Thursday, November 24, 2011

Second Annual Post Thanksgiving Day Shopping Guide

The Doctor and Amy Pond have been just about everywhere in the universe, so why not in your media room?

Life size standup available at the Come Round website.

On Thanksgiving day, the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times runneth over with flyers from countless retail stores advertising bargains for Black Friday. Some places are even getting a head start on the biggest shopping day of the year by opening on Thanksgiving evening. While it’s always fascinating to discover the hottest trends, some of us believe plunging head first into overcrowded shopping malls just isn’t worth the hassle. So here’s a less hectic version of a gift guide.

Chicago indie rock band The Handcuffs have worked out a deal with online site CD Baby to offer each of their three releases at the discounted price of $8.99. That includes the very impressive latest effort, Waiting For The Robot. In addition, The Handcuffs will donate a dollar from each sale to comedian Elayne Boosler’s Tails Of Joy animal rescue charity.

WXRT is set to release Live From The Archives Volume 13 on December 6th. As on the earlier volumes in this series, the CD features live performances from acts that have either performed in the radio station’s studio or at an XRT sponsored concert. At any rate, these versions are not available anywhere else, and the CDs are only around for a limited time. Those of us who have collected the previous 12 volumes won't want to miss it. That said, some volumes are better than others, and this year’s selection falls somewhere in the middle of the pack. The highlights include “Down By The River” by The Decemberists, “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence + The Machine, “Crash Tears” by The New Pornographers, “I Got Mine” by The Black Keys, and “Soul Meets Body” by Death Cab For Cutie.

CDs are always a good choice for gifts, so after you’ve purchased some from The Handcuffs and WXRT, feel free to browse the reviews I’ve done over the past few years for more options. I’m hoping to review CDs by Trolley and The Perms soon, and I would recommend those as well.

The 27th Annual Fest For Beatles Fans Holiday Sale catalog has arrived. In addition to CDs, t shirts, posters, DVDs, and books, it’s filled with every conceivable item emblazoned with a Beatles logo. You’ll find belts, wallets, pajamas, sunglasses, hats, puzzles, games, and even an Apple dartboard. And you can wrap up all your Beatles gifts in Beatles-themed wrapping paper. The Fest For Beatles Fans online store has even more items for sale. My only complaint is that I’d love to see these manufacturers spread the wealth around. When there are already dozens of Beatles t shirts, why not print up some depicting The Animals, The Kinks, Donovan, The Hollies, and other noteworthy contemporaries of the Fab Four?

Rock Art Show, an online site that sells art and photographs by and of musicians, plans to unveil a new rare item each Monday of the holiday season and make it available only for that week. The first two weeks have brought a pair of John Lennon out-of-print art pieces and a massive Pink Floyd boxed set. It should be interesting to see what other hard-to-find treasures they come up with in the coming weeks, but it looks like you have to sign up for the Rock Art Show online newsletter to receive the offers.

Grownups who still love toys can find loads of fun things at the Toynk online store. Know anyone who collects The Walking Dead Comic action figures? Toynk has them. They also have the Universal Monsters Marvel Select Figures Collector Set that includes Dracula, The Mummy, and The Creature Of The Black Lagoon. On the less gruesome front, there are Barbie Collector Dolls, Smurfs, and sports action figures, as well as cars and trucks.

Doctor Who fans celebrating the release of The Complete Sixth Series DVD can find lots of interesting party favors on the U.K based Come Around website. Such as life size standups of of The Doctor and the show’s other characters. The price is £22.50 in English money.

Chicago area authors Cherie Colyer and Susan Kaye Quinn each have a supernatural/romance Young Adult novel coming out. Quinn’s book is titled Open Minds and is already available at Amazon,, and iTunes. Colyer’s book, Embrace is due out from Omnific Publishing on December 20th. The trailer is already up on YouTube. Full disclosure: Colyer and Quinn are members of a writers group I belong to.

Also, check out the websites of your favorite bands for holiday songs or other special items. For example, The Hollies have a cool new t shirt available on their site.

Have fun doing whatever form of shopping you prefer, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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