Kitschy Slides: Charles Phoenix’s Sacramentoland

Remember stops at Pancake Circus as you headed to Tahoe as a kid?

Charles Phoenix

CAPITAL ROAD TRIP: If you ever ventured to Sacramento on a school outing or perhaps on a family road trip up on your way to Tahoe or Gold Country or points north -- or to Sacramento itself, which brims with history -- then you remember a few things. You remember going over Tower Bridge, in all of its hue-pretty yellow-o-sity, and you remember seeing the State Capitol Building, and you probably remember where you ate and what you ate, exactly, down to the texture of the French fries. What kid doesn't recall the food when the soft, hazy, happy memories of long-ago adventures hove into view? Your family might have stopped at Pancake Circus, with all of its clown decor (and, yes, pancakes) or for a Nutty Cone at Gunther's Ice Cream if it was later in the day. Or perhaps your road-trippin', food-minded brood did both within a couple of hours, the better to not miss a single iconic retro meal. Gunther's was founded in 1940, and is still in brisk business, and Pancake Circus is still there, too. So Charles Phoenix, the necktie-bright, retro-lovin' history entertainer, the man who has written about the neon look of Las Vegas and programmatic Los Angeles architecture and beyond, will swing by the Sactown to talk all things kitschy in the capital, from pancakes to sundaes to cocktails. Not just talk but show his...

FAMOUS SLIDES OF "SACRAMENTOLAND": Yes, there shall be color-bright slides depicting a bygone Sacramento, when the fins on the cars were high and so were the bouffants and pompadours. Mr. Phoenix will call upon the California Automobile Museum on Friday, Oct. 16 with his box of slides, pictures that will pay homage to Vic's Ice Cream and Fairytale Town and Gunther's and Pancake Circus and many more places (with many of them open and serving customers). Kitsch mavens will enjoy soaking in old snapshots while those who remember long ago road trips through Sacramento may pick out the diner where they drank their first milkshake on the way to that 1979 family reunion in Reno. Ready to board the time machine? Tickets are this way, Sactown supporters and mid-century mavens. And, yes, you're reading it correctly: There is an ice cream social to follow. Oh yeah.

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