Charles Phoenix

Charles Phoenix

Charles Phoenix is a showman, tour guide, food crafter, and author. He is known for his live comedy slide show performances, madcap Test Kitchen videos, “field trip” tours, and colorful coffee table books, all celebrating classic and kitschy American life and style. On TV, Charles has appeared as a judge on Food Network’s Cake Wars: Christmas. He’s also guested on Storage Wars, Jay Leno’s Garage, Conan, and Martha Stewart, and is often heard on NPR. The Los Angeles Times says, “Call him the King of Retro,” and LA Weekly anointed him “the Kodachrome King.”

Growing up in Ontario, California Charles was educated at theme parks, shopping malls, and his dad’s used car lots. As a teen he discovered thrift shops, which led to a lifelong vintage shopping spree. He calls thrift shops “schools of style, museums of merchandise, and the perfect place to study the underbelly of our mass consumerism culture.”

After moving to Los Angeles and enjoying careers as a fashion designer and classic car dealer, his life changed forever — in a thrift shop — when he discovered a shoebox full of vintage Kodachrome slides marked “Trip Across the United States, 1957.” Collecting orphaned vintage slide photography soon became an obsession that inspired his retro slide show performance career, beginning in 1998. He calls his found, vintage Kodachrome slides archive the “slibrary,” and he even employs a “slibrarian.”

Charles is the author of many colorful, collectible coffee table books celebrating mid-century Southern California, Las Vegas, Hawaii, Kodachrome road trips and his native Pomona Valley. His latest is Addicted to Americana!



Addicted to Americana

Live Comedy Performance Celebrating Classic & Kitschy American Life & Style
5-4-3-2-1 … BLAST-OFF … Prepare for your national pride to swell when Ambassador of Americana, Charles Phoenix launches retro pop culture into the stratosphere. With his keen expertise, unbridled enthusiasm and eagle eye for oddball detail, Charles shares of his retro road-trip discoveries and colorful kaleidoscope of found vintage Kodachrome slides. It’s a marvelous mid-century mashup of stories and glories of spectacular space-age style, amazing attractions, local landmarks, roadside wonders, festive foods, crazy car culture, and futuristic transportation and more galore all in glorious Kodachrome COLOR! Your imagination will be inspired and your American spirit will soar!


Retro Holiday Jubilee

Live Comedy Slide Show Celebrating Mid-Century Holiday Life & Style

Prepare for your holiday spirit to soar when Ambassador of Americana, Charles Phoenix, roasts and toasts Christmas, New Year’s, Easter, 4th of July, Halloween and Thanksgiving like they’ve been never before. With his keen expertise, and unbridled enthusiasm, Charles shares the marvels of mid-century seasonal décor, festive fashions, fun foods, holiday theme parks, and parties and more lavishing commentary on his colorful kaleidoscope of found vintage Kodachrome slides, sharing stories and glories of his retro road-trip adventures, eye-popping test kitchen creations and more galore. Your imagination will be inspired and your American spirit will soar!


  • He recently published his new book, Addicted to Americana
  • The LA Times listed Addicted to Americana as a must-have for this year’s holiday season
  • Charles Phoenix shares with LA Weekly how he became “LA’s King of Nostaligia”
  • Interviewed by The Washington Post to share how his interest in American pop culture led to his city tours and live slide show performances