Holiday Gift Guide #5: Geek Culture, Music and Movies

Reading Time: 5 minutes

MarianCallGotToFly_1200x600Marian Call: Got to Fly

Got to Fly is the only physical CD produced by Marian that I do not already own. The original release was sold out shortly after I discovered her music. Thankfully, she has released a second edition, with all new cover art. This album was originally commissioned by Quantum Mechanix, Inc. Much of the subject matter comes from Joss Whedon’s Firefly and from Battlestar Galactica. Like Marian, the songs are warm, friendly, and just a bit rough around the edges.

If you have a Marian Call fan on your wishlist, this would be the perfect gift for the holidays. And, if they’re like me, and end up with multiple copies, they can always regift one to a new fan.

You can pick up a copy at Got to Fly. I would recommend going through Bandcamp, but if you have some Amazon gift cards to burn, you can also find much of Marian’s music on Amazon.


MadMaxMad Max Trilogy

When the media coverage started for Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) and the related game, I figured it was time to introduce my son to the geek favorites that started the series. He thoroughly enjoyed the first two, but we couldn’t find Thunderdome streaming online. After looking online for the DVD or Blu-ray, I found this bundle for not much more than the third movie alone, so this will be appearing in a stocking on Christmas morning. The Blu-ray includes all three Mad Max titles: Mad Max, The Road Warrior, and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. I can’t vouch for the quality of the Blu-ray transfer yet, but the reviews sound. Be careful of the DVD version though; it is listed as region 2 and may not play on your DVD player.

Buy it at Amazon: Mad Max Trilogy.


Spiel (1238x540)Steven Spielberg Director’s Collection

Steven Spielberg, one of the greatest directors in geekdom, has possibly the greatest filmography of all time. This blu-ray box set by Universal features the best of the blockbusters that he filmed. It contains his first television feature, Duel, and his first theatrical release, The Sugarland Express. It also contains — my favorite — Jaws, 1941, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and his two Jurassic Parks. Yes, I know this will lead to much debate, but Jurassic Park and The Lost World: Jurassic Park are the only two that count — so far. This set is well worth the money for the re-mastered high definition copies of each of these movie and would make a great gift for anyone this holiday season. (TS)

Grab your copy from Amazon here.


TexasChainsawTexas Chain Saw Massacre: 40th Anniversary Black Maria

If you have a horror movie fan on your list, then you cannot go wrong with the ultimate in collectors’ editions of horror — The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: 40th Anniversary Black Maria Semi-Truck box set. This limited edition packaging includes a blood-spattered Leatherface apron, the official theatrical mini poster, and a 5th bonus disc with exclusive extras. Of course it also includes the 4K High Definition Scan with 7.1 surround audio of the original 16mm film that rolled through the theater cameras 40 years ago. Like I said before, you cannot go wrong with this box set for any horror fan. (TS)

Get your box set at Amazon, right here.


AustraAustra’s Feel It Break

Looking for some ’80s new-wave inspired electro pop featuring an opera-trained lead singer? Austra is a Toronto band that puts out ethereal, slightly dark synth-pop featuring the amazing vocals of Katie Stelmanis. Their 2011 debut Feel It Break was edged out by Arcade Fire for Canada’s Polaris music prize, but made numerous “best of” lists for that year. Standout tracks include “Spellwork,” “Beat and the Pulse” and “Lose It.” Do yourself a favor and listen with a good set of headphones.

Buy it from Amazon. (BM)


pee-weePee-wee’s Playhouse: The Complete Series

Though the grand tradition of the Saturday morning children’s programming block has gone the way of the dodo, geeks of a certain age will long celebrate its splendor. Surely no single series captured all the amazing elements – live action, traditional animation, Claymation, music and overall weirdness – that typified that era quite like mid-to-late-’80s gem Pee-wee’s Playhouse, and thanks to Shout Factory you can now bring the entire series home on eight digitally re-mastered Blu-rays. With the help of Pee-wee, Cowboy Curtis, Jambi and over four hours of bonus features, you’ll have your kids saying the secret word in no time!

[Review materials provided by: Shout Factory] (Z.)


uhf-compleatUHF (25th Anniversary Edition) / The Compleat Al

The Weird Al fan on your holiday shopping list wants – nay, deserves this latest one-two punch from the Shout Factory vaults. First is the Blu-ray debut of Al’s 1989 cult classic UHF. This 25th anniversary edition includes not only the unlikely triumphant story of Channel 62, but also ample extras like deleted scenes, commentary, music videos and Easter Eggs. Add to this the DVD debut of The Compleat Al, the 1985 mockumentary detailing the life of the one and only “Weird Al” Yankovic (and including eight music video classics of its own), and you’ve got a perfect combination.

[Review materials provided by: Shout Factory] (Z.)


Songs for Fearful Flyers by Michael Hearst

Michael Hearst’s Songs for Fearful Flyers

I loved Michael Hearst’s Songs for Unusual Creatures, a collection of 16 instrumental tracks inspired by weird animals like the blobfish and the tardigrade—and the video series on PBS Digital Studios was great, too. He has a new album out: Songs for Fearful Flyers. It’s a short album, again mostly instrumental, with songs meant to help you relax and enjoy your flight. The last track includes some narration by Whoopi Goldberg (who once helped Hearst overcome his own anxieties about flying) to help you with some relaxation techniques. Of course, you might consider giving this gift a little early, to help your loved ones get through their holiday travel.

Buy it from Amazon or from iTunes. (JL)

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