Mark and I have rounded up some of our favorite items from our 2009 Boing Boing reviews for the second-annual Boing Boing gift guide. We'll do one a day for the next six days, covering media (music/games/DVDs), gadgets and stuff, kids' books, novels, nonfiction, and comics/graphic novels/art books. Today, it's media!
Here Comes Science:
I am thoroughly smitten with the new They Might Be Giants kids' album, Here Comes Science, which ships with a charming DVD of videos and supplementary material. In the best traditions of awesome educational kids music — Schoolhouse Rock, the Animaniacs, Electric Company — Here Comes Science combines top-notch pop music with humor that's aimed at both kids and adults (I once heard the creators of Sesame Street discuss how the inclusion of humor targeted at adults meant that grownups were more likely to watch with the kids, and thus be on hand to answer questions and discuss the material; this should be gospel for everyone who makes media for kids). And, of course, the material is great. Better than great. Perfect. This is the album They Might Be Giants was put on Earth to record: they are genuine science nerds, and it shows.
Rolling Stone Cover
to Cover: The First 40 Years Every issue on three DVDs and
works with Windows and Mac. It's fun to search on terms to see when
they first appeared in Rolling Stone. "Punk Rock" made its debut in
1973 (though it was about garage punk, not the punk rock that began in
1975). An October 1977 article by Charley Walters called "Punk: Pretty
Vacant Music" is the first to mention The Clash. (Walters has good
things to say about The Clash, but dismisses punk rock music in
general as "overly simplistic and rudimentary. It's also not very
The Princess Bride (20th Anniversary Edition):
Justin Watt sez, "the latest cover of the Princess Bride DVD has an amazing ambigram." Indeed it does — a suitably awesome cover for one of the finest movies ever made.
Glitter and Doom Live (Tom Waits):
Glitter and Doom is the latest Tom Waits CD, a double live-disc featuring tracks from his US/Euro 2008 tour, along with a disc of him basically telling jokes and shooting the shit with the audience. It's a real winner.
Stop Making Sense:
Mine too. This is the best concert movie I've ever seen, one of the greatest albums ever recorded, and the amazing thing is that the trajectory of the band and its components went up from there. I've been listening to the new Byrne/Eno for weeks on heavy rotation and going crazy over it.
Mister Rogers Swings!:
Holly Yarbrough's Mister Rogers Swings! is a fine collection of swinging, jazzy, uptempo covers of songs from classic episodes of Mr Rogers' Neighborhood, with a big, brassy band backing sweet, passionate vocals.
Monster Kid Home Movies:
Monster Kid Home Movies is an utterly exuberant celebration of monster-obsessed amateur creativity, and the films are filled with raw enthusiasm for the genre. These are Forry Ackerman's spiritual progeny at their most ingenious, contriving incredible costumes, ill-advised stunts, clever camera work, and often hilarious hamming to recreate the famous monsters of filmland.
The IT Crowd, Vol 3:
This was the funniest season yet — the Friendster episode was nothing short of brilliant. The show has hit its stride and is triumphantly stalking the airwaves. Best of all were the shots of the densely decorated set, which was dressed by Boing Boing readers and fans of the show, who sent their favorite nerd memorabilia to the show for inclusion.
Left 4 Dead — a first-person, team-play zombie game — is one of the most compelling, nightmarish, cinematic games I've ever seen. Part of it is the excellent play mechanics, part of it is the music (which has its own AI subsystem to ensure that it follows your play and makes appropriate, dramatic swellings at all the right times), part of it is the superb writing — but it's mostly the fact that computer generated zombies are supposed to inhabit the uncanny valley, so these undead critters seem incredibly lifelike.
Free to Be…You and Me (Marlo Thomas):
Free To Be… You and Me was one of my favorite movie/record/books when I was growing up. Marlo Thomas's 1972 project brought together an all-star cast to perform songs, poems and sketches that challenged gender stereotypes and delivered a fundamentally humane, loving message about being who you are and not being constrained by society's expectations.
- Boing Boing's Holiday Gift Guide part one: Kids
- Boing Boing's Holiday Gift Guide part two: Fiction – Boing Boing
- Boing Boing's Holiday Gift Guide part three: Gadgets and stuff …
- Boing Boing's Holiday Gift Guide part four: Comics, graphic novels …
- Boing Boing's Holiday Gift Guide part five: Nonfiction – Boing Boing