King of Kitsch

Charles Phoenix shares his retro slides.

About fifteen years ago, Charles Phoenix discovered a box in a thrift store; written on the box were the words "trip across the United States 1957." He opened the box of slides and held a couple of them up to the light. "I said, 'This is a treasure with my name on it,'" Phoenix remembers. "It was such a great find that I just was completely, immediately addicted to collecting other people's old slides."

Tonight starting at 6:30 p.m. at Robert W. Steele Elementary School, you'll get a chance to see Phoenix's December best at the Retro Holiday Slide Show. "It's just a really fun way to giggle at the holidays," he explains.

"They're really colorful, because they're Kodachrome," Phoenix continues. "We get to see pink Christmas trees and the crazy gifts. Girls got dolls and boys got guns. Mom always gets the worst gifts. Dad gets either booze or a tool to work on in the garage. Everyone can relate, because you look at it and go, 'That's just like my family, my mom dressed like that, we had that kind of car.' It's a joyful celebration of wacky, ticky-tacky American kitsch culture."

Some of Phoenix's personal favorites include images from a bizarre '50s-era Christmas bondage party (yes, you read that correctly), "the most outrageous Christmas tree I've ever seen," (which, incidentally, hailed from Denver) and a yard-decor scene featuring elves spanking each other. Admission to the show is $20, with discounts available for groups. Free eggnog and cookies are included, and a few lucky winners will even leave with fruitcakes! Steele Elementary is at 320 South Marion Parkway; for information, call 303-347-8252 or visit www.danacain.com or www.charlesphoenix.com.
Thu., Nov. 29, 7-9 p.m., 2007

 
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