To wrap up our gift guide, here are some suggestions from some of the site’s regular columnists and contributors.
Have a happy and healthy holiday season!
As Consciousness is Harnessed to Flesh: Diaries 1964 – 1980 by Susan Sontag
A brilliant writer whose opinions and prose are both beautiful and invoking. This book is for those in need of a inspiration kick starter.
The Pleasure of My Company by Steve Martin
Quite the funny writer, a gift for those who like to laugh so much they have to put down the book and wipe their eyes
Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human by Grant Morrison
The Arkham Asylum writers book about the rise and rise of the superhero. Buy it for someone awesome.
One of the best films of this 2012 but not for the faint hearted or dull. Buy it for your slightly sociopathic friend.
A Royal Affair
The film critic Mark Kermode said this Danish film was one of this favourites of the year, and I trust his opinion more then most. Buy it for someone who needs some epic romance.
The Where, the Why, and the How: 75 Artists Illustrate Wondrous Mysteries of Science Foreword by David Macaulay
Cool science ideas made pretty! The best gift ever! Give it to someone with a nice coffee table.
Greendale Community College T Shirt
If you don’t get the reference you‘re not cool enough to own this t shirt.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
My fellow blog writer (https://youngwombs.wordpress.com/) plays this all the time and has the best taste of anyone I know, so I want this. And you should want me to have it too. So buy it for me.
For A Very Star Wars Christmas…
Car “Family” Decals
There’s no better way to demonstrate you and your family’s supreme Star Wars geekiness to other drivers than with a set of character decals. Mixing and matching, my ride sports two full-size AT-ATs followed by two smaller mouse droids. Honk if you are strong with the Force.
Marc Ecko Hoodies
A few years back, Ecko issued a limited edition of hoodies, including Boba Fett and Imperial Stormtrooper. Also issued were Darth Vader and Darth Maul editions. By popular demand, the Star Wars hoodie line is back, this time augmented with a stylish new option—the X-Wing Pilot. “Red-Five, standing by!”
I’ve just GOTTA get me a set of these!
Random Blu-rays Galore…
- The Dark Knight Rises — Here’s hoping the Blu-ray transfer will mimic The Dark Knight by unmasking the black bars for the hour’s worth of IMAX footage interspersed throughout the movie. A triple pack of the entire Christopher Nolan trilogy is also coming, for the five or six fans who haven’t yet individually purchased Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.
- Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection — A hefty box set that contains fifteen of Hitch’s classics, spanning four decades. Though some of the films have already been issued in hi-def individually (Psycho, North By Northwest), the appearance of several new-to-Blu titles (notably Vertigo, Rear Window and The Birds) will make this gift set a no-brainer for devoted fans of the Master of Suspense.
- They Live! — John Carpenter’s cult ’80s classic about an alien takeover of civilization via subliminal messages finally gets its due respect by Shout! Factory in an extras-laden Collector’s Edition release. If Carpenter’s past commentary tracks are anything to judge by, his ramble session with star Roddy Piper ought to be a fun listen.
- Lawrence of Arabia — Finally! On! Blu! Ray!
- Finding Nemo — Long and conspicuously absent from hi-def shelves, Pixar’s beloved undersea gem gets a belated Blu-ray release. Ignore the 3-D version though; I’ll take mine flat, if you please.
- Dick Tracy — Another criminally ignored Disney-produced favorite makes its way to Blu-ray at long last. No extras, which is a pity, but the colorful hi-def transfer ought to be spectacular!
- Following — Every now and then, our friends at the Criterion Collection conjure up an absolutely stunning title to add to their collection. Christopher Nolan’s first film is a creepy stalking thriller, and should look just dandy in hi-def black & white. Can’t wait to hear Nolan’s commentary.
- Brazil Director’s Cut Criterion Collection — Not sure what took this one so long, but fans can finally ditch their non-anamorphic 3-DVD edition. The longer Director’s Cut is alone worth the upgrade, but the inclusion of the making-of documentary and bizarre “Love Conquers All” version is the icing on the cake.
Howard Shore returns to score Middle Earth with the double-disc The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, available in two editions. James Bond completists will want to snag a copy of Thomas Newman’s moody score for Skyfall, despite the conspicuous and nonsensical absence of Adele’s hit theme song. Finally, a new Steven Spielberg film means a new symphonic work from maestro John Williams for the historical biopic Lincoln.
James Bond: 50 Years of Movie Posters
This handsome book commemorates the stylish poster campaigns for fifty years of James Bond movies, all of them superior to the generic Photoshop covers used for the multiple and various DVD and Blu-ray editions.
Jessie Lynn, Columnist, Mix Tapes From The Midwest
Perfect gifts for the punk-rock pop-culture-loving book-nerd in your life.
Hit the Ground Stumbling by Nate Gangelhoff
So, ‘back in the day,’ Nate used to do this zine called Pick Your Poison that was one of my faves – he could make stories of shit jobs and fucked-up friends laugh-out-loud funny, with a brand of harsh, self-deprecating humor that made me say ‘oof’ even as I laughed. Since then, he’s played in some kick ass punk bands, released a book collection of his other old zine, You Idiot, and now he’s come out with Hit the Ground Stumbling. Here’s the description from amazon.com:
Hit The Ground Stumbling is a book about the author’s teenage friendship with a sullen troublemaker from a strict religious family named Rick Denton, and the chaotic progression they both make into adulthood. Rick went from being fed a diet of church and Christian Rock at the age of 13 to giving himself homemade satanic tattoos at the age of 15. From there he had stints in rehabs and mental institutes, encounters with cops and drugs, various botched robberies, and the occasional runaway attempt across the country. The book traces this progression of Rick’s through the years, tries to figure out what happened, and compares the experiences to the author’s own uneasy stumble into adulthood. Although the themes in the book are serious, a number of the stories and anecdotes are humorous, giving a more entertaining, less somber look at some of the more painful, awkward, or just weird experiences of being a teenager. Everything from ridiculous, Mountain Dew-fueled games of Dungeons & Dragons games at a young age, to initial, hapless attempts at shoplifting, to Rick’s strange slide into pseudo-Satanism is touched on with an eye for the absurd. Through the funny and weird and sometimes scary actions, there’s a story about a friendship forming and breaking, about early age attempts at figuring out who you are and where you’re going, and about how seemingly minor throwaway decisions you make end up tracking you and setting your course.
You can get more information on it from Nate’s website, HERE.
And while you’re at it, you should get your grubby little hands on a copy of his band Banner Pilot’s most recent album, Heart Beats Pacific, HERE.
Spit and Passion by Cristy C. Road
Another book by a zinester! Sensing a theme, here? Cristy Road did a zine called Green Zine, which started as a Green Day fanzine, and then grew to be a zine about her life and other interests. This book ties into that – it’s an illustrated novel about finding salvation and solace through music. It’s worth it for the illustrations alone, but I love Cristy’s writing style, too. The Feminist Press says:
At its core, Spit and Passion is about the transformative moment when music crashes into a stifling adolescent bedroom and saves you. Suddenly, you belong. At twelve years old, Cristy C. Road is struggling to balance tradition in a Cuban Catholic family with her newfound queer identity, and begins a chronic obsession with the punk band Green Day. In this stunning graphic biography, Road renders the clash between her rich inner world of fantasy and the numbing suburban conformity she is surrounded by. She finds solace in the closet—where she lets her deep excitement about punk rock foment, and finds in that angst and euphoria a path to self-acceptance.
And Billie Joe Armstrong himself says Cristy Road a badass. Which she is.
Anna Joy was in Blatz, and then Cypher in the Snow. Now, she’s a writer and professor – but don’t worry, she’s just as cool as ever. This book. This book. How do I even describe it? Jaded Ibis has this to say:
The Vicious Red Relic, Love, re-enacts Springer’s relationship with [Gil], a sometimes endearing, sometimes frightening addict and cult survivor who did not disclose to Springer that she’d tested positive for HIV. Brilliantly conceived as a training manual, survival guide and time machine, the book returns to 1990s San Francisco and deftly weaves feminism, deviance, punk rock and Sumerian literature into a cauldron of post-Reagan/Bush-era neoliberalism and AIDs grief.
Anna calls it a fabulist memoir. Don’t let any of that scare you away – not the experimental writing style, or the difficult subject matter. It’s beautifully written, and you won’t be able to put it down.
Waiting for October – A Tribute to The Adventures of Pete & Pete
Do you remember The Adventures of Pete & Pete? That show that was only on for three seasons in the ’90s. That show with theme music by Polaris, and lots of musicians (and well-known actors) as guest stars. That show with two red-headed brothers named Pete, and mom’s metal plate, and Endless Mike Hellstrom, and the Orange Lazarus, and of course Artie, The Strongest Man in the World. That show that was surreal and funny and sweet and sad, just like childhood, just like life.
Well, it turns out that a bunch of us have an almost irrationally huge love for that show, so some folks got together and made a zine to celebrate it. it. It’s got artwork, comics, stories, and poems. There’s even a Petunia centerfold and Kreb Scout badges! I’m a little bummed I didn’t hear about this zine in time to contribute, but if they ever do a second volume, I’m so on it.
Order it HERE, my little Vikings.
Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – The Hellcat Years
Earlier this year, Hellcat Records released a digital ‘box set’ that includes all three albums Joe released with The Mescaleros, as well as B-sides and a number of live tracks. There’s never been a better time to get all these songs than this year – December 22nd will mark a full decade since Joe Strummer passed away. That makes me terribly sad, but when I hear these songs I feel happy that he left us such great music to remember him by. As a reviewer over on Punknews says:
Strummer died too young. But with a set as heavy as this one, which was released to coincide with his birthday no less, his many accomplishments still resonate. I cannot be hyperbolic enough; buy this.
For the true Clash/Joe Strummer fanatic in your life, you might want to also get the Legacy Edition of London Calling. It’s got all the tracks from the original album, plus a bunch of outtakes and demos, including a devastating cover of the Bob Dylan song “The Man in Me.”
And if that Clash fanatic needs something hip to carry all their stuff around in, how about a Know Your Rights messenger bag?
Turnstile Comix #2: The World/Inferno Friendship Society
I’m pretty stoked about this, guys. Mitch Clem (punk rock comic artist of Nothing Nice to Say and My Stupid Life fame) teamed up with my favorite currently-existing band, the World/Inferno Friendship Society, to release an EP and comic book. The comic book? 40+ pages of Mitch Clem’s illustrations of World/Inferno’s craziest road stories! The EP? A merlot-colored 7″ with three new songs! And if you pre-order it soon, you get an exclusive, full-color art print!
Other Rad Stuff
The Collective Tarot
Have you ever wanted to see the tarot re-imagined for a modern, queer sensibility? Of course you have! The Collective Tarot is now in its third printing, and features gorgeous illustrations and a bound book with descriptions for all your divination needs.
Moleskine Audio Cassette Books
Moleskine, maker of fine journals and sketchbooks, now has journals with cassette tapes on the covers. I use one of these puppies to write notes about my column. Get your hands on one to be just as cool (ha ha) as me.