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Pleased To Meet You


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Author and pop culture humorist Charles Phoenix, who visits Tucson this month, argues the case for year-round Holiday lights. By Samantha Cummings. Cover photo courtesy of Charles Phoenix.

charles phoenix

Photo by Matt Blansett

Early bird or night owl? “I’m both. I love to stay up late. I do my best thinking in the middle of the night when there are no phone calls to make, no snacks to have, you’re not going to call your friends and chat. Then I love to get up early and take a brisk walk. It just kind of depends. I can do both.”

Favorite Christmas accessory? “I would have to say, there are too many. I can’t narrow it down to one. I’m all about the whimsical stuff. A classic color wheel, whether you have an aluminum Christmas tree or not. Another one would be a cardboard fireplace – total old school, mid century. If you don’t have a fireplace, you get a fake one made out of this really bright red fake cardboard. It’s kind of cartoonish and cute.

“I guess I’m a little bit of a pyromaniac because I love fire. But I’m never satisfied with regular fire – I want multicolored flames. There’s one product that make a couple of different varieties of logs and one is the multicolored flame log and it burns blue, green, and orange. So, I’m all about the whimsical stuff.”

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Photo courtesy of Charles Phoenix

Favorite holiday faux pas? “That’s a tough one! When your friend comes over with a giant gift for you and you didn’t get one for them and you’re like, “Ahhhhh!” You panic.”

Who is your dream audience member? “Anyone with an attention span.”

If I weren’t a humorist/chef/performer/author I would… “I love classic cars, so probably something with that. My first career was as a fashion designer, my second career was buying and selling classic cars. I was born on a used car lot, so used cars, classic cars, American cars are in my blood. If everything fell apart and show business was over, I’d be back to the cars. Currently I have a ’61 Pontiac Bonneville.”

If I could change one thing I would… “I would make all outdoor lighting multicolored. I love multicolored lighting, at night, outdoors. If there was endless electricity, I would uplight trees at night – every tree in the city. I mean, maybe not every tree, but enough!

“I’d also try and address the amount of food that we waste. We need to eat smaller portions so we don’t leave so much on our plate. I remember I ordered a salad in a restaurant and a friend was visiting me from France and the salad was set down in front of me and he goes, ‘Oh, I didn’t realized you ordered salad for the whole table.’ Then I was like, ‘No, this isn’t for everyone. This is mine.’ Then his plate came – it was the same size – and he goes, ‘This could feed all of us!'”

*Charles Phoenix will present his Retro Holiday Slide Show, on December 27th at 7 p.m., at The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd.  

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