Phoenix is a performer, humorist, chef and author. Through his live shows, videos, media appearances and books, the self-proclaimed “retro daddy” explores America’s classic and kitschy pop culture past and present, and often predicts retro-inspired future trends. Fans enjoy his unique spin and genuine reverence for all things Americana. Exuding a joy of life and exuberant enthusiasm, he encourages people to, “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.”
While growing up in Ontario, California, Phoenix became enamored with theme park environments, fashion fads, and used cars on his dad’s car lots. As a teenager, he began a thrift shopping spree that lasted 30 years. After moving to Los Angeles and enjoying careers as a fashion designer and classic car dealer, his life changed forever when he found a shoebox full of vintage Kodachrome slides, marked “Trip Across the United States 1957,” in a thrift shop. Collecting vintage slides soon became an obsession and he’s been collecting ever since. His vast archive of slides is called the “Slibrary,” employs a “Slibrarian,” and is the basis for his popular Big Retro Slide Shows.
Phoenix performs his slide shows across the country, featuring a wide variety of themes, from road trips and Southern California to his annual holiday celebrations. The Big Retro Slide Show is a sly, entertaining live comedy performance that celebrates mid-century Americana. With his unstoppable enthusiasm and wry, eagle eye for the very best and most bizarre of his massive collection of Kodachrome slides, he supercharges the classic living room slide show into a hysterical celebration of vintage American life and style.
His Big Retro Slide Shows include tributes to local landmarks, legends and lore. During his 2012 visit to Dayton, Phoenix was introduced to many of the area’s vintage gems, and he plans to see more of the best retro sites in the Gem City and surrounding communities during his return visit. The public is invited to share their favorite retro sightseeing suggestions, either via The DAI’s Facebook page, at www.facebook.com/daytonartinstitute, or emailing [email protected].
In addition to his live shows, the popular entertainer has shared his vintage images and culinary creations – including his famous Cherpumple monster pie cake – on TV with Conan O’Brien and Martha Stewart, and he is often heard on National Public Radio. The Los Angeles Times dubbed him “the King of Retro,” and LA Weekly anointed him “Kodachrome King.”
The Fifth Third Bank Arts Night Out presentation of Charles Phoenix’s Big Retro Slide Show is on stage in The Dayton Art Institute’s NCR Renaissance Auditorium for one night only, Thursday, November 6, at 8 p.m. The DAI’s Leo Bistro will be open for dinner on November 6, 5-8 p.m., offering a special menu for the show. Advance reservations are recommended, by calling 937-512-0146. Go to www.leobistro.com for more information.
Tickets for Charles Phoenix’s Big Retro Slide Show are priced at $30 for adults and $26 for seniors. Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased by phone, at 937-223-4ART (4278), in person at The Dayton Art Institute’s Guest Services Desk duringregular museum hours, and online at www.daytonartinstitute.org/artsnightout or www.etix.com.