Charles Phoenix New Book: Addicted To Americana On Sale Now!

By: Judy Shields


Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 4/18/2018 – “Everywhere I go, I look at what’s unique about that town, what makes that town special. I have a theme park sensibility, so I look for the attractions, the talking points.  The hidden treasures, collectables, where is the “there, there” there.  What makes these towns unique.  This book basically represents the highlights of all of those,” Charles Phoenix told The Hollywood Times today during a telephone interview.

The Hollywood Times (THT):  “What have you been up to?”

Charles Phoenix (Charles): “I just got back from Austin, Texas.  It was really, really fun. I mean this is a town that has completely embraced the Americana ascetic, the very vintage, retro and classic roadside American style.  I called it “ramshackle roadside relic sheek” it’s kind of it. There is a music thing played everywhere, it’s a very indoors/outdoors kind of restaurants and old honky-tonk.  They really embrace their lore there.  They put it up on a pedestal and I love that.  I love when towns treat themselves like a theme park.”

THT: Did you have a road show there?

Charles Phoenix Chicken neon sign in Austin Texas

Charles: “No, actually I had a book signing there.”

THT: So you were out promoting this amazing, wonderful and addictive book?

Charles:  “Thank you, I’m glad that you like it. I am very proud of it and worked very hard on it. It was 25 years in the making, literally.  All the travels, all the collecting of other people’s Kodachrome slides, which I started to do in 1992.  This whole book is a combination of my travels and my collections of other people’s old slides and the stories that came along with them.”

THT: Talk about your live shows:

Charles: “I have an enthusiastic delivering of the material when I am live onstage talking about it.  I have covered many elements of mid-century American culture, then and now. I think what people really love about my show is my enthusiasm.  I think enthusiasm is a very saleable commodity and I have the enthusiasm for it!  I have the info to back it up.  I have been doing my retro slide show live onstage for over 20 years now and I have many topics and subjects, depending on what city I am performing, and the shows have various names.  I always try to include stuff from the city that I am in, either vintage images or new images of vintage places, Mom and Pop shops, unsung local landmarks and maybe unnoticed local heroes and local foods.   I also cover shopping malls, which is certainly on the change now, which makes them kind of interesting topic.  There is a lot in this book and I am kind of shocked looking at it myself, frankly!”

THT: Talk a little about the history of your new book.

Charles: “This whole book represents treasure hunting.  Looking for Americana, is what it is in search of.  I go in search of it on two levels, both physically, by going out in the world and finding it and finding vintage images of it. In my case, I collect vintage Kodachrome slides and I have been collecting them since 1992. I first stumbled upon a collection in a thrift store in Pasadena and it was a little blue shoebox that I spotted and it said “Trip Across the United States 1957, which was on the side of it.  I was originally attracted to the box, because it was an old-looking shoebox.  I picked it up and there was a whole box full of some families slides from the trip across the United States in 1957.  I held a few up and I knew immediately that this was a treasure with my name on it.   So I was completely smitten from that moment on and I haven’t stopped collecting other people’s old Kodachrome slides since.  I call my collection the “slibrary,” and I have a “slibrarian.” She has basically been organizing the entire thing for about 15 years now.  This is in part the reason how I was able to do this book, because I have a lot of really unusual rare images.  I take great pride in my territorial skills both out in the field and going out to find what is interesting and what isn’t.”

THT: You are like an investigator.

Charles: “I love playing detective to find the stuff, I love going to a town and having a hunt for something. There is always some treasure that has gone missing, a car, a vintage neon sign or something that needs to be portable in some way that deserves to be found.  Occasionally I wind up going in search of some treasure that has been misplaced or no one knows where it went. Sometimes I recover them and occasionally they’re gone for good.”

I asked Charles if he had photos from when he was young and he said very few, because nobody in his family was a photographer.  “I have to rely on other people’s photos, not my own,” Charles said.

Charles also has a line of his and her clothing called Sir Charles of Phoenix, which are retro inspired.  Check it out here:






THT: Do you have any live stage shows coming up?

Charles: “Yes. I have one coming up in Las Vegas this weekend at the Orleans and another one in June called Catalinaland. A show all about the story and the glory of Catalina. It is going to be held inside the epic art deco theatre which is inside the legendary iconic casino building there on Catalina. That is going to be a rare threat to get inside that casino building and into that art deco theatre. That is coming up  June 10th.”

“What I am covering is uniquely American, for the most part and it’s a part of our culture that isn’t fading away but is fading away, but not completely!  That is why I am covering it.  I think it is really an underrated time in our history and the type of stuff that I am covering is very underrated in the scheme of things and very under covered historically. It was made in the USA.”

“What a great idea, a book to share with your children and grandchildren.  Get this book and share it with them. Make it a point to take a vacation to find these treasures, create your own memories with your children and grandchildren.  What wonderful gift to give to your parents/grandparents, so that they can share memories of some of these places they may have seem in their early days.  A great Mothers Day gift. This is such a colorful book, and belongs on everyone’s coffee table in every living room across America.   We need a book like “Addicted to Americana” in our lives, color, nostalgia, American history and it’s fantastic,” The Hollywood Times.

Here is my favorite picture from the book:


Charles Phoenix is a showman, tour guide, food crafter, and author. He is known for his live comedy slide show performances, madcap Test Kitchen videos, “field trip” tours, and colorful coffee table books, all celebrating classic and kitschy American life and style. On TV, Charles has appeared as a judge on Food Network’s Cake Wars: Christmas. He’s also guested on Storage Wars, Jay Leno’s Garage, Conan, and Martha Stewart, and is often heard on NPR. The Los Angeles Times says, “Call him the King of Retro,” and LA Weekly anointed him “the Kodachrome King.”

Growing up in Ontario, California Charles was educated at theme parks, shopping malls, and his dad’s used car lots. As a teen he discovered thrift shops, which led to a lifelong vintage shopping spree. He calls thrift shops “schools of style, museums of merchandise, and the perfect place to study the underbelly of our mass consumerism culture.”

After moving to Los Angeles and enjoying careers as a fashion designer and classic car dealer, his life changed forever — in a thrift shop — when he discovered a shoebox full of vintage Kodachrome slides marked “Trip Across the United States, 1957.” Collecting orphaned vintage slide photography soon became an obsession that inspired his retro slide show performance career, beginning in 1998.

Charles’ slide show performances are supercharged, laugh-out-loud celebrations of retro American pop culture. Fans from coast to coast enjoy his spirited story telling, gracious wit and sharp eye for oddball detail.

He covers a dizzying array of subjects and themes, projecting both vintage Kodachrome images and contemporary photos documenting his retro road trip discoveries.

No two shows are ever the same. Many performances are tailored specifically to highlight the region he’s performing in, inspiring newfound appreciation for underrated local landmarks, unique attractions, “mom-and-pop” businesses, and extreme architecture.

Charles’ popular “Disneyland” Tour of Downtown Los Angeles proves the heart and soul of the city is like a great big theme park. Touring vintage landmarks and themed environments — including Old Chinatown, Olvera Street, Clifton’s Cafeteria, Angels Flight, Bob Baker Marionette Theater, Carroll Avenue and more, he proves “Southern California doesn’t have one Disneyland, it has two!” He also leads tours of Palm Spring’s iconic mid-century modern architecture during Modernism Week.

Big Retro Slide Show Extravaganza

April 20, 2018 & April 22, 2018
Orleans Hotel Showroom
4500 W Tropicana Ave
Las Vegas, NV

Prepare for your national pride to swell when Ambassador of Americana, Charles Phoenix, launches retro pop culture into the stratosphere! With his keen expertise, unbridled enthusiasm and eagle eye for oddball detail, Charles shares the very best of his retro road-trip discoveries and colorful kaleidoscope of found vintage Kodachrome slides from the pages of his latest book, Addicted to Americana.

This is a marvelous mashup of mid-century of stories and glories of spectacular space-age style, amazing attractions, local landmarks, roadside wonders, festive foods, crazy car culture, futuristic transportation and more galore all in glorious Kodachrome COLOR! Your imagination will be inspired and your American spirit will soar!

NOTE: each show is different. Check Event schedule for show times.

June 10, 2018 at 2:00 p.m.

Live Retro Slide Show Performance Celebrating SoCal’s Enchanted Island!
Avalon Casino Theatre
1 Casino Way
Avalon, CA 90704

Click here to buy tickets:

Catalina Island Museum presents … Ambassador of Americana, Charles Phoenix, at the iconic Casino’s spectacular 1929 Art Deco movie palace.

Be prepared for your Catalina loving’ spirit to SOAR when Charles sweeps us away on a time-travel storytelling and retro slide show adventure extravaganza exploring the island’s classic landmarks, legends and lore.

Experience the backstories and glories of the S.S. Avalon, glass bottom boat, flying fish, Bird Park, Catalina Pottery, vintage souvenirs, Casino, Wrigley family, the mysterious Catalina-shaped swimming pool, and much more.

Charles also shares his vintage guide to today’s Catalina sightseeing, shopping, dining, and where to find the Island’s hidden treasures, time warps, and what not to miss as you discover Catalina as a great big theme park!

The performance is two-acts with an intermission. Festive dress is encouraged but not expected.

Aftershow Cake & Book Signing Party

You are invited to meet Charles following the performance at the Catalina Island Museum. Copies of his latest book, Addicted to Americana, will be available for purchase.

Charles is the author of many colorful, collectible coffee table books celebrating mid-century Southern California, Las Vegas, Hawaii, Kodachrome road trips and his native Pomona Valley. His latest is Addicted to Americana!

About Charles Phoenix

Addicted to Americana, author, chef, and retro pop culture humorist Charles Phoenix celebrates classic and kitschy American life and style. He is known for his live comedy slide show performances, eye-popping “test kitchen” videos, and colorful coffee table books.

On TV he is a judge on Food Network’s Cake Wars, and has appeared with Jay Leno, Martha Stewart, and Conan O’Brian. He is often heard on NPR.

Fans enjoy his clever spin and genuine reverence for Americana and trust his guide to attractions from coast to coast.


Twilight star Nikki Reed enjoys post-baby vacation at Fairmont Grand Del Mar in San Diego, California

Nikki Reed at Fairmont Grand Del Mar in San Diego, Califonia- 04/01/2018 (PHOTO by: Michael Simon/
Nikki Reed wearing Natalie Martin dress, Gladys tamez hat, . AWAY luggage. Leica camera (Photo by: Michael Simon/

The 29-year-old actress was accompanied by her husband Ian Somerhalder (not pictured) and was attached to her camera during her luxurious stay.

Nikki Reed golf carting around with gal pal Lindsey (Photo by: Michael Simon/

Nikki‘s good gal pal Lindsey was also by her side while they relaxed and enjoyed their quality time with their babies.


“Thank you @fairmontgranddelmar for taking care of us at your majestic estate,” Nikki captioned with one of her Instagram posts. “We had an amazing time and can’t wait to come back!

Nikki Reed wearing Zeynep Arcay dress Leica camera (Photo by: Michael Simon/
Nikki Reed wearing Awaveawake Orange dress. Leica camera. Gladys tamez hat (Photo by: Michael Simon/

HRTS Panel Speaks Glowingly About the Rise of Documentary on TV

Liesl Copland

By Nathan Wildes

Beverly Hills, CA (The Hollywood Times) 03/25/2018 – The Hollywood Radio & Television Society (HRTS) hosted a great panel Wednesday morning entitled “Who’s Buying and Watching Documentary on TV”.

The panelists included Alex Gibney, Academy Award winner for Taxi to the Dark Side, Dawn Porter whose work has appeared on HBO, PBS, Discovery and more, Liesl Copland, a partner at Endeavor Content financier for documentary films, and Vinnie Malhotra, Senior VP Unscripted Programming for Showtime Networks. Continue reading “HRTS Panel Speaks Glowingly About the Rise of Documentary on TV”

“Travel as a Political Act” episode which premieres March 24th at 7pm on KCET

Airs Sat., March 24 at 7 p.m. PT on KCET in Southern California

By: Judy Shields

Anyone that wants to travel to Europe should get Rick Steves’ books and watch the upcoming KCET special “Rick Steves’ European Tips & Tricks” and Travel as a Political Act.  You will then want to go and travel Europe and not get caught up in the “tourist” traps and see more of what the country has to offer and especially to talk with the local people.

I had the opportunity to watch the episode and I honestly have to say, before I saw the episode I truly had no desire to travel to Europe, although I would love to visit Ireland. It opened my eyes to the history of travel to Europe and seeing it through Rick Steves’ eyes. How he makes it seem so fun and memorable.  If I can just get over the fear of flying, (but I was told I could fly to New York, spend the night and see the city and then fly over to Ireland) I might be willing now to see some of Europe.

So thanks to watching his special, I believe I will have to reconsider going.  Rick is so easy to listen to, his voice captivates you and he is not all over the stage. It was quite lovely to watch and listen to him talk about traveling through Europe and talking with the locals.  I like how he spoke about trying to be your own tour guide and not always taking the bus guided tours all the times.  Venture out, live life, meet people, take photos with your mind, once in awhile.

His words about the history of Europe, what most of us have forgotten about history, that we need to know about the history of the countries we want to travel.  Bravo!

So make it a point to watch his special tomorrow night on KCET and tape it as well so you can watch it again and share it with your friends and family.

Rick Steves believes there’s more to travel than good-value hotels, great art and tasty cuisine. Travelers who travel as a political act can have the time of their lives and come home smarter with a better understanding of today’s world.

In this lecture, Steves will explain how to travel thoughtfully to any corner of the world and come home with the greatest of all souvenirs: a broader perspective.

Check out his webpage at:

Join the conversation on social media using #TravelTipswithRick





About Rick Steves

Guidebook author and travel TV host Rick Steves is America’s most respected authority on European travel. Rick took his first trip to Europe in 1969, visiting piano factories with his father, a piano importer. As an 18-year-old, Rick began traveling on his own, funding his trips by teaching piano lessons. In 1976, he started his business, Rick Steves’ Europe, which has grown from a one-man operation to a company with a staff of 100 full-time, well-travelled employees at his headquarters in Washington state. There he produces more than 50 guidebooks on European travel, America’s most popular travel series on public television, a weekly hour-long national public radio show, a weekly syndicated column, and free travel information available through his travel center and Rick Steves’ Europe also runs a successful European tour program. Rick Steves lives and works in his hometown of Edmonds, Washington. His office window overlooks his old junior high school.

Email Rick at, or write to him c/o 130 4th Ave N, Edmonds, WA 98020



Book your cabin now with promo code KOMEN at to receive a $100 onboard credit!
MIAMI, Fla. – Welcome aboard, Pink Partner! “Ship-Hop, Starring I Love the 90s Tour” partners with Susan G. Komen® Miami/Ft. Lauderdale just in time to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Ship-Hop special performing artists, Salt-N-Pepa, are on deck and excited that the cruise has chosen such a worthy partnership to get down and fundraise with.

“Susan G. Komen® does so much good for women and we’re so pumped that Ship-Hop gets to be a part of that good,” said Pepa, of Salt-N-Pepa.

In addition to Komen issuing an onboard credit to fans, cruise promoters ASK4 will match an $100.00 donation to the Susan G. Komen® Miami/Ft. Lauderdale in the name of the cabin holder’s choice.

“We are very excited about this great opportunity to partner with ASK4 and be a part of the Ship- Hop ‘I Love the 90’s’ Cruise,” said Operations Manager, Sherri Marten-Curtis. “We appreciate the opportunity to partner and fundraise together in the fight against breast cancer, and have a new opportunity for our constituents to have fun, give back, and meet new, like minded individuals united in ‘pink.’”

Since the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale affiliate was founded in 1999, Komen has invested nearly $11 million in local breast health and breast cancer awareness projects administered by local non-profit hospitals, healthcare clinics and community-based organizations. These community partners help advance the Komen mission by providing breast health education, as well as breast cancer screening, diagnostics and treatment to the uninsured and medically underserved in our communities.

To receive onboard credit, enter promo code KOMEN when making the reservation. For more information visit

Fans will set sail January 11-15, 2018, from Miami to Key West & Cozumel with host Downtown Julie Brown and artists Vanilla Ice,Salt-N-Pepa with SpinderellaAll-4-OneNaughty By Nature,BlackstreetCoolioColor Me BaddKid ‘N PlaySisqóTone Loc,Biz MarkieRob BaseYoung MCDJ Kool, and C+C Music Factory.

For more information on the Ship-Hop cruise, visit

# # #
.@ShipHopCruise partners with Susan G. Komen!


Tiki Oasis is the tiki lovers annual rendevous of music, rum and mischief fun

Tucked away in a somewhat secret hotel in San Diego is the best kept annual event in the local tiki culture.  It is like four days of Hawaiian pool party fun while in the Tiki Bar at Disneyland but with rum and lots of fun dressed people of all ages from everywhere including Australia, Sweden and Japan.

Tiki Oasis is in a modern name hotel which is actually a 1950s landmark Hawaii theme hotel with waterfalls in atriums and tiki gods.

Each year is a new theme. This year is James Bond spy stuff. Fashion for women ranges from cuties in pink nighties, Hawaiian fabrics in every style and pattern, retro bathing suits, moomoos, calfigans, pantsuits plus lots of skirts and dresses. Guys are fun too in Hawaiian shirts and costumes with feis hats even cabana wear with matching shirts and shorts which have a morning parade around the pool.

There are an assortment of diverse vendors where tiki guests can transform themselves into tiki gods and goddesses. There are booths for retro hair updos and makeups, lots of new and vintage jewelry. Vendors display everything to create one’s own tiki bar at home.

The pool party is a liberating splash of fun swimmers with pool toys and water squirters. A pool side dj spins intoxicating lounge music by Arthur Lyman and more. Everybody is talking and laughing. It is like a reunion of Tiki High School for a long weekend where guest balconies are decorated with Chinese lanterns, lights and shimmy shiny tassles. New friendships spark up so quickly. Facebook friends get to finally meet.

There is a Tiki Tot land for the young tiki kids. There is a car show with food trucks. There is a shortage of parking but ample frequent shuttle service to all the hotels. The compliments of people’s outfits fill the air. It is a lovefest fully dressed and sometimes very revealing.

The big event magazine is filled with the daily schedules, bands, events and activities. There is so much going on. Check out the tiki world. You might never be the same after a weekend like this.

New Zealand Awaits

Hello Travellers!

Creating this newsletter has been on my to do list FOREVER! So it’s finally happening! We hope you’ll stay connected with us via email as well as through our social channels so you know what’s on offer from us.

We’ll share

  • tour announcements and details
  • information on our services
  • current discounts or promotions
  • stories from our travellers
  • interviews with our trusted locals
  • new information on New Zealand travel
  • and other news that we think will be inspiring for you

We’d love it if you’d share this also with any friends or family you know who are interested in travelling to New Zealand. Thanks a million!

2018 Tours

New Zealand Highlights and Hot Spots

13 Days

Women’s Tour: Jan 15 – Jan 27
Men’s Tour: Mar 26 – Apr 7
No minimum level fitness required

Welcome to your New Zealand luxury vacation! This 13 day trip includes the highlights and iconic locations of New Zealand and introduces you to our trusted local partners. You’ll enjoy gorgeous Waiheke Island with a local Maori guide who offers an in-depth perspective into Maori culture, cruise a pristine lake on a private luxury catamaran, taste gourmet cuisine in a private garden, learn about our farming heritage on a private farm, and taste the fruits of labour in a private vineyard tour, to name just a few.  Interested?
Learn More

North Island Kiwi Culture Tour

12 Days

LGBT Mixed: Feb 21 – Mar 4
No minimum level fitness required

 You’ve heard of our wonderful Kiwi Culture, now it’s time to experience it! This 12 day tour for LGBT travellers immerses you in everything Kiwi! Yes, we call ourselves Kiwis, after our indigenous kiwi bird, not the fruit! Join us and become a Kiwi for a while. You’ll get off the beaten tourist track, spend time with some of our favourite Kiwis, and explore a truly diverse range of experiences that we’re proud to say makes us Kiwis: learning Maori traditions and legends, savouring locally produced food and wine, sailing and swimming the local waters, dining with Kiwi farmers, viewing active geysers, meeting a real live kiwi (bird), exploring museums and galleries, and playing with some LGBT locals. Combine this trip with our South Island Sojourn and talk with us about a discount. Interested?
Learn More

South Island Sojourn

13 Days

LGBT Mixed: Mar 4 – Mar 16
Moderate level fitness recommended

Join us on a journey through the glorious South Island! This 13 day trip for LGBT travellers immerses you in some our of most remote wilderness, without forsaking comfort and luxury. As on all of our trips, you’ll spend time with our trusted local partners, seeing New Zealand as the locals do. You’ll cruise on a private charter boat, kayak turquoise waters, walk or float through a glowworm cave, hike to a glacier, learn about our farming heritage on a private farm, and taste the fruits of labour in a private vineyard tour. Experience the serene Marlborough Sounds, the beaches of Abel Tasman National Park, the wild West Coast, and the stunning natural beauty of Wanaka’s mountains, lakes, and wilderness. Combine this trip with our North Island Kiwi Culture Tour and talk with us about a discount. Interested?
Learn More

Our Services

Private Guides or Self-Drive Itinerary Design

Our tour dates don’t work?

Create your own group and travel your way.

New Zealand is perfect for any kind of trip: a honeymoon, a special family vacation, a way to celebrate a life milestone or anniversary, a reunion for special friends, or special interest trips such as nature, birdwatching, hiking, biking, fishing, or food and wine … let us create a uniquely designed trip just for you and your companions. Your group, your budget, your dream trip.
Contact us to get started

Discounts & Specials

Bride Pride Coupon

Forward this email to any brides you know who participated in Bride Pride Provincetown 2017
We did, and it was such an incredibly love filled day.

Why we participated in Bride Pride

Traveller Stories

Meet Deb, an Aussie who popped over for a much needed holiday.

“Have you ever thought to yourself, I just need to get away, clear the head and immerse myself in nature’s beauty.”
Deb’s Self-Drive Discovery

Trusted Locals

Meet Scotty and Mal, New Zealand LGBT Heros and Activists.

Periodically we’ll highlight some trusted locals we partner with. Get to know them here then let them show you their slice of paradise when you visit.

Why New Zealand is so Gay Friendly


IGLTA Ambassador to New Zealand: Debbie Clarke

I’m so proud to be the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association’s Ambassador for New Zealand.  It’s such an honour to help continue this organisation’s work of promoting LGBT travel globally. 
Ready to begin your journey?

VIP Journeys Launches Drone My Trip For One of a Luxury Kind Travel Experiences in Latin America

he creation of VIP Journeys, Drone My Trip gives travelers the chance to set out on their voyage of discovery with their very own drone photographer

Travelers planning a trip of a lifetime to Latin America can now add a first-on-the-planet edge to their adventure with the launch of Drone My Trip – a unique new service which pairs the latest technology with some of the most iconic, exotic and unspoiled destinations in the world.

The creation of VIP Journeys, Drone My Trip gives travelers the chance to set out on their voyage of discovery with their very own drone photographer. Changing the paradigm of travel photography forever, the high res Drone My Trip service is an exclusive, unique way to capture memories of a lifetime. Continue reading “VIP Journeys Launches Drone My Trip For One of a Luxury Kind Travel Experiences in Latin America”