AfterElton’s 2008 Gift Guide

Yes, yes, Wall Street has imploded, unemployment is skyrocketing and the U.S. economy is
plummeting like a skydiver who forgot to pack his parachute. But it’s still
Christmas and we know that after you’ve sold some blood and scoured the house
for spare change, you’ll have at least a few bucks to spend on holiday gifts.
And we’re here to help with suggestions ranging from scoring a little Prop 8
revenge to what books to read, DVDs to watch, and maybe even where to go for a
little break from it all! (Please note, a number of the of the links will take you to the Logoonline.com gift store. Logo is AfterElton.com’s parent company.)

From Associate Editor Dennis Ayers


IT ONLY SOUNDS LIKE IT WILL KEEP YOU WARM ON THOSE COLD WINTER NIGHTS


When You are Engulfed in Flames Audiobook by David Sedaris

They best way to truly appreciate the work of David Sedaris is to listen to
him read it. His latest collection of personal essays is hilarious as usual,
but the set piece here is Sedaris’ journey breaking a 3-pack-a-day cigarette
habit. This is the perfect gift for any smokers (or former smokers) in your
life.

Check out a preview audio clip of Sedaris reading from
When You Are Engulfed in Flames:

I WILL SHELTER YOU, IF YOU WILL SHELTER ME


Shelter DVD

Coming out stories have been done to death, but this sweet little film about
a surfer dealing with his sexuality and a difficult home life hit all the right
notes and had a blessedly upbeat ending. Curl up on the couch and watch
with your boyfriend; this one stands up to repeated viewings.

I BET THOSE MORMONS WOULD THINK TWICE THEN


"Can I Vote on Your Marriage Now?" T-Shirt
. What to get for the guy
who has everything except a marriage license? Well, how about this smart
looking t-shirt, which raises an interesting idea: What if in the next election
cycle there were state ballot initiatives making heterosexual marriage illegal?
Seems only fair, right? $23.95 at cafepress/lavenderliberal

THE PERFECT X-MAS GIFT – FOR NEXT HALLOWEEN


Hulk Smash Hands
& Hulk Mask Grrr. Hulk angry now! I saw these in Toys R
Us and instantly wished I were 9 years old again so I could go crashing about
the house in a light-up mask and oversized green fists. And then I thought,
"What the hell!" and bought them anyway. My roommate thinks I’m
crazy, but my dogs sure get a kick out of it. Honestly, these are a lot
of fun – and the perfect gift if you have any children to buy for this season.

WHAT’S THE POINT IN BEING GAY, IF YOU’RE NOT WELL-GROOMED?

Groom
Mate Platinum XL Nose & Ear Hair Trimmer
$18.87 on Amazon.com.

Is your boyfriend starting to look like Leonid Brezhnev? Has he reached that
certain age where he’s sprouting hair in all the wrong places? Well, we can’t
help you with the back hair, but for hirsute nostrils we may have found the
absolutely perfect solution. This sturdy little item needs no batteries, you
can get it wet, it will never rust, never needs sharpening, and its clever
design assures you won’t knick the inside of your nose. Just stick the small
business end of this gizmo in your nostril, twist the shaft a couple times and
voila! Nose hair all gone. Seriously, if you’ve got nose hair you don’t want,
this is a must have.

 

From Blog Editor Brian Juergens


Yes, yes, – it’s me again, the AfterElton.com Christmas Grinch. I’m the guy
who always takes this opportunity to hem and haw about commercialization of the
holiday and how big retailers are destroying the very fabric of the universe
and how every dollar spent at Wal-Mart goes directly to turning adorable baby
kittens into gunpowder and that kind of thing. I’ll keep it short this year and
just point out that the Interwebs have made it easier than ever to support
small businesses, independent artists and gay and gay-friendly retailers who
offer unique and thoughtful gifts that won’t break the bank. Here are a few!

JUST DON’T TAKE IT INTO THE GROCERY STORE WITH YOU

Porcelain Shopping Bag vase $35-50.00 on UncommonGoods.com

Get this: It looks like a paper shopping bag, but it’s actually a porcelain
vase. How cool is that?! Now you can enjoy the feeling of having fresh cut
flowers in a paper bag without having to refill it with water every two minutes
and it eventually disintegrating into a puddle of pulp on your kitchen table.
Plus, Brooklyn-based UncommonGoods promotes using recycled materials and
handmade art, which is good for the environment, or something.

FORGET THAT DISNEY CRAP

Raccoon Print
$15.00 on Etsy.com

This guy’s fancy. If you have any young’uns on your list, this charming
portrait of a woodland creature in his formal best would be a lovely gift (the
artist also offers various birds, rabbits, and even a shark in assorted dresswear).
From the independent artist website Etsy, this purchase would be supporting the
arts as it beautifies a room.

BECAUSE GAY BARS ARE SO YESTERDAY

Fangtasia "True Blood" tee-shirt $24.99
on HBO.com

Chances are you’ve got a fan of HBO’s runaway hit vampire show True Blood
on your list, and if so, this present will knock their fangs off: The official
Fangtasia bar tee, which features the vampire bar’s logo and slogan ("Life
begins at night") and cleverly includes the nonexistent bar’s address on
the back for added authenticity.

MARTHA STEWART WOULD SO NOT APPROVE

"Candy Ass" cross-stitch kit $20.00 at sprouthome.com

Nothing says "I heart you" like giving something handmade, and
nothing says "I heart you but I’m kinda lazy" like giving something
handmade that the recipient has to make himself. This do-it-yourself
cross-stitch kit is a crafty blast, mostly because it features the words
"CANDY ASS" surrounded by adorable wrapped candies.

NOT THOSE KINDS OF BEARS

A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All $15.39
on Logo Shop Online

Oh, remember all that other stuff I said about big companies ruining
Christmas? Forget it for a second. This unhinged holiday special is pure
genius, and will no doubt become a yuletide staple for years to come. While
there’s nothing explicitly gay about Stephen Colbert welcoming Willie Nelson,
Jon Stewart, John Legend and more into his cabin to sing songs and share nog,
the fact that he tries to make out with each of them under the mistletoe is a
little suspect. Plus: bears!

 

From Contributing Writer Brent Hartinger


IT ONLY LOOKS LIKE A LUMP OF COAL

Felted Wool Stones $298 and up at VivaTerra.com

They look hard as rocks, but they’re actually as soft as the cushions they
are! These “felted wool stones” ain’t cheap — prices start at $298. Then again, they’re designed by a famous
textile artist and made at a woman’s collective in South Africa, so quit your bitchin’!
VivaTerra.com (which is committed to social and environmental justice) has a
whole line of matching rock accoutrements, so your gift recipient’s house or
apartment can be a veritable river-bottom of delight.

IT’S LIKE GIVING A MOP! BUT BETTER!

Evriholder Slipper Genie Microfiber Cleaning Slippers $7.48 at Amazon.com

Have a friend who’s tired of sweeping and dusting his hardwood floors? Give
him a pair of Evriholder’s “slipper genies” — little dust mops that you slip on
your feet — and he can clean house while
also sliding across the floor in his tighty-whities, Tom-Cruise-in-Risky-Business style! When they’re
appropriately filthy, just peel off the soles, which are covered with something
called “microfiber fingers,” and toss ‘em in the washing machine. They come in
green or pink, but make sure your gift-recipient has small feet: sexist-ly,
they only make a “woman’s size,” which stalls out at men’s size 7 ½. Still,
they’re the perfect stocking stuffer.

IT MAKES A DELOVELY CHRISTMAS GIFT

De-Lovely Special Edition DVD $9.99 at Logo Shop Online

Audiences were split on De-Lovely,
the 2004 movie starring Kevin Kline about the life of the bisexual songwriter
Cole Porter. But even people who didn’t like the movie will surely appreciate
its wonderful soundtrack, which features Porter’s breathtakingly clever songs
sung (in cameos in the movie) by some of today’s biggest stars, including
Robbie Williams, Alanis Morissette, Sheryl Crow, and John Barrowman (who does a
great version of “Night and Day”). Unlike the AIDS charity CD
Red Hot + Blue: A Tribute to Cole Porter
, this isn’t the case of pop stars
butchering these classic songs with new “interpretations.” No, these are
traditional versions of these Cole Porter classics, but sung by some of today’s
most interesting voices.

WHO KNEW BRAINS MADE SUCH GREAT
STOCKING STUFFERS?

The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald $5.99 at Amazon.com

If you’re thinking of getting a book for the child in your life, please
don’t give Shel Silverstein’s horrible The
Giving Tree
. Yes, it’s one of the bestselling children’s books of all time,
but has anyone ever actually read the
damn thing? The tree gives the ungrateful boy his fruit, his branches, and then
finally his whole trunk, until all that’s left is a stump. Um, can you say
co-dependent? Love means making sacrifices, but it doesn’t mean being stupid!
(My theory is that Silverstein was being ironic,
but everyone missed the point.) Instead, try John D. Fitzgerald’s delightful The Great Brain series, about a
brilliant boy con artist at the end of the 19th century. I’ve never
met a boy who didn’t love ‘em!

WHERE THE WILD THINGS GROW

Living Wall Panel Indoor Planter by Gardener’s Supply $198 at gardeners.com

Speaking of children’s books, remember how in the children’s picture book
classic Where the Wild Things Are,
the bedroom walls melt away into a dangerous forest? The walls are already
covered in vegetation in a home that features one of designer Patrick Blanc’s
amazing, and amazingly trendy, vertical gardens — indoor wall-hangings that are
literally alive with greenery. A garden designed and installed by Blanc or his associates can cost thousands
of dollars, so why not give one of the Gardener’s Supply Company’s cheaper
“living wall” kits?

LAST BUT NOT LEAST

The Year of Ice by Brian Malloy $10.15 at Logo Shop Online

Finally, what does it take for a novel to become a gay classic? Brian
Malloy’s terrific 2002 debut, The Year of
Ice
, didn’t make our recent list of the 50 Best Gay Books, but it should
have. It’s the moving story of one very confused gay teen coming to terms with
himself and his disaster of a father in the 1970s — a time when there was
literally no safe place for a gay kid to be himself. For those of us who
actually grew up gay in the late 1970s, the novel rings particularly true.

 

From AfterElton.com Editor Michael Jensen


SHE’S STILL SO UNUSUALLY PRO-GAY

Bring Ya to the Brink by Cyndi Lauper $15.29 at Logo Shop Online

True Colors Tour Teddy Bear
$14.95 at fanfire.com

Madonna is often cited as the gay community’s favorite pop gay icon, but for my
queer dollars, I’ll take Cyndi Lauper any day of the week. After all, it wasn’t
Madonna who launched an entire concert tour to promote gay rights in America.
(And it wasn’t Madonna who ruined Rupert Everett’s career with The Next Best Thing!) So why not give
the loved one in your life Cyndi’s latest album Bring Ya to the Brink.
The
album’s
highlights
include the very pointed “Same Ol’ Story”, “High and
Mighty” and “Into the Nightlife”.

Or why not get your own Official True Colors Tour merchandise
including
T-Shirts, hoodies, buttons and even a True Colors teddy bear.

I NEED SOME JANTO NOW-W-W-W!

Torchwood Complete Second Season on DVD $64.15 at Logo Shop Online

Given that we’re still who knows how long away from the third season
of
Torchwood, why not get your Janto fix by kicking back with Torchwood
Second
Season

with
all
of
Captain Jack’s double entendres, not to mention those hot kisses
with Ianto and Captain John. No, not at the same time! That won’t
happen until
the new season airs.

THE WILD COAST OF WASHINGTON

A Seabrook Ocean View Cottage $401,000 and up.

There aren’t exactly a lot of undiscovered places left in the lower 48
states of the U.S., but if you open your atlas and look all the way up in the
northwest corner of America, you’ll see the Olympic Peninsula in Washington
State. And half way up the peninsula, right along the coast, you’ll find the
tiny town of Seabrook, Washington. But this isn’t just any town out in the middle of
nowhere. It’s the latest chapter in New Urbanism, a planned community that is
being built as a place for people to live rather than just exist. Everything
from the streets to the lights to the porches is built to foster a sense of
community and Seabrook is that rarity for a rural town – it’s very
gay-friendly!

You have two options for staying in Seabrook – you can buy a green-built
house with cottages starting at $401,000 and ocean view homes going for over a
million dollars. Or you can simply rent out a house for a
night, a week, or a weekend. It’s a perfect place for a romantic weekend or a
weekend getaway house. And if you still
haven’t found the perfect gift for that hard-to-buy-for-editor-of-a-certain-gay-website,
drop me a line and I’ll tell you which one I want!

GET YOUR RED HOT NUKE!

Van Hansis and/or Jake Silbermann Photos $6 to $8 at officialatwtfanclub.com

Is there a Nuke nut in your house that just won’t shut up about all things Nuke
from As the World Turns? Then how
about this selection of items featuring Van Hansis and/or Jake Silbermann? The
official As the World Turns fan club
site
offers pictures of
Nuke for just $8 or if you like Luke better than Noah (or the other way
around), you can get the guys solo for just $6. The site also features items for
sale including an ATWT change purse,
a photo album and even a shot glass – perfect for those really bad episodes
that desperately make you want to drink!

Finally, get your Nuke obsessed husband/partner/boyfriend/trick out of the
house and away from the television by taking them to see Van Hansis in Dance Dance Revolution for only
$18! But act fast as the show
only runs through December 20th.

THEY WATCH ANN COULTER, BILL
O’REILLY, AND SEAN HANNITY SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO

Media Matters Donation $10 and up at mediamatters.org

One of the best media watchdogs out there is Media Matters for America, an online organization devoted to monitoring the
right wing for all of the lies they tell about liberal causes – including gay
ones. Media Matters was founded in 2004 by former conservative David Brock, the
gay writer who, among other things, attacked Hillary Clinton back in the 90’s.
But after having the wool removed from his eyes, Brock saw the light and has
devoted himself to battling the misinformation, half-truths and outright lies
from such political pundits as Bill O’Reilly, Joe Scarborough, and Michael
Savage who continuously try to stop progress on gay issues. In just the last
month, Media Matters has been instrumental in debunking the right’s propaganda
over Proposition 8.

Why not give a donation as a Christmas gift
today? It’s great for the environment and it keeps on giving all year long!