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Collector has Over 20,000 Vintage Kodachrome Slides - is that Uncle Bob?

Americana the Beautiful: Mid-Century Culture in Kodachrome, by Charles Phoenix is a combination of retro-kitsch humor and a sentimental look at the past; the 50's and 60's viewed through the forgotten Kodachrome slides of the American people. Phoenix is an off-center kind of guy, he's into wacky and irreverent. His love for cast off vintage family and vacation travel Kodachromes has culminated in a massive collection of over 20,000 slides, making Phoenix the unofficial curator of the campy American consciousness.


Poolside, Encino, CA - 1963. Charles Phoenix Archive.

Phoenix found and fell in love with our old Kodachromes while sifting through dusty boxes and bins in garage sales and thrift stores. Growing up in southern California during the 60's and 70's Phoenix brings his humor and quirky sensibility to the selection of photos for the book. "I look at the world through my Disneyland glasses," he says. "In these slides, it's a whole themed world. Everywhere, practically, is a magic kingdom."


Swingin' living room, Monterey Park, California, 1955. Charles Phoenix Archive.

Phoenix put the brassy, screwy, cheerfully entertaining slides into a stand-up comedy show that tours the nation to packed houses. Phoenix's seventh book "Americana the Beautiful: Mid-Century Culture in Kodachrome" is a funky view of America in her last days of un-politically correct innocence, and a nostalgic walk down memory lane for middle class baby boomers.

But the appeal of these crazy old slides is transcendental. We wonder: Who's the dude with the bongos? What's the guy on the couch with the barefoot momma up to? Why would anyone mix drinks in their bathroom? Who are those people and where are they today? Phoenix says, "We love to see the places, but we love to see the people even more. It really humanizes everything because we can see ourselves there."


Charles Phoenix's Downtown Tour of Los Angeles

Charles Phoenix does guest spots for NPR and the Martha Stewart show and continues his comedy slide shows. Catch him on the west coast this December.



Charles Phoenix at http://www.charlesphoenix.com and http://www.godblessamericana.com
To purchase his book go to: http://www.amazon.com/Americana-Beautiful-Mid-century-Culture-Kodachrome/dp/1883318548


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Filed under: Photo Extras November 23, 2009
 
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