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Merry-Go-Round Magazine’s Forever Ongoing Gift Guide


Hello! If you’ve arrived here, you must love gift guides as much as the rest of us! What you’ll find here is a never-ending and constantly updating list of gift suggestions—it could be used during the holidays, but frankly we think it could be used literally whenever! Birthdays, bar mitzvahs, Hell, wouldn’t every 15-year-old want a copy of POLICE STORY III for their quinceañera? You’ll notice aspects of this list are very Los Angeles-centric and, while MGRM has grown a lot in recent years, with international writers and a worldwide reader base, we remain decidedly based in SoCal! Enjoy! 

Kitchen Confidential


No, I won’t move on! I don’t care that this is one of the least obscure books on the planet. If you haven’t read it somehow, go out and get it for yourself! I have purchased this book for approximately six or seven people and it’s been a smash hit every time. Need a gift for your dad? KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL. Your friend who thinks they are Hunter S. Thompson despite the fact that they haven’t read a book since undergrad? KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL. I’ve found it to be the perfect universal gift, and you can get it pretty much wherever books are sold, so you’re good to go last-minute. And if they’ve already read KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL, you can try MEDIUM RAW, Bourdain’s later book, which is a bit less eloquent but much bitchier and angrier, in the best way. [Katarina Docalovich]

Zabs Hot Sauces

Zabs Trio

Zabs have grown immensely in the last five years, going from a Los Angeles secret for hot sauce heads to becoming a product you can find across the greater Southwest in various restaurants and even Whole Foods. Here’s the thing, though: It still hasn’t gotten the ‘ol HOT ONES bump, and while that is likely imminent, give the gift of spice before it becomes internationally known. The Zabs trio in particular works on multiple levels: Give it as a full gift to those who have a problem buying hot sauces (like me), buy it and separate each thing out as an extra little gift or stocking stuffer, or if you’re like me, just have one or two handy for when the unexpected gift arrives and you need to look thoughtful. The original is a tangy, delectable morsel, but the honey is perfect for any assortment of biscuits or pizza and the St. Augustine is, pound-for-pound, one of the best hot sauces I’ve ever had in my life. You can trust me, I know what I’m talking about. [CJ Simonson

Police Story 3 DVD


In one of our sickest ironies, the death knells of physical media have only laid the groundwork for an upswell of medium-defining restorations and collector’s editions; we live in a dualist reality where your local record store is liquidating stacks of the best movies ever made while Vinegar Syndrome is charging retail Criterion prices for a hand-crafted Blu-ray of FATAL GAMES, marking 2023 as one of the all-time pinnacles of movie collecting. If you wanted to get in and spend either as little or as much money as possible on amassing a high-quality library, this is the time. Of the numerous hallmark releases of the year (to name a few: Bogdanovich’s TARGETS finally getting a Criterion, Kino Lorber’s tremendous MILLENNIUM MAMBO and 70s COLUMBO efforts, and the in-demand 4K of OPPENHEIMER), the most impressive was the long-awaited SUPERCOP 4K from 88 Films, a luxuriously hefty set replete with lobby cards, posters, booklets, special features, and (most importantly) alternate cuts of Jackie Chan’s definitive ’90s epic. At last, no imports necessary just to watch one of Hong Kong’s most popular blockbusters as intended. I’ll keep it real: I’m recommending the 4K, but I saved some cash and opted for the Blu-ray instead—SUPERCOP isn’t exactly a richly textured experience that demands print-quality colors, though the standard Blu more than delivers. [Kevin Cookman]

V-Neck in White

HANRO Cotton Seamless V-Neck Camisole in White 

The infamous tank top Nicole Kidman wears in EYES WIDE SHUT. Do I even need to elaborate? If you are both a) getting laid and b) have an extra $70 laying around by some miracle, why not go crazy? I guess if you don’t have a girlfriend, this would be a great gift to give your favorite e-girl (or boy, not judging) so they will finally notice you. Just make sure you get the right size. Pair with white cotton high cut French panties and you’re all set. [Katarina Docalovich]

Ebay screenshot


I fucking love a heap of junk, brother. In my early eBay days, I had somehow come across a listing of Fright Flicks wax packs manufactured by Topps– nearly 100 gruesome horror movie stills with corny captions on the front and two-sentence horror stories on the back. Then, this year, on a whim I looked up what a complete Dinosaurs Attack! deck went for and, for a measly $32, I was suddenly the proud owner of some of the grossest illustrations ever mass-produced for children. Card #14 featuring a Parasaurolophus duo munching on a buffet of children in a school bus is made all the more delicious by the central joke that these dinosaurs are herbivores. For a few months there, I would look up random Topps collaborations through the late 20th century and find that, no matter how obscure the IP I typed in, there was a fucking trading card! And they’re all just collecting dust in collectors’ stashes going for dirt-cheap prices! When Paul Reubens died, I laid down another $30 for a full set of PEE-WEE’S PLAYHOUSE cards and, brother, they did not heal my grief, but they sure are fun to look at in a big ol’ binder. These things have zero utility and often smell, but that’s what makes gifting them exponentially funnier. [Kevin Cookman]

LEGO Succulents

LEGO Succulents

Millennials love plants. And when Gen Z get to the place where they figure out having kids or dogs or really any living thing is unattainable because of the current and impending horrors we face as a society, they’ll love plants too. But here’s the thing: You can easily kill a plant. You know what you can’t kill? A LEGO plant. And the LEGO Succulents are the perfect gift for those with a faux-green thumb or anyone who has a fun little desk setup and wants the perfect addition to it. I’m weary of throwing the word “Adult” next to any children’s toy, but for the various plant LEGOs I think it’s fair play—no kid wants Succulents or an Orchid or a fucking Dried Flower Centerpiece, but your 37-year-old cousin who lives in Boise with a roommate and two cats sure as shit will. [CJ Simonson]


Pillow Puffer Headscarf 

This is my favorite gift I’ve ever received from one of my very best friends a few years ago and I still wear it all the time. I think of her whenever I wear it. It’s windy and cold in NYC right now and this scarf is the laziest way to be cute and warm at the same time. I am nothing if not a lazy girl. This is my most East Coast contribution and I don’t care. (I guess you can wear this in LA too, if you want to pretend like there are real seasons.) [Katarina Docalovich]

WACKO – 4633 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles

I grew up believing Wacko was a citywide staple, but I’m at a point where most people I know in Los Angeles aren’t from Los Angeles anymore, so let me remind everyone that Wacko on Hollywood Boulevard (which is a confusing address because it’s really more helpful to think of it as being on West Sunset or even Franklin) is the single best gift shop in the United States. Marketing itself first and foremost as a bookstore—which is more than fair given its half-dozen corridors of art books, gonzo memoirs, erotica, and cultural history texts—it’s one of the best toy shops in Los Angeles. Sure, the stock has dwindled over the years (or maybe walking down the cramped aisles as a grown adult lets you see more cracks in the shelves than parading down them as a 10-year-old), but for the past two years I’ve gone to pick up a new GOLDEN GIRLS action figure for my Mom (she has Rose and Sophia so far) and a packet of Chuckles for my dad (read: the disgusting candy that Travis Bickle snacks on while watching porn). It’s FAO Schwarz for incense-burning freelancers, a true Wonka Chocolate Factory for materialist perverts, and the scariest place on planet Earth for a guy from Iowa. [Kevin Cookman]

Hyperparasocialization (Taylor’s Version)

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