I am absolutely fascinated by mid-century Americana. Yes, I know, it was a horrible racist warmongering era, and that the post-war era gave us freeways, white flight and urban sprawl, not to mention an unhealthy obsession with cars, malls, and television. But goshdarnit, I like 50s schlock! And that’s why I adore Charles Phoenix.
I went to see the Retro Slideshow last June – and I was hooked. Not only does Phoenix have a gift for capturing the spirit of the era, but he also does great fashion commentary (“And here we see the Smith family, in flounced floral print dresses, complete with rickrack along the edges.”) I’ve also had a healthy love for Disneyland since revisiting the park last year. So when I got my Slide of the Week today, and found out that the Retro Slideshow of Disneyland is taking place in two weeks at the Egyptian, I ran to the website.
For those of you unfamiliar with his work, Charles Phoenix collects slides. Not just any slides, but people’s personal slides from the 30s through the 60s. He has thousands of slides of family life, vacations, and, of course, Disneyland. I saw a few at the last slide show, and was totally enthralled. Not only do the slides show Disneyland as my mom saw it when she went in opening year, but they also “explore the original Tomorrowland when it was when it promoted as “The World of 1987.” And if there’s one thing I love as much as mid-century Americana, it’s mid-century science fiction – especially the kind where the phrase, “The World Of Tomorrow!” is used.
Also on that theme, I have yet to buy a ticket – but will likely be attending the Disneyland Tour of Downtown. Charles Phoenix promises to show us how downtown Los Angeles is just like Disneyland! I know downtown L.A. is a lot more entertaining than California Adventure, but I look forward to seeing how it’s like Disneyland. I’m sure there’s lots of commentary on 1950s imperialist and racist mindsets to be made regarding both the park and downtown, but for now, I’m looking forward to hearing Charles Phoenix’s enthusiasm about his home town of Los Angeles. And his fashion commentary.
All times and dates are, of course, listed on Charles Phoenix’s website. Let me know if you’re going. I’ll be the girl in the 1950s print dress and Mickey Mouse ears.