Welcome to Chicago’s Most Rebellious Gift Guide!
For the third year in a row, we’re thrilled to share some of our favorite gift ideas for the feminists on your list. You’ll find women-owned and feminist-friendly Chicago shops, books from Chicago authors and buzz-worthy (wink, wink) delights. It’s never been more important for feminists to vote with our wallets, and the busiest shopping season of the year is the perfect time to support badass businesses who love us back. This year we challenge you to not buy a single gift from that behemoth whose name rhymes with Glamazon (Later for you, HQ2!). #ShopLocal #ShopSmall #ShopFeminist #ShopRebellious
If I could, I’d cover Women and Children First bookstore in Black Panther wrapping paper and give it to every one of my friends and chosen family. Yes, I mean the entire brick-and-mortar space.
It’s not often that a bookstore carries something for everyone, but this gem off Clark Street is packed to the brim with all your favorites and those books you vaguely remember wanting to read. Women and Children First bookstore is the type of space that has a little of everything: books to ignite your inner activist, books that’ll make you feel all the feels, books that’ll transport you to a barren wasteland (you know, better than the one we currently live in). Employees gush over recommendations in notes on shelves that are heavily curated, so you always feel like there’s a friend slipping your next read into your hands.
Not a reader? No problem (OK, actually it’s a problem). W&CF has several different type of events every week from author readings and book launches to poetry readings and panel discussions. Bring your kids to Storytime on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m., or join a book group. May I suggest the Feminist Book Group currently reading Trainwreck by Sady Doyle?
There are plenty of little gifts to grab for your loved ones if you don’t want that perfect book you picked especially for them to collect dust, or load a gift card and have them decide for themselves.
Truly, there’s no better gift to give the Rebellions in your life than an independent bookstore.
– Princess McDowell
The Gift of Sexy Times
Buy something sexy for yourself or a loved one this holiday season from Chicago’s favorite feminist sex shop, Early to Bed!
Sydney Bullet Vibe
Rechargeable! Budget-friendly! Comes with two silicone sleeves for different sensations.
This unique vibe is extremely soft and squishy for gentler stimulation. Use externally or insert it and spin for a fun sensation! (Sorry, not anal safe.)
Satisfyer Pro Plus Vibration
It vibrates AND provides a sucking sensation, either separately or simultaneously!
I don’t know why this dildo is named Ben, but if you like texture and want something bigger than the Zen (and anal safe) look no further than this dildo that looks like a dick wearing armor. (You’re welcome!)
Fun Factory Stronic Real Pulsator
Looking for something to do some of the work for you? Stronic Real, one of Fun Factory’s latest self-thrusting pulsators, is slim, sleek, and lotsa fun.
Njoy Pure Plugs
These luxury stainless steel butt plugs come in three different sizes and are great for extended wear.
Sleeves and suckers:
Bro Sleeve 2.0
A great addition to blow jobs and one of Early to Bed’s best selling sleeves for trans guys.
The original Fleshlights are bulky, heavy, and difficult to maneuver sometimes, so here’s the compact version.
Mini Silicone Sucker
A great masturbation sleeve for trans guys, an awesome clit toy for anyone, or buy two and use them as nipple suckers. So versatile.
$10 single/$18 set
Nothing says, “I get you” like a monthly subscription box of snark from Smartass & Sass.
S&S boxes come brimming with unique T-shirts, mugs, totes, notebooks, pouches, and more, all curated from small businesses and local makers. Get one for your bestie who has the mouth of a sailor, your sassy-ass work wife, a mouthy auntie, or, you know, your mom.
–Smartass & Sass
The Gift of Theater
Whether you’re giving tickets wrapped up with a bow or taking your favorite beau or belle to the theater yourself, a night out is always a festive treat—especially when it’s to one of the shows listed below.
Give the gift of laughter with seats to Strawdog Theatre Company’s “The Revolutionists” featuring Kamille Dawkins, Sarah Goeden, Kat McDonnell, and Izis Mollinedo. Visit strawdog.org for tickets ($18-$55) to Lauren M. Gunderson’s French Revolution romp (Nov. 15-Dec. 29).
The laughs keep coming with the Chicago premiere of “The Realistic Jonses,” the Shattered Globe Theatre and Theater Wit comedy about two couples who share the same last name as well as a similar combination of wedded bliss and marital blahs. For tickets ($12-$74) to the run (Jan. 10-March 9, 2019) at Theater Wit, visit theaterwit.org or shatteredglobe.org.
Be among the first to experience “SnowGirls – The Musical,” a world premiere parody of the cult classic “Showgirls” (through Dec. 30) at Mary’s Attic. The book by Derek Van Barham follows ultimate rebel Snowmi Malone, who wants to become a North Pole dancer. Her quest is accompanied by music by David Cerda, Scott Lamberty and Jeff Thomson, with music direction by JD Caudill. Under the direction of Jon Martinez, the Hell in a Handbag production features Sydney Genco, Grant Drager and Terry McCarthy. For tickets ($20-$45), visit SnowGirls on brownpapertickets.com.
For more film fun, check out “Yippee Ki-Yay Merry Christmas: A Die Hard Musical Parody” at the Den Theatre (Dec. 1, 2018 – Jan. 12, 2019). Director Tiffani Moore Swalley re-creates the ’80s ambiance of the original action thriller thanks to the book, score and conception of Michael Shepherd Jordan, Alex Garday and Stephanie McCullough. Tickets ($45) to the Yippee Production are available here.
Sideshow Theatre Company presents the world premiere of “HeLa”—an exploration of time and space that touches on subjects from Henrietta Lacks to Afrofuturism—by playwright/actress J. Nicole Brooks (Showtime’s “The Chi,” Comedy Central’s “South Side”). “HeLa” performs at Greenhouse Theater Center (through Dec. 23) and is a gift everyone can afford since tickets range from “pay what you can” to $35. Visit greenhousetheater.org for details.
Another affordable world premiere is the 1982-set homecoming drama “The Safe House” by Chicago-based playwright/actress Kristine Thatcher at City Lit Theater (through Dec. 16). For tickets ($12-$32), visit citylit.org.
Six-time Jeff Award nominee Janet Ulrich Brooks stars as opera legend Maria Callas in Terrence McNally’s Tony Award-winning “Master Class” through Dec. 9 at Stage 773. The TimeLine Theatre Company production provides the closest alternative to seeing the diva live! Tickets ($27.50-$56.50) are available at timelinetheatre.com.
If you can’t decide on a specific show now, Steppenwolf Theatre Company is currently offering limited Night Out Gift Cards ($179) which include two flexible tickets to any Steppenwolf performance, plus $25 worth of Front Bar drinks and treats. To order, visit steppenwolf.org/holiday.
The Gift of an Unbroken Brain
There is an emotional toll to political outrage and it is exhausting. Giving gifts in the unholy year of 2018 seems trite when children were being separated from their families and forced into cages not six months ago. Remember that? Doesn’t it feel kind of weird that the story just disappeared from the news without any repercussions? It’s understandable—there have been 100 crazy things that happened since then, but it still seems shocking, impossible even, that that happened. And then you read an NPR comment about how it would be great if both parties could work together to solve conflict and the brain breaks.
This gift guide is for that friend with the broken brain.
A Mug With An Empowering Phrase On It
It is hard to wake up in the morning. It’s harder if you have Twitter. Opening Twitter to see what disastrous event has occurred in the span of six hours is similar to Brad Pitt opening that box at the end of Seven—he knew that there was nothing good in that box, but he opened it anyway.
Coffee helps with this problem, obviously, and a coffee mug with a pithy comment on it can go a long way in empowering you to get through the day. Bonus points for this Smartass & Sass one—it’s the emotional opposite of “grab ‘em by the pussy.”
The Complete X Files
What better reminder that the government is a nefarious shadow organization run by aliens than a show that spent 11 seasons and two movies driving that message home to its viewers?
A monthly gift to an organization that desperately needs it
Social services are under attack, and one-time or monthly donations are a little that really go a long way. If your friend is one of those annoying, “I don’t need anything this year” types, you can at least offer a one-time or monthly donation in their name. The ACLU, Planned Parenthood, the Human Rights Watch, and the National Resources Defense Council are all excellent choices.
A “Personal Massager”
It’s important to relieve tension.
I’m not just telling you to read Vote Her In: Your Guide to Electing Our First Woman President because I had the honor of interviewing author Rebecca Sive at Women & Children First bookstore this month. I’m telling you to read it because if feminists are going to take over the universe one elected office at a time, we need a solid strategy.
Rebecca, who’s also the author of Every Day Is Election Day: A Woman’s Guide to Winning Any Office, from the PTA to the White House, was inspired to write Vote Her In by the 2017 Women’s March in Chicago, and each chapter is named for a poster she photographed (“The Patriarchy Ain’t Gonna Smash Itself,” and “The Future is Nasty” are two of my favorites).
Thanks to the poster imagery, Vote Her In serves both as an inspiring manifesto and an enduring snapshot of the women’s Rebellion in action.
The Gift of Wearable Rebellion
Top row items are available at the Rebellious Magazine Spreadshirt shop, which is offering 25 percent off Friday, Nov. 23 through Sunday, Nov. 25 with coupon code CBRWKND. The bottow row is from our Threadless store, where shipping is free on orders of $45 or more through Monday, Nov. 26 with coupon code FREESHIP117225b7.