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Interview: Charles Phoenix, King of Kitsch

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At 45 years old, Charles Phoenix has achieved a sort of legendary status in Southern California and beyond. Though he is well known for his Disneyland tours of Los Angeles, Phoenix has toured this country in search of the kitschiest cities and most vibrant offenders of class. His travels have brought him to Tulsa, Portland and Denver, which he calls the most kitschy city in the nation. But he calls Silver Lake home and has devoted extensive hours to documenting the history of Los Angeles and its environs in the most unique way one can.

On Jan 18, Phoenix is slated to host the 32nd Doo Dah Parade in Pasadena, a wacky take on the annual Tournament of Roses Parade where costumes are encouraged and tortillas are thrown to show gratitude. We started our conversation talking about the parade.

Why did you accept the invitation to lead the Doo Dah Parade?

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I figured it was a logical stepping stone to my ultimate goal in life, which is to be the Grand Marshall of the Rose Parade.

What happens after you become Grand Marshall? What's next?

That's a good question. I guess my life - I guess I can just do nothing. No, seriously, I am really, really interested in the history and tradition of the Rose Parade. I think it's so underrated. It's an incredibly detailed crafts project; each float is a floral craft's project, I just think they are amazing. I'm excited to be in the Doo Dah Parade so I can get closer to the Rose Parade.

I imagine the Doo Dah Parade and, to a greater extent the Rose Parade have to appeal to your sense of history.