If you’re reading this, that means Thanksgiving is either upon us or a very recent tryptophan-laced memory. That means we all have to start thinking about the holidays. For whom to buy gifts and, more importantly, what? We can’t help you with the former, but we can throw some ideas at you for the latter.
There’s a lot of cool and interesting stuff littering the gift landscape this season. Here are just a few things that have piqued our interest.
If you missed the last two seasons of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and you need to bone up before the new season commences in January, the international superstar and celebrated drag diva is releasing seasons two and three of the ultimate drag-queen competition on DVD. You can watch episode after episode of RuPaul guiding contestants as they prepare for each outrageous challenge, where they are assessed by a star-studded roster of celebrity guest judges including LaToya Jackson, Johnny Weir, Lily Tomlin, Wayne Brady, Fantasia Barrino and Vanessa Williams. Includes the requisite bonus scenes and reunion specials.
Out comedian and activist Margaret Cho recently released a DVD of her newest stand-up concert film, “Cho Dependent,” recorded during her 2010 tour. Cho is in her usual top form, riffing on the Palins, her stint on “Dancing With the Stars” (where both gay pride and bullying were platforms for her), smoking pot and living in a world with “sexting.” Cho also performs songs from her album of the same name.
The Divine Miss M, aka Bette Midler, recently released a DVD of her Las Vegas extravaganza, taped before a packed house at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. The 70-minute extravaganza features Midler’s colorful and classic stage characters and a 13-piece band cranking out show-stopping renditions of her biggest hits, including “The Rose,” “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” “From a Distance,” “Hello in There” and “Wind Beneath My Wings.” Global pop diva Kylie Minogue unleashed her acclaimed “Aphrodite: Les Folies” concert CD and DVD/Blu-Ray set filmed live Nov. 29 at London’s O2 Arena. With costumes created exclusively for Minogue by Dolce & Gabbana, the stage show had an enchanting Greek mythology theme and featured an astonishing water finale. The tour was Minogue’s most ambitious witht he singer performing a total of 77 spectacular shows for more than 575,000 people throughout Europe, Japan, North America, Australia and Southeast Asia. Filmed over two nights, “Aphrodite” captures the show at its absolute peak and features an exclusive tour documentary. Five decades after its historic debut, the timeless classic “West Side Story” is being released as a 50th-anniversary edition. This film sets the ageless story of Romeo and Juliet against a backdrop of gang warfare in 1950s New York. A love affair is fated for tragedy amid the vicious rivalry between street gangs the Jets and the Sharks. With a record-breaking 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Directing and Best Original Score, the film took home more honors than any other movie-musical in the history of cinema. This special edition boasts hours of restoration, new 7.1 digital audio and a collection of bonus features spotlighting the songs and elaborate dances of the original film. Long before Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Rihanna, there was Jem. Debuting in 1985, the animated series focused on the dual life of beautiful Jerrica Benton, co-owner of Starlight Music, and her pop-star alter-ego Jem, lead singer for the all-girl band Jem and The Holograms. And if you’re of an age where you remember that show, you’ll get a kick out of the recently released first-ever complete collector’s edition 11-DVD box set of “Jem and The Holograms,” which features all 65 episodes of the hit series accompanied by an exclusive bonus disc of brand-new and rarely seen archival material.
Speaking of colorful pop stars, multi-platinum and Grammy Award-winning artist Lady Gaga’s new Blu-Ray and DVD of her critically acclaimed, Emmy Award-winning HBO special “Lady Gaga Presents The Monster Ball Tour at Madison Square Garden” is available, which features exclusive, never-before-seen footage. Also being released is the album “Born This Way The Remix,” a 14-track collection of remixes by some of the hottest artists, DJs and producers, including Foster the People, Michael Woods and The Weeknd.
Another DVD fresh off the shelves belongs to Cyndi Lauper, who has released her live concert recording “To Memphis, With Love.” Taped earlier this year at The Warehouse in Memphis, the DVD features special guests including Allen Toussaint, Tracy Nelson and Jonny Lang, serving as Lauper’s love letter to blues and the city she has fallen in love with.
Another sonic bonanza coming out this holiday season is The Cure’s live album “Bestival 2011,” due Dec. 6. The live recording comes from the band’s career-spanning two and a half hour set performed at this year’s Bestival, a four-day music festival held on the Isle of Wight, England. All profits from the sale of this album will go to the Isle of Wight Youth Trust, a charitable, independent and professional organization offering counseling, advice, information and support services to Isle residents 25 and younger.
If you’re looking for a good read, or at least something that looks impressive on your coffee table, pick up the new book “Gay In America,” by Scott Pasfield. The book takes readers into the homes and the lives of 140 gay American men in all 50 states. For more information, visit www.gayinamerica.us.
One of our favorite cosmetics companies, Lush, is launching 15 brand-new products this holiday season, some of which are the first of their kind in Lush history.
The Dream Steam Steamer tab ($2.95) uses the same blend of oils as the company’s best-selling Dream Cream: lavender and chamomile with tea tree oil. Simply drop it into a bowl of hot water, lean over the bowl and cover your head with a towel. The tab will emit a blend of essential oils for you to inhale and steam your face.
Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner ($29.95), a rose-jam-scented lotion, feeds and nourish the skin. The No Drought Dry Shampoo ($12.95) makes for an excellent midday, evening or morning-after refresher. Scented with lemon, grapefruit and lime, the powder refreshes hair and absorbs grease if you don’t have time for a proper wash. Just apply directly into the hair or onto your hands and work through.
Lush’s Lustre Dusting Powder ($14.95) is a jasmine-fragranced bronze powder you apply to your legs and/or arms giving you a gold shimmer and a light glow as it instantly brightens. The bottle is easy to take with you so you can reapply as needed, and add a hint of shimmer to the otherwise frosty winter months.
The Latte Lip Tint ($8.95) is a perky balm that provides a subtle nude tint and a moisturizing pick-me-up all night long, containing a hint of fair-trade coffee flavoring and a blend of almond oil, organic jojoba oil and Japan wax for a boost.
If you want to go green this holiday, turn to Earth Friendly Products and its award-winning line of eco-friendly cleaning products. The Safeguard Your Home! Kit ($31.95) is a convenient package with six of its top-selling products, including ECOS, the No. 1 selling green laundry detergent in the world; Dishmate Hand Dishwashing Soap; Wave Auto Dishwashing Soap; Window Cleaner, Eco Breeze; (an eco-friendly version of Febreze); and Parsley Plus All-Purpose Cleaner. Earth Friendly Products also offers an assortment of eco-friendly pet products, from kitty litter treatment to pet laundry detergent to pet shampoo and more. For more information, visit www.ecos.com.
Equally green this holiday season are Reuse Jeans, which are generated from the belief that environmental awareness can coexist with fashion. Sustainable and attainable, Reuse Jeans are constructed from 80-percent recycled fabric and are tailored for stylish fits, processed with fashion-forward wash treatments and accentuated by handcrafted detailing and signature touches. For more information, visit www.reusejeans.com.
Speaking of fashion, Love Gone Apparel, a clothing line founded by an 11-year-old entrepreneur out of Florida, features shirts for men and women. This musician-endorsed line of clothes is worn by rock and country musicians. Get a gander at the hip and edgy styles at www.lovegoneapparel.com.
If you’re looking for some nerdy-chic gifts or you know someone who’s really into “The Big Bang Theory,” snag the “Soft Kitty” singing plush toy and T-shirt combo from CBS’ hit TV show. In a running gag on the show, Sheldon teaches Penny lyrics to a song his mom sang him when he was sick. The song instantly became a viral sensation and fan favorite.
For more information or to purchase, visit www.stylinonline.com/softkitty.
That is all for now. Try not to get trampled at the shopping centers.