Retro Spectacular: Marshall Shore's Local History Slideshow is Back In Action

Slideshows get a bad rap. Mention them to most people and the first things that comes to mind are crushingly boring business presentations or a relative's relentlessly dull "what-we-did-on-our-vacation" click-and-drone talk.

But in the right hands, the combination of static images and lengthy discourse can produce pleasing results. And aside from IgnitePhoenix, nobody does a better slide-show than local historian Marshall Shore.

More event details and a Q&A with Shore after the jump ...

Shore hosts "Retro Spectacular", a slide-show of local history that happens every second Thursday at Phoenix Metro Retro. Taking a hiatus for the summer, he's bringing the show back this week.

Past shows had Shore talking about a range of fascinatingly obscure bits of Phoenix history, ranging from alleged Dreamy Draw UFO sightings to a tour of the Thompson Rock Gardens to the history of Sun City (and even did a sing-a-long with the crowd, using an old LP that played a promotional theme song on why living at Sun City is so great). We talked with Shore -- he and Douglas Towne recently curated the Trunk Space's "The Grid 2010: Here & Gone" art show focused on art and ephemera dealing with vanishing pieces of Phoenix's history, like the recently demolished Log Cabin Motel -- to find out what we can look forward to on Thursday.

What inspired you to put the Retro Spectacular show together in the first place?

Wanting to build connections between people, places and things. I moved here from NYC in 2000, and quickly people began telling me I knew more about there hometown than they did. I decided to leave my job and use my passion for information and theatrical flair to create a blend of images and storytelling to entertain and raise awareness of what we have and what we have lost ... to bring together an audience, create community among them and pique curiosity about our architecture, people and stories.

What resources or local sources do you use most often when compiling information for your shows? Your level of knowledge in regards to local history is tremendous and kind of staggering. How have you acquired such a deep grasp of local history?

People are the resource I use most often, for their personal collection of stories, pictures, stuff. Having worked as a librarian for 20 years, I still continue to utilize libraries for information. Recently I met a woman during a show. Later we had coffee and she shared great stories, showed me her personal scrap book and gave me some amazing things that I'll highlight on Thursday night.

Do you already have ideas on what the next few Retro shows might cover? Could you give us a few hints on what you have in store for future audiences?

October's show is titled Hauntings and Nefarious Deeds and includes information about Phoenix's own Trunk Murderess, Winnie Ruth Judd. November will be music themed, because there with a very special event on Thursday Nov. 18 featuring a 1963 TV series pilot, starring the Kingston Trio, filmed in the Valley and a Q&A with members of the Kingston Trio at the Arizona Historical Society Museum in Tempe. The website has up dates and current information.

Is there any piece of local history you'd really like to cover during your show, but you just can't find enough information on the subject to do it justice?

My current obsession is Masque of the Yellow Moon, which was a local celebration that drew from all over the state. It ran for close to 30 years and was compared to Mardi Gras. It's being revived in spring 2011. Sitting on the back burner is the Gilded Cage, a restaurant that featured a woman in a bird cage immortalized in neon and inside for your dining pleasure.

"Marshall Shore: Retro Spectacular" is happening at Phoenix Metro Retro (708 W. Hazelwood St) on Thursday September 9th at 7pm. Tickets are $5.

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Ashley Naftule