANGELES COUNTY FAIR, POMONA, 1952. The Sunset Drive-in is Southern California’s oldest and most charming outdoor movie theater. The screen is a television, the cars are promotional models. The show still starts at dawn every year during the fair.
Link Read the rest
In February, I posted an entry about outre vocalist Yma Sumac. She is going to make a live appearance at the Hukilau Festival in Ft. Lauderdale, October 6-8.
"Lotsa tiki acts and DJs, a slideshow presentation about Tiki through the years by Charles Phoenix, but most importantly: AN APPEARANCE BY YMA SUMAC," says Richard Butner. Link Read the rest
Charles Phoenix has a huge collection of old photography slides, and he goes around the country giving narrated slide shows to large audiences. His next show is at the John Anson Ford Theater across from the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on June 16. (For ticket information go to www.fordamphitheater.org)
He also has a "slide of the week" mailing list. Sign up here. Here's the latest:
Read the rest
A friend and I were to be driving by the Sears Service Center in San Gabriel and a sign company had just finished removing the big, beautiful 50s era neon Sears sign off the front of the building. It was one of the last remaining examples of the old Sears signs “handwritten” in that classic script. We stopped and asked the sign man if we could have it. He said that he couldn’t let us have the sign but we could have all of the neon. He hadn’t broken one tube while taking the sign down. So we carefully put all the neon in the car and kept begging for enormous porcelain letters. I thought no was his final answer… but there was hope! He said that he was going to take the sign to the dump in Santa Ana and we could be there when he took unloaded it and we could then take it - deal.
We arrive at the dump and sure enough there he is, unloading the sign. We pull up right next to him in our borrowed pick-up and start loading up the letters.