The Charles Phoenix Test Kitchen Puttin' the Kitsch in Kitchen!
Eye-popping edible party centerpieces and potluck pleasers made with legendary American brand name products. These festive original recipes reflect the retro sensibility Charles is famous for. Don’t just eat your food, have fun with it too! And serve it up with a great big helping of American pride!
Prepare for your national pride to swell when Ambassador of Americana, Charles Phoenix, super charges the classic living room slide show into a laugh-out-loud, celebration of mid-century futurism ala vintage Kodachome slides and retro road trip adventure discoveries.
With keen expertise, unbridled enthusiasm and sharp eye for oddball detail, Charles launches us into the super spellbinding stratosphere of out-of-this world suburban style, extreme architecture, car culture, tourist traps, theme parks, and space age other relics – then and now.
Sit back and enjoy the fabulous flight as we time travel to Charles’ fun-filled, action packed, crazy kaleidoscope of peppy pop culture – all in glorious Kodachrome COLOR!
… Your imagination will be inspired and your spirit will soar !!! …
Be prepared your for your national pride to swell when the Ambassador of Americana, Charles Phoenix, supercharges the classic living room slide show into a laugh-out-loud celebration of spectacular mid-century car culture, space age style, landmark attractions, festive fashions, outrageous architecture, theme parks, and much, much more.
With his keen expertise, unbridled enthusiasm, and eagle eye for oddball detail, Charles presents a crazy kaleidoscope of his “found” vintage Kodachrome slides, hi-octane road trip discoveries, eye-popping test kitchen creations and “best of guide” to local attractions, past and present.
Don’t miss this fun-filled, action packed, extravaganza of great American pop culture all in glorious COLOR !!!
Mid-Century Mod Architectural Drive-by Excursion Extravaganza
OCTOBER 21, 2016
OCTOBER 22, 2016
OCTOBER 23, 2016
Palm Springs Parking Lot
350 S. Palm Canyon Drive
Experience Palm Springs with the Ambassador of Americana! Humorist and tour guide extraordinaire, Charles Phoenix, will lead you on an entertaining adventure atop a double-decker, open-air bus.
With his unbridled enthusiasm, design expertise, and keen eye for oddball detail, Charles’ spirited tour highlights exterior views of dozens of spectacular Midcentury Modern estates and homes, commercial and civic buildings, famous neighborhoods and other treasures that have made Palm Springs world famous.
Peer over the walls and hedges of landmark homes and hotels in legendary neighborhoods, including Vista Las Palmas, the Movie Colony, Twin Palms and more. Marvel at Elvis’ “House of Tomorrow” honeymoon hideaway and the famed “Twin Palms” home of Frank Sinatra.
Charles also shares his favorite local restaurants, resorts, bars, boutiques and other not to be missed local attractions in Palm Springs.
The tour concludes on foot at the Village Green, a historic enclave where Charles guides you inside historical and cultural museums, followed by everyone’s favorite local treat, a date shake.
Museum admissions and date shake included in the tour price. Note: The final stop at the Village Green concludes the bus portion of the tour. The tour’s original starting point is 1½ blocks south.
Come prepared for lots of SUN, SUN and more SUN. All seats are on the upper deck of the bus and EXPOSED to the elements. Sunscreen and hats and or jackets are recommended. Please plan accordingly.
One “comfort stop” will be made mid-tour.
Please check in for the tour at least 15 minutes prior to departure
All tickets are sold for upper deck
Wheelchair accessibility is on the lower level only.
Free parking is available on the street or at the covered parking structure on the corner of W. Baristo Road/S. Indian Canyon Drive.
This tour begins at 11am sharp, outside the main front entrance of Union Station, and ends at 5PM, also at Union Station
“Rediscover Downtown Los Angeles as I have” says your tour guide Charles Phoenix, “It’s just like a theme park!” Experience the charm of MAIN STREET USA, exotica of ADVENTURELAND, wilderness of FRONTIERLAND, magic of FANTASYLAND, and future of TOMORROWLAND all in the heart and soul of the city!
This experience includes these legendary L.A. landmarks and so much more!
Union Station, the last grand train station built in the USA.
Ride on the Gold Line “Monorail” to exotic and colorful Chinatown.
Olvera Street landmarks and flavor; including a stop for Taquitos at Cileto Lindo, my treat!
Clifton’s Cafeteria, for a “no host” lunch and tour of the newly reopened and reimagined iconic eatery extravaganza.
Iconic 1894 Bradbury Building
Grand Central Market walk-thru to the Angel Flight stairs to the futuristic Water Garden and past the Broad Museum of Art on our way to the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Carroll Avenue for a stroll through the largest concentration of Victorian houses in Southern California.
Bob Baker’s Marionette Puppet Theater for a classic puppet show performance followed by cake and ice cream served in the party room and much, much more!
PLEASE NOTE: Tour tickets are good for this date only. Lunch at CLIFTONS is *no-host. Museum, show tickets, snacks, and transportation are all included in the ticket price. Itinerary may change without notice. This tour happens rain or shine. Wear comfortable walking shoes and PLEASE BE ON TIME!
Prepare for your Holiday spirit to skyrocket when retro pop culture humorist, Charles Phoenix, propels classic and kitschy Christmas, New Year’s, Easter, 4th of July, Halloween and Thanksgiving and into the stratosphere!
Lavishing the very best of his ‘found’ vintage holiday slide collection with his quick-witted commentary and keen eye for oddball detail, Charles supercharges the classic living room slide show into a laugh out-loud roast and toast of holiday fun and frivolity, past and present!
Charles also shares his latest eye-popping food crafting creations, frolicking field trip adventures and “best of” guide to unique local landmarks, lore and much more.
Round up your friends and family and turn this holiday celebration into your party.
Charles Phoenix brings his love of kitsch to cooking
For Charles Phoenix, imagination is the magic ingredient. Hence dishes such as the Astro Weenie Party Tree or Bambrosinana.
By Noelle Carter
August 10, 2013
“The colors need to be bright, like saturated neon,” Charles Phoenix says, describing his Seven Layer Soda Pop Rocks cake. “You can’t have too much food coloring. Think Day-Glo!”
Phoenix is visualizing the elements of an ideal summer party. His ideal summer party. “A pool would be nice, because pool parties are classic summer. And there would be those motorized pool toys with remote controls for the gearheads, so they can fight in the water.” A little something for everyone.
“But I think they should be unicorns. Imagine remote-control unicorns fighting in a pool.”
Phoenix is an entertainer who is all about Americana, exploring and celebrating our kitschy pop culture past and present through his books and tours, historic slide shows and unique culinary creations. “I was born on a used-car lot,” he explains, smiling (his father was a used-car salesman), and he calls himself a child of Disneyland. “I’m very theme-oriented.”
Don’t have unicorns for your summer party? No problem. Focus on the spread.
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.”
Charles Phoenix on Fried Cereal, the Genesis of the Cherpumple and Molded Gelatin
By Susan Froyd
If you know retro — and particularly mid-century — you know retro geek Charles Phoenix, a child of the endless car lots and fast food restaurants of Southern California who is famous across the nation for his mid-mod slide shows and modernist expertise. And you might even know about his sideshow, the most awesome Charles Phoenix Test Kitchen. In that guise, he’s appeared on Martha Stewart’s show and amazed Conan O’Brien with his spectacular Astro-Weenie Christmas Tree, but at the end of July, he’ll be doing it 24/7 in the Denver County Fair Kitchen Pavilion, where he’ll create such delectables of his own invention as Mr. Meatloaf and Fried Cereal, as well as judge such fair food categories as best Molded Gelatin Dessert and best Cake and Egg Decorating.
We chatted with Mr. Phoenix about the recipes and inspirations behind his unique retro food fetishes, and here’s what he had to say.
An Interview With America's Pop Culture Ambassador
An Interview with America's Pop Culture Ambassador, Charles Phoenix
By Ryan Stabile
Growing up in Upland, California in the '70s, Charles Pheonix was privy to a hub of SoCal pop culture. "It was just minutes to the beach, minutes to Disneyland and Knotts, minutes to the mountains, and minutes from the desert. Everyone in Southern California has an incredible variety of recreational choices." He goes on to joke about how families often plan a week out of their year to do on vacation what locals do on a whim...