Eugene Weekly : Gift Guide : 11.25.2009


Eugene Weekly‘s Gift Guide 2009:

Tak a Cup o’ Kindness Tippling under the tree 

The Art of Holiday Shopping Campus museums make the season bright

Beyond Water Pipes Alterna gifts from the “pipe & tobacco” shops

Won’t You Light My Bike Tonight? Seasonal cycling gifts

Purl It Together The joys of fuzzy yarn shops

Plantin’ in the Rain Winter supplies to brighten a gardener’s heart

First Time’s A Charm Two artists take on the Holiday Market

Annex of Art DIVA delights in new holiday space


Beyond Water Pipes
Alterna gifts from the “pipe & tobacco” shops
by Rick Levin

Glass-encased pens by Gregory Scheyer

There are certain places one goes for certain things — say, for example, to the post office for stamps, the bakery for bread or the shoe store for shoes. And, in that vein, if you don’t know why you’re walking through the doors of a place like Hunky Dory Pipe & Tobacco or Midtown Direct LLC, you’ve either forgotten en route or your credentials as a tie-dyed-in-the-wool Eugenean should be double checked at the swinging bead curtains. Dig? Yet, just as sure as that’s a clump of 100-percent Virginia-grown t’backy ready for a bit of aromatic torching in the bowl of that there pretty water pipe, you also can bet your hookah that the aforementioned pipe and tobacco shops offer plenty more than a variety of Rube Goldberg glassware and a colorful array of American Spirits cigarettes. 

Macy’s they’re not, but that shouldn’t rule out the possibility of landing the perfect gift should you opt to browse the surprising, if thematically monochromatic, wares available to the inquisitive holiday gift shopper. Not that just about anyone out there wouldn’t appreciate a really expensive bong — by which we mean, of course, water pipe — but why limit yourself to the obvious? And, let’s be honest: The smokehead who doesn’t possess a smoking implement at this point likely doesn’t need or want one. So let’s all light up the seasons by broadening our gifting horizons, shall we?

Many of the gifts available at our shops are created by the same folks whose art lines the shelves in forms of those swirly, colorful water pipes. Midtown Direct is a big supporter of local artists, including the glass-encased pokers ($8 each) crafted by Sue Hunnel — a lovely accoutrement for the bong enthusiast in your family. On the less fuliginous end of glass artwork are the glass-encased pens made by Gregory Scheyer, which run between $20 and $25. Of course, the coup de grace is the Dr. Seussian blowgun (no mere toy at $290) constructed with complex sophistication by Hamm B.; with a lungful of breath, the red plastic BBs in this crystalline huff-riffle will gather so much spinning steam that they reputedly shatter a martini glass (and please remember, kids, it’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye, so be sure to aim at objects that are not only inanimate but non-mortal). 

Moving away from all things glass, Midtown also proudly carries the locally made, nationally distributed Merry Hempsters lip balm, and they claim to stock both the cheapest Bic lighters in town ($1) and the least pricey box of Nag Champa incense ($1.25).

Along with finding a variety of drug testing kits (perfect for little Johnny’s New Year’s resolution to find a job with UPS), Zippo lighters and Chinese throwing stars, the scrupulous shopper at Hunky Dory can load up on a nice array of Fidel Castro’s trademark oral fixation, the cigar. Sure, the yuppie fad has passed, but for any true lover of the leaf, stogies (named for the Conestoga wagons they once were shipped in) maintain a lasting appeal. And what goes better with a cigar than a little Jim Beam sipped from a flask? The couple that boozes together snoozes together, and if you’d like to surprise your mate and set yourself up with a little something to boot, there are the lovely his/her, his/his, her/her dual flasks: one sheathed in chic leather pink, the other a more manly J.D. piece of ass-flask-wear ($52.50 total). But, unless you’re slurping straight from the bottle in the family bathroom, you’ll want shot glasses for that whiskey, and Hunky’s got ‘em; mix and match to your heart’s yuletide desire at $7.50 per glass. And, you know, once those babies are drained, what better way to ensure a long winter’s nap than a little merrymaking hanky panky, foreplay courtesy of a big old tube of Kama Sutra Honey Dust ($25)? Talk about chestnuts roasting! ’Tis the season.