With less than two weeks ’til Christmas, I know most of you are scrambling to get as much shopping done as possible and you might be a little stumped as to what someone young, fabulous, glamorous, sophisticated, awesome etc would want (unless you fit into that description and in that case, please hide your credit card because you will love this list). So please, let me be your guide to some essential must-have books, films, and albums that every pop-enthusiast will adore you for. And to make things easier for everyone, I’ve included links to the sites where you can purchase these gems–for the cheapest price possible.
The Veronicas are kind of an underground sensation for any lover of pop music. They have a bit of a cult following, and sound just as good live as they do on tape–all of which you can witness on this CD/DVD set. Filmed during their Australian string of Revenge is Sweeter tour dates, the DVD includes the full live performance and backstage footage. Australian readers can purchase the set at their official site, and anyone else (including American, Europe etc) can purchas it here.
Full of gorgeous melodies and startlingly heartbreaking lyrics, Neko Case’s “Middle Cylcone” was included on Rolling Stone’s album of the year list and is one I’ve had on repeat since I got it for my birthday a month ago. Album can be purchased here.
Jeff Buckley kind of has a niche fanbase, but I’m obsessed with him so I had to include this goldmine on my list. “Grace Around the World” is what every super fan NEEDS to own–seriously, this should be at the top of your list if you’re one. Included in this set are 2 DVDs–one is the “Amazing Grace” documentary which is more about his influence on fans lives and what a great person he was than his actual life; the second is a collection of live performances mostly from ’95 and a few from ’94. The special features on this disc are my favorite though because you have Merri Cyr’s tour diary which is basically home movies of Jeff on his first tour, some rare interviews and MOAR performances. Also included is a CD of the performances from the second DVD I was talking about, and a fan pack full of postcards a, backstage pass replica, Jeff’s flight pass replica, and a few other goodies. ALL of this can be purchased here.
Gaga’s “The Fame Monster”, and I’m not kidding when I say this, is the best pop record of the year. No other artist has gone to the extremes this woman has gone to for their “art.” And finally, the music is starting to mirror her antics. It’s wild, brash, and at times very weird. While it still remains to be seen if she’ll be the next Madonna (remember, people said the same thing about Britney at 23 and look what happened to her…) this record may be seen as the one that changed everything for Gaga years down the line. CD can be purchased here.
Before you see Reeve Carney as Spiderman on Broadway or pick up Carney’s debut album “Mr. Green”, get “Live at Molly Malones” to hear and see where it all started. His voice is a little huskier, the music is a bit jazzier, and it’s all absolutely brilliant. Standouts include “Amelie” (listen for Zane’s insane guitar solo) and the lovely “Think of You.” This comes as a CD/DVD set and can be purchased here.
For burlesque and glamour fans, Dita Von Teese’s “Stripteese” will be the perfect gift. The book is actually packaged as three small flipbooks that features three of Dita’s famous performances including the champagne glass one. The book can be purchased signed at Dita’s official site (click me) for $40 or unsigned here for $20.
One of the best books I read this year was “I’m With the Band”, written by legendary groupie Pamela DesBarres. The book was originally published in the seventies and was subject to a great deal of controversey due to DesBarre’s unapologetic tales of sleeping with and befriending nearly every rockstar of the sixties. The book can be purchased here.
“A Piece of Cake” is without a doubt, the most inspiring book I’ve ever read in my life. I got it last year for my birthday and I still say it’s one of my favorite books. Not for the faint of heart, “A Piece of Cake” is the memoir of Cupcake Brown who went through hell and back all before she was twenty–homelessness, prostitution, drug addiction, gang banging, a sadistic foster mother, and countless abortions–before she cleaned up life and became a lawyer. Great for any fan of memoirs or the recent movie “Precious.” The book can be purchased here.
One of the best films about Gen-X and what can only be described as a snapshot of a generation, “Reality Bites” is just as honest and relevant today as it was fifteen years ago. Basically anyone with an interest in the nineties or who lived through it will love this. The 10th Anniversary Edition has some fab special featuers like Lisa Loeb’s video for “Stay”, a few features on the making on the film, a soundtrack doc, and much more. DVD can be purchased here.
17 Again was the movie that proved Zac Efron could act, and is in general, a very fun movie. Sure, it has it’s cliched happy ending and a few embarrasing slap-stick moments but the movie has a heart and Efron genuinely moves you in a few scenes. Unfortunately the DVD comes with NO special features, but it’s still a must-have and can be purcahsed here.
Some critics dismissed “Whatever Works” as dated, but I found it to be a really charming movie. Larry David can occassionally come across as one-dimensional, but Evan Rachel Wood and Patricia Clarkson shine as two ditzy southern women running away from their home to start a new life in New York City. Any fan of David, Wood, or Woody Allen films will probably love this. DVD can be purchased here.
Since Meryl Streep is the queen of movies right now, chances are most women (and some men) would love this. The movie was quite a success with critics and audiences alike, and isn’t the least bit superficial or pretentious–just great fun. DVD can be purchased here.