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Face it. Remembering what hip-hugging jeans your gay best friend wants for the holidays, not to mention the size (Does he like them tight? Does that mean he should wear them tight?) is a task you’d rather avoid. With oodles of carefully crafted queer media releases this year, there won’t be an excuse for not getting me (or another gay) a gift.
“I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence,” Amy Sedaris
This isn’t your grandmother’s cookbook. Don’t expect to whip up some zesty Martha Stewart-influenced creation after finishing Amy Sedaris’ “I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence.” You’re more apt to find recipes for food like “Carrot Coins” (Her instructions: “slice carrots so they look like coins”) and “Macaroni and Cheese.” After all, as the title suggests, she was drunk or high or something. And thank God! But even if you’ve barely conquered pouring a bowl of Cheerios, there’s something for everyone. For those who just don’t give a shit anymore, try the “Fuck It Bucket,” a pale filled with candy. Sedaris’ ripe anecdotal humor (where she even admits in her book she “can’t write good”), paired with hilarious, visually scrumptious illustrations and photos (a child looks scared shitless as Sedaris smiles from ear to ear after they’ve made paper clip necklaces) make the 300-page book a splendid read. From hosting a festive gathering for the grieving to the proper way to prepare a vagina, “I Like You” is one of the most nonsensical Betty Crocker parodies around.
“Six Feet Under”: Complete Series
Best. Show. Ever. When the Alan Ball-created HBO series launched in 2001 it became a melting pot of quirky humor, gut wrenching drama and characters so real they seemed part of our own family. As the first season unfolded, members of the Fisher family were dealing with coming out, drugs and – on top of burying the dead for a living – the death of their father. Although the humor fizzled mid-series, the unpredictable Fisher family drama intensified and with superb acting from every level (notably Frances Conroy as Ruth and Peter Krause as Nate), “Six Feet Under” rooted itself deep into our hearts. That’s until we had to let go during the most beautifully crafted series finale known to TV. The complete set, a bargain considering each season runs about 70 bucks, is filled with commentaries from cast and crew, behind-the-scenes features, an obituary booklet and the show’s steller two soundtracks, one of which includes Sia’s haunting finale-theme “Breathe Me.” If that doesn’t elicit memories, check your pulse. “Six Feet Under” may be dead, but never forgotten.
“Da Ali G Show”: Da Compleet Seereez
Before Borat became a worldwide sensation and stirred controversy in his mockumentary of Kazakhstan and America, Sacha Baron Cohen’s three off-the-wall characters (Borat, Ali G and Bruno) screwed with his subjects on two seasons of HBO’s “Da Ali G Show.” While Borat, a Kazakhstani reporter, attempts to learn cultural lessons for his third world country, his other two personas take on a whole different demeanor. Ali G, sort of the host of a British educational program, plays a gangsta sporting oversized yellow jumpsuits and uses slang with experts, celebrities and politicians. Gay Austrian fashionista Bruno interviews fashion designers, critiques celebrity clothing and constantly challenges homosexuality. With 12 episodes on the four-disc set, I like! Very much!
“A Piano: The Collection,” Tori Amos
This mammoth box set, which includes album cuts, B-sides, unedited versions, demos and seven previously unreleased tracks, would take any casual Tori Amos fan several hours to get through. As for me, weeks later I’m still sifting through the collection’s hidden treasures like an extended version of the lovelorn “Baker Baker” and a stripped-down demo of “A Sorta Fairytale.” Though Tori fans have come and gone, as the red headed alternative feminist abandoned grittier work on earlier albums (“Little Earthquakes”) for lighthearted ditties on albums like her most recent, “The Beekeeper,” her talent is still undeniable. The five-disc set comes in a clever box designed to look like a piano (keys and all). Inside Amos offers commentaries on several old and new tracks. Particularly interesting is the story behind the previously unreleased “Ode To My Clothes.” For the Amos enthusiast, and even the most casual fan, “Piano” holds a long note, but it’s one well worth hearing.
“Golden Girls”: Season Six
Chances are each gay friend on your list will see a reflection of themselves in one of the four old funny ladies. Slut? Blanche. Stupid? Rose. Stern? Dorothy. Sarcastic? Sophia. Reiterating the plot would be unnecessary. The three-disc set, with 26 hilarious episodes, features “Candid Conversations with Betty, Rue and Others” from the Museum of Television and Radio.” Not to mention more of Rose’s St. Olaf stories. Can I get an, “Amen!”?
Recommended stocking stuffer: A bottle of K-Y Jelly (the kind that heats up).
“My Secret,” Frank Warren
Rape. Coming out. Suicide. Anti-elderly. Drug addictions. The guy you slept with last weekend (OK, not that one). Like Frank Warren’s first book “PostSecret,” a collection of postcards inscripted with secrets, its companion is creative, honest and often heartbreaking. At half the size of the first collection, “My Secret” is a compelling sequel to Warren’s debut of anonymous, decorated postcards from around the country. Several of the book’s intimate confessions explore homosexuality. One postcard says, “My parents found out I am gay. They hate gays. They are disgusted by me. I tell myself that I hate them for rejecting me. I would do anything, any sick, immoral, Godless thing to hear them say, ‘I love you no matter what.'” Like a personal song we’ll put on repeat, Warren’s creative concept makes an addictive read. And a perfect coffee table addition.
“The Little Mermaid” Special Edition DVD
Hold me back. I’m on the verge of busting out “Part Of Your World” every time this Disney film is mentioned (like the time I was forced by my Long Island to sing it at aut Bar). Aside from the uber-gay sing-a-longs, this tale of a mermaid who just wants to get laid on land (for obvious reasons Disney cut this scene) and gives up her beautiful voice to Ursula (who I’m convinced is a closeted bull dyke), gets a visual and audio facelift. That in itself would be reason enough to own the restored edition. But then we’ve got the cute li’l fin flipper Flounder, oodles of extras and a handsome prince who’s invited to Christmas Eve at my Nana’s house (7 p.m. sharp. Send e-mail for address).