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An Arkansas-themed gift guide

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We, the staff, may not be experts, but we are opinionated, readers of the Arkansas Times will agree. And we like to think that everyone thinks like us. So here we suggest our gift ideas for your near and dear. We aren't afraid to say, "Happy Holidays!" And "Happy Kwanzaa!" And "Happy Hannukah!" And "Merry Christmas" And "Blessed Solstice!" And "Happy Yule!" Whatever!


Wonderland, 5917 Central Ave., Hot Springs.

Medical cannabis isn't on the market in Arkansas yet and recreational weed may never be, but that has absolutely nothing to do, whatsoever — wink, wink — with Wonderland in Hot Springs, the biggest head shop this writer has ever been in, bar none, in my whole life. The selection there is stunning: rows upon rows of glassware, pipes, lighters and stashboxes, in prices and quality ranging from Kia to Benz. I'd wager it has 60,000 pipes there, and that's no exaggeration: bongs shaped like cartoon characters (Spongebong Squarepants was a favorite), bongs designed by Snoop Dogg, bongs shaped like couples making The Beast With Two Backs, and bongs that look like something from Walt's diabolical blue supermeth laboratory on "Breaking Bad." If air and smoke from burning ... vegetable matter ... can be drawn through a thing, it probably has it. Wonderland also has programmable vaporizers for those who want to go high-tech, and a great selection of good ol' rolling papers for those who want to go traditional, plus a vast array of cigars, humidors and fancy tobacco pipes. There's also a tattoo shop in the back. If there's a smoking enthusiast in your life, get on down there. Chances are you'll find something to fit their desires and your budget.

— David Koon


DrunkTrunk Fabric Art

The cross-stitched creations of Little Rock needlework artist Katy Griffin, up on her Etsy shop DrunkTrunk, range from the sublime to the profane, with boatloads of kitsch and sass in between. Slogans like "Don't Let The Bastards Grind You Down," "Stay Sexy, Don't Get Murdered" and my personal favorite, "You're In a Cult, Call Your Dad," adorn fabric stretched across wooden hoops, as do delicate renderings of flowers, pinky swear silhouettes and an intricate portrait of Michelle Obama. Got a friend getting married during the holidays? Griffin's "Princess Bride" cross-stitch of Peter Cook's "wove, twue wove" speech is perfect. Check 'em out at etsy.com/shop/DrunkTrunk or the Cox Creative Center gift shop.

— Stephanie Smittle


LR gear

For the Little Rock-proud on your gift list, Rock City Kicks has you covered, no matter the age or fashion preference of the person you're shopping for. Those LR baseball caps you see all over town? Most everyone got them at Rock City Kicks, which now has more than a dozen varieties of the classic NewEra snapback varieties as well as several different options (including camo!) in dad hat style, which means a lower profile and a curvier bill. New this year, you can also get that classic LR logo on sweatshirts, baseball shirts and a polo in a new collab between RCK and '47. You can also find LR toboggans (with little poms on top), a throwback cotton LR windbreaker and, perfect for any stocking, Arkansocks — RCK's Arkansas-themed line of socks. Shop online at rockcitykicks.com or in Little Rock (200 N. Bowman Road, Suite 13) or in Fayetteville (121 W. Township St., Suite 12).

—Lindsey Millar


Joyful mugs

Jane Austen fans, hearken! Here's the perfect gift for the people you know who love "Pride and Prejudice." It's not the 1895 edition with a gilded peacock on the cover ($1,300), nor the Penguin Classics Hardcover ($19.20), nor Barnes and Noble's Collectible Edition ($16.99): People who love "Pride and Prejudice" already have several copies in their library. No, the perfect gift is Joy Elizabeth Ceramics' hand-painted Mr. Darcy mug, a 19th century primitive image of Elizabeth Bennet's beloved, with a ship in the background and the handle painted like a tree branch ($38). There's one for Elizabeth, too! So you didn't read "Pride and Prejudice," but you love whimsical hand-built pottery painted with scenes of nesting birds and sleeping foxes and country houses, all with the potter's trademark tree-branch handle? Joy Price of Rogers, an art teacher at the Arkansas Arts Academy there, is the creator of Joy Elizabeth mugs and dishes and bowls, and if they remind you a bit of the English countryside, that's because Price was born in Great Britain. She sells her work through Etsy and you can request custom orders. See more work on her Facebook page, Joy Elizabeth Ceramics, or if you are in Bentonville Dec. 16, head to The Little Craft Show in The Record, 104 SW A St., a couple of blocks off the square, where she'll have her series of sleeping woodland creatures pieces.

— Leslie Newell Peacock


"True Soul: Deep Sounds From The Left Of Stax, Vol. 1 & 2" (4 LP box set)

Stax Records lorded over the world from its perch in Memphis. Here in Little Rock, True Soul Records, created by Lee Anthony, just tried to survive. Captured across multiple discs that took Now-Again Records 13 years to create, this 2011 anthology captures the desperation and experimentation of the legendary local label. The set comes with tons of background information in a massive booklet. (There are also really cool photos of '70s Lee Anthony looking incredible.) It can be hard to find the set, so your best places to look are on Amazon and eBay — a little online crate-digging awaits you — where prices range between $7.99 and $35.

— Jacob Rosenberg


Sibling Rivalry Press: 2018 subscription bundle

The vanguard of Sibling Rivalry Press' website bears two words in bold red print: "DISTURB/ENRAPTURE." The Alexander-based independent publishing house, run by Bryan Borland and editor Seth Pennington, curates its titles incisively and provocatively, with those two words from poet Adrienne Rich as a compass, and the collection has earned Sibling Rivalry Lambda Literary Awards in both gay poetry and lesbian poetry. Though it's known as a vehicle for publishing work by underrepresented LGBTQ authors and poets, the press leans toward inclusivity, it says, and welcomes "all authors, artists, and readers regardless of sexual orientation or identity. We publish work we love. Merit trumps category." I haven't read a fraction of all the Sibling Rivalry press titles I'd like to devour, but I did notice a recent announcement from the publishers that promises to help me — and maybe you! — make some headway. For 2018, it's offering 10 titles scheduled for release next year as a bundle for a C-note (so, less than $10/book), with a flat $25 fee for shipping and the promise that you'll receive anything else they publish in 2018 that's not yet listed — "there's always a surprise or two," the point-of-sale site reads. The bundle includes a chapbook from Luther Hughes, editor-in-chief of the Shade Journal, a blog-turned-online poetry journal that focuses on the experiences of queer people of color; Bushra Rehman's "Marianna's Beauty Salon," of which writer Daisy Hernandez (who co-edited "Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism" with Rehman) said, "When Audre Lorde said poetry isn't a luxury, she surely had Bushra's work in mind." There's a collection from Arkansas-based poet and essayist Randi Romo, "The Distractions of Living," and Joseph Osmundson's "Inside/Out," which anyone who possesses a battered copy of "The Argonauts" can buy with all the sense of security and mischief that "Koreanish" author Alexander Chee's endorsement affords: "'Inside/Out' is like if Maggie Nelson had written 'Bluets' about fucking men." You'll find the bundle at siblingrivalrypress.bigcartel.com.

— Stephanie Smittle


Esse-ntials for women: Arkansas crafted handbags

Lives there a woman who doesn't want a new purse for Christmas? Well, maybe: My mother got the same new purse from the same store every year from my father, a quilted item she promptly returned the day after. (After a while, she didn't even open the present.) But lots of mamas (and papas, too) would welcome a brand-new bag, and Esse, Little Rock's iconoclastic purse museum and shop, has two brands made right here in Little Rock. O'Faolain is a line of leather bags hand-cut, dyed and stitched by Bryant Phelan. In the shop is a simple, tailored "north-south" shoulder bag (it's taller than it is wide) in a natural color with a big flap and a hasp (shown in the photograph) and a pretty little black number for going out. Both are $350. For a little bit of fun, check out the Big & Purty line of fabric clutches and fold-overs by Trace D. These are one-of-a-kind bags, featuring faces and African prints and colorful abstracts. They're $72, and no one else will be carrying the one you choose! Wait — you're buying for someone else, right?

— Leslie Newell Peacock

"Houseplants and Hot Sauce: A Seek-and-Find Book for Grown-Ups"

Sally Nixon's book of illustrations — which we dubbed a "Where's Waldo" for grown-ups, in our write-up earlier this year — came out Sept. 12 from Chronicle Books. It features things you can see around Little Rock, drawn into almost flattened and beautiful planes: the White Water Tavern, plant shopping, brunch. It would be a good book for anyone, the perfect thing to leaf through over coffee in the morning. But for Little Rockers, it takes on an extra special feeling for its closeness to some local landmarks. You can pick it up in bookstores or Amazon for a cheap $11.96. (P.S. follow her on instagram at @sallustration).

— Jacob Rosenberg


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