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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A&E gift guide

Our society covets few things so passionately as the gift basket — the richer, fancier cousin to the gift bag. People will gush over gift baskets full of crap nobody could possibly want, that’s how much cachet they have. To make the people on your shopping list feel special, consider loading up a basket with these themed suggestions. Some can be a little pricey, so consider the baskets a collective stimulus package for the still-anemic economy.

THE LOCAL ARTS BASKET

For boosters of local arts, or those who need a crash course in Atlanta culture

Centerpiece: The Help by Kathryn Stockett (Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, $24.95, 464 pp). Usually this kind of thoughtful, female-oriented novel only becomes a New York Times best-seller with intervention from Oprah. Stockett, an Atlanta resident who hails from Mississippi, struck a chord nationwide with her tale of the symbiotic relationship of African-American domestics and more privileged whites in the 1960s. Inspired by the author’s own childhood, The Help explores with humor and sensitivity a legacy of knee-jerk racism and emotional ties.

Also: Pick out a stocking-stuffer-sized piece of original artwork from the SCAD Gallery Boutique. A Woodruff Arts Center gift card gets the recipient into events at the Atlanta Symphony, the Alliance Theatre and the High Museum of Art. If you want to multiply your generosity, give memberships or season subscriptions to smaller arts organizations like Eyedrum (a $40 membership gets you in for free all year) or Horizon Theatre (whose season coincides with the calendar year). Your loved one and the local arts scene will both thank you.

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