Artsy holiday gift guide spectacular! 

Our somewhat local, all amazing holiday wish list

DO

FANCY
Georgia Aquarium Annual Imagination Pass (Adult: $62.95)
If you want free reign over 10 million gallons of water per year, the City of Atlanta is gonna charge you more than $62.95. But at the Georgia Aquarium it gets you 365 days of maritime magic to wander through the 100-foot-long Ocean Voyager tunnel and gaze at the whale sharks through the 4,574-square-foot viewing window. Plus, you can keep an eye on 17-year-old beluga whale Maris, who's preggers and due this spring. Friends of members get 10 percent off.
— Debbie Michaud

click to enlarge JOEFF DAVIS

FUN
Plaza Theatre Foundation Membership ($45-$2,500)
We won't be greedy and ask for the $2,500 "Mogul" membership, even though a private screening of Easy Rider with 300 of our closest friends dressed in fringed leather would be AMAZING. As would the free T-shirt, unlimited movies, and seeing our name on the star wall. ($2,100 is tax deductible ...). The $45 tax-deductible membership will do us just fine, too. You still get a T-shirt and help support the cinematic nonprofit.
— DM


LISTEN

FANCY
Light (Neil Gaiman Presents, $24.95, 10 hours)
Renowned fantasist Neil Gaiman has launched a top-drawer series of aubiobooks to showcase some of his favorite authors as well as the audio format itself. The drawn-out pace helps the listener absorb the far-flung plot, which switches between a murderous physicist in 1999 and two characters in the year 2400. Plus, the voice of reader Julian Helfer brings out the futuristic lyricism of Harrison's crystalline prose.
— Curt Holman

click to enlarge COURTESY COMEDY CENTRAL

FUN
Cardio Mix by the Beards of Comedy (Comedy Central Records, $9.99 on MP3)
Andy Sandford, Dave Stone, TJ Young and Joe Zimmerman, aka the Beards of Comedy, have recently relocated from their Atlanta home base, but you can still enjoy the self-deprecating musings of the hirsute, husky quartet of comedians. The title Cardio Mix should not be taken seriously, given the foursome's collective love of junk food and resistance to exercise. As Stone quips, "I'm feeling good. I've been working out, as you can plainly see ... by my one giant ab!"
— CH


WATCH

click to enlarge CRITERION
  • Criterion

FANCY
Three Colors: Blue, White, Red (Criterion, $79.95)
The Criterion Collection delivers a characteristically classy release of Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski's acclaimed trilogy. Kieslowski unifies his films under the three colors of the French flag, representing liberty, equality, and fraternity. Blue stars Juliette Binoche as a grieving widow; White follows a broke divorced man's attempt to reconstruct his life in Poland; and Red explores the friendship between a photo model and a retired judge (Irene Jacob and Jean-Louis Trintignant). Red is the best, but collectively the films look deep into the complexities of human relationships.
— CH


FUN
"Doctor Who": The Complete Sixth Series (BBC Worldwide, $79.98)
The resurgence of the nearly 50-year-old sci-fi series continues to mashup high-tech monster stories with whimsical British humor. The latest season boasts a script by beloved fantasist Neil Gaiman, an expanded role for Alex Kingston's delectable mystery woman, River Song, and the irrepressible performance of Matt Smith in the title role. The Complete Sixth Series includes the 2010 Christmas special, which offers a fresh spin on A Christmas Carol with the help of a starship and a flying shark.
— CH

LOOK

click to enlarge COURTESY HIGH MUSEUM

FANCY
Radcliffe Bailey: Memory as Medicine limited-edition autographed catalogue (Prestel Publishing, $100, 160 pp.)
Atlanta-based artist Radcliffe Bailey's solo exhibit at the High Museum earlier this year was deservedly met with much fanfare and attention. The largest exhibition ever to be mounted by an Atlanta artist at the High, Memory as Medicine explored Bailey's career through sculpture, painting, installation, and more. This exhibition catalogue, which is signed by the artist and comes in a keepsake box, presents images of that work and includes reflections from a number of curators.
— Wyatt Williams


FUN
R. Crumb — The Complete Record Cover Collection (W. W. Norton & Company, $27.95, 96 pp.)
The godfather of weird, underground comics has been illustrating record covers with his acid-damaged, awkwardly sexualized visions of America for as long as he's been making comics. This collection brings together all of the artist's visually musical work, from Big Brother and the Holding Company's Cheap Thrills to Yazoo's History of Jazz.
— WW

FANCY
Believing is Seeing: Observations on the Mysteries of Photography by Errol Morris (Penguin Press, $40, 336 pp.)
The documentaries of Oscar-winning director Errol Morris frequently return to the theme of how an observer can recognize the truth. In this volume, Morris extends his interest to still photography with a series of essays that deconstruct and find the context for snapshots that range from the Crimean War to the Great Depression to Abu Ghraib (subject of Morris' documentary Standard Operating Procedure). Morris' book allows your eye to look beyond a photo's superficial meaning.
— CH

FUN
Wreck the Halls: Cake Wrecks Gets "Festive (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $14.99, 232 pp.)
Jen Yates' Cake Wrecks blog explores an innately appealing concept: user-submitted photos of misspelled, unappetizing or otherwise botched baked confectionaries. This sequel to her 2009 collection finds a Yuletide feast of disastrous desserts. My favorite is the fumbled Christmas greeting, "Holiday Holidays!" (Can you call them "typos" if they're written icing?)
— CH

READ

click to enlarge HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT
  • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

FANCY
The Best American Comics 2011 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25, 352 pp.)
This annual anthology, drawn largely from nongenre graphic novels, tends to favor comic artists approved by the New York publishing intelligentsia, like Joe Sacco and Chris Ware. Further from the mainstream, an issue of Jeff Smith's RASL presents a fascinating profile of electricity pioneer Nikola Tesla, while Kate Beaton presents her three-panel parodies of The Great Gatsby from her webcomic "Hark, A Vagrant." Guest editor and Fun Home creator Alison Bechdel provides one of the highlights, an illustrated introduction that uses rueful humor to lament the paucity of female artists in the comic book industry. www.hmhbooks.com.
— CH


Burial for a King by Rebecca Burns (Scribner. $25. 256 pp.)
Former Atlanta magazine editor in chief (and now its director if digital strategy) Rebecca Burns examines the week following the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination in Atlanta in this nimble, fresh take on Civil Rights-era history. With a nearly minute-by-minute breakdown of that week's events, Burn's book tells the story from a variety of perspectives, giving this chapter of King's legacy a much deserved stereoscopic treatment. — WW

FUN
Dark Avengers by Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Deodato (Marvel, $49.95, 400 pp.)
From 2009-2010, one of Marvel's most popular titles explored the outlandish premise that Norman Osborn (aka the Green Goblin) took control of America's national security system and assembled a team of villains, psychopaths, and misguided good guys passed for heroes protecting the public good. This omnibus collection of Dark Avengers issues wraps a sharp critique of national security abuses within spectacular superpowered conflicts, embellished by Bendis' snappy dialogue and Deodato's rich, moody illustrations.
— CH

click to enlarge LITTLE, BROWN AND COMPANY

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach (Little, Brown and Company. $25.99. 528 pp.)
Chad Harbach's debut novel tells the story of Henry Fielding, a young Midwestern kid who might turn out to be the greatest shortstop in baseball history, and the university that takes him and hones his skills. That might sound like a classic old-fashioned story, which it is to some degree, but this page-turner explores baseball and campus life with expansive insight, not unlike Jonathan Franzen's wide-angle social novels.
— WW


WEAR

FANCY

click to enlarge COURTESY SID MASHBURN
Sid Mashburn Oyster Shell Belt Buckle ($75)
We'd trust menswear-insider Sid Mashburn with just about any advice or tailoring he can offer at his eponymous local boutique, but this handcast brass oyster shell belt buckle speaks for itself. Beautiful enough to just look at on its own, the buckle has a sophisticated Southern charm. www.sidmashburn.com.
— WW


FUN
Streetela tees ($10-$20)
Local fashion upstart Streetela has tapped a number of local artists to design affordable shirts and bags. Wheat paste street artists the Paper Twins, conceptual artist Nikita Gale, Plastic Aztecs member Dorothy Stucki, and a number of others contribute vivid work to the new line. www.streetela.com.
— WW

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