It's time for the annual CrazyStable wrap-up of the grooviest holiday shopping on the planet, right here in Brooklyn. In this time of economic downturn, you could head to some soul-crushing mall and buy marked-down practical crap...or you could feed the souls of you and those you love with absolutely original, delightful, artisanal delights from Brooklyn's niftiest neighborhoods. I know, tough choice, but that stuffy food court with the free samples of Teriyaki Chicken and the piped-in Muzak will always be there next year. Hit the brisk streets, (or the Internet in many cases if you can't get out) and check it out!
First, close to home, is my baby: the gorgeous 2009 calendar based on my other blog, Prospect: A Year in the Park. You can order with one-click PayPal at www.ayearainthepark.com. It's a 12-month, full-color, bookstore-quality calendar of my best photos of Prospect Park's stunning art, architecture, woods, meadows, and lake. And because I wanted, not some old template, but the design I saw in my head--open, airy, studded with dazzling little details--I learned Adobe InDesign and designed it myself. The park has been a huge gift to my life this year, (I call it "the mystical green heart of Brooklyn" and also my Urban Narnia), and this is my way of making it a gift you can give to yourself and others. Want to save shipping and get your calendar signed by ze artist? Come to the St. Boniface crafts fair next Sunday afternoon, Dec. 14th, at St. Joseph's High School, 382 Bridge Street (on Willoughby). And no, I have not gone totally digital: For my hand-made book art, check out www.tenthleper.us for inspiring pochoir accordion books in slipcases, pocket-sized treasures of Walt Whitman verse, and a solstice message from one of the Twentieth Century's most interesting women.
My Bloody Brilliant Brooklyn Buddies
Art from living artists: the coolest gift in the universe. Let's start with painter Karen Friedland, whose collectors wait all year for her home studio sale each December (perhaps because she is prone to absurdly gentle pricing around the holidays). Her vibrant work could turn a DMV waiting room into a joyous dreamscape. She renders armchairs, cafes and foreign cityscapes into wild visions of color, but I am partial to her tenderly evocative elephants (shown). Karen's sale is at 190 Marlborough Road (Q train, Beverly Road station), next weekend, Dec. 13 and 14th, between 1-5 p.m.
More brilliance: Awesome paintings and hand-painted silk scarves from artist/illustrator Betsy Day. Treasure-loaded jewelry designs from Sam Tomasello. Books and prints of enchantment from Kris Waldherr (another fellow Flatbusher). Environmental mixed-media things of beauty from Kathy Levine (who's having a home studio sale of her own--yes, in Flatbush, the Next Arts Hot Spot--this weekend and next).
Holiday Fair Madness
Finally, there are absurd numbers of great craft and art fairs happening this weekend and next, and we are not talking orange-acrylic-knitted toilet-paper covers here, folks. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)
Sunday, Dec. 7: Starting close to home, Holy Name School (attended by Daughter) is having a Holiday Fair from 12 til 4 p.m.; they're at the intersection of Prospect Avenue and Prospect Park West in Windsor Terrace, go through the parking lot to the hall underneath the church.
For major hipness, check out the Third Ward Handmade Holiday Craft Fair in Bushwick (hey, Williamsburg is, like, so over, man!) Dec. 7 from 12 to 7 p.m. They promise "vintage wares, and everything else from jewelry to LED Hula hoops to dog costumes" (hey, I need, like, all of those!), plus a D.J. called "Sigmund Droid." It's at 195 Morgan Avenue; go here for more info.
Don't laugh: Give Gowanus for the holidays! No, not the canal water, although that would be edgy. Some of the best artists (discovered and un-) in Brooklyn are showing and selling each weekend from now through Dec. 22. (Shown: Eddie E. Cato's"Gowanus El" from 1972.) The Gowanus Conservancy's art show and sale features more than 125 oils, watercolors, photos and other media, with many smaller works priced for actual buying. The works reflect the haunting spare beauty of the surrounding post-industrial landscape (big sky, hulking bridges, brownstones, cobblestones) and beyond, and I love it.
Now go out there and shop; for the sake of our great nation's economy it is your civic duty to spend lavishly!