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Holiday gifts with a Gator connection

December 17, 2004

Image of the cover of the DVD collection of "Arrested Development"Whether it's a good book, tasty treat or tickets to the theater, there are plenty of gifts to give this holiday season that showcase the creative efforts of SFSU alumni and faculty. Here are some ideas sure to please any Gator on the gift list.

Gators on stage and screen
The newly released first season of "Arrested Development" on DVD makes a great gift for fans of the Emmy-Award winning sitcom starring Jeffrey Tambor (B.A. '65), who plays both George Bluth, head of the beleaguered Bluth family, and his twin brother, Oscar.

Looking to soak up some quality time with the younger members of the family over the holidays? Tambor is also the voice of King Neptune in "The Sponge Bob SquarePants Movie," now playing in theaters. Alumna Sirena Irwin also provides voiceover for several characters in the film. Another current movie with a Gator connection is Academy Award nominee Annette Bening's (B.A. '80) "Being Julia."

David Carradine (attended '56-'57), star of the 1970s "Kung-Fu" television series, has come back in a big way as Bill in Quentin Tarantino's latest two-part movie, "Kill Bill." Volumes I and II are ideal for those who enjoy a good "roaring rampage of revenge."

For fans of Middle Earth, "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy comes to a grand conclusion with the extended edition of "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" on DVD. Academy Award winner Christopher Boyes (B.A. '85) is the sound designer for this epic trilogy.

Photo of alum B.D. Wong in "Pacific Overtures"Tickets to the theater are always a hit. On Broadway through Dec. 27, alumnus B.D. Wong stars as "Reciter" in Stephen Sondheim's and John Weidman's Tony Award-winning musical "Pacific Overtures," with musical direction by Paul Gemignani (B.A. '68). Sondheim fans would love to find the CD in their stockings.

Gator tunes
Turn up the holiday mood with Johnny Mathis' (attended '54 - '55) CD, "The Christmas Music of Johnny Mathis: A Personal Collection" or "A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Original Soundtrack Recording of the CBS Television Special," with music by the late Vince Guaraldi, also an SFSU alumnus.

Share a little joy with the jazz aficionados on your holiday list. Alumna Kitty Margolis's latest CD, "Heart and Soul: Live in San Francisco," is sure to bring a smile to anyone who likes their vocals straight up with a twist.

Add some hip-hop to the holidays with the musical styling of the Handsome Boy Modeling School led by acclaimed DJ and producer Dan "the Automator" Nakamura (B.A. '91). The latest CD, "White People," features guest spots by a range of musicians.

Gator lit
For the bookworm, SFSU's alumni and faculty boast an exceptional list of books. Acclaimed adventure writer Tim Cahill (M.A. '70), an editor-at-large for Outside magazine, takes readers along the glaciers and geysers of Yellowstone national park in "Lost in My Own Backyard" (Crown, 2004).

Image of the front cover of Marc Dollinger's book "California Jews"Jewish studies Professor Marc Dollinger co-edited "California Jews" (Brandeis University Press, 2003), a collection of articles, photos and artwork that examines the aspects of Jewish life in the West Coast. Cole Swensen's (B.A. '80; M.A. '83) latest book of poetry, "Goest" (Alice James Books, 2004), was named a finalist for the 2004 National Book Award. The poems deal with fleeting images, the color white, transparency and history.

"Eat Everything Before You Die: A Chinaman in the Counterculture" (University of Washington Press, 2004) by Professor of Asian American studies Jeffery Paul Chan follows an orphan son of a Chinatown bachelor community.

Students can start off the new year with new academic resolve after reading "From F to Phi Beta Kappa: Supercharge Your Study Skills" (Chromisphere, 2004) by Lance Ong (B.A.'99). "Ronald Reagan and the Triumph of Conservatism" (Pearson/Longman, 2004), Professor Jules Tygiel's biography of the late 40th president, offers an excellent gift for political science majors.

For those who could use a little translation from their yoga instructors, "Sacred Sanskrit Words for Yoga, Chant and Meditation" (Stone Bridge Press, 2004), co-authored by Leza Lowitz (M.A. '98), is the perfect gift. An excellent guide to Eastern wisdom, the book explains the history and meaning of more than 160 Sanskrit words.

Gator bites
For parents, one of Amy Hemmert's (M.A. '87) Laptop Lunches lunchboxes makes for a practical gift. Cutting down on the waste accumulated from plastic wrap and the poor nutritional value of some pre-packaged foods, these lunchboxes, which resemble miniature laptop computers, come with colorful reusable containers and a user's guide with healthful recipes.

Delight anyone with a sweet tooth with decadent treats from Andrew Ly's (B.S. '86) Sugar Bowl Bakery. Madeleines and Petite Brownie Bites are among the bakery's top-sellers, available at six Bay Area Sugar Bowl retail stores and Sam's Clubs and Costco stores nationwide.

Try holiday recipes from culinary whiz Rick Rodgers' (B.A. '75) cookbooks, "Christmas 101," "Thanksgiving 101" and "Dip It! Great Party Food to Spread, Spoon and Scoop," available at Rodgers' Web site.

If your recipes call for olive oil, Frances Mayes (M.A. '75), author of the international best seller "Under The Tuscan Sun," has just come out with her own line of unfiltered, first cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil. Made in Tuscany, it can be shipped to your doorstep courtesy

A Gator getaway
Alumna Yvonne Lembi-Detert's Personality Hotels offer fun packages including the Ho! Ho! Package featuring deluxe accommodations starting at $129 with free parking, Starbucks drinks, shopping discounts, and cookies and milk upon check-in.

The best Gator gift of all
Helping others who are less fortunate can be one of the best gifts to give during the holidays. The San Francisco Food Bank, led by Executive Director Paul Ash, an SFSU alumnus, distributes millions of pounds of food to hungry people in San Francisco each year thanks to caring people in the community. Convenient drop-off locations across the city are listed on the Food Bank's Web site.

-- Adrianne Bee

Related stories:
Gifts for the graduating Gator, SF State News, May 27, 2004
Holiday gifts with a Gator connection, SF State News, December 2, 2003


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