The gift of an art experience gently tells your loved ones, “Hey, you need to get out more.” It also indicates that you are a highly cultured supporter of the arts who wants nothing more than for your friends and family to achieve your level of well-rounded artiness.
But giving someone tickets to an arty event is a risky business. Picture, for example, your good friend cursing you as they haul ass to BART on a Saturday for the matinee of Kinky Boots. But then the magic of art will happen, and they’ll have an incredibly enjoyable time! It will be an experience of a lifetime, thanks to you, their super-smart and cool friend who wouldn’t dare add more material goods to the world.
Here are some suggestions that will make you a gift-giving champ if you’re willing to risk it. Pro tip: Attach a magnet to your gift so it can be hung on the fridge. That way it won’t get lost before it can be enjoyed.
Tickets to Kinky Boots
Dec. 2 - Dec. 28, 2014
SHN Orpheum Theatre
For your flamboyant party people who love a good show, you can’t go wrong with a score written by our favorite unusual girl, Cyndi Lauper, with a story by legendary Tony winner Harvey Fierstein. Send your friend this funny video of Cyndi and Harvey getting weird at KQED to announce your gift. Kinky boots only runs through Dec. 28, but your friend can surely make time for a show in those lazy days just before New Year’s Eve.
Party at The Oddyssea
The world’s largest marble ruin? A full-on shipwreck? A fleet of pirate bicycles? All this exists in one place? Apparently, yes, on Main Street in Half Moon Bay. The Oddyssea is available for parties, and they have regular activities, like making a terrarium or breaking your own geode! The Oddyssea appears to be a labor of love for a family that builds treasures from junk. Their website explains that over 90 percent of the materials used to build The Oddyssea's outside wonderland have been salvaged, reclaimed and re-purposed. I haven’t been there yet, but a friend described it as the “826 Valencia pirate shop mixed with Paxton Gate, but better.”
Soundscapes at The Audium
You know your moody friend, the tall, lanky one? The one with a beard and a vast record collection? He will enjoy The Audium’s “exploration of space in music” experience, listening to audio sculptures as he is “bathed in sounds that move past, over and under” him. Doesn’t that sound soothing? It’s an excellent gift for any audiophile. A trusted source tells me, “It’s like visiting a hippie relic relative from the ‘70s who’s into experimental sound -- in the dark.” This is a sleeper gift. It will sound weird and lame, but the recipient's mind will be blown, and you will remain a gift-giving legend within your circle of friends.
Djerassi Sculpture Tour
Djerassi is a residency program in the Santa Cruz mountains, a picturesque setting among rolling California hills. Artists, composers, writers and performers from around the world spend time on the ranch, creating new works that are in dialogue with the surrounding natural environment. There are over 40 site-specific sculptures on this incredible walking tour, which is perfect for your outdoorsy friend who loves hiking and sack lunches. Tours only take place April-June, so this is a gift with a delayed but worthwhile return.
Art Museum Membership
The Bay Area has many museums, and you can easily find one that matches your pal’s persona. From cartoons to modern art to kooky collections, the Bay Area has a museum for everyone on your list. History buff? Oakland Museum of California. Wine Lover? di Rosa Art and Nature Preserve in Napa. Frozen fan? Walt Disney Family Museum. Kids? Children’s Creativity Museum. Oddball? Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Museum. Just kidding, Ripley's doesn't have memberships, but they are open 365 days a year. Art museum memberships can be acquired in any location, and they will have your loved ones thinking of you fondly anytime they sail past the lines to the exclusive membership desk. You just gave them the gift of VIP status.
Have more arty experience gifts to recommend? Share them in the comments below.