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Charles Phoenix and the 3rd Dimension

By Pamela Rouse
Published: Tuesday, May 04, 2010, at 03:15PM
Charles Phohoenix and the 3rd Dimension Chris Haston

Charles Phoenix

Author and entertainer Charles Phoenix is always working on something. He's authored several books on vintage Americana such as Southern Californialand, Fabulous Las Vegas, and Americana the Beautiful. He's also a slide show enthusiast, tour guide to the kitschy world of a Disney-inspired Downtown L.A., and co-host of the annual Doo Dah Surf Day.

The ever-exuberant Phoenix will be coming Downtown this weekend for his latest event, a 3-D slide show called "Charles Phoenix and the Third Dimension." The two-act program will take place Sunday, May 9th, and again on May 16th at the Downtown Independent Theater (251 S. Main).

The event covers a century of slides. Many come from his collection, which Phoenix says he's been building for the last 15 years. While seeking out vintage slides in general, he says he would often run across 3-D slides.

The producers of the show, Susan Pinsky and David Starkman -- "the queen and king of 3-D" -- were a great help, Phoenix says, noting that they have a huge collection and have dedicated the last 30 years of their life to everything 3-D. The pair, who run Reel 3-D Enterprises, provided assistance in getting the show together and solving the technical challenge of projecting it.

The original 3D images have been digitally converted from several formats, including vintage stereocards from the late 1800s, Stereo Realist from the 1950s -- which is most like a real slide: one cardboard mount that stretched its two images onto a rectangle -- and View-Master.

Unlike the red/blue 3-D glasses you may recall, these will be viewed with polarized glasses. "Vintage images on state of the art technology," Phoenix says with a smile.

Attendees to the event are encouraged to wear red and turquoise, in the spirit of the third dimension.

Phoenix found the Downtown venue for his event by happenstance. The Downtown Independent is the official home of the Los Angeles 3-D Society. Few theatres have the silver screen required for 3-D projections.

As for topics to be covered during the show, Phoenix seems to have a never-ending list.

"You'll see classic vintage images of L.A., incredible stereoscopic images from the turn of the century and learn about the 3D masters.. one guy in the 50s specialized in special effects images; We'll see images from Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, the Ice Capades -- wearing costumes like Lady GAGA -- and incredible shots of world fairs.. We'll go to Vegas, and a trip on an airplane. There's holidays like Halloween and Christmas, movie stars in the 50s..We'll time travel to Hollywood..."

"Most of it is from the 50s," he explains, "but we'll go back in time to the turn of the century.. the most incredible stereoscopes.. and we'll see inside the shops where they sold them... It was like going to the video store now.. that doesn't exist anymore. We can go into that era in the 3rd Dimension.."

Charles Phoenix and the 3rd Dimension / May 9th and 16th; Shows at 3pm (both dates) / Tickets are $35 and available for purchase online

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