Monday, December 7, 2009

JB’s December Favorite Thangs …

As the holidays are upon us, and as we try to make sense of the world around us, I am going local for all of my holiday shopping and holiday spending. It gets frustrating when people are shopping in every neighborhood but their own. So this year, my partner John and I are spending our money locally and investing in our own ‘hood. “If I can not walk to it, I won’t buy it” is my holiday motto this year. With that in mind, here are my ten favorite thangs for December…

1. RGJB (Rogue’s Gallery for John Bartlett) 70’s vintage inspired tees and thermals
Alex Carleton of Rogues Gallery and I are both inspired by 1970’s leather bar graphics and these are wonderful interpretations of an easier, more carefree era. Exclusive to my store, this is a co-branded holiday offering that is artsy, sexy, and made in America.  They retail for $75.

2. Carter and Cunningham Studio Visit

My wonderful and talented friends Mark Welsh and James Salaiz of Carter and Cunningham are the co-founders of a very inspiring design lab that creates hand-hewn and collaged mirrors and crazy-gorgeous ceramics. Please join me in visiting their studio on both Saturday December 19th and Sunday December 20th from Noon-6:00 pm for an incredible opportunity to invest in local, homegrown talent.

195 Chrystie Street
Suite 809E
New York, NY 10002

3. Mattachine at Julius
My favorite night out is around the corner from where I live at the oldest gay bar in NYC, Julius.  Paul (PJ) DeBoy has created a special night and can follow him on twitter at pjdeboy. The next event is Thursday, December 10th starting at 9:00 pm until ??. I don’t really go out much but I find myself dancing my ass off at this neighborhood party where the music is a twisted mix of early 80’s new wave and 70’s rock.

159 West 10th Street
New York, NY 10014

4. Charles Restaurant
This newly opened West Village eatery is an incredibly chic instant classic. The food is amazing (try the octopus salad!) and the service is beyond compare. So many restaurants come and go and although Charles is a bit on the pricey side, it is worth every cent. Make sure to reserve early as this new West Village secret is getting out.

234 West Fourth Street
New York, NY 10014

5. Boyhoods-Rethinking Masculinity by Ken Corbett
An insightful book about gender and what is means to be a man (and a boy) through the lens of feminist and queer theory.  Sound heavy? It is quite the opposite. Although Corbett journeys through some heavy duty psychoanalytical thought, this is an amusing, accessible and ultimately groundbreaking assessment of gender that even a layman like me can grasp. Ken is a wonderful friend and neighbor and I am so proud of this compelling study!

6. Cafiero Select
This perfect idiosyncratic home décor store is an East Village gem. David Cafiero, a renaissance dude who looks like a Kennedy but can impersonate Edie Beal has created a one of a kind home décor store that has attracted such an indie following (Chloe Sevigny had Cafiero design her digs after wandering into his shop a year ago) that he is now one of the most sought after decorators in town. David is there quite often and can show you how to effortlessly create a downtown vibe with uptown pedigree.

206 East 6th Street
New York, NY 10003

7. The 5-Wick Brick Candle
Created by the mistress of scent, Eileen Harcourts, exclusively for my store, these candles come in three distinct moods: Tweed, Fireplace, and Tobacco Bark. Imagine the smell of a musty tweed blazer mixed with your grandfather’s tobacco pipe sitting in front of a fire and you get the olfactory mise en scene.  Each one is hand made and costs $85 - a perfect brick of a gift for the hollerdaze.

8. RGJB (Rogues Gallery for John Bartlett) Log Carrier
No winter blizzard is complete without a hand made, hand-screened log carrier made out of old sails in Maine ($135). They make a perfect gift for that hard to buy for lumberjack and also come in vintage plaids ($150) and black leather ($350).

9. Partners & Crime Booksellers
When I am not reading intellectual studies on gender (which is most of the time) I am perusing the racks of this wonderful neighborhood bookstore that specializes in mystery and crime books of all genres. They have monthly book signings with authors and even have a very cool Scandinavian section whose titles inspired me to take a trip to Stockholm earlier this fall. Ask the owners who are there everyday for recommendations.

44 Greenwich Avenue
New York, NY 10011

10. Donate! Donate! Donate!
It is this time of year when it feels even more important to donate money to your local charities who are working to make your community a better place for everyone.  For me, I will be sure to donate money to Sylvia’s Place, an emergency overnight shelter for gay, lesbian and transgendered youth on 446 west 36th street. Many kids find themselves in the Big Apple because they are not welcome at home and this is especially true for our LGBT brothers and sisters. Silvia’s Place offers not only a place to sleep for the night but meals, physical and mental health services and court advocacy. We are all so very fortunate and it is imperative to give back in every and any way we can.

I wish you all a very safe, happy and sacred season. It is not about the gift giving and the over indulging but the love we can share with those around us, whether they are family, lovers or even a stranger on the street. If you look deeply enough into someone’s eyes, you can see God peering back at you and we are all in this together.


RGJB photos by Matthew Sandager


  1. LOVE the new Rogues and Mark looks very hot in the new J. Crew catalog!

  2. John - the Rouges Gallery colb. looks absolutely amazing. I'm wondering if the items will be available solely through your retail store? Or will some be available online somewhere?

    Hope you're having a lovely December.