Home > Arts/Culture/Entertainment > The 2019 Reader Gift Guide

Salem Collo-Julin,
listings coordinator

You’re Here! Now What? zine and other items by the Yollocalli Arts Reach teen crew via the National Museum of Mexican Art online market ($5-$8) mkt.com/national-museum-of-mexican-art/

“Notes” T-shirt designed by Arts of Life artist Jean Wilson ($25) artsoflife.org/shop

Private tour for three in a Tesla sedan ($250+) chicagodetours.com/small-group-private-tours/

Whole salami from Romanian Kosher Sausage Co. 7200 N. Clark ($25-$35) romaniankoshersausage.com/products

“Koko Cat Skateboarding” enamel pin from Kokorokoko 1323 N. Milwaukee ($10) etsy.com/listing/639287484/koko-cat-skateboarding-enamel-lapel-pin?ref=shop_home_active_1&frs=1

Chicken Chews dog treats from the Chicago Bone Company 2704 N. California ($12) chicagobonecompany.com/merch

Custom-built cat tree from Cat Tree Kingdom ($100-$600) cattreekingdom.org/super-sized_trees


  • Courtesy Blue Island Traditional Medicine

Nutritional counseling sessions at Blue Island Traditional Medicine 1843 N. Racine ($60-$75, some insurance accepted) blueislandtraditionalmedicine.com/therapies

Maya Dukmasova, staff writer

click to enlarge COURTESY VIHANGA

  • Courtesy Vihanga

Kinnera long-sleeved cotton silk crop top from Vihanga ($160) vihanga.co/collections/s-s-2019/products/sheer-blue-hibiscus-long-sleeve?variant=30938577469504

“Chance and Bey” T-shirt by Sheila Rashid ($45) sheilarashid.com/collections/all/products/chance-and-bey-touched-my-overalls-t-shirt

Line pattern bowl ($49) or Japanese incense ($12-$35) from Five Elements Home 5239 N. Clark fiveelementshome.com/

Gourmet gelato from Angelo’s Gelato Italiano ($3-$4 per pint at local grocers including Devon Market, 1440 W. Devon) angelogelato.com/home.html

Leor Galil, music writer

click to enlarge COURTESY POP TOY POP

  • Courtesy Pop Toy Pop

Steve Bravo’s “Harold’s Over East” Harold’s Chicken Shack sweatshirt from Pop Toy Pop ($50) poptoypop.bigcartel.com/product/harold-s-over-east-black

Visible and Invisible Persons: Distributed in Space from the Numero Group (LP $22, MP3 $10) numerogroup.com/products/visible-and-invisible-persons-distributed-in-space

Sergej Vutuc’s photo zine Western Avenue from Half Letter Press ($7) halfletterpress.com/western-ave

Ezra Claytan Daniels and Ben Passmore’s graphic novel Bttm Fdrs from Fantagraphics ($29) fantagraphics.com/bttm-fdrs

Avery R. Young’s Neckbone: Visual Verses from Northwestern University Press ($25, nupress.northwestern.edu/content/neckbone) and Tubman LP ($8, fperecs.bandcamp.com/album/tubman)

Noname’s Book Club bookmark bundle ($10) nonamebooks.com/shop

“No System: Affirmation” T-shirt from Trap House Chicago ($30) traphousechicago.us/product-page/no-system-affirmation

Observations: Year One chapbook by Spencer Tweedy ($12) observations.website

“Vote Leor for best pizza” T-shirt by Ryan Duggan at Redbubble ($17.36, proceeds go to Chicago Reader) redbubble.com/people/chicagoreader/works/41539559-vote-leor-for-best-pizza-best-of-chicago-2019?p=t-shirt

Lauren Michele Jackson’s White Negroes: When Cornrows Were in Vogue and Other Thoughts on Cultural Appropriation from Beacon Press ($25.95) beacon.org/White-Negroes-P1521.aspx

Janaya Greene, social media coordinator

Bitch magazine subscription ($29.95) bitchmedia.org/subscribe/new


  • Courtesy Reformed School

Maxine Waters or Bayard Rustin enamel pin from Reformed School ($12) etsy.com/shop/ReformedSchool

Honey Whiskey soap bar from Soap Distillery ($8) soapdistillery.com/collections/handmade-­soaps/products/honey-whiskey-soap-bar

Fiyah Fit Afro-­Caribbean Dance Fitness classes at Haji Healing Salon 746 E. 79th ($15 drop-in classes, $125 for ten) ladysolpresents.com

AKG K240 professional studio headphones ($45) akg.com

Deanna Isaacs, senior staff writer

Two-session course on Dinosaurs and Other Fossils of Egypt at the Oriental Institute 1155 E. 58th ($98) oi.uchicago.edu

Original art from South Side Community Art Center’s Holiday Sale, December 6 and 7 at South Side Community Art Center 3831 S. Michigan, sscartcenter.org


  • Courtesy Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Verdi: Otello, Riccardo Muti conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, two-CD set from CSO Resound ($34.99) symphonystore@cso.org

Andrew Patner’s A Portrait in Four Movements: The Chicago Symphony Under Barenboim, Boulez, Haitink, and Muti from University of Chicago Press ($27.50) press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/P/bo36844914.html

Original art from Woman­Made Gallery’s Small Works Show, December 6-15 at Lacuna Lofts 2150 S. Canalport ($50-$300) womanmade.org/small-works-members-show-2019/

Jamie Ludwig, associate editor

Come Go With Me: The Stax Years by the Staples Singers, deluxe seven-LP box set from Craft Recordings ($159.99) found.ee/staplesingers-pivot-g

Ministry: Prescripture, limited-edition visual history book about Ministry (LOL, this could be a “careful what you wish for” situation) ($75 preorder) melodicvirtue.com/products/ministry-prescripture

Ipsento: Coffee 101 class at Ipsento Coffee 2035 N. Western ($80, with Groupon offers as low as $55) eventbrite.com/o/ipsento-coffee-729620843

Haymarket Books Book Club membership (packages at $20, $25, and $30 per month for a total of up to 40 titles a year) haymarketbooks.org/blogs/51-join-the-haymarket-book-club

Yasou Vegan Skin Care Set ($135 includes day and night creams) yasouskincare.com/shop/day-and-night/

Blade & Bloom’s Rich Lip Balm in Crush ($12) bladeandbloom.com/collections/all/rich-lip-balm

Badass reclaimed leather purse by Ransack Leather (as low as $70 or $290 for the studded Rock & Roll large shoulder duffle) etsy.com/shop/ransackleather/?fbclid=IwAR3w0FIEdm7h4WMI6XruHQ_Bk-VYytGI


  • courtesy the Chicago School of Guitar Making

Guitar setup and maintenance class at Specimen Chicago School of Guitar Making 1240 N. Homan ($275-$365) specimenproducts.com/product/setup-maintenance-guitar-bass/

Dark Matter coffee subscription to limited-­edition monthly blends (three-, six-, and 12-month options at $20 per bag) darkmattercoffee.com/products/subscription

Karen Hawkins, coeditor in chief

Online or in-store gift card for Women & Children First 5233 N. Clark, womenandchildrenfirst.com/gift-cards

“Bad Girls Throughout History 2020” wall calendar from Feminist Speakeasy ($15) feministspeakeasy.com/collections/frontpage/products/bad-girls-throughout-history-wall-2020-calendar

Mnemosyne Spiral Notebook B5 at Martha Mae 5407 N. Clark ($12) marthamae.info/collections/notebooks-and-stationery/products/mnemosyne-lined-notebook-b5?variant=23734462742586


  • Courtesy the Silver Room

“Black Girl Magic” crop top from the Silver Room 1506 E. 53rd ($25) thesilverroom.com/collections/featured/products/black-girl-magic-crop-top

Sue Kwong, creative lead

Kitchen towels by Rhymes With Twee ($10) etsy.com/shop/rhymeswithtwee/

Organic hair products from Ultimate Fresher ($10-$25) ultimatefresher.com

Winged Scarf by Sophia Reyes ($68) sophiareyes.com/wingedscarf

Ethically sourced Monona llama coat by Dene Apparel ($299) denebapparel.com

Cochineal & Eco Dyeing Workshop in Oaxaca, Mexico, conducted by Amy Taylor ($230) msamytaylor.com/products/cochineal-eco-dyeing-workshop-in-oaxaca-mexico

People- and planet-friendly laundry powders and stain removers from Meliora Cleaning Products ($12.99-$44.49) meliorameansbetter.com/collections/laundry

click to enlarge COURTESY SPIRIT TEA

  • Courtesy Spirit Tea

Sampler sets from Spirit Tea ($21) spirittea.co/collections

Tickets to the Signature Show at Chicago Magic Lounge 5050 N. Clark ($45-$60 per seat) chicagomagiclounge.com/purchase-tickets

S. Nicole Lane, editorial associate

“Sling” Shadowsex T-shirt featuring SM artist Joseph W. Bean ($20 plus $8.50 per order shipping or available at the Leather Archives and Museum, 6550 N. Clark) squareup.com/store/leatherarchives/item/t-shirt-leather-sex-shadows-sling

Morton Arboretum yearlong membership ($60-$1,500) mortonarb.org/join-today

Crave Vesper stainless-­steel mini vibrator necklace at Early to Bed 5044 N. Clark or online ($72) early2bed.com/crave-vesper.html

click to enlarge COURTESY ALCALA'S

  • Courtesy Alcala’s

Continental fringed pink suede coat from Alcala’s Western Wear 1733 W. Chicago or online ($269.99)

Custom-made chain harness by Plz Be Careful (starting at $70) instagram.com/plzbecareful/

Sun, Moon, and Rising Slap Pack zodiac stickers from Attitude Seven ($10) attitudeseven.com/bodega/zodiac-slap

Philip Montoro, music editor

Discount card for West African dance classes from Ayodele Drum & Dance ($45 for five classes or $85 for ten, regular price $10 per class) ayodeledrumanddance.com/itinerary.php

Galactic Zoo Dossier mixtape club 2020 subscription ($40 for six 90-­minute cassettes of rare psych, hard rock, glam, punk, prog, and more, compiled by Steve Krakow) plasticcrimewave.com/merchandise-1

click to enlarge COURTESY PHINEAS X. JONES

  • Courtesy Phineas X. Jones

Custom mounted polymer-­clay sculpture of a real or imaginary animal by Phineas X. Jones (contact artist for quote) octophant.us/sculpt

The Chicago Neighborhood Guidebook, edited by Martha Bayne, from Belt Publishing ($16 online) beltpublishing.com/products/chicago-­neighborhood-guidebook

Gift card for Off Color Brewing’s Mousetrap taproom 1460 N. Kingsbury, offcolorbrewing.­com/store/gc

Gift subscription to Elastic Arts 3429 W. Diversey #208 (from $100; premiums include an Elastic T-shirt and a 20 percent discount to most events) elasticarts.org/donate

Next Chapter membership at the Newberry Library 60 W. Walton (donation of $50 or more includes admission for two to the Book Fair Preview Night; Next Chapter restricted to ages 21 through 45) go.newberry.org/next-chapter-gift

Jamie Ramsay, director of photography

Macrame plant hanger workshop at Urban Macrame Fibers ($45) airbnb.com/experiences/15726

Saffron & Smoke (or Peppercorn Rose) Body Bar from Wood & Wax Co. ($12) woodandwaxco.com/collections/body-bars/products/saffron-smoke-body-bar-wood-wax-co

click to enlarge COURTESY WOOD & WAX CO.

  • Courtesy Wood & Wax Co.

Vegan prix fixe dinner at Fancy Plants Cafe 613 W. Briar ($45) experiences.chefsfeed.com/account/profile/kevin.schuder.9/

Tickets to Windy City Rollers roller derby ($15 per bout, $40 season pass) brownpapertickets.com/event/4449040

Hand-thrown Small Brushstroke Plate from Monsoon Pottery ($36) monsoonpottery.com

Gift certificate for custom framing at April 7s 766 N. Milwaukee, instagram.com/april7s/?hl=en

Sugoi Sweets Bonbon Box of 12 ($37) sugoi­sweets.com/collections/holiday-reserve

Kerry Reid, theater and dance editor

click to enlarge COURTESY TRANSIT TEES

  • Courtesy Transit Tees

“El: The Chicago Transit Adventure” board game from Transit Tees 5226 N. Clark ($40) transittees.com/el-the-chicago-transit-adventure-board-game

Cash or in-kind donation to no-kill shelter Felines & Canines 6379 N. Paulina, felinescanines.org

Dance classes at Old Town School of Folk Music 4544 N. Lincoln ($132-$156 for eight-week session) oldtownschool.org/classes/adults/

Imani Perry’s Looking for Lorraine: The Radical and Radiant Life of Lorraine Hansberry from Penguin Random House at Women and Children First 5233 N. Clark ($17.95) womenandchildrenfirst.com/book/9780807039830

Dark chocolate assortment from Belgian Chocolatier Piron 509-A Main St., Evanston ($24.50 per half-pound box) belgchocpiron.com/signature-assortment/dark-chocolate-assortment

Kate Schmidt, deputy editor

Tao of Nuts chocolate-­covered almonds from Chicago Artizen ($11-$41) chicagoartizen.com/store/p20/TaoofNuts.html

Buy one, get one free subscription to Poetry magazine ($35 for two, additional subscriptions $17.50) pcdfusion.com/pcd/Order?iKey=I**BG5


  • Courtesy the Music Box Theatre

Gift certificate to the Music Box Theatre 3733 N. Southport, musicboxtheatre.com

CDs by local Delmark recording artists, e.g., the Paul Giallorenzo Trio’s Flow ($15.99) delmark.com/product/5026

Fitness membership or classes at 360 Mind Body Soul ($25 single-class drop-in, 30-day rookie trial with unlimited classes for $60, yearlong membership $99) 360mbs.com/pricing

Pet portrait by Dmitry Samarov ($200 for a framed gouache painting “any size within reason,” $20 for a pen sketch) dmitrysamarov.com/gallery/illustrations/petportraits_index.html

Prints or gifts from Chicago Printmakers’ 30th anniversary International Print Exhibition and Holiday Sale, December 7-8 at Chicago Printmakers Collaborative 4912 N. Western, chicagoprintmakers.com/print-making-gallery-chicago

Drinking chocolate or truffle sets from Katherine Anne Confections 2745 W. Armitage ($21-$24) katherine-anne.com/truffles  v

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