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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Cupid Ain't Stupid: Valentine's Gifts
by Mikey Rox
2008-02-06

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Rio Grande

Let his package shine like the midday sun in swimwear by BoyRio ( $39.99-$54.99, www.boyrio.com ) . Pairing daring prints with flattering fits, this Arizona-based company's concept draws on the exuberance of South American style, inspired by Brazil's breathtaking beaches, to create fresh, distinctive designs that'll make a splash no matter where he touts his tan. Aptly providing more coverage than the bemoaned bikini while leaving less to the imagination than standard square-cuts, these 'sunga' style suits—like the scorching Carmen Racer in red—combine the spirit of summer with an athletic aesthetic guaranteed to turn up your temperature. The added bonus? What goes on, must come off.

Live, Love, Laugh

Add more dandy to your domestic partnership with side-splitting DVDs from Ariztical Entertainment ( www.ariztical.com ) . On Kate Clinton: 25th Anniversary ( $19.95 ) , the veteran performer celebrates a quarter-century of queer comedy with political satire, witty one-liners and celeb cameos by Lily Tomlin, Melissa Etheridge and Billie Jean King. Extras include one-on-one chats with the legendary lesbian comedienne; 'Kate on Katrina'; 'Bushes and Dykes'; a backstage pass with Clinton and her partner of 19 years, Urvashi; and '25 years of Hairstyles.' For that gregarious guy, the third installment in Andrea Meyerson's series on gay comics, Laughing Matters … The Men ( $24.95 ) , combines stand-up with candid interviews of today's most fagulous funnymen, including Bruce Vilanch, Alec Mapa, Bob Smith, Scott Kennedy, Andre Kelly and Eddy Sarfaty.

He So Horny

Set his heart—or at least his neck—on fire with handcrafted jewelry by Cruz Azur ( www.cruzazur.com ) . At 16-inches long, the Austin Smolka-designed rosary with baroque cross ( $75 ) , symbolizing life and health, is made of 925 sterling silver, accented by a red resin stone at its center. The Italian horn or 'cornu' ( $90 ) , intended to protect the wearer from the evil eye and bring good luck, is 1.5-inches long by 1.2-inches wide and die cast in red resin topped with 925 sterling silver. True, this isn't what he picked out from Cartier, but what does he expect? Homo shouldn't have Manhunted behind your back.

Baskit Case

They say you shouldn't put all your eggs in one basket, but what about your balls? An amalgamation of the all-over body tattoos worn by Japanese organized-crime syndicate, The Yakuza, Baskit's new Body Art line features low-rise briefs ( $21 ) constructed of 180-gram cotton, while the Baskit Beauties boxer brief collection ( $22-$24 ) , crafted from the same quality material, pays homage to World War II-era U.S. Air Force bombers and their pinup girl-painted fuselages. Also available in '08: A bronze-green boxer brief with contrasting vermillion orange trim ( $18 ) ; a low-rise brief with white cotton body and mesh pouch ( $20 ) ; and the Lucky 7s swim bikini, inspired by LeMans' race cars ( $34 ) . Gentleman, start your engines!

Spread Your Seed

Enhance the environment and impress your sweetie by having a redwood seedling planted in his or her honor. For a donation of $50 or more to Save-the-Redwoods League ( www.savetheredwoods.org ) , you can give a gift that'll last more than 2,500 years as the League collaborates with California State Parks to cultivate and plant your seedling. Once germinated, the saplings are then returned to the same forest from which the seed originated. Save-the-Redwoods League delivers a commemorative card and photograph of an ancient redwood forest to the recipient to showcase the gift, and dedicated trees will support reforestation efforts in California. Until, of course, they all go up in flames. But, as Janet Jackson would say, 'That's the way love goes.'

Perk Up

Though not as exciting as joining the Mile High Club, American Airlines' TrAAvel Perks program ( $129, annually; traavelperks.com/home/rainbow.jsp ) offers discounts on destinations anywhere the carrier flies. Savings include $400 on companion travel ( flight savings are $100 per ticket with the required purchased of two tickets; members have access to this savings twice ) ; 2,500 AAdvantage bonus miles; and discounts and special offers from program participants, such as Budget and Alamo rental cars, Samsonite, SkyMall, Ticketmaster, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts and more. Just remember to pack lightly. You'll want to preserve your energy for the many ways he'll thank you.

Heart Songs

Pour some wine and snuggle up to singer-songwriter Ron Morris' Boyfriend and Other Sides of Love ( www.ronmorrismusic.com ) , an intimate pop-folk EP that covers the five facets of amore: loving, longing, laughing, loneliness and, of course, murder. The album's eponymous first single hinges on the edge of hopeless romanticism while capturing the playful waiting for a lover's return with several incarnations, including remixes by The Freemans, People Theatre, and V*I*R*G*O. Along with the title track, the disc also includes Masterpiece of Why, a preview track from Morris' upcoming full-length CD, True Stained Lies; a boys-will-be-boys version of the late composer Hughie Cannon's classic Frankie and Johnny; and a cover of We All Sleep Alone, made famous by the incomparable Cher. Which you probably know by heart.

Who is Mikey Rox? Visit him at www.myspace.com/roxmikey.


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