If you’d like to buy a physical gift card for your loved one, we’ll send them a bonus Make-a-Snowman kit containing all the ingredients for building a frozen friend. Also, who doesn’t love unwrapping a gift? (If your friend lives in a non-snowy climate, don’t worry: we’ve provided snow-free alternative activities.)
You can also choose to send an e-gift card. Just pick a date, and we’ll email your recipient that day. It’s the Best Email Ever.
Both gift card options are available in $95, $150, or $195.
Well, now that your gift-giving is taken care of, here’s what you can do with all that extra time:
-Perfect your triple toe loop.
-Train for the upcoming Feats of Strength. May you not be the head of your household.
Any parental drama we encountered in our teenage years is nothing compared to the dueling mother-daughter relationship at the center of Jonathan Lethem’s new novel, Dissident Gardens. Miriam is a rebellious teen growing up in Queens; her mother, Rose, is a forceful Communist given to shoving her daughter’s head into the oven to make a point.
The relationship sounds exhausting, and Lethem’s parade of characters—annoying cousin Lenny, Miriam’s searching son Sergius—are also, um, “big personalities”.
Yet each is animated so expertly and thoroughly that the cumulative effect is a propulsive energy that propels the plot forward.
The various chips on this family’s progressively sloping shoulders (the book spans three generations) may not necessarily endear them to readers, but so what? It’s a spectacle, and one that works well on the page.
Dissident Gardens by Jonathan Lethem, published by Doubleday
Superlatives is where we talk about what we’re currently enjoying, high-school style. This week, we’ve selected our favorite passages from The Luminaries, a new novel by Eleanor Catton.
Best Reason to Practice Your Handwriting
“Each item of business was described in the expansive, flourishing script that Balfour associated, in his mind, with a man who could afford to waste his ink on curlicues.”
Best Description of Worst Person Ever
“He was a private hedonist, perennially wrapped in the cocoon of his own senses, mindful, always, of the things he already possessed, and the things he had yet to gain; his subjectivity was comprehensive, and complete.”
Most Tragic Depiction of Solitude
“Even friendship would have seemed to Pritchard a feast behind a pane of glass; even the smallest charity would have wet his lip, and left him wanting.”
Best Faking of Nonchalance
“Lydia Wells always seemed to arrange herself in postures of luxury, so that she might be startled out of them, laughing, when someone approached.”
Most Discomfiting Example of Memory Loss
“He could not remember boarding a ship, and nor could he remember a shipwreck—though he seemed to recall being washed up on the beach, coughing seawater, both arms wrapped around a cask of salt beef.”
Who better to ask about D.C. culture and events than Svetlanta Legetic, founder of Brightest Young Things? Her web magazine covers anything and everything in the area: events, culture, go-to restaurants, new openings, and nightlife. The site will help you entertain your friends and fill your calendar to the brim. And if your parents are visiting for the weekend—they’ve got you covered there too.
We accompanied Svetlana to check out a couple of her favorite D.C. bars to cozy up in this winter.
You handle a lot of different content on BYT. Where do we start?
We always say the ideal way to use BYT is to live your life on it and approach it rabbit hole-style. For example, you could start by reading about a great show in the music section, then you wonder where to grab dinner beforehand or drinks after, so you head over to the food section. Then you think, ‘Oh wait, my mom is in town and I want to take her to a gallery and fancy brunch, and if I just click on this button, that will help.’ It should all flow one from the other.
Your personal schedule seems just as full. How many of those events either thrown by or promoted on BYT do you end up attending?
I’d say I attend 98.8 percent of our BYT Presents events—unless I am out of town or there is an emergency, I will be there. Otherwise, I probably go out three or four nights a week. The rest of the week I very actively work to not leave my couch.
Where will we find you on a day off?
I am a big fan of eating and drinking, so I am always trying to find a new favorite spot—some of the recent ones are Eat the Rich, Etto, Rose’s Luxury and Doi Moi. Add a good movie and some impulse retail and/or art therapy, and I am in heaven. Also, you can always find me on my couch.
When do you spend an evening at 1905, one of your favorite bars to visit this season?
We always do our Beaujolais (a French wine) event there. I celebrated my birthday there this year and in general, I feel very much at home there. It’s within a couple of blocks of DC9 and 9:30 Club, so it’s a great spot for a bite before the show or drinks after one.
I live across the street from it, so it is literally my other living room. Granted, my couch is not there but pretty much everything else is. I like to come in on off nights and order a perfect Old Fashioned.
What’s 4 across, nine letters, and two words for “necessary interval of restful isolation?”*
Let’s say you’ve got 48 hours, a closetful of sweaters, and a quiver of freshly-sharpened pencils for the Sunday crossword puzzle. Why not pull a Jack Torrance and lock yourself in for the weekend, see how things go? If you can avoid going crazy (winter does that to people), you might emerge with a new perspective on the colder months, and a serious backlog of trivial knowledge.
From start to finish, how long does it take to make the perfect jar?
The process varies for each product. Hot chili spears are a relatively straightforward process: the spices go in the jar, then the cukes and then brine goes in. The jar is then capped and immediately goes in a hot water bath.
What is the best place you’ve had your pickles served or eaten?
We tend to associate pickles with backyard barbecues and sports games. How do you fancy up your pickle eating?
There’s almost nothing we love more than pickles at a backyard barbecue, but we also love the off-the-beaten path uses of our pickle brine, like in oysterbacks. This twist on a pickleback is a shot of rye, followed by an oyster on the half-shell topped with Gordy’s sweet brine.
And speaking of mixing pickles with alcohol, Sarah and Sheila whipped up their (very strong) Gordy’s martini for us.
In a pint glass, muddle the chili pepper, then add gin, brine, and vermouth. Add ice to the glass until full, then gently stir until ingredients are combined and chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Serve up, and garnish with a Gordy’s Hot Chili Spear.
Remember coloring books? Their thin, pulpy paper and implicit directive to “stay in the lines”? Yes? We thought so. Well, now’s your chance to recapture that satisfying feeling while also doing good.
We’re proud to be partnering with RxArt, a nonprofit organization that transforms pediatric hospital facilities into brighter, livelier, more recuperative spaces with site-specific installations from contemporary artists.
One result of our alliance is the RxArt Coloring Book. Creative kids and art-loving adults alike will get a kick out of adding their own personal touches to works by 54 artists including Louise Bourgeois, Félix González-Torres, Rachel Harrison, Marilyn Minter, and Richard Prince.
They’re distributed for free to children in RxArt’s participating hospitals and available for $20 at our retail locations and at www.rxart.net. All proceeds go towards future RxArt projects.