By Steve Harvey
Pop culture humorist Charles Phoenix calls our fair city “Long Beachland,” as though it were a section of Disneyland.
And why not? I can see the Traffic Circle as the equivalent of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, the Gaytonia Hotel as Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, the Queen Mary as the Haunted Mansion.
And the Blue Line, of course, could be the Monorail (if you disregard a few things, like the illegal vendors, panhandlers, religious fanatics and free riders).
Phoenix, author of “Southern California and the ’50s,” grew up in the IE (as TV weatherfolks now call the Inland Empire). But he has fond memories of Long Beach dating back to visits he made to relatives here (one kin owned Redondo Paints, now the site of the Silver Fox nightclub). So, knowing of Phoenix’ interest in Long Beach, I attended a sold-out show he gave the other day at the Art Theater on Retro Row.
Read more: ONLY IN LB: Recognizing Amusement Park Elements Of Long Beach
GET TIX NOW: TUCSON, AZ
Live Comedy Performance Celebrating Mid-Century Sci-fi Life & Style
3233 East Speedway Blvd
Tucson, Arizona 85716
5-4-3-2-1 … BLAST-OFF !!! … Presented by Tucson Modernism Week …
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 !!! …
Festive dress is encouraged … but not expected!
GET TIX NOW: LONG BEACH, CA
Live Comedy Slide Show Performance Celebrating Classic & Kitschy American Life & Style!
Carpenters Performing Arts Center
6200 E Atherton St
Long Beach, CA
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 !!!
GET TIX NOW: PALM SPRINGS, CA
Mid-Century Mod Architectural Drive-by Excursion Extravaganza
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.
GET TIX NOW: LOS ANGELES, CA
6-hour Walking And Bus Experience Of DTLA As A Big Theme Park!
800 N. Alameda, Los Angeles
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!
By Steve Harvey
Charles cooks up Halloween in the kitchen with Queen Latifah !!!
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.
Read the entire article here
Charles Phoenix is a performer, humorist, chef and author who explores America's classic and kitschy pop culture -- past and present -- and predicts retro-inspired, future trends.CLICK FOR MORE!
L.A.’s KCET TV invited me pick my fave restaurant in Los Angeles, have lunch there and share the experience with you. YAY!
Without skipping a beat I chose Pann’s, the greatest Googie style coffee shop on Earth. This was the perfect opportunity for me to share this amazing L.A. landmark and introduce you to a local hero of mine, the original owner, Rena Poulis, age 94. Dressed to the nines, she greets guests there every day just as she has since she and her husband opened the doors in 1958. Rena and son Jim who now runs the place (and beautifully I might add) are the queen and crowned price of coffee shops.
They both deserve a big giant lifetime award for all their years of great service and an even bigger historic preservation award for maintaining the spectacular original Googie décor of their legendary restaurant.
Thank you, KCET for this opportunity and lunch! That fried chicken is the best in town!
Have you dined in a lipstick red vinyl semi-circle booth lately?
Here’s to the KCET, Pann’s, Queen Rena, Prince Jim and YOU!
October 18, 2011