Staff Picks: Arts and entertainment holiday gift ideas
I’m rarely happy with holiday cards, and impersonal e-mails are not going to cut it in times that call for a little more warmth. This year I decided to check out CardsThatGive.org, which provides a list of all charities that are offering holiday cards. It’s a way to give to a good cause and send a sweet message to someone who’d like to hear from you. Besides, I understand the Postal Service needs all the help we can give them. … If you remain in this creatively generous mood, Shop UNICEF might be what you’re looking for. It provides all sorts of ideas at www.unicefusa.org/shop.
30th annual Celebration of Craftswomen
This might be a slightly different experience when you’re out shopping in the tangible world. The Women’s Building 30th annual Celebration of Craftswomen is on Dec. 6–7 at Herbst Pavilion at Fort Mason Center (Buchanan & Marina Blvd.) The show is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and features 200 craftswomen. It’s the biggest event celebrating exclusively the craft of women in America. A weekend pass is $15, and you can also add a donation to support The Women’s Building. For information, call 415-248-1373 or visit www.
Peter Mintun Orchestra
If you want razzle-dazzle, well, there’s New Year’s Eve. There’s only one Peter Mintun, and he comes back to San Francisco but once a year – to play with the symphony at Davies Hall with Broadway stars Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley (husband and wife). Very romantic stuff. I’ve seen this show, and it’s, well, as Peter would say, swell. Dance to the Peter Mintun Orchestra, there will be party favors, complimentary champagne and desserts following the concert. Tickets are $110 and the show starts at 8 p.m. For information, call 415-864-6000. … OK, so that’s a little splashy, but it is New Year’s. … Look at it this way: You can buy the evening for someone else. Don’t look at me like that. …
Books always win me over. Supporting independent bookstores is a noble, almost holy thing. Nearly all of them offer gift cards. A few suggestions: The Booksmith, 1644 Haight Street; Books Inc. has several outlets in San Francisco, including 2251 Chestnut Street and 601 Van Ness Avenue; and the venerable City Lights Books, 261 Columbus Avenue, offers gift cards at $10, $25 and $50, not to mention – or to mention – all those cool T-shirts, tote bags and posters with Howl and Kerouac and Ferlinghetti, and all that stuff, man. … Oh, they have books, too …
DVDs are great, and the world is filled with these wonderful things these days. Some of the new releases that I treasure include The Mummy, the real thing from 1932, starring Boris Karloff (the DVD has some terrific extras, such as a documentary about all the horror flicks that were produced at Universal Pictures under Carl Laemmle in the 1930s) … the new film by Neil Young called CSNY: Déjà Vu. I have no idea why this was not more successful in the theatres. No matter, get the DVD; better yet, send it to someone in a red state … and the not-so-recently restored version of Lawrence of Arabia, the 1962 film that made Peter O’Toole a star. I saw it the other day, and it is sure relevant. O’Toole, as Lawrence, blusters to his commanding officer, “There may be honor among thieves, but there is none between politicians.” … I also recommend perusing all the movies in the documentary section of the Virgin Store. There are some gems there. …
Speaking of movies, if you’re a fan of independent films (of course you are), you may know that Landmark Theatres also offer gift cards, and they may make a nice idea for a holiday present. The Landmark Theatres in San Francisco are the Embarcadero Cinemas, the Bridge, the Clay, the Lumiere, and the Opera Plaza.
You can visit www.landmarktheatres.com for more information.
All this shopping would make anyone thirsty. Did you know that some of the cheapest drinks in town can be found at the bar in the Marines’ Memorial Club on Sutter Street? Tread lightly there because you’re suppose to be affiliated with the military in order to be a guest. But I have a suggestion. Be polite, have a drink, and leave enough money to buy the next Marine or two a drink. Semper Fi. Happy Holidays.
– B. Bellingham