The holiday shopping season has officially begun- but what do you get that special someone who is impossible to shop for? SDGLN.com guest contributor Mikey Rox has a few ideas, all of which guarantee a great gift without breaking your bank account.
Oprah named Sarabeth’s Legendary Spreadable Fruits one of her top 10 all-time favorite gifts – and ’round here, what Mama O says goes. But it’s no wonder why the daytime diva and her devoted minions think Sarabeth’s preserves are the bees’ knees; the NYC-based Kitchen cuts the fruits by hand to avoid bruising, and each batch is slow-simmered and allowed to thicken until it reaches peak flavor. Certified kosher by the Orthodox Union (Hellooo, Hanukkah!), these award-winning jams are available by the jar or in no-need-to-wrap gift and sampler boxes. ($10-$32; www.sarabeth.com)
Piss & Vinegar – the provocative new brand of underwear from Ginch Gonch founder Jason Sutherland – has a heart on. For Jesus. Yes, that Jesus. Made from breathable, body-conforming stretch fabric, the first release from this caustic collection is the “I Love…” line, which features the controversial “I Love Jesus” and “I Love Buddha” briefs, boxer briefs, low-rise briefs and jockstraps. Of course, if you’re not feeling so sacrilegious this holiday season, Piss & Vinegar – which borrows its name from British slang for living young at heart – will also introduce “I Love Boys” and “I Love Girls” briefs. Redeeming, sure. But you’re still on the shortlist for eternal damnation. ($25; www.pissvinegar.com)
An homage to the surreality that defines New York City, celebrated pop artist Olan Montgomery’s new pocket-sized book, POP - Art inspired by New York’s Own Subcultures from Celebrity to Subway, examines with hypercolor sunglasses the individuals that affectionately rub the Big Apple’s underbelly, including glittering nightlife personalities, gay idols and the fragile homeless. Combining elements of photography and hand painting with poetry and famous quotes, the images contained within the coffee-table tome are digitally manipulated, printed on canvas, then personally stroked with color and rhetoric by the artist himself – all in a neon-hued attempt to answer the question, “Why can’t a nanosecond last forever?” Cultural icons Boy George, Rufus Wainwright, Alan Cumming, Anna Nicole Smith and Amanda Lepore are among those featured. ($59.95-$77.95; www.lipstickchic.com)
With flavor infusions like Pomegranate, Chocolate, Tomato and Triple Shot Espresso, Three Olives Vodka is quickly gaining a reputation as the gourmand’s drink of choice. But that doesn’t mean you have to be a food and beverage snob to get your hands on a bottle. For less than a Jackson (Andrew, not Tito), you can snag 750 ml of the smooth stuff to give as a gift to the host of your next holiday party. Extra points for playing guest bartender with this Ho-Ho-Hojito recipe: Muddle 10 mint leaves and half a lime in a tall cocktail glass. Pour in two tablespoons of simple syrup and fill the glass with ice. Add two ounces of Three Olives Pomegranate Vodka (and a dash more for good measure) and top it off with club soda. Garnish with a mint sprig and lime, and voila! Just don’t over do it, OK. Remember what happened last year? ($19.99; www.threeolives.com)
A HIGHER ‘SCORE’
In season two of “Keeping Score” – the national project of the San Francisco Symphony to make classical music more accessible to the masses – three new programs explore the music and stories behind Hector Berlioz’s symphonic love letter “Symphonie fantastique”; Charles Ives’ sonic portrait of New England with “Holidays Symphony”; and Dmitri Shostakovich’s “Symphony No. 5,” a work that may have saved the composer’s life. This high-def, three-disc documentary program – a follow-up to season one of the series, which premiered on PBS in November 2006 – is packaged with two concert tapings and available on Blu-Ray. ($24.99 each; www.keepingscore.org)
FLY PINK SKIES
Like you need a reason to jet off to a faraway land – but at least this is a good one. Now through the end of the year, when you purchase an American Airlines gift card you’ll join the fight against breast cancer. For every $50 you spend in travel gift cards, American Airlines will donate $5 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. You can purchase physical cards for yourself (to enjoy a guilt-free getaway), or choose virtual cards to be delivered by e-mail with a personal message attached. Just enter code “Komen” in the tracking box when ordering online. ($50; www.aa.com/komen)
Built on the concept of technology meeting style, DEOS introduces two collections of innovative iPod earphone covers available at all price levels. The first, DEOS DIAMOND – for those who have more cash than they can shake a peppermint stick at – consists of three distinct earphone cover styles specifically named for the number of individual diamonds imbedded in each traditional or black titanium design. DEOS CRVZ – for more budget-conscious consumers – boasts three collections: Crystal, featuring Swarovski bedazzlements; Aluminum, available in an array of metallic colors; and Silicone, designed with active lifestyles in mind. ($9.99 and up; www.deosgroup.com)
Give your hooves a rest with the STRiDA collapsible bike, the first completely new bicycle geometry in 95 years. Inside a foldable triangular frame of lightweight aluminum, power is transferred to the rear wheel via a silent Kevlar belt (no oily gears or chains!) while horizontally mounted handlebars allow the rider to sit comfortably upright for an excellent view of the road. When you’re ready to hop off, just fold STRiDA up and wheel it to your next destination. In compact form, the bike stows easily in a car, on the train, or in the closet. Just like you used to. ($800; www.shoprenaissance.com)
Treat the oenophiles on your list to the gift that keeps on giving with monthly deliveries from the Wine Every Month Club. Recipients will enjoy new, noteworthy discoveries from wine regions around the world – including Australia, France, Italy, the United States and more. Each bottle arrives with an informative description of the selection as well as seasonal tips and recipes. And just for you – our loyal reader – the Wine Every Month Club is offering an additional month of free wine when you order by phone and mention discount code “ROX.” Six and 12-month subscriptions are available. ($90-$1,000; 212.787.1700)
A perfect pairing to the Wine Every Month Club, Germany-based Blomus Designs’ corkscrew and decanting funnel will add a modern, sophisticated touch to any home bar. Made of sleek, stainless steel – and available exclusively from the San Francisco Museum of Craft+Design Museum Store – these inspired, affordable gifts aim to impress the foodies and wine connoisseurs in your life without depressing your pockets. All proceeds will support SFMC+D exhibitions and educational programs. ($26-$29; www.shop.sfmcd.org)
Trouble attracting potential suitors? No sweat. Or maybe it is. Cover up your natural repellent with Masculinity by Intense, a new fragrance from N10Z that’s formulated with a unique male-to-male pheromone. Featuring a refined composition of exotic spices, aromatic herbs and crisp citrus, Masculinity opens with notes of French basil, West Indian clove, Asian mandarin and Sicilian bergamot followed by hints of amber, cedarwood, black pepper and leather. Holy Hugh Jackman! Designed to stimulate the vomeronasal organ (among other “organs”), this sensual scent also is said to help improve self-confidence. Whatever works. ($55; www.10percent.com)
“Club Christmas 3,” from D1 Music producers Peter McLean and Keith Kemper, features uplifting, instrumental dance-floor versions of beloved holiday classics like “Away in a Manger,” “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” and a never-heard-before remix of New Year’s staple “Auld Lang Syne.” Turn the disc merrily on high after dinner and watch grandma get down. (TBA; releases Nov. 25)
On “Suckin’ It For the Holidays,” Grammy-nominated, gay-lovin’ comedienne Kathy Griffin delivers some of her best stand-up ever on an album that was recorded live from the Borgata Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City.
“Gold and Green,” Sugarland’s 10-track holiday-themed record, includes several seasonal standards, such as “Silent Night” and “Holly Jolly Christmas,” as well as a few original tunes, including the title track and soon-to-be favorites “City of Silver Dreams” and “Coming Home.”
“Make the Yuletide Gay,” the sugar-cookie-sweet new rom-com from writer-director Rob Williams (“3-Day Weekend”), follows Olaf “Gunn” Gunnunderson (Keith Jordan) home for the holidays as he trades his out-and-proud college persona for an in-the-closet existence with his parents. But as Christmas approaches, he gets a surprise he never expected – his boyfriend … on his doorstep. ($19.99; www.tlavideo.com)
“Kristine W: The Ultimate Music Video Collection,” a two-disc DVD, comes packed with a decade of the diva’s biggest hits, including “Save My Soul” and “The Boss.”
Out bodybuilder and former Colt supermodel Bo Dixon releases his first self-titled calendar, BO DIXON: Reinvented 2010. Celebrating the power of perseverance, this muscle-worship date keeper features the hirsute powerhouse in fourteen all-new photos and comes with a “making-of” DVD. ($16.95; www.bodixon.net)
“Money can’t buy you love, but the rest is negotiable…” That’s the tagline of The Working Men of Rentboy.com 2010, the Web site’s third-annual calendar honoring its hottest porn stars, escorts and boyfriends for hire. This year’s eye candy includes Nick Capra, Josh Hart, Arpad Miklos and Tommy Defendi. ($15.95; www.rentboy.com)
Mikey Rox is an award-winning journalist/writer and the principal of Paper Rox Scissors, a copywriting and creative consulting company in New York City.
The Ultimate Guide to Gay Gift Giving Giveaway!
Become a fan of Paper Rox Scissors on Facebook for your chance to win a gift basket overflowing with many of the items featured in Mikey Rox’s The Ultimate Guide to Gay Gift Giving. Prizes include a $50 gift card from American Airlines, Three Olives vodka, “I Love Jesus” briefs from Piss & Vinegar, “Make the Yuletide Gay” on DVD, Blomus Designs’ bar accessories and much more!
Must be age 21 or older and have a continental U.S. mailing address to enter; see the Paper Rox Scissors fan page on Facebook for additional details. Contest ends Dec. 16.