Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Fancy Meeting You Here Holiday Guide

Last Friday, you were probably standing in line outside a Wal-Mart or a Best Buy or Big Lots – I was pretty tempted to hit Big Lots myself, that decorative fireplace mantle they had on sale for $249 ($190 off!) really caught my eye. I was set to buy three and consider my gift giving done.

Instead, I was here at The Met for their incredible doorbuster sale. Everything was up to 50% off making them half-off priceless! It was too much to resist.

As you might imagine, it was quite a scene, chaos sheathed in etiquette, which is about as chaotic as the social types get. A lot of chauffeurs and butlers downed by back injuries, a handful of lap dogs caught in the crush. The only person who was really injured in the melee was 72-year old Muffy Tomkins. Turns out her pearl necklace was on a little too tightly and she’d become lightheaded in the initial sprint. That said, her well-bouffed hair broke the fall.

I was on the steps of The Met at 3:30 and when those doors opened, people just bee lined it to the pieces they’d had their eye on all season.

My target, the Temple of Dendur, but a woman’s lawyer was already carrying it to the registers for her when I arrived on the scene. I told her about the 5 year-old I’d planned to buy the ancient Egyptian sun temple for as a new treehouse, and she told me it was a stocking stuffer for her maid’s son. Should have gotten there at 2:30.

Then by the time I arrived at Big Lots just after 5:30, all of the decorative fireplace mantels were snatched up too. Oddly the same woman and the same lawyer had just cleaned them out. So if you’re anything like me, there are still a few people left on your gift list this season. Let’s just finish them off right now. Here are some amazing pieces from the Greek & Roman wing. If they’re listed here, they’re all still available.

Theses helmets are great for kids who like to dress up, they’ll fuel hours of endless imaginative play. Adults who like to play dress up will enjoy them even more though.

Struggling with that gift for your significant other? An aloe plant’s just not gonna cut it this year, lesson learned. Three words, “Chicks dig scars" If you’re not up for getting into a gnarly skateboarding accident or a shark fight, three more words – “Chicks dig jewelry.” You’ll make someone pretty happy with these. $175,000 for everything in the case, after doorbuster discount. You could also get a reproduction in the gift shop for $17.50 but believe me, they’ll know the difference, 2,000 years adds a lot to the patina.

Maybe you have a niece or nephew who’s all set on attending art school. That’s great. Ideally you’d give them a trust fund, they’re gonna need it. But here’s something else to consider. Artists spend hours sketching still life objects, and this scultpure is the sort of thing that'll fit nicely in a nook of their off-campus apartment. Plus the $475,000 you spend saves them the $2.25 Metrocard fare and 41 cent suggested donation they’d give the museum when they came for a visit. This thing just pays dividends for the artist to be, and maybe you’ll get a couple new pieces for the fridge.

This isn’t necessarily the best holiday gift, but if you know someone who’s just moved and you’re struggling for a housewarming gift, keep that bottle of wine for yourself. Instead, give them this ancient Lion sculpture. I’m a little on the fence about this one, ideally you’d like to present them with a pair of lions for the end of their driveway or the entrance to their studio apartment with bedroom alcove, but the fact that it will have cost you more than their home cost them makes up for its absence. Plus when they have to insure this thing for $615,000, they’ll shut up about “the missing lion.”

Sadly this is something a lot of families will hear this time of year – “It's probably Grandma’s last Christmas.” First thought for her is a sweater, because even when it’s 92 out, nana’s still bundled. Too obvious, there's no surprise in it for her. Instead look forward and send her out in style with a sarcophagus. Your grandparent will be the only one in the cemetery entombed forever in this elaborately decorated, one-ton dwelling. She's sure to be the envy of all the other dead people. Of course “forever” is a relative term here. The person originally buried in this probably thought forever was longer than 1,600 years. Still there’s some consolation that Gran will be on display 2,000 years from now herself.

I mentioned the gift shop earlier, and yes, you can get a variety of gifts there - reproduction scarves, reproduction prints, reproduction Colonial-era playing cars. Show me the kid who doesn’t want to play hand after hand of War with those! If you choose to go this route, spring for The Met’s enhanced wrapping service. You have your choice of artists, a Lichtenstein, Warhol, Pollack or Ver meer perhaps, the inventory changes hourly this time of year. The museum then removes the artwork from their frames and wraps your purchase directly in the canvas, binding it with their signature ribbon of course.

Enhanced wrapping adds between $3 and $17 million to that $30 reproduction scarf, but it shows your loved ones you care and didn’t just phone it in this year.

Happy holidays and our best for the New Year! We’ll see you in January 2011.

Fancy Meeting You Here

Carl Arnheiter & Dave Hill

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

We're back to close out the year. Last tour, one lucky museum-goer walked away with a van Gogh. This month we're stepping it up with two van Gogh's. Your choice.

This month, in addition to hosts Carl Arnheiter (Inside Joke) and Dave Hill (The King of Miami), you'll be misguided by:

Children's Hospital, Fat Guy Stuck in Internet, Human Giant

The Onion, Dangerous Book for Dogs, New Vampire's Handbook

ECNY winner Best Female Comedian, Conan, SNL, Letterman

The tour meets inside The Met to the right as you walk in at 6:45pm. Tour group tickets $16. If you're coming along or have any questions about the show, email us at FMYHcomedy at