Humorist and pop-culture historian Charles Phoenix is well known for his giant slide collection. He's been hoarding them for 17 years, searching through flea markets and thrift stores for the funniest and freakiest. On certain holidays he drags them out for an old-fashioned, living room–type slide show, but only Christmas provides the most nostalgic and mockable images — think boozing old Aunt Marge and Uncle Bob in silk PJs hanging ornaments off a pink aluminum Christmas tree, dangling martini glasses in hand. In fact, Phoenix has an insatiable passion for kitschy Yuletide anything — and that's why he's hosting today's holly, jolly festivities. True Holiday Tales With Charles Phoenix and Friends features readings, shared memories, maybe even an arts & crafts demonstration (perhaps you caught Phoenix last December when he erected an Astro-weenie Christmas tree on Conan O'Brien's show), and madcap midcentury miscellany in this daytime variety-show shindig. Phoenix's strange mix of guests will include everyone's favorite burlesque-dancing little person, Selene Luna; action-film star and big hunk o' man Roger Guenveur Smith; and performance artist, crafter and comedian Kristina Wong, to name a few. Bring your holiday visitors and out-of-town family. It'll be just like watching The View. On acid. On Christmas. California Plaza, 350 S. Grand Ave., dwntwn.; Wed., Dec. 14, noon; free. (213) 687-2159,

Wed., Dec. 14, noon, 2011

LA Weekly