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|December 18-24, 2008
• Unique Local Gifts 2
Unique local gifts
Unique local gifts
From perfume to art to creative toys, locally owned shops offer something special for everyone
by Boulder Weekly staff
Why buy local? That’s an easy question to answer. When you shop at independently owned local businesses, your entire community benefits from your purchase. If you spend $100 at a local business, about $68 of that amount remains in the community circulating among fellow Boulder residents. If you shop at a national chain, only about $43 of your purchase stays in Boulder.
Shopping locally is a kind of economic stimulus — one that we control with our pocketbooks. Keeping money in your community means helping to keep jobs. The more of your money you spend locally, the more tax money is reinvested in your community, benefiting your streets, shops and neighborhoods.
Shopping locally is also the green thing to do, as less money and fewer resources are used on packaging and transportation, lowering your carbon footprint as a consumer.
Fortunately, Boulder County is home to a rich variety of locally owned businesses. When it comes to holiday shopping, you have many options for finding just the right gift for the people on your list — both those those who’ve been nice and those who’ve been very, very naughty.
To make things easier for you, and to suggest some options you might not have considered, Boulder Weekly has compiled a brief listing of some of Boulder County’s best places for holiday shopping.
For more ideas, go to the Boulder Independent Business Alliance website at www.boulder-iba.org or the Think Local First Longmont website at www.longmontsba.org/thinklocalfirst/program.
4593 North Broadway, D120 / 720-563-0344
Since 1999, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz has worked in her North Boulder studio making perfume drop by drop, combing essential oils and other natural essences by hand to produce one-of-a-kind scents. She has a devoted clientele that includes Hollywood movie stars, New York fashionistas and Parisian scent connoisseurs. But this fall, DSH, as she is known in the world of artisan perfumes, has opened her studio to the public.
Essence Studios, her new vintage scent parlor, is the only location where clients have access to all of the myriad scents she has developed through the years. DSH also offers fragrance consultations, custom perfume designing and aromatherapy consultations by appointment. Stop by the studio and sniff her signature scents, or set up a consultation and have her craft a scent that’s perfect for you or your loved one. It’s the perfect luxury holiday gift with options available for every pocketbook, including gift certificates.
“Many of our local clients have been urging us to open a space that would cater to the type of self-expression, artistic quality and ingredients that our Boulder clientele expects and needs,” Spencer Hurwitz says. “We feel that the Essence Studio is a unique experience that offers a very high level of expertise and large variety of products to this sophisticated community. There is no other place like it in Boulder.”
DSH plans to expand the studio in 2009 to include Boulder County’s first and only perfume museum that offers a look back through the centuries at the art of perfume making and bottling. She is currently offering clients a sneak peek with a display of beautiful miniature and full-size perfume bottles dating back as far as 1900 with the original perfume still inside.
“Once we get the whole thing up, it’s going to be so amazing,” Spencer Hurwitz says. “We’re going to be able to start teaching classes like perfume appreciation and perfume history. It’s a growing interest in this country. The concept of perfume as an art form is really starting to pick up.”
2550 Arapahoe Ave. / 303-444-7502
Applying a bit of science to having fun, PlayFair Toys offers an incredible selection of toys that are free from gender-based stereotypes and violence. The store was started by Dr. Phyllis Katz, whose research demonstrated that children are heavily influenced by the kinds of toys that adults give them. The current owner, Dr. Marilyn Walker, has maintained the store’s focus on fairness and nonviolence, and the selection of toys available at PlayFair is better for it. With guns and movie tie-in merchandise out of the way, the emphasis of PlayFair’s toys is on having pure, innocent fun. Puppets and puzzles, blocks and building sets, fairies and firefighters, space toys and sand toys, dragons and dinosaurs — the imagination knows no bounds. A stroll through the aisles at PlayFair is bound to make you wish you were a kid again. Toys R who?
Angie Star Jewelry
720-565-0288 / 1807 Pearl St.
North Star Jewelry Supply
4680 North Broadway
Local favorite Angie Star Jewelry is known for its unique custom jewelry and environmental ethic. From designer collections to custom bridal pieces, Angie Star offers handmade jewelry that can’t be found anywhere else.
Building on that success, Angie Star, owned and operated by Angie Olsgard, has opened a new boutique in North Boulder called North Star Jewelry Supply. The new location offers not only the same breathtaking jewelry one finds at the Pearl Street location, but also jewelry supplies, an endless assortment of beads, and custom jewelry-making classes from expert designers on topics ranging from ring making to metal smithing to stone setting and more.
“We’ve had so many people over the years loving our materials and wanting to take classes, but we’ve never had room,” says Olsgard. “So a good friend of ours referred us to North Boulder.”
North Star also offers birthday parties and other activities, including private instruction.
“It’s whatever people want it to be,” she says. “We’re just yes people at North Star.”
Gift options include custom handmade jewelry, beads and jewelry supplies and gift certificates for jewelry or for classes. North Star has instruction packages that include basic supplies plus classes.
As an added bonus, both locations are moving toward green jewelry design, using 99.9 percent recycled precious metals. North Star is certified green, having been built entirely with sustainable building supplies. Classes include this important environmental component so that people learn to craft jewelry in an eco-friendly way from the start.
“Eco friendly is really important in all industries, but I think especially in jewelry making,” Olsgard says.
Chantique Antique Lighting
1200 Pearl St. / 303-915-8229
Chantique offers antique chandeliers recycled into lighting fixtures that work in the modern home. From glinting Parisian crystal to polished bronze, its inventory is truly one-of-a-kind, not only preserving these antique treasures but reusing them. The store also offers unique furniture, artwork and other treasures.
Left Hand Books
1200 Pearl Street #10 / 303-443-8252
Left Hand Books is a unique all-volunteer, not-for-profit, nonsectarian collective that has been providing Boulder with the best in hard-to-find books since 1979. With a broad range of titles on topics ranging from Latin American political history to GLBTQ issues to food and agriculture, Left Hand Books also carries literature, hosts events and offers videos for rental. That pithy progressive bumper sticker you’ve been seeing around town? Left Hand Books is probably where it came from. Buttons, T-shirts, bumper stickers, posters — they have it all. Stop in to find the perfect gift for your aging hippie parents or your favorite college-aged radical. Or support this special institution by gifting the progressives on your holiday list with a membership to the collective, enabling them to receive 10 percent off on purchases.
The Bead Lounge
320 Main St., Longmont / 303-678-9966
The Bead Lounge offers hand-made items for everyone on your holiday shopping list. With more than 4,000 square feet of shop space dedicated to beads, it offers the widest selection of beautiful beads in Northern Colorado. In addition, Bead Lounge offers Native American art, sculpture, handmade bags, scarves and more. Sign a loved one up for a class in beading, metal and wire, precious metal clay or porcelain clay, or purchase a gift certificate that can be redeemed on Bead Lounge’s eclectic inventory. Bead Lounge also hosts birthday parties, ladies night out parties, club events and meetings, bridal parties and office parties.
Boulder Arts and Crafts Gallery
1421 Pearl St. / 303-443-3683
Boulder Arts and Crafts Gallery, an artist cooperative since 1971, is owned and operated by its 42 artist members, providing customers with a unique level of contact with the artists. The gallery features fine art and contemporary crafts by more than 200 local, regional and national artists. You’ll find paintings, prints, photography, jewelry, pottery, stained and blown glass, sculpture, handcrafted furniture and more made by Colorado artists. Support local artists while finding unique gifts for the special people in your life.
1107 Pearl St. / 303-447-2074
Be warned: if you step inside Boulder Bookstore in search of the perfect gift for someone this season, you’re likely to find yourself browsing the aisles for much longer than you intended. Why? Boulder Bookstore is a bibliophile’s paradise with a wide selection of books and periodicals and all those little things that make bookish types so happy — note cards, bookmarks, pens, magnets and much, much more. If you can’t decide what to get, Boulder Bookstore offers gift cards. Or consider buying your loved ones a Readers Guild membership that nets them an automatic 10 percent off purchases.
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Make out with a local musician (or at least buy their album)
by Dale Bridges
When I was in junior high, my friends started a rock band called Puke Turd. Admittedly, the word “rock” doesn’t exactly describe their musical style, but there is no genre called “three loud, tone-deaf virgins with no rhythm.” Also, “band” is probably not an appropriate term either, since none of the members knew how to read music or play their instruments. Furthermore, come to think of it, they weren’t necessarily my “friends” so much as they were the only kids in school who didn’t punch me when I tried to talk to them.
Essentially, Puke Turd was composed of a dwarfish, pimpled miscreant named Stevers, an uncoordinated Neanderthal called Chuck-Chuck, and a foreign-exchange student who had an unpronounceable first name and was therefore referred to simply as Wiener.
Stevers, Chuck-Chuck and Wiener had one aspiration in life: to make out with girls. On the surface, this might not seem like a terribly ambitious goal, but if you ever saw these guys, you’d know that their desire to touch a female with their lips was equivalent to Paris Hilton hoping to one day solve the mysteries of String Theory.
Puke Turd performed only once. It was in Stever’s garage, and it was very, very bad. Close your eyes and imagine a dozen cats scratching their claws across a giant chalkboard while a dentist drills holes in your teeth and Celine Dion lets loose her anorexic banshee cry in the background. That would be lovely compared to the awful sound that Puke Turd produced.
Why am I telling you this? Because Wiener kissed a girl. That’s right, on the afternoon following this godawful concert, that portly Croatian smooched a sallow young babushka under a willow tree in his host parents’ backyard. Thus, I learned to appreciate the miracle of rock and the power of local music.
Here in Boulder, we are fortunate enough to have a plethora of talented musical artists who work hard and sound better than the whiney-slut music produced by Britney Spears & Co. on the radio. When you’re out and about doing your holiday shopping in the People’s Republic, remember the heart-warming story of Wiener and Puke Turd. And when you see a scruffy young musician playing music at your favorite pub, stick your tongue so far down their throat that you can taste the bottom of their Birkenstocks. Or at least buy their album.
Here are a few of our favorite local bands and our favorite local albums:
Suburban Mountain Music
The bread and butter of the Boulder music scene is still bluegrass, and we salute the bands who are taking the genre in new, exciting directions.
Boulder Acoustic Society, Caged Bird
Paper Bird, Anything Nameless & Joymaking
Elephant Revival, Elephant Revival
Hip Hop/Rap/White People Getting Down
Hip hop and Colorado have never been exactly synonymous, but with the indie scene opening new doors around the country, the Front Range is finally stepping up to the mike.
Flobots, Fight with Tools
Whiskey Blanket, Credible Forces
Umconscious, The Avenue
Folk will never die. Never. It is the most simple, straightforward musical storytelling method we have, and we will never run out of stories to tell.
WadiRum, Letters I Never Plan to Mail
Rebecca Folsom, Water On Stone
Trace Bundy, Missile Bell: Parts 1 & 2
Ben Jordan, A Home by Midnight
Dan Craig, Skin Grows Thin
Rock/Blues/Loud and Proud
It has long been thought that Boulder is not a conducive environment for modern rock music, but rock is a restless, lusty beast and it won’t be deterred by naysayers. Rock on, Boulder. Rock on.
Rose Hill Drive, Moon is the New Earth
Ego Vs Id, Volume II
Statewide Emergency, Another Point of View
Born in the Flood, The Feat That May Not Be
The Photo Atlas, No, Not Me, Never
Spyz, The Big C
Roe, Letters and Lights
Something Underground, We Came to Get Down
The Knew, Boom Bust
Workhorse, Beasts of Burden
Jazz/Gypsy/Awesome Weird Stuff
Weirdness is truly what local music is all about. Creativity has never been welcomed by the mainstream art pundits, but in Boulder the odd balls rule.
Laurie Dameron, I Can’t Wait to See You Again
Bela Karoli, Furnished Rooms
DeVotchKa, A Mad & Faithful Telling
Ukulele Loki and the Gadabout Orchestra, Ukulele Loki and the Gadabout Orchestra
Hearts of Palm, The Bridge
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