I hear…gears grinding gratingly…foghorns wailing mournfully...trucks idling poisonously...
In this corner, we have a logjam (at times literally, at least the ones carrying lumber) of ships waiting to come into American ports—and lines of trucks waiting for their ships to come in.
In the other corner, we have local-level artists and musicians, reeling from a(nother) pandemic year that has, at the extremes, led to lockdowns—and, at the minimum, led to people reluctant to go out and see shows.
Why not solve the two puzzles at once? Avoid the supply chain jam by purchasing a gift from a local artist, musician and/or writer.
Here’s how to do some “local shopping” in a very-local way: Hitch up your sweatpants, grab your credit card and click like an online St. Nick.
Got a hip hop head on your list?
Zachary Lewis Beck, known to local rap fans as Futuristic, will hook you up.
For mid-20s and up rock fans, local band Gus D Wynns & The Breakers has fun T-shirts ($25), CDs ($10) and more here.
If you’re shopping for a teen-age punker, rising band Ring Finger No Pinky has T-shirts ($25) ranging from “way-cool” to “way-inappropriate” here.
If you really want to blow someone's mind, buy them art or artsy crafts.
Michaela Nastasia sells Halloween-themed jewelry—which translates to “everyday jewelry” for Gothers—on Etsy here.
Prices range from $25 (“Blood viral earrings”) to $55 (“Hillbilly Tooth in Blood Necklace”).
Tara Weeks sells everything from artsy journals to pillowcases to purses with a range of $11-145 here.
Practical Art is “a retail & gallery space in Arizona featuring 100% locally made wares.”
The site features prints, mugs, bowls, hats, T-shirts and plenty more.
A favorite, pictured at the top of this story: “Desert Diner Mug - quail,” by Colleen Conlin ($30), a ceramic diner mug starring hand-drawn birds (green glaze).
Gift a book
If there’s someone on your list who doesn’t like books…why is that person even on your list? (“Reading for Dummies,” maybe.)
For the rest, here’s a great way to support local writers and a local business:
This is a great way to kick the Amazon habit (this coming from someone with a major AA, or Amazon addiction). Several of the selections at Changing Hands also feature staff critiques to help guide you in for the purchase.
Ash Davidson’s “Damnation Spring” gets glowing praise as “ a brilliant novel. Through the characters we get a glimpse of rural America brought to life by the incongruities of families whose livelihoods depend on vanishing old-growth forests..."
The book is set in the Pacific Northwest, a la “Sometimes a Great Notion,” but the writer is deep into HARK Valley: Davidson, who attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, lives in Flagstaff. Buy her latest for $28 here.
Changing Hands is also hyped up about Kalani Pickhart’s debut “I Will Die in a Foreign Land.” The Phoenix author worked overseas for the State Department before busting out with her novel, which costs $25 here.
Conor Hultman of Square Books gives Pickhart a fist-bump on a jacket quote:
“Camera-eye perspective of the Ukraine Euromaidan protests — if John Dos Passos and John Reed joined Pussy Riot — rich, variegated characters, tense plot. A must read for anyone inclined toward world literature.”
If you have a poetic spirit to shop for, check out “808s & Otherworlds: Memories, Remixes, & Mythologies,” by Sean Avery Medlin.
Chicago Tribune reviewer Christopher Borrelli called this book “an elegant mash of memoir, poetry, tales of appropriation, thoughts on Black masculinity, Hulk, Kanye.”
Medlin thinks of himself as “the bridge between poetry and hip hop”—and even has a poem called “How To Be a Rapper.”