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The Semi-Complete Brown Tweed Society Holiday Gift Guide

December 11, 2010

As we all sit collectively in what Alec Baldwin so eloquently referred to as “Christmas Attack Zone” on this Thursday’s brilliant holiday 30 Rock, it’s a lot easier to say you’re not going to do a lot of gifts this year — and rather donate your money to charity, adopt an oily pelican or just dole out hugs (lame) — than it is to actually not buy gifts at all. You know what I’m saying is true. Inevitably there will be those people to exchange gifts with, people who might not particularly care about the underprivileged or stray tar balls in the gulf of Mexico. Why are these people your friends? you should ask yourself, but you don’t. Instead you go shopping.

As TBTS would rather light a candle than curse your darkness, we offer today a few holiday gift ideas to please any self-effacing pop culture lover. So go buy these things and give them to people in exchange for equally awesome gifts which they spent a lot of money on for you. After all, isn’t that what Christmas is all about? No? Man, I should really watch A Charlie Brown Christmas again.

Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Boxset (Oni Press) — Whether you liked this summer’s big-screen adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novels, didn’t like it, or never saw it (like, unfortunately, many people), there’s absolutely no going wrong with the source material itself. O’Malley’s Pilgrim and his quest to defeat his new gal’s seven evil exes is glorious, dizzy pop culture fun mocking the band scene and the slacker  genre even as it exalts all things Super Mario and old-school Nintendo. (Amazon, $42.12)

Grindhouse Two-Disc Blu-Ray Collector’s Edition (Vivendi Entertainment) — Quentin Tarantino never put Kill Bills 1 and 2 together in the glorious epic he should have, and it seemed for  a long time that Grindhouse, his collaboration with Robert Rodriguez, would suffer the same fate; anyone who saw Grindhouse as it was meant to be seen, in its over three-hour glory with beautiful fake trailers in between, will tell you it was a truly unique viewing experience. Despite the fact that Planet Terror and Death Proof, the two films featured here, are often sold separately, this special edition restores it to how it was meant to be viewed. And at less than twenty bucks, it’s an no-brainer steal. Lots of fun. (Amazon, $19.99)

Band T-Shirts and other merchandise from Insound — Insound is a phenomenal website for phenomal merchandise, from CDs to vinyl to turntables, books and other great music-based merchandise. But where Insound really excels is its stellar collection of band t-shirts and specific concert engagement posters (many limited edition).  Unbelievably affordable, great quality and an absolute arsenal of artists to choose from make Insound one-stop shopping for the discerning music lover. (

Disquiet, Please! More Humor Writing from the New Yorker (Random House) — For the comedy snob on your list, the New Yorker’s latest compendium of humor from its long-running “Shouts & Murmurs” column is a treasure trove of laugh-out-loud short pieces. From Jack Handey’s absurdly brilliant “Ideas for Paintings” to director Noah Baumbach’s clever “The Zagat History of My Last Relationship,” Steve Martin, Woody Allen, James Thurber, Patricia Marx and more figure into the proceedings in highbrow, great-fun ways. Disquiet, Please! is an idea book for any bookshelf, made to just pick up and enjoy for even ten minutes at a time. (The New Yorker Store, $29.99 Hardcover)

Matador at 21 (Matador Records) — You won’t find a larger history of indie music (and I can use that term here, because at the time this all was legit “indie music”) than Matador Records’  gold mine of a box set Matador at 21, which contains six CDs (five of which detail the label’s history and one which features unreleased live performances of Matador artists), an 85-page book of the Matador story and limited edition Matador poker chips. Here you’ll find today’s music’s stellar forefathers, from Liz Phair and Yo La Tengo to The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and Interpol. Truly a wealth of really great music. And all this for $35? Yes, please. (Matador Records, $35.00)

The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2010 (Mariner Books) — You know what? Just buy, like, six of these and wrap them all up, because it makes a great gift for anyone on your list. Each year Dave Eggers and his editors scour the landscape for the most interesting things to be found in the written word, and each year this is probably the best anthology you can buy. A wealth of writing, all of it phenomenal, featuring creative non-fiction and poetry as well as small and clever lists (“Best American Gun Magazine Headlines,” “Best American Farm Names,” “Best American Sentences on Page 50”). The cheapest item in this gift guide and possibly the most lasting, just fill your Santa’s bag with these and everyone has a happy holiday. Guaranteed. (Amazon, $10.17)

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