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Countdown To Christmas: A Gift Guide For The Weary and Uncertain

Countdown To Christmas: A Gift Guide For The Weary and Uncertain

For our last day Brad Balfour takes over.

I have been wrangling for days to think of a premise for a gift guide because, as a regulation pack rat — okay, hoarder — I like to have everything. But then, I thought to myself, “Self,  where have you recorded all the things you have liked that you would want to give or share with someone else?”

So I went back to my trusty, though shitty, cell phone camera and found my many gifts to have or give. There’s a greater joy in giving that gift, maybe more than when opening the perfect gift that’s been received.

An ideal present is unique and personal, one you hope someone never thought of but would actually enjoy. It’s great to let someone know how much you care. From theater events to underwear, here a small selection of my peculiar selection of holiday gifts for 2017.

Let’s begin.

john leguizamo

john leguizamo

Go see actor John Leguizamo, whose new show, Latin History For Morons has been getting great reviews because this multi-talented actor/writer provides a unique, prickly history of his own culture and its place in the greater sweep of mankind. Get a pair of tickets and take that particular companion who will laugh along with you at Studio 54 sometime soon.

My Antonioni, Carlo di Carlo

My Antonioni, Carlo di Carlo

Then pick up a new book, “My Antonioni,” edited by Carlo di Carlo which details the life and aesthetic of the late great Italian director, Michelangelo Antonioni. There’s not only the book but a detailed retrospective that’s just starting to overview his career playing at MoMA through January 7th. Definitely worth seeing his movies if only because his classic “Blow Up” — is a film you should share with an intellectually adventurous friend.


One evening I made it to Sotheby’s on East 72nd Street where they were holding this amazing auction of classic and luxury cars. I could even imagine getting one of those — or at least getting into one…  But it was this sculpture — made of European gas cans — that struck me as the ideal item for someone who has everything and needs something so weird that no one else would ever imagine having it.

Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular

Radio City Music Hall hosts the annual Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular and though I am not usually drawn to such touristic fare, I would love to have that right person besides me when I go to see this show. In all my years in NYC, I have never never seen it. If only for one time, I want to go and share it with someone as corny as me.


I think of the many fashion statements that would serve as great gifts, but not usually do I get down to the looking at the undies — except at Victoria Secrets. I care not how male undergarments look and feel (except on me) but Spartan Boxers offers something more — protection against radiation. This is a pair to get for any safety-conscious buddies. Designed in Paris, you can shield your nuts from wireless radiation. But staying safe shouldn’t compromise style so this company offers cutting-edge technology merged with design that’s modern, minimalist and antibacterial.

Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus’ new album, “Younger Now,” is out now. She’s an incredible talent who surprises with every new record — so this is the one to pass along. Forget Taylor Swift. Though Miley’s a paparazzi fodder, this former child/pop star is a brilliant cultural appropriator whose new release means a new Miley. Dreadlocks, twerking, and druggy days are in the past as she debuts her sixth studio recording; she’s abandoned a rap persona in favor of a stripped-down country-pop which means that finding out who this new Miley is something to share with someone who appreciates my fascination with this chameleon.

Raymond Pettibon

Raymond Pettibon

American artist Raymond Pettibon, born Raymond Ginn on June 16, 1957, lives and works in New York City now. But he came to prominence in the early ‘80s as part of the southern California punk rock scene — creating posters and album art for groups such as Black Flag who were on SST Records, owned and operated by brother Greg. Recently he’s enjoyed a New Museum retrospective and an exploding price tag; his one-of-a-kind works have become expensive but if you find the right gallery you can get one of his prints — a much more affordable way to collect or give art.

Rice N Beans

Take a loved one or good friend to the midtown eatery “Rice N Beans” at 744 9th Avenue near the intersection of 9th and West 50th St. (212- 265-4444). This homey Brazilian restaurant is totally affordable and sumptuous in its portions. A Clinton neighborhood mainstay, it’s open from 1130 am  to 10 pm. Check out the menu at



The company BIO-key has been developing and delivering advanced fingerprint biometric hardware and software solutions since 1993. Its technology has been used by the FBI, AT&T, NCR and leading hospitals across the U.S. In 2015, BIO-key introduced a line of compact fingerprint readers (SideTouch, SideSwipe & EcoID) that support Windows Hello. Now BIO-key introduces the TouchLock™ line of smart padlocks and bicycle locks empowered by fingerprint and Bluetooth technology. Maybe not the most romantic item to give as a gift but certainly one to offer security.

Jenna Fischer,The Actor's Life: A Survival Guide

Jenna Fischer’s book, “The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide

Actress Jenna Fischer’s book, “The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide,” not only details her Hollywood journey but it also gives helpful advice and support to novices. He career began when, at age of 22, she moved to Los Angeles from her hometown of St. Louis. With a theater degree in hand, she was determined and confident, ready to work hard. She tells all about what can and did go wrong along the way and how she lived to tell the tale. For all your talented wannabes who might find this perfect guide to receive.

Mark Bego, Eat Like A Rock Star

Mark Bego’s Eat Like A Rock Star

Another book that addresses celebrity lifestyles is veteran music interviewer Mark Bego’s fabulous cook book, “Eat Like A Rock Star.” In it things get really tasty from this author (he’s done 62 books on celebrities from Glen Campbell to the Supremes) as he discovers what our favorites stars like to make and eat in this “authorized” rock & roll cookbook. Its 10 chapters highlight Breakfast, Lunch, Hors d’Oeuvres, Poultry, Meat, Pasta, Fish & Seafood, Vegetables & Side Dishes, Desserts, and Cocktails. All the recipes have personally tested and include ones developed by the likes of Bill Wyman of The Rolling Stones, The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz, Martha Reeves, Debbie Gibson, Boz Scaggs, and many more. A perfect book to use to spice up a holiday party.

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