Tuesday, May 15, 2007

God Bless Americana

Friday's show, "The United States of Charles Phoenix" was utterly faboo! Puhleeeze...if you get a chance to see one of these extravaganzas, you must go. This was not just another slide show of vintage Kodachrome slides, it was a variety show that was so much fun.
Vintage Travel Trailers and Cars in the Parking Lot

Charles Phoenix Books for Sale

The John Anson Ford Theater (formerly The Pilgrimage Theater) in Hollywood is really beautiful. The theater was built in the 1920's out of wood in the Cahuenga Pass, surrounded by chapparel and pine trees to house a religious play. The wooden amphitheater burned to the ground and was rebuilt in the 1930's to resemble the style of ancient Judaic architecture with an art deco sensibility. John Anson Ford Amphitheater is considered one of the oldest performing arts venues in Los Angeles. Thanks to the late County Supervisor, John Anson Ford, who obtained funding for the re-development of the site, the Pilgrimage Theater was renamed after him. The Amphitheater is used for Shakespearean theater, dance performances as well as musical concerts.

Natalie and Joe


Stuart, Guest, Larry

We arrived at about 7pm on Friday with a picnic dinner. In the lower parking lot there were vintage trailers and cars on display to set the mood for a trip through the U.S. We ended up sitting on the stairs to the third level while we ate our dinner. Target provided stylish free seat cushions for everyone. Andre' joined us as we found our seats. Soon, Natalie and Joe plopped down in the row behind us with their fancy picnic too. We saw many of our friends. It was like a class reunion.
First up on the schedule of events were organ stylings by Domenic of Moonlight Rollerway. He was excellent and made me want to strap on my skates and roll right down the aisle! The World's Greatest Hula-Hooper, Mat Lendl was next! He was amazing! THEN, Charles Phoenix came out in a splendid white and be-dazzling suit. He introduced this pink poodle and the poodle's handler (I believe he said the poodle handler was the daughter of a woman who portrayed Snow White at Disneyland in years past). The poodle handler was dressed in a flowing baby blue ballgown.

The World's Greatest Hula Hooper, Mat Lendl

The Gorgeous Pink Poodle

The slide show commenced. It was riotous, hilarious and highly entertaining. Charles' commentary is so spot-on. Just before intermission, the poodle handler came out on tippy-toes, dressed in her ballerina togs and pranced about while Charles concocted his version of ambrosia as a snack for the audience!
Ambrosia Time

During intermission we visited with Audrey and Jeff, Amy and Stuart, Marina, I saw Knitter Julia from afar but couldn't get her attention, Larry Mantle and his wife, Jim Heimann, Michael Dawson from Dawson's Books on Larchmont and various other people from the Mod Com, along with knitsters, artists and L.A. scenesters.

Nephew, Audrey, Jeff

Larry, Amy, Guest

The second half of the show started with Charles' video tour of Los Angeles as Disneyland. Charles returned to the stage wearing another incredibly festive suit and proceeded with the second half of the vintage slide show.

Our party favor - seat cushions from Target

Thank you, Charles Phoenix for providing such an entertaining and enlightening evening. You made our spirits soar!
Thanks to Larry Underhill for use of SOME of the above photos!



At 12:41 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really regret not going to this. It sounds like so much fun. And I love the picnic-y aspect. Oh well, next time.

At 4:22 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sounds like such a marvelous event! I've already added my name to Charles Phoenix's e-mail list. Thanks for telling us about him!


At 1:52 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the rundown! I've been wanting to see one of Charles' slideshows since I happened upon his Atomic Weenie trees (I've made two so far!).

If I'd know about it when I made my arrangements, I would have planned my recent trip to LA to coincide with this show. It looks like a swell time was had by all. I do love ambrosia. Does he use shredded coconut in his?

At 2:07 PM PDT, Blogger Ellen Bloom said...

Hi Debbie,
Glad you liked my description of Charles' show. It was really wonderful. Keep checking his website for updates on the next show.

Of course he uses shredded coconut in his ambrosia. I don't remember the entire recipe, but it goes something like this:

fruit cocktail, drained
shredded cocoanut
tiny marshmallows
red food coloring
cool whip

He may add a few other ingredients, but I know that this is the basic recipe he uses. I've seen him concoct this many times!

At 8:56 AM PDT, Blogger mehitabel said...

I'm so sorry I missed this! Oh well. I did get to hear Charles when he spoke at Vroman's and he's just too wonderful! The scary thing is, those 40's and 50's slides are MY childhood!


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