Charles Phoenix

It’s funny how a couple decades can transform the mundane and everyday into the exotic and precious, as anyone who’s come across a box full of old photos can attest. But what’s a nostalgic distraction for most of us became an obsession for L.A. author Charles Phoenix when, over a decade ago, he stumbled across a shoebox of anonymous slides in a thrift store from a 1957 cross-country trip. The Kodachrome colors and innocent fun of the images launched him into a strange career as an archaeologist of the recent past, gathering personal images of everyday 20th-century life. He’s now collected over 100,000 pictures of pictures from the 1940s to ’60s, which he presents in slide shows narrated with a campy but sweetly sincere nostalgia, tailoring each show to specific places and events. His one-night-only God Bless Americana will feature pictures of the people and places around the Puget Sound—from the 1962 World’s Fair to SeaFair, from googie architecture to backyard barbecues—all presented with a loving appreciation for how good the good old days can look. JOHN LONGENBAUGH

Sun., Oct. 26, 3 p.m., 2008

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