Charles Phoenix, left, was born to love kitschy American culture, retro places, and vintage cars.
Who says history can’t be fun? Certainly not Charles Phoenix , a performer, humorist, chef, and author best known for exploring America’s pop cultural past and present. (And maybe as equally well known for his Thanksgiving dessert creation, the Cherpumple.)
This summer, Phoenix will explore a number of iconic retro places in California, including the Wig Wam Motel in San Bernadino -- where he held a one-night-only event in June to celebrate both the Rt. 66 landmark’s recent National Register listing and also its dedicated owners/restorers -- and the upcoming Moonlight Rollerway Jubilee in Glendale.
We caught up with Phoenix in between all these hopping events to learn what first instilled in him his love for kitsch, what places have inspired him over the years, and why he doesn’t consider himself a preservationist.
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Julia Rocchi is the associate director for digital content at the National Trust. By day she wrangles content; by night (and weekends), she shops local, travels to story-rich places, and walks around looking up at buildings.