With the holiday season fast approaching, it’s getting into everyone’s favourite time: Christmas shopping. Having trouble finding that unique gift? We’re here to give you a hand …The year in music (according to us)
Programming Director, CFBU
Free jazz/math rock, Storm and Stress’ Under Thunder and Flourescent Light.
Oval’s Commers is great for some experimental electronics.
Ambient electronic fans will enjoy Loopdrop’s self titled release.
New Terror Class entertains with some fuzz rock on their album, Did You Hear We Fucked?
For the synth-pop fan in your life, try Takako Minekawa’s Maxi On.
News Editor, The Brock Press
Hip hop fans check out Dilated Peoples’ Expansion Team for ill battle rhymes and Deltron 3030 for wacky sci-fi story telling.
Punkers need to grab at H2O’s Go for good melodic hardcore and Moneen’s Theory of Harmonial Value for emo navel gazing.
Electronic music fans should peep Utah Saint’s Two and Freaky Flow’s World Domination for funky-ass beats.
Music Director, CFBU
A few general recommendations, Aphex Twin’s Drukqs, Malcom Catto’s Popcorn Bubble Wish, The Faint’s Danse Macabre, The Plan’s Only These Moments Remain, and Cursive’s Burst & Bloom.
Culture Editor, The Brock Press
For irreverent comedy rock, try Tenacious D’s self-titled debut album.
And for some of the best new hard rock out there, Tool’s Lateralus is always a good bet.
Station Manager, CFBU
For rock, Alejandro Escovedo’s A Man Under the Influence, Mercury Rev’s All is Dream, and Fugazi’s The Instrument.
Folk/roots: Fred Eaglesmith’s Ralph’s Last Show, and Towns Van Zandt’s Live at McCabe’s.
For the jazzy type, William Parker/Hamid Drake’s Piercing the Veil, and Dave Holland’s Not for Nothin’.
And some more hip hop, The Coup’s Party Music, and Blackalicious’ Passion.
Editor-in-chief, The Brock Press
For intelligent electronica, Badmarsh and Shri Signs. For all out beats, Plump DJ’s A Plump Night Out.
Indie rock, Joel Plaskett Emergency Down at the Khyber, and the Flashing Lights’ Sweet Release.
For the intelligent, sensitive types Rufus Wainright’s Poses, and Hawksley Workman (last night we were) the Delicious Wolves.
Where to find the perfect gift
Shopping for the holidays can be enjoyable. The key is to get yourself out of the mall as much as humanly possible. To that end, the best gift-finding options in the city and vicinity. All stores are in St. Catharines, unless otherwise noted.
You will, of course, start at Details Details (145 St. Paul): The upscale houseware, beauty products and stationary are a bit pricey, but it is guaranteed you’ll find something your mom will love. Also good for children and serious cooks.
Brock Room Gallery (38 Lakeport): This is gift central, and while Port Dalhousie is a bit hard to access by public transit, it is worth the trip. Pottery, hand blown glass, handmade jewelry, and other high end craft items.
Ten Thousand Villages (48 Market, NOTL): One of many run by the Mennonite Central Committee, whose mission is to allow Third World artisans to make a decent living from their work. Also sells fair trade coffee and cocoa. Perfect for anyone who’s into ethnic chic or those with an interest in social justice. A mainstay in tree-hugger households.
Gifted Presence (34 James): Small, but has well-chosen selection of upscale home/gift items for a younger, more with-it shopper.
Elliott and Co (220 St. Paul): Despite the thoughtfully chosen house/gift ideas, the best thing about this store may be the resident dog, Elliot. The best selection of bath and body products in the city — guaranteed to make just about any woman, and most men, swoon.
Annabelle (1 St. Paul): Be warned: the lingerie here costs the earth — about three to four times what you’d pay at the mall. For devotees of French import Lejaby, which has a cult-like following, it’s worth it.
Strega (19 King): While this is mainly a caf, it does offer a fantastic selection of take-away prepared foods, including pasta and homemade sauces, homemade frozen lasagnas, and the best coffee ever by the pound and half pound.
Candy Safari (135 Queen, NOTL): The best selection and the best prices on import and novelty candy. Heaven for anyone with a sweet tooth.
Hannelore Headley Old and Fine Books (71 Queen): What could be more thoughtful than tracking down an old favourite, now out of print? Hannelore Headley can do it. Also a budget-friendly selection of, well, old and fine books.
Serendipity (23 Duke): Beads like you could only imagine as a child. A wide selection of hand blown glass jewelry, and for artistic types on a budget, do-it-yourself supplies.
Yurchuk Candies (100 Welland): Forget Godiva, Yurchk’s has the absolute best chocolate. It’s an absolute necessity at Easter, but works well any time.
Niagara Restaurant Supply (17 Lloyd): While it doesn’t have a chi-chi interior, this is the best place to find toys for your favourite foodie. Restaurant quality equipment without the gourmet store prices.
Rodman Hall gift shop (109 St. Paul Crescent): One (or, at, least only a couple) -of-a-kind cards and gifts made by local artists and craftspeople.
Hobby Shop (395 St. Paul): Who doesn’t feel better when their hands are covered in paint, mud or molding cement? This is the place to find the perfect gift for crafty types and those longing to be eight again.
For that cinephile in your life …
Directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Guy Pearce and Carrie-Anne Moss, this is one of the best and most mind-bending thrillers to come along since The Usual Suspects. Filled with high-wire performances, and told using one of the best narrative gimmicks to come along in years (the whole story is told backwards), Memento is one to remember.
Originally a made-for-TV movie on HBO, Wit stars Emma Thompson in a film directed by Mike Nichols and adapted by Nichols and Thompson from Margaret Edson’s Pulitzer Prize winning play. Winner of three Emmy awards, including best TV movie and best director, Wit is a powerhouse drama carried by an amazing performance by Emma Thompson.
Orson Welles’ masterpiece, released this fall on a special edition DVD, which only serves to highlight the true genius of this film. A must for any true movie buff’s collection.
The Godfather, DVD box set:
One of the most important dramas of our time, the Godfather trilogy has inspired filmgoers and filmmakers alike for the almost 30 years since its release. A rich, textured collection, the DVD release has been digitally remastered, with commentaries by director Francis Ford Coppola on each film, as well as an entire disc of bonus features. A DVD offer you can’t refuse.
The Sopranos Second Season:
Following on the heels of the Godfather trilogy, this modern day family drama is set in the always entertaining world of organized crime. One of the most highly acclaimed television series’ of all time, The Sopranos collections, both first and second seasons, are a must for any fan.
One of the best films of the year, this modern day fairy-tale is perfect for the whole family. Releasing one of the better DVDs of the year doesn’t exactly hurt either, with an entire disk of bonus features.
Star Wars Episode I
The Phantom Menace: Where the saga began. George Lucas’ much debated newest installment in the Star Wars series is the first of the series to debut on DVD, and it does so stunningly. Director commentary by George Lucas himself is a highlight, as are the added scenes, created specially for this DVD release.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
One of the funniest films of all time (forgive the hyperbole) gets a brand new life in a special edition DVD. Commentary by all five surviving Pythons, as well as hours of hilarious, and in the troupe’s own words “mindless” little extras, like sing-alongs, 24 seconds of “utterly useless” extra footage, and a special version of the film for the hard of hearing, Python-style.