Holiday gift ideas for Gators

Need the perfect gift for the Gator in your life? Give a gift with an SF State connection this holiday season. From new music to contemporary clothing, the following gift ideas showcase the creativity of SF State faculty and alumni: 



SF State News’ longstanding tradition of holiday gift guides began in 2003 when "A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Original Soundtrack Recording,” composed by Vince Guaraldi (attended '48-'49) and Johnny Mathis' (attended '54 – '55) CD, "The Christmas Music of Johnny Mathis: A Personal Collection" were top picks.

This year jazz aficionados and novices alike can appreciate the new album "Little Warrior" by musician Lisa Engelken (M.A. '05). The album’s eleven tracks -- all arranged and produced by Engelken -- feature original compositions and covers of songs by artists outside Engelken’s genre, such as Joni Mitchell and The Cars.

Alumna Cameron Mesirow performs under the stage name Glasser, her new album is titled,

Alumna Cameron Mesirow (B.A. '06)

For the hipster on your list, consider picking up the new album "Interiors" by experimental pop-artist Glasser. Singer-songwriter Cameron Mesirow (B.A. '06) is the voice behind the stage name. Mesirow explores her love of architecture on this album, using synthesizers as well as analog instruments to create an atmospheric soundscape. Another recording to pick up is "Extraordinary Love" by Mikey Pauker (B.A. '07) who blends folk music and spirituality with hip-hop to create a lyrically complex album that’s still danceable.



Professor of Cinema Joseph McBride’s book offers a new perspective on the assassination of President Kennedy. "Into the Nightmare: My Search for the Killers of President John F. Kennedy and Officer J.D. Tippit" features McBride’s decades-long inquiry into the case. Jim Steele (M.A. '89), former director of the University’s Sierra Nevada Field Campus, has published his first book, "Landscapes & Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism," which details his investigation into climate change.   

Another book, "Lawfully Wedded Wives" takes a compelling look at the real-life love stories behind the groundbreaking same-sex marriages performed in California in 2008. Professor of Creative Writing Nona Caspers co-edited the collection, which features first-person accounts and photographs.

For the fiction reader, pick up Peter Orner’s new short story collection. In "Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge" Orner, a professor of creative writing, takes a look at middle-class America, each story with its own haunting details and vivid setting. 

Another captivating collection of short stories was released this year, "Birds of Paradise Lost" by Andrew Lam (attended '89-'91). Lam examines the daily lives and challenges faced by Vietnamese immigrants in the U.S.

A novel that will undoubtedly interest Bay Area students is "The Unknowns," by Gabriel Roth (M.F.A. '09). The novel details the general malaise and romantic missteps of its main character Eric Muller, a twenty-something who sells his web startup for millions of dollars. With San Francisco’s competitive tech industry as the backdrop, this novel explores the comedic and tragic aspects of young adulthood.  



From snap-back hats to graphic T-shirts and printed button-downs, Faze Apparel produces high quality clothing for the street culture enthusiast. Designer Johnny Travis’ (B.S. '07) appreciation for the intersection of fine art and street art is evident in the bold images he prints on his shirts and the paintings hanging on the walls of his store, which also serves as a gallery space for emerging artists from the Mission. Wares are available online and at Faze Apparel’s flagship location in San Francisco’s Mission District.

Wild Beautiful Clothing

Vibrant colors and abstract patterns are the centerpiece of a new collection of dresses and leggings from Wild Beautiful Clothing. Designer David Klein (B.A. '78) takes artistic inspiration from his father, an amateur photographer with an eye for the abstract. Klein uses his father's method of slowing down the camera’s shutter speed to create one-of-a-kind patterns of color and light. The photographic images are then printed onto fabric and transformed into wearable art.



Mythbusters co-stars Kari Byron (B.A. '98) and Tory Belleci (B.A. '95) can count themselves among a lucky few that have seen their likeness transformed into a bobble head. Mythbusters collectables, T-shirts and DVD collections are available for sale online at the Discovery Channel store.

Ken Kobre's Lightscoop

Professor of Journalism Ken Kobre’s Lightscoop is a low-tech device that can drastically improve photographs. The small reflector connects to a camera’s built-in flash, bending the light towards the ceiling or wall to create a more flattering and fuller light. The Lightscoop helps to eliminate pesky flash features such as red-eye, extreme shadows and washed out faces or colors to create picture-perfect holiday photos.

Another holiday gift that never goes out of style is an SFSU Bookstore gift card; no Gator could turn one down.

 -- Gianna Devoto