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CHARLES IN PALM SPRINGS LIFE

Trailer Family Portrait, Palm Springs, 1955

 

Meet the Ultimate ‘Retro Daddy’

Americana expert Charles Phoenix relives road trips to Palm Springs, forays into thrift stores and date farms, and calls for the comeback of the chuckwagon.

Interview by Matthew Link

DRESSED IN A CUSTOM-TAILORED SUIT and trademark rhinestone Colonel Sanders bow tie, Charles Phoenix flips through hilarious and sometimes bizarre slides of strangers and their homes and cars and families, taking a standing-room-only audience at Palm Springs Art Museum’s Annenberg Theater through a rip-roaring Technicolor look at yesteryear.

Twenty years ago, this self-proclaimed “retro daddy” found a shoebox full of vintage Kodachrome slides in a thrift shop marked “Trip Across the United States 1957,” and his obsession with mid-century Americana was born. Today, he lives by this mantra: “Get in touch with your inner Americana, embrace it, have a sense of humor about it, and proudly share it with the whole wide world.”

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