Homies for the Holidays
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
Nubian Queen Lola's wall o' gifts: For a change this holiday season, why not pick up something totally unique, superfly, and hand-crafted with love – and do your community some good? And how better to back up our commander-in-chief right now than the Obama Woodcut?! Featuring a handsome likeness of our president worthy of your most mantely mantel, this regal portrait puts those TV collector plates from late '08 to shame. Impressed by a newspaper account of Lola's extensive homeless outreach, some incarcerated gentlemen have decided to donate the products they make in the shop so she can put the proceeds into meals for the underserved. In addition to the sweet array of woodcuts, you'll find lovely paintings, gorgeous leather crafts (stamped and tanned by Lola's husband, Otis Bell), and more wall hangings, all $2-130 (average $20).
New Brohemia: Sure, you're already onto New Bohemia, the discerning South Congress vintage concern. But do you know about its Bro, ham? Its brotherly compadre offers one-stop shopping for the person in your life with a proclivity toward natty menswear, especially if your particular proclivity is of the budget-minded. The dead-stocked and gently vogued bounty includes sweetly arrayed configurations of pearl-snap shirts in all colors, sizes, and eras; a rainbow of guayaberas; the curiously beloved "leather sweater" (about 20% leather in the form of patches and the rest knit); boyfriend (or girlfriend, if you are the proud owner of a big beefy dyke) jewelry; and if that's not enough to blow your mind, there is an adjacent discount/clearance area in the back. Shop on, bromeisterpants.
TapeLenders/Skivvies: Austin's queer video and gay pride nerve center features more than just rainbow windsocks and Jeff Stryker show-and-tells; TapeLenders proves that somewhere over the rainbow, there does exist a smidge of taste. And of course, there's the video catalog a mere stumble down the staircase. The most thrilling division of TapeLenders, however, is Skivvies. Everyone knows where to get panties, but Skivvies has manties – men's underwear more stimulating than a gross of tighty-whities and less mortifying than the hysterical boxers at Wal-Mart. Metro-, pomo-, and pyro-sexuals alike may revel in the panoply of underpants that is Skivvies, the undergarment and accessories store-within-a-store at TapeLenders. It carries Andrew Christian, Diesel, 2(x)ist, Ginch Gonch, Timoteo, Justus Boyz, Unico, Private Structure, PPU, and Priape, among many others. The target is obviously the gay market, but really, if you guys (straight, dyke, and lady guys) knew what type of man pants your lovers liked, you'd get a lot more action. Trust us.
Monolithic Dome Institute goodies: The Domes for the World nonprofit and Monolithic Dome Institute (or, as we like to call it, "Those Monolithic People") is selling all sorts of great holiday gifties to support its cause of "providing permanent, fireproof, disaster-resistant homes and community buildings," as its mission says, "that are shaped like pregnant mushrooms," as we say. For less than $15, you can flavor your pal's favorite wall with Monolithic's 2010 calendar, and hats, shirts, and mugs featuring the swooshy domers logo can be had for $6-20. For the strongly intended, there are books, CDs, and DVDs with titles like Dome Living, How to Build an EcoShell, and Urethane Foam: Magic Material – and the Best Kept Insulation Secret Evarrrr (okay, we added that last word). For the truly hardcore, there are floor plans, CO² meters, and more. You'll be able to boast the difference between shotcrete and Jell-O shots in no time. – Kate X Messer
Nubian Queen Lola's Cajun Soul Food Kitchen, 1815 Rosewood, 474-5652, www.nubianqueenlolas.com. New Brohemia, 2209 S. First, 804-0988, www.newboaustin.com. TapeLenders/Skivvies, 1114 W. Fifth #201, 472-0844, www.tapelenders.com. Monolithic Dome Institute, 117 Dome Park Place, Italy, TX 76651, 972/483-7423, www.monolithic.com.