"charles phoenix"

Frosty the Cheeseball Man is a holiday party must-have

A few years back, Charles Phoenix, the creator of kitchen kitsch behind the Cherpumple and other outrageous recipes, made something that's perfect to serve at a holiday party: Frosty the Cheeseball Man. It's a whole lot of Velveeta, cream cheese, and subversive, melty fun.

At my holiday parties, I delight in serving Charles' Frosty because it's a real crowd favorite. Everyone loves to watch poor Frosty slowly melt into a goo that tastes delicious with corn chips. Now, I don't have a stylish vintage electric skillet like he does, but I do have a modern electric fondue pot and that works just as well.

This would also be a good time to tell you that Charles has a new book, one full of "Classic & Kitschy Festivities and Fun Party Recipes" (yes, of course!).

Get a signed copy of Holiday Jubilee from the Ambassador of Americana himself for $29.95.

-- Yes, Charles Phoenix has been on Boing Boing before Read the rest

Charles Phoenix's "Raw" Turkey Tiki Meatloaf Mug

Pop culture humorist Charles Phoenix (previously) has been busy this year. He's written a book:

Holiday Jubilee is loaded with original eye-popping “test kitchen” recipes and over 500 vintage images, serving up an intoxicating, action-packed extravaganza of America’s favorite seasonal traditions past, present, and future. Your imagination will be inspired and your spirit will soar!

And he's created this hilarious and kitschy "Raw" Turkey Tiki Meatloaf Mug ($80). This "meatloaf pan-shaped Moai" is inspired by his Tiki Turkey Dinner, an alt-Thanksgiving recipe found in the book.

Hey! Charles will be at Soap Plant WACKO in Los Angeles this Sunday, September 15, signing that new coffee table book of his from 2 to 4 p.m. This line alone, from the event page, makes me want to hop down to LA this weekend: "LIFE ALTERING SNACK and ARTIFICIALLY COLORED AND FLAVORED REFRESHMENTS will be served." Read the rest

Charles Phoenix's outrageous Cherpumple dessert concept will be a parade float

Charles Phoenix's famous Cherpumple concept (stacked CHErry, PUMpkin, apPLE pies baked in a layer of cake) is being made into an epic parade float.

Former Disney Art Directors Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily are crafting a 10-foot-tall Cherpumple wedge -- which Charles, the Ambassador of Americana himself, will be seated on -- for the Anaheim Halloween Parade on October 27. To see it for yourself, the fun starts at 6 PM in downtown Anaheim.

Here's a peek:

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NEW PARADE FLOAT: Oct 27 I’ll be riding in the @anaheimhalloweenparade on this GIANT #Cherpumple slice ... by @kevinandjody ... careful what you wish for in life #dreamcometrue

A post shared by Charles Phoenix (@_charlesphoenix) on Oct 14, 2018 at 8:01am PDT

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This morning's progress on the Cherpumple with some sweet scenic painting by Jody. Looks practically good enough to eat. @_charlesphoenix @anaheimhalloweenparade #cherpumple #cherrypumpkinapplepiecake #paradefloat #plywoodmagic @cityofanaheim

A post shared by Kevin and Jody Show (@kevinandjody) on Oct 11, 2018 at 9:51am PDT

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Wall o'frosting. #scenicpainting @anaheimhalloweenparade @_charlesphoenix #dontlickit

A post shared by Kevin and Jody Show (@kevinandjody) on Oct 11, 2018 at 12:58pm PDT

*"Cherry pie in white cake; a pumpkin pie in yellow cake, and apple pie in spice cake!"

Charles Phoenix previously on BB Read the rest

For Sale: The real-life Brady Bunch house

The house at Klump Ave. and Dilling St. in Studio City, also known as the Brady Bunch house, has been put on the market for $1.885 million.

LA Times:

The Brady Bunch house, a Traditional-style residence near the Colfax Meadows neighborhood, was used for outdoor representations of the beloved television family’s abode. That included the show’s opening and closing scenes as well as numerous interludes to denote the time of day. Interior scenes for “The Brady Bunch” were filmed in studio.

Violet and George McCallister bought the two-bedroom, three-bathroom house in 1973 for $61,000, records show. The series ran from September 1969 to March 1974 before moving into reruns in syndication.

Ernie Carswell, a Douglas Elliman agent who is listing the property, said the split-level house has been updated and upgraded but retains almost the exact interior decor from that era, though the layout does not resemble the TV show home.

The article reports that Carswell is expecting many lookie-loos and to thwart the masses, he will not be holding any open houses. Interested buyers will need to book an appointment to see the "never-ending attraction." There's also a chance that its new owners will tear it down as it "sits in an area that has been ripe for tear-downs and new development." Caswell says the sellers would prefer to sell it to someone who will preserve it.


So, I have a funny story about this property. A few years ago I had the opportunity to ride in a Wienermobile. Read the rest

Midcentury-inspired matching clothing by Charles Phoenix

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

Charles Phoenix's accidental Astro-weenie 'Tom Turkey'

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

'Addicted to Americana,' Charles Phoenix's new book on 'classic & kitschy American life & style'

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

Kodachrome, Pt. 1

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 | RSS Read the rest

Proto Pee-Wee, 1957

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

Coconut heads on pegboard, Florida, 1960

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

Charles Phoenix visits Denver

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

Walking tour of LA shows "hidden Disneyland"

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

Charles Phoenix slide of the week: miniature garden railroad, LA County Fair, 1952

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

Yma Sumac to make rare appearance ay Hukilau 2005

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's "Slide of the Week"

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:

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.

Read the rest