Holiday Gift Guide: Andy Lien


We Three Kings: A Stocking Full of Awesome II

If I could make the Renaissance Festival last all year, it’d be to see the Danger Committee whenever I want.  If I had a corporation or a cruise ship or a casino, I’d hire them as entertainment. Comprising the three-person Danger Committee, Caleb McEwen, Mick Lunzer, and Jason LeMay play “Reynaldo,” “Bald Guy,” and “Other One” in a mixture of comedy, knife-throwing, juggling, and fire. And ninjas. And yo-yos. And produce. And a spinning wheel. To try encapsulate the full extent of their talent, they juggle activated tasers. On a teeter-totter. And live. Luckily for us, they’re going to have a holiday show running for over a month at the Brave New Workshop. Make sure to get there and get some of that Stocking Full of Awesome for yourself. Weekends and Special Days: Nov. 23-Dec. 31. 

Miss Richfield 1981 2012: We’ll All Be Dead By Christmas! 

I admit to not knowing much about Miss Richfield 1981 until I attended my first Bingo A-GoGo.  Funny.  Oh, she’s funny.  Then, I attended the fundraiser at the Cowles Center for fighting the marriage amendment and I saw her perform her rendition of “Going to the Chapel” and I saw the true genius in Miss Richfield.  Oh, my.  I fell in love with her.  Smart, funny, talented…and she’s got great legs.  Though she summers in P-Town, she Decembers here and is hauling her cookies from her double-wide trailer in Richfield all the way down to the Illusion Theater in Minneapolis for her Christmas show with performances from Nov. 30 through Dec. 16.  Get there before we all perish with the rest of the world, thanks to the Mayans.


Books for Books & Bars

Do you like books?  Do you like bars?  How about book clubs?  Jeff Kamin has come up with a winning combination of all of the above in Books & Bars.  Turning the traditional book club into more of a moderated event, you can find one of three to attend per month and look forward to being entertained and enlightened by other attendees and, sometimes, the authors themselves.  Next up for Books & Bars: Dec. 2012 – Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante, Jan. 2013 – Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend by Susan Orlean (with video chat), and Feb. 2013 – Carry the One by Carol Anshaw (with video chat).  Put the books on your list and read up.  For dates and location, go to


Miniatures at Cost Plus World Market I hooted and  hollered the day I got the news that Cost Plus World Market was coming back to Minnesota with new locations in Roseville and Bloomington.  I kid you not, this is where I get my go-to stocking stuffers.  I cherrypick the cute global candies for the kids and snag bottles of hot sauce and maple syrup for the adults…and Nutella for my own stocking. Examples: Mini Jose Cuervo Cholula Hot Sauce, 2oz, ($2.99), Tabasco, 6-pack .8oz, ($5.99), Mini Nutella Pack, .63oz, ($0.99), Mini Maple Syrup, 1.7oz, ($3.99).


Flared Wine Glasses by Nine Iron Studios from Max’s
A pair of crystal clear wine glasses wrapped in 24K gold leaf and fused during the blowing process by Nine Iron Studios; handcrafted in Pennsylvania. $136.00/pair.


Roulette Wheel Cufflinks from J. Novachis
These Swarovski crystal embellished cufflinks from RT by Tateossian of London will be a conversation piece for years to come. How about a pair for yourself –who couldn’t use a little luck? $198.00. J. Novachis: 3930 W 50th St, Edina.


Lava Bead Bracelet with Skull Motifs from J. Novachis
Unique unisex bracelet from SBG Designs makes a great gift for the style-conscious nonconformist on your list. Watch how quickly it becomes a regular addition to his or her wardrobe. $78.00. J. Novachis: 3930 W 50th St, Edina.


Boa Emeraude Bracelet by Ziio from Max’s A beaded wrap bracelet of sterling silver, Murano glass beads, chrysoprase, lapis, turquoise, and amazonite; handmade in Italy. $425.00.


Urbio from Naturally Urban by Linder’s
Urbios are functional, modular and stylish. Magnets are what make those sleek vessels hang on to the wall plates. Fill ‘em with plants, magazines, pens, or whatever! Use one wall plate or an entire collection. Floor space is precious, give the gift of space and practicality this year.



Luxury Oris Watches from Scheharazade Jewelers
Swiss-made, automatic mechanical movement, sapphire crystal, and exhibition case backs are the basis for these luxury watches by Oris, the rest of the style and sophistication only expand from there.


Bye Bye Birdie. Photo by Rick Spaulding

Gift Certificate for Chanhassen Dinner Theatres
This year give a holiday gift that isn’t the same old song and dance for exactly that, a song and dance (show, that is). Chanhassen Dinner Theatres gift certificates make perfect holiday gifts for everyone on your list because everyone loves an evening at Chan, wining and dining and applauding the classy razzle-dazzle erupting on the stage. Practically speaking, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres’ gift certificates are good forever, available in any amount, always the right size and color, include free parking and coat check—and make for easy shopping, too: simply order by phone or online. Gift certificates are valid for anything in the theatre’s lineup, leading off with the nonstop singing, dancing, and loads of laughter in the musical send-up of an Elvis-like rock ’n’ roll idol in Bye Bye Birdie, playing through March 2013. Or use them on the show to follow, the theatre’s all-time audience favorite, a revival of the amazing Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Crave a bit of holiday spirit? This year, Chanhassen is featuring a heartwarming jewel of a holiday musical called A Hometown Christmas Pageant. And throughout 2013, CDT will continue to offer the comedic antics of Stevie Ray’s Comedy Cabaret and a rockin’ tribute concert series that audiences can’t seem to get enough of. Holiday gift certificates can also be used for lunch, dinner, happy hour, or Sunday brunch in the new Brindisi’s Pub—a welcoming, casual hangout. — Carla Waldemar.


M-O-T-H-E-R Spells Murder
One Smart Why Dunnit. Set in 1980s New England, E. B. Boatner’s first novel could have been written by a well-seasoned author with many tomes under his belt. In the first chapter of M-o-t-h-e-r Spells Murder, Boatner doesn’t just dip his toes but plunges in with the savaging of seemingly innocuous senior-home resident, Elinor McGowan. Soon we find out who it was who killed her, but not why. We also discover that, once upon a time, Elinor was the belle of her own ball and worthy of her own novel. The reader is fully engaged in this mystery along with the victim’s wry daughter and the potential love interest police inspector, so the rest of the story involves watching them figure out and catch the murderer before he or she does someone else in—as will most certainly happen.  Like Ruth Rendell, E. B. Boatner has plumbed the depths of mankind’s darker side to reveal generations past and how their corrosive relationships enable murder. If you like clever and cruel writing and fully drawn characters, I fully recommend M-O-T-H-E-R Spells Murder. –C.M. Harris, author of The Children of Mother Glory and Entering Oblivion. $16.95.


Legendary Homes of the Minneapolis Lakes
The perfect tome for the Peeping Toms in your life who amble around the chain of lakes peering into windows of all those lovely mansions: Legendary Homes of the Minneapolis Lakes opens those enticing doors. Writing about and photographing 28 iconic homes on Isles, Cedar, Calhoun and Harriet, local architecture writer Bette Hammel shares insider stories of their construction, remodeling and interior design, while her partner, photographer Karen Melvin, snaps away. Dream on… –Carla Waldemar.  $49.95.

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