The 15 Best Gifts for Culture Hounds
By Bonnie Stiernberg / December 9, 2019 2:47 pm

Shopping for the pop-culture lover in your life can be difficult, whether they happen to be a music snob or a cinephile or a TV fanatic. Their tastes are discerning, and you’ve got to assume they’ve already treated themselves to all the year’s best releases. Streaming service subscriptions are one way to go, but they don’t feel all that personal. What to do if you’ve already exhausted all your Baby Yoda merch options?

Fortunately, there are plenty of books, gadgets and apparel that’ll make any culture hound’s heart sing, whether they’re a Succession obsessive, a classic rock aficionado or just really into The Lighthouse. Pick them up for the pop-culture friendly folks in your life or simply save them for yourself — just be sure to snatch them up while you still can.

Disgraceland: Musicians Getting Away With Murder and Behaving Very Badly by Jake Brennan

Based on the popular true-crime podcast of the same name, Disgraceland takes a look at some of the darkest tales from the music industry, from well-known events like the death of Sam Cooke to lesser-known potential crimes, like how, as author Jake Brennan recently told InsideHook, Jerry Lee Lewis “straight up got away with killing one of his wives, most likely two.” (You can read our full interview with Brennan here.)

Keke Palmer “Sorry to This Man” Hat

Kudos to Keke Palmer for monetizing her own failure to recognize former Vice President Dick Cheney after it became a meme. Give this hat to your extremely online friend, or anyone else you owe a holiday apology.

Succession Enamel Pin

We’re still cringing at Kendall Roy’s disastrous “L to the OG” rap from Succession, and now we can relive Logan Roy’s number-one boy’s performance with DJ Squiggle with this spot-on enamel pin. Hey, it’s better than a round of Boar on the Floor.

Vinyl Me, Please gift membership

Not sure which record to buy the music snob in your life this year? Leave the decision-making to the pros and get them a subscription to Vinyl Me, Please. Each month, they’ll receive one record exclusively pressed for the site with deluxe packaging as well as special access to titles in the company’s online store. If they’re not a fan of a given month’s record, they have the capability to swap it out for something closer to their taste.

Polaroid Originals OneStep2, Stranger Things Edition

You already know that the Stranger Things fan in your life is big on ’80s nostalgia, so why not take it one step further by giving them this retro-inspired Polaroid camera? It comes with limited edition I-type film that features eight Stranger Things frame designs inspired by various Hawkins, Indiana locations.

Smartphone Projector 2.0

These days, we’ve got access to all the pop culture our hearts could possibly desire right on our phones, be it in the form of YouTube videos or the latest Netflix offerings. But if you’re sick of squinting at a tiny device, you need this clever gift that’ll allow you to screen content off of your smart phone by projecting it onto a wall.

Me by Elton John

Some may be a little burnt out on Elton John after this year’s release of Rocketman and his massive farewell tour, but his memoir Me — which he’s dubbed his “first and only autobiography” — is absolutely worth picking up. In it, John gets candid about his tough childhood and his struggles with substance abuse before he got sober nearly 30 years ago, and he doesn’t pull any punches when discussing a failed joint tour with Tina Turner or an encounter with Michael Jackson, whom he describes as “genuinely mentally ill, a disturbing person to be around.”

Movies (And Other Things) by Shea Serrano

If you’ve ever caught yourself wondering what other high-school movie characters would be friends with Mean Girls‘ Regina George or pondering which race got the best Kevin Costner white savior movie, Shea Serrano’s Movies (And Other Things) is a must-own. Buy a copy for yourself and another to lend to the most opinionated movie buff you know. (Read InsideHook’s conversation with Serrano here.)

Cinephile card game

This deck boasts some cool illustrations as well as multiple ways to play movie trivia. Start out simple with the “movie geek” level, where players duke it out to see who can name more films starring the same actor, or give yourself a real challenge with the expert level, where you connect actors through the movies they’ve been in together (think “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”) while trying to keep the degrees of separation as low as possible.

Abbey Road deluxe 50th anniversary edition

It’s been 50 years since the Beatles unleashed Abbey Road, and while there’s no doubt that the music fans in your life already own this classic record, this deluxe three-LP box set gives them the opportunity to hear it like never before. It features 40 tracks (including some studio demos and instrumentals) as well as a new stereo remix of the original album by Giles Martin — whose father George Martin, of course, oversaw the original Abbey Road sessions.

The Lighthouse grooming set

This grooming set from A24 is perfect for fans of the Robert Eggers psychological thriller who don’t want to smell like they’ve been trapped in a lighthouse with Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe. The set includes one Wickie Oil bottle of scented beard oil and one mermaid-shaped Seaman’s Helper lathering soap made with bergamot, Gurjun Balsam, Texas cedarwood, basil, clove leaf, cornmint, eucalyptus, cardamon, seaweed absolute and natural isolates.

The Beautiful Ones by Prince

Prince never had a chance to finish the memoir he was working on before he died tragically in 2016, but thanks to editor Dan Piepenbring carrying it over the finish line, fans still have an opportunity to read it. It’s broken up into four sections — the first-person memoir Prince was writing before he died, a scrapbook of his writing and photos, a candid photo section chronicling his evolution as an artist and his handwritten treatment for Purple Rain.

Year of the Monkey by Patti Smith

While her National Book Award-winning Just Kids chronicled her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe, Patti Smith’s latest memoir, Year of the Monkey takes a look at more recent history. It’s centered around one rough year (2016), in which the legendary musician is forced to confront the hospitalization and death of a dear friend, all the fear and discord surrounding the presidential election and among other things, her 70th birthday.

The Band 50th anniversary super deluxe box set

September marked the 50th anniversary of The Band’s legendary self-titled sophomore album, responsible for classics like “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” “Up on Cripple Creek” and “King Harvest (Has Surely Come).” To mark the occasion, Robbie Robertson and company are releasing a massive “super deluxe” vinyl box set that includes a new stereo mix of the album by Bob Clearmountain from the original analog masters, as well as The Band’s previously unreleased “Live at Woodstock” performance from 1969, the Classic Albums: The Band documentary, a book featuring photos by Elliott Landy and an essay by Anthony DeCurtis, and 13 bonus tracks. You’ll also get a reproduction of The Band’s 1969 7″ “Rag Mama Rag” single.

Dovetail Record Crate – Natural Oak

If there’s one thing any true culture hound always needs, it’s more storage. This Symbol Audio Dovetail Record Crate, handcrafted from white oak, holds up to 100 vinyl records and features leather handles and brass fasteners that make it easier to lift than your average wooden crate.

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