L. A.-based "histo-tainer" Charles Phoenix has made a name for himself (on NPR, among other places) for his affectionate performance-art forays into the richest recesses of vintage SoCal Americana. The Los Angeles Times Magazine has called him the King of Retro, the New York Times has said he "joyfully mines America's past through its fashion and design," and Los Angeles City Beat has knighted him "our most favorite cultural anthropologist."
For all the fanfare concerning his dedication to illuminating the pasts others have shaped, Charles Phoenix should be known for creating something all by himself: The Cherpumple, or the dessert cart's answer to that monstrous multibird Thanksgiving valve-clogger known as turducken. Judging from the ingredients (just-add-water cake mixes, premade pies, and canned frosting) the Cherpumple's value as a conversation piece ― and a mellow commentary on wretched excess ― far exceeds its culinary worth: squished within a single frosted lump, a bottom layer of spice cake surrounding an apple pie, a middle layer of yellow cake engulfing a pumpkin pie, and a top layer of white cake with a cherry pie inside. The cross-section makes us queasy. Watch the funny guy himself churn one out right here.