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!
5-4-3-2-1!!! … BLAST-OFF !!! … Ambassador of Americana, Charles Phoenix, launches us into the spellbinding stratosphere of mid-century era futurism ala flea-market found vintage Kodachrome slides and his retro road trip adventure discoveries.
With his keen expertise, sharp eye for oddball detail and gracious sense of humor, Charles explores America’s Tomorrowland era of out-of-this world suburban style, extreme architecture, car culture, tourist traps, theme parks, and much more.
Sit back and enjoy the fabulous flight as we travel to a time and place where your imagination will be inspired and your spirit will soar …
Be prepared for your vintage car lovin’ spirit to soar Ambassador of Americana, Charles Phoenix, takes us on the ultimate ride to the wondrous world of Detroit’s most extreme era of mid-century motoring.
With his keen expertise, unbridled enthusiasm, and eagle eye for odd-ball detail, Charles reveals the most beautiful and bizarre mid-century show cars, sport coupes, stations wagons, luxury sedans and colorful convertibles.
Don’t miss this fun-filled, hi-octane, extravaganza of kitschy and classic car culture!
After the show meet and greet Charles in the sculpture garden. Complimentary Mimosas will be served.
Prepare for your Palm Springs loving pride to swell when Ambassador of Americana and tour guide extraordinaire, Charles Phoenix, leads you on this festive and fun-filled 2.5 hour tour atop a modern double decker, open-air bus.
Departing from CAMP, this exclusive tour is a rare opportunity to experience unobstructed views of over walls and hedges of the legendary residential, commercial and civic landmarks that made Palm Springs world famous for great architecture.
Combining his mid-century expertise and keen eye for detail, Charles shares the legend and lore of dozens mid-century modern buildings and other architectural treasures tracing the history of local modernism.
This is a rare opportunity to experience unobstructed views over walls and hedges of legendary homes and hotels such as the Movie Colony, Vista Las Palmas, Twin Palms, and Racquet Club Estates. See Neutra’s iconic Kaufmann House, the Wexler Steel Homes and the spellbinding homes of Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley.
Charles also offers insightful shopping, dining and other sightseeing tips! You will never think of Palm Springs the same way again!
MIDTOUR BATHROOM STOP: at the iconic Tramway Gas Station (1963) by Albert Frey, now the Palm Springs Visitors Center.
Tours happen rain or shine.
All seats are on the upper deck and exposed to the elements. Hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen are recommended; jackets on cooler days.
Stairs are required to reach the upper deck; all tours are wheelchair accessible on the lower level only.
This tour does NOT include interiors, only exterior views.
Celebrate mid-century modern marvelousness with Ambassador of Americana, Charles Phoenix, at this exclusive yellow and turquoise themed poolside party with Monkey Tree Hotel owners, Kathy and Gary Friedle, winners of the Palm Springs Modern Committee 2016 Preservation Award.
The Monkey Tree’s authentic mid-century modern style, décor and cheery color scheme and inspired the festive yellow and turquoise party theme.
Craft cocktails, beer and wine will be served. Following a toast, an eye-popping, taste bud-tantalizing, towering cake, will be served in the tradition of the Charles Phoenix Test Kitchen-meets-Monkey Tree Inn’s classic Palm Springs style.
THINGS TO KNOW:
Festive Turquoise and Yellow dress is highly encouraged … but not expected.
This exclusive event presented by the Palm Springs Modern Committee, takes place during Palm Springs Modernism Week.
Special Parking Instructions: Parking is available just to the west of the Monkey Tree Hotel: at the First School of the Desert, located at 2300 E. Racquet Club Drive, and at the Church of Religious Science, located at 2100 E. Racquet Club 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!
Be prepared for your Disneyland loving spirit to soar when the Ambassador of Americana takes you to the granddaddy of all theme parks when it was new.
With his spectacular collection of “found” mid-century era Kodachrome images, unbridled enthusiasm and keen eye for detail, Charles shares the early days and backstories of Main Street USA, Adventureland, Fantasyland, Frontierland and Tomorrowland.
See long-gone attractions including the Phantom Boats, Flying Saucers, Indian Village, People Mover, House of the Future and Carousel of Progress and the original Tomorrowland – promoted as “The World of 1986,” and the all-new Tomorrowland in 1967.
Your imagination will be inspired and your spirit will soar !!! …
Nashville Boogie Vintage Weekender and Car Show 2017 presents … Retro pop culture humorist and author Charles Phoenix in an *all-new* slide show extravaganza of “flea-market found” Kodachrome slides and retro field trip discoveries picturing vintage wild west fashions, classic car culture, iconic roadside attractions, tacky tourist traps, legendary theme parks, and much more.
Be prepared for your national pride to swell, imagination to be inspired, and wild west lovin’ spirit to soar!
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...