BOARD BUT NOT BORED
Gay and lesbian board games are even harder to find than Rock Band, but at least one is still being developed and improved: Our Family Game, a trivia game that asks you edifying questions such as “Who designed the rainbow flag?” and “Which company was the first to offer a nondiscrimination and domestic partnership policy?” They’ve even made a commercial:
Classic games like chess and backgammon always make good gifts, especially if you spring for a fancy set from a place like TheChessStore.com (and if you buy a backgammon set, you can re-create the fantasy match in Claire of the Moon). Newer favorites like Trivial Pursuit and Scene It have new editions out for the holidays — the Scene It Deluxe Movie Second Edition includes scenes from The Devil Wears Prada, starring AfterEllen.com favorite Emily Blunt.
Finally, there’s a Buffy the Vampire Slayer board game, complete with Willow game piece:
Just remember, as Xander once warned, if Death asks you to play chess, “don’t even do it. The guy’s, like, a whiz.”
Here’s one game you’ll probably want to avoid: Monopoly for Girls. With this special edition, Hasbro assumes that being female means preferring the Mall of America to Boardwalk, and building boutiques instead of hotels. The worst part? The board and dice are pink. Bah humbug!
MUSIC TO HER EARS
Sure, you could take the easy way out and buy iTunes gift certificates for everyone on your list, but why not impress them with your wide-ranging musical expertise by giving a few select CDs this year?
For those who like the alt-country of artists like Patty Griffin and Lucinda Williams, pick up out lesbian Mary Gauthier‘s latest album, the critically acclaimed Between Daylight and Dark ($13.98). Her honest, low-key voice and — let’s admit it — boyish good looks make her often dark songs both listenable and unforgettable.
If you’re looking for a rock album, check out queer band The Cliks‘ breakthrough first album, Snakehouse ($13.98), which kicks off with the addictive hook of "Complicated," then rocks through an inspired cover of Justin Timberlake‘s "Cry Me a River." Other outstanding tracks include the hard-driving "Eyes in the Back of My Head" and the super-catchy "Oh Yeah."
Listeners who appreciate adventurous, experimental R&B will enjoy Meshell Ndegeocello‘s latest CD, The World Has Made Me the Man of My Dreams ($14.98). And why not reward Australian pop/folk singer Missy Higgins for recently coming out as bisexual by giving her most recent album, On a Clear Night ($21.98). Higgins’ warm, memorable voice delivers deeply personal songs — all with that sexy Australian accent.