AlternaDad Father’s Day Gifts: 2012 Edition

BY  |  Thursday, Jun 07, 2012 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (3)

Last year, I put together a list of AlternaDad Father’s Day Gifts, to help out kids whose Dads don’t like sports, don’t use tools, and don’t wear ties…but still deserve a good Father’s Day present.

Some folks who posted comments questioned the “manliness” of anyone who’d like these gifts, but plenty of Baristaville AlternaDads were happy to get a gift from the list.

So then…onto the 2012 list of gifts for your own very excellent (and plenty manly) AlternaDad:

I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution: Ask your Dad about MTV, and he’ll tell you a funny thing: it used to play music videos, and nothing but music videos, 24 hours a day. There were no trips to the Jersey Shore and no Teen Moms. Dad can relive the days of Michael Jackson on heavy rotation and the sheer awesomeness of Van Halen’s “Hot For Teacher” with I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution, by Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum. The book focuses on the channel’s musical golden age (1981-1992) with 600+ pages of stories from the people who were there when an astronaut first planted the MTV flag on the moon and made the whole world rock.

Homebrew Beer Kit: If there’s one thing that unites nearly every kind of Dad out there, it’s the pleasure of kicking back with a cold beer on a summer’s day. But you know what’s even more satisfying for a certain kind of Dad? Popping the top of a bottle he brewed himself. Trust me: this Baristaville Dad has been homebrewing beer with a neighbor for the last few years, and it just tastes better when you pick your own ingredients (for sale at the Gaslight in South Orange) and ferment it in the basement. Get Dad started on the homebrewing adventure of a lifetime with a 5-gallon starter kit—we got ours from LD Carlson, but nearly any kind will do. Once your father tries his first homemade ale, he may never want to go back to the store-bought stuff.

Paper Jamz: Does Dad want to rock, but he just can’t find the time…and he sold his guitar or drum set right around the time you came along? He might not have the inclination to get a full-on instrument again, but a little rockin’ fun with Paper Jamz instruments just might do the trick. These low-cost, paper-based (and not too loud) instruments can let Dad rip a few power chords or stinging solos, without disturbing the neighbors or waking the kids.

Cooking Classes: Your AlternaDad, by definition, is not a stereotypical father. Which means he probably knows his way around the kitchen, and might even really love to cook. Let him have some culinary fun with a cooking class at Classic Thyme Cooking School in Westfield, which has a curriculum that includes French, Mexican, Italian, Indian, and other cuisines, plus specialty approaches to grilling or even sandwiches. There are classes offered throughout the summer, letting Dad have fun honing his skills without the pressure of having to feed the family that day.

Y: The Last Man: You know how sometimes you don’t want to read those serious books your teacher assigned? Your Dad feels that way sometimes, too, and you can give him a great alternative with a comic book. What’s that, your father is too old for comic books? Well, sure—he might not get the same kick out of Spider-Man and The Fantastic Four that he used to, but there are lots of great comic books for grown-up readers. Treat your Dad to the first volume of Y: The Last Man, Brian K. Vaughn’s 12-volume tale of a wisecracking guy named Yorick who suddenly finds himself the only male in a world full of women. It’s far from the paradise you might think, and it’s a great, epic story (with plenty of adult themes, so don’t read it before handing over the gift…)

Sugar Deluxe Reissues: There once was a band called Sugar, and oh my did they rock. Bob Mould, late of melodic punk greats Husker Du, got together this trio in the mid-90s to put some serious guitar/bass/drums roar behind a bunch of super-catchy songs. They only lasted for a few years, and only put out a couple of albums, but the Sugar catalog is getting the deluxe reissue treatment this summer from the nice folks at Merge Records. Order the double-disc reissue of the stone-cold alterna-classic Copper Blue album and Beaster EP (complete with b-sides and a live show from 1992), and while the CDs or big vinyl LPs won’t arrive until July, Dad will instantly get the whole thing to download as MP3s while he waits for the hard copies to show up in the mail.

Dad Spa Day: Mom may have led you to believe that the day spa experience is just for her and her gal pals, but Dad knows better: there’s plenty of relaxing and rejuvenating for men at most spas, and he’s eagerly waiting for his turn. Eforea, the spa in the Short Hills Hilton, has a whole menu of “Men’s Journey” treatments, including massages, facials, and other de-stressors just for Dad. There are also good options for helping Dad loosen up at the Flic Spa in Bloomfield and Harmony in Caldwell.

Big Day Coming: Yo La Tengo and the Rise of Indie Rock: Just down the road from Baristaville is Hoboken, and right in the heart of the city is Maxwell’s. It’s the greatest rock club in NJ, and home base for longtime local heroes (and my #1 favorite band) Yo La Tengo. Now, Hoboken’s finest have their very own scholarly band bio book, Big Day Coming: Yo La Tengo and the Rise of Indie Rock, by NJ music journo (and WFMU DJ) Jesse Jarnow. The book is full of great Jersey rock history and insight into a band that plays the perfect soundtrack for every AlternaDad.

A Crossbow: You didn’t get Dad a crossbow last year, right? Good, because there’s really no excuse for having one in the suburbs. But he still totally wants one.

What does your AlternaDad want for Father’s Day?


  1. POSTED BY herbeverschmel  |  June 07, 2012 @ 8:55 am

    Sugar’s Copper Blue could be one the best albums ever and that saying something. There is a great acoustic version of Hoover Dam online you should look up. His solo album The Last Dog and Pony Show is another good one. Bob Mould has so much great material I don’t know where to start but if you don’t have Copper Blue, it’s a must for any collection. The way the first 5 songs just blend is amazing.

  2. POSTED BY walleroo  |  June 07, 2012 @ 10:50 am

    I’ve been asking for the same thing every year for the 20 or so years I’ve been a dad: happiness in a can.

  3. POSTED BY Brian Glaser  |  June 07, 2012 @ 11:52 am

    Walleroo, I don’t know how likely that is…but herbeverschmel is right that Copper Blue comes pretty close!

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