The 2017 FLOOD Holiday Gift Guide

Clock’s a-tickin’, but we’ve got you covered. 
Art & CultureFilm + TVStaff Picks
The 2017 FLOOD Holiday Gift Guide

Clock’s a-tickin’, but we’ve got you covered. 

Words: FLOOD Staff

photos by Piper Ferguson

December 18, 2017

It’s that time of year again—time to suddenly realize that all your holiday shopping needs to be completed in, like, a week. Fortunately for you, we’ve put together a beefy bevy of last-minute ideas for you to consider while you recover from that sudden sinking feeling in your stomach.

Covering everything from your bathwater effervescents to extreme sports equipment emblazoned with its future recipients’ favorite deep-cut cartoon figure, we’ve got your back during this trying time of desperately weighing your affection for friends and family against the varying prices and immediacy of shipping options.

The Simpsons x Penny Skateboard

Somebody wake the prime minister: The Simpsons are back in Australia. And what better way to escape from a booting than by ripping away on a board? For that, Penny Skateboards, one of Australia’s finest exports, have made a whole series of their mini-cruisers that feature members of the Simpsons world: Homer, Maggie, Burns, Ralph, Otto, Itchy & Scratchy, and, of course, the little ripper we call Bart. from $120 at Penny Skateboards

Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine, by Joe Hagan

Jann Wenner was in the right place in the right time—San Francisco in the ’60s—when he launched Rolling Stone, but he was more than just lucky: He was shrewd and inventive and fearless in pushing publishing to new places. Joe Hagan picked a perfect time to write Sticky Fingers, his definitive new biography of Wenner, as magazines crumble all around and Rolling Stone itself rebuilds (it was put up for sale in September)—and the portrait of Wenner is as honest and brutal as some of the best portraits published by the man himself in his heyday. $30 at Amazon

Beloved Dog, by Maira Kalman

The beauty and tragedy of dogs is that, even for people who aren’t 100 percent on them, dogs are 100 percent on those people, and it’s that selfless contribution to our society that Maira Kalman looks to capture in her collection, Beloved Dog, compiling work from across her career related to man’s best friend. Across various books and projects—and with a look into her personal dog history as well—Kalman has created an ode to the animals never ask for the spotlight, but deserve it. $18 at Amazon

South and West, by Joan Didion

These days, we could use a new collection from Joan Didion more than ever (you’d have to imagine she’s got plenty to say about the Trump era), but until she’s ready to step out with something fresh, something unreleased is a wonderful alternative. South and West is a pair of journal installments from the ’70s—one from a family roadtrip in the South, and one from a visit to San Francisco, where Didion intended to cover the Patty Hearst trial—and, whether intentional or not, they feel particularly relevant and biting in 2017, the rifts between those sides of the country widening by the day. $21 at Amazon

Uncommon Type, by Tom Hanks

Fiction is always a tough buy during the holidays—particularly if it’s new fiction that you haven’t had a chance to read yourself yet—but you can always count on the fact that the person you’re buying for also loves Tom Hanks. Somehow, America’s dad found time to write a book of short stories, and they’re way better than you might expect—a old-fashioned look at a new age for the country. $27 at Amazon

Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng

Celeste Ng is only two novels into her career, but she’s already earned a spot as one of the most important voices in the contemporary literary scene—and in 2017, we need that scene to flourish as much as ever. Her latest, Little Fires Everywhere, is a firm second foot forward, itself an examination the suburban life of Shaker Heights, Ohio, and the high-stakes drama and mystery that befall a family within it. $27 at Amazon

Bite-Sized Reads from Rare Bird Books 

2017 was evidently the year the cinephilic public finally embraced Wes Anderson as a director worthy of scholarly debate, as he was the subject of a number of university press critical texts. But it’s been a very long year and at this point we just want to breeze through a novella-sized study of the man who uses his encyclopedic knowledge of cinema to engage, rather than alienate, audiences, written in a style that reflects Anderson’s playful ethos. Fucking Innocent offers a compelling series of intelligent essays on Anderson’s first three films written in a palatably conversational tone. Combined with Jude Angelini’s Bukowski-esque ramblings, Hummingbird, (featuring artwork from some guy named Sage Vaughn), Rare Birds offers up the perfect read for riding the year out into the friscalating dusklight. $16 at Rare Bird

Eyes of the World: Grateful Dead Photography 1965–1995

The Grateful Dead were always a music-first, looks-second kind of band. Bob Weir may have had the look of a ’60s heartthrob, but he willfully destroyed any conception of that pretty-boy image with his predilection for wearing mini-jorts. This type of aloofness to what looked “good” makes the band the perfect study for a photography book: Going through the years of a band of musician’s musicians, what you get is a history of raw earnestness and passion—not a narrative of life under the influence of fame. $75 at Rock Out Books

Smithsonian Rock and Roll

It seems like everyone’s an amateur concert photographer these days, but it hasn’t always been so simple: It used to be that only the most determined found a way to bring their cameras to the front, and only the best managed to come out of there with anything to write home about. Or now, as is the case, to write to the Smithsonian about. For his book, Smithsonian Rock and Roll, Bill Bentley worked with the Smithsonian to crowdsource music photography from unlikely places and people—and the result is a unique look at the titans of rock. $40 at Smithsonian

Meet Me In the Bathroom, by Lizzy Goodman

Surprisingly not published by BuzzFeed Press, rock journalist Lizzy Goodman’s Does-This-Make-You-Feel-Old-Yet debut book chronicles the erratic goings-on of New York City’s indie rock scene at the turn of the century. That’s right, The Strokes, LCD Soundsystem, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs have aged enough that their stories have become the stuff of legends, circulating mostly by word of mouth until now. Goodman’s book places the reader in the chaotic New York venues where its subjects impart their stories to you with eyes glazed over, their faces uncomfortably to yours. $27 at HarperCollins

Live at the Safari Club, by Shawna Kenney and Rich Dolinger

In the same vein, Shawna Kenney and Rich Dolinger report live from the ’90s to contextualize Goodman’s writing with rambunctious stories of DC’s Safari Club. While half the story is told by the venue’s acts (Gorilla Biscuits, Strife, Rancid), the remainder is captured in the book’s black and white photos from the frontline. $25 at Rare Bird

Wilco’s A.M. and Being There Deluxe Editions

Before Wilco was an institution, they were just another young band searching for their sound, and on A.M. and Being There, what you get is half a great listening experience, and half a paleontological dig. Rhino has just given these albums the deluxe reissue treatment, and both are well complemented by the added study and bonus material—B-sides, outtakes, live tracks, and critical essays (one by Wilco’s bassist John Stirratt and the other by the writer Steven Hyden) help an overall understanding of how one of the best bands of all time came into the world, one barn-burner after another. A.M. $40, and Being There $85 at Amazon

The Sisters of Mercy’s Some Girls Wander By Mistake Reissue

The word “goth” gets thrown around a lot these days, but there was a time when the word really meant something, and The Sisters of Mercy were a main reason for that. Fundamental in blazing a trail for contemporary acts like Ariel Pink and White Fence, the Leeds group are as confounding as they are influential. Luckily, this reissue of their seminal Some Girls Wander By Mistake comp is a great place to start—or to revisit again and again. $80 at Rhino

Fleetwood Mac’s Tango in the Night Reissue

Fleetwood Mac have never been strangers to lineup changes, but the core group of Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, John McVie, and Mick Fleetwood was absolutely untouchable. Tango in the Night was the last Mac LP to feature that all-star lineup, and it shows. Following up the focused masterpiece Mirage, Tango is a more challenging and progressive record—proof that they were never content with the status quo, and that their success didn’t have a set sound. $100 at Rhino

Twin Peaks: The Return OST Vinyl

To commemorate It Happening Again, musicians from across the Lynchian spectrum contributed their talents to the show’s legacy in a slightly more coherent way than Bowie before them. From the dreamy melancholy of Chromatics to the abrasive pulsation of Nine Inch Nails, the official soundtrack to Twin Peaks: The Return is an essential collection of tracks by musicians visibly influenced by the Twin Peaks universe, playing the aesthete’s red-velvet-curtained stage in a musical performance only to be out-Lynched by Badalamenti’s original score. from $23 on Amazon

Light in the Attic Reissues

There are plenty of labels searching through the dregs of music history for gems, but none may be mining as well as Light in the Attic, the Seattle/LA-based label focusing on reissues and compilations both obscure and known, local and global. Truly, the only real defining characteristic of a LITA release is an unimpeachable sense of Capital-C-Cool, but the music always backs up the narrative as well. Recent projects we recommend are Lynn Castle’s Rose Colored Corner, the Tumbleweed Records comp, the Gurdjieff/de Hartmann box set, and Popol Vuhs Cobra Verde OST.  from $23 at Light in the Attic

Vinyl Me, Please Subscription

For anyone on your shopping list whose taste in music is as unpredictable as the outrageous Christmas sweaters they so expertly model at your annual holiday party, Vinyl Me, Please’s Record of the Month club caters to the ambiguity of the person who listens to “literally everything,” and also specializes in appeasing listeners dedicated to rap or jazz. With a team of vinyl PhDs at the helm, it’s literally the gift that keeps on giving. from $99 at Vinyl Me, Please

Criterion DVDs

What’s a holiday gift exchange without the Big C.R.I.T. rearing its immaculate, two-disced physiognomy? With a library containing everything from the philosophical first encounter, second date, and (spoiler alert!) less-than-ideal marriage of Richard Linklater’s decades-spanning Before Trilogy, to Michael Haneke’s exegesis on the sexually-repressed middle-aged piano teacher, to Laurie Anderson’s experimental storytelling exercise focusing on love, loss, and dogs, there’s something unconventional and beautifully packaged for everyone (except, perhaps, your kids) in the collection of hundreds of US and world releases. from $32 at Criterion

Polaroid OneStep 2

Finally, you can shake your Polaroid pictures like a Beyonce or Lucy Liu again. The OneStep 2 recalls simpler times (when among our biggest concerns were the mysterious blobs appearing in all our photographs), while applying modern technology to the classic camera’s instantly-printing photos. If what they say is, “nothing is forever,” then what makes (then what makes, then what makes) instant photos the exception? $100 at Polaroid Originals

Sphero R2-D2 Model

While everyone seems to be jumping on the BB-8 train this side of the original new trilogy, there’s still plenty of love to give to the godfather of adorable androids. This app-enabled Kenny Baker action figure will traverse Tatooine’s deserts and illuminate the dankest Dagobas beside you with an integrated speaker projecting his unmistakable Wilhelm squeals to keep you company—or stay home and binge a few trilogies while R2 projects images of hopeless princesses by your side. $130 at Sphero

Shinola Canfield On-Ear Headphones

With Apple insisting on Bluetooth everything, Shinola’s new headphones are a Mocking Spongebob–worthy response of “bLuEtOoTh EvErYtHiNg.” Haven’t you heard? Bluetooth diminishes sound quality—and with each pair fine-tuned in Shinola’s Detroit factory, these new Canfield Headphones are all about stepping into the audiophile light. from $495 at Shinola

Shinola Runwell Watch

OK, so maybe you’ve already lost the aux dongle for your iPhone and are still interested in getting some high-quality American engineering this season? Replace that Apple Watch (which is gonna look clunky and awkward in like twenty years, just watch) with a tried and true approach at that whole lookin’-at-your-wrist-to-know-what-time-it-is thing. Shinola’s Runwell series is a new classic—it’ll look better, longer than anything digital. More useful in an apocalypse, too. from $550 at Shinola

Filson Daypack

Packing sucks, even if it’s just for a day trip. Day hikes (both natural and rural) frequently result in sacrificing items too sizeable for a mere fanny pack, or they’re plagued with backpacks too unwieldy for a quick jaunt through jungles concrete or otherwise. This universal hardship seems to be the basis for the Filson Daypack’s inception, a painfully wearable alternative to the human-infant-sized tote you’ve been lugging on short hikes. With a lightweight matte nylon fabric that’s both tear (/ter/) and tear (/tir/) resistant, the pack will remain intact through thorny thickets and backwoods breakups alike (in addition to considerably heavier precipitation, of course). A recommended gift for Teddys everywhere. $95 at Filson

ASOS Lace-Up Brogue Boots

ASOS’s Lace-Up Brogue Boots are a boon for anyone prone to forget their dress socks while packing for a business trip, or for anyone not totally clear on what that recent memo about a “relaxed office dress code” really means. The high tops are a game changer for shoe enthusiasts looking for a one-style-fits-all-occasions model of footwear to represent their hybrid personality (all business, all pleasure, all the time (except for bedtime (and bathtime))) and—let me reiterate—hide as much of those lime green, taco-emblazoned crew socks standing between you and professional respectability as necessary.  $55 at ASOS

No.One Bravo Trainer

These shoes are a little less “relaxed office dress code” and a little more “dystopian future dress code,” but the same perks still apply: No.One’s Bravo Trainer are for the more high-flying in your life to look fly-but-casual, able to switch from office Christmas party to running from space cops with grace and ease. $675 at No.One

Original Penguin Attire

Bundle up this winter with the OG Penguin that preceded Danny DeVito: Original Penguin boasts a toasty line of lake effect linens to keep you well insulated through Gotham’s inevitable pun-injected freezing over. From the thick Crepe Windowpane Flannel and Double Knit Crew Neck Sweater to their more substantial jackets—including a thick Plaid Wool Blend and a Stretch Four Pocket bomber for warmer climes—OP’s wardrobe is as extensive as it is stylish. Unfortunately, though, there’s no stovepipe hat and musty ascot to be found in their catalog. from $48 at Original Penguin

Burton Winter Gear

LevelsThey’ll change the way you snowboard, and Burton’s got plenty of ’em to radiate your body while you’re carving up a hill. Their cotton Ellmore Pullover and Grace Long Sleeve Flannel are both trendy outerwear choices for the lodge, while the Arliss Insulator guarantees buffer, comfort, and flexibility on the gnar. With a Bone Cobra Beanie to top it all off, you’re looking at a whole new lifestyle. from $21 at Burton

LUSH Cosmetics

After a long day of holiday shopping, a long week of work, or a long year of reading headlines, you and your loved ones owe it to yourselves to blitzkrieg your baths with copious bubbles and explosions of essential oils. LUSH’s handmade aromatherapy capsules are a violent flurry of colors and fragrances, transforming your previously-unromanticized vision of bathtime into a luxurious spa day. Fortunately for you, the only casualty in this sudsy warzone is your unmoisturized skin. from $6 at LUSH

Palm Reader Jewelry Stand 

If ever there was an item with an odd dual usage, Kikkerland’s Palm Reader Jewelry Stand serves as both a stylish, effective jewelry harbor and an educational experience in reading the future of an anonymous, dismembered mannequin. Drape your amulets, periapts, talismans (talismen?), and other various charms over this mystical mitt in order to keep them visible and organized—as well as to leech the elemental forces from that poor ceramic sap doomed to spend the rest of her days modeling clothes without the use of her left hand. $20 at Kikkerland


Smartphone Magnifier

There’s always been something nostalgic about your first TV—that wood-panel behemoth your parents probably lent you when moving into your first apartment—whether it’s the imperfect reception or its immovable mass. Though the Smartphone Magnifier unfortunately possesses neither of those traits, it does, however, enhance the visibility of your portable videos, in addition to wielding that irresistible Videodrome aesthetic. So long as you’re willing to risk further misleading your young’uns as to how to insert a VHS tape, the Magnifier could change the way you stream videos on the go. $30 at UncommonGoods