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Next story: Gifts for the 1%

Gifts for the 99%

$70. Hoodie by Holly Hue, local designer sold exclusively at Splash Panic (818 Elmwood Ave.)

Born in Buffalo T-shirts and Hoodies

Various local shops,


If you truly want to occupy Buffalo, this is your uniform: Born in Buffalo’s line of Rust Belt-wear sports such slogans as “My City Smells Like Cheerios,” “Brett Hull Is a Cheater,” “McKinley’s Last Stop,” “B-LO Me,” “God Save the Queen City,” and “Buffalo Gives You Wings.” (Among the latest in the line: “Scared Straight By Father Baker” and “Buffalo, NY: Expect At Least 6 Inches.”) Born in Buffalo: It’s the new black bloc.

Basket of Coal-mining Literature

Talking Leaves…Books - 951 Elmwood Avenue, 3158 Main Street

Rust Belt Books - 202 Allen Street

Various prices, cheap

While the one-percenters might expect a lump of coal (or, more likely, a coal mine) in their stockings, the 99 percent might do well to examine the history of coal mining and its workers, whose efforts to organize helped to give birth to the modern labor movement. Here are some titles to consider, fiction and nonfiction: Storming Heaven by Denise Giardina, How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn, Coal Mountain Elementary by Buffalo native Mark Nowak, and Moving Mountains: How One Woman and Her Community Won Justice From Big Coal by Penny Loeb. Maybe a DVD of John Sayles’s 1987 film Matewan, for good measure.

Corrugated Plastic Sign Board

Hyatt’s - 910 Main Street

N. Glantz & Son - 2300 Kenmore Avenue

Figure $15 per 4’x8’ sheet

The political season is over, but we’re sure the seasoned protester took note of the proliferation of candidates’ signs over the past couple months, mounted on durable corrugated plastic, and thought: I could use some of that stuff. Don’t make you anarchist loved one steal from the pols—buy her some new stuff to work with. Also works well as an ersatz roof in rain or snow.

Records for the Revolution

Spiral Scratch Records - 291 Bryant Street

$1 and up

If you’re looking for a voice for the revolution, Spiral Scratch is a good place to start. With classic vinyl records from Bob Dylan and the Doors, legendary punk records like Operation Ivy’s Look Out, new stuff from the likes of Kurt Vile, and a bunch of grassroots local albums, you’ll find the vinyl inspiration and motivation for your winter occupation at this local record store.


Uncle Sam’s Army Navy Surplus - 290 Larkin Street


Originally sent to British soldiers fighting in the Crimean War to protect them from bitter cold temperatures, the balaclava, or ski mask, is a gift that will warm the cheeks of any poor 99-percenter who has to spend any length of time in the cold. Today, balaclavas are made from a wide variety of materials including silk, wool, cotton, acrylic, fleece, and neoprene. As an added edgy bonus, ski masks effortlessly disguise your identity—which has made them the preferred headgear for bank robbers, kidnappers and assorted villains practically since their invention. Open face models are easily stretched and rolled to be worn as scarves or plain knit caps.

VIP Star Card for Market Arcade Film and Arts Centre

Market Arcade Film and Arts Centre - 639 Main Street


The initial outlay seems high but the bargain is in the details: For $59, your 99 percenter gets 10 admissions to regular shows at the Market Arcade, plus four medium popcorns and four medium drinks. Even an occupier need a break from reality and the weather now and again.

Buy a Taza Coffee for a Stranger

Cafe Taza - 100 Elmwood Avenue

$2 for a regular coffee, plus tip

Here’s a charitable gesture that is 99 percent likely to help out a 99-percenter: Visit Cafe Taza in Allentown, buy a cup of coffee. Then, rather than punching your own frequent flier ticket (10 cups gets you a freebie), have the barista punch the ticket of some random stranger. They’re filed alphabetically on the wall beside the register. It’s not much—just 1/10th of a cup of coffee—but it’s the thought that counts.

Every Time I Die Christmas Show Tickets

Club Infinity - 8166 Main Street, Williamsville

Friday, December 16 - $20

What is Christmas without a rabid mosh pit? Every Time I Die, Buffalo’s most beloved hardcore band, brings it back to their roots every December for a one-of-a-kind Xmas celebration. Last year they did three straight nights at Mohawk Place, now, for their seventh annual show, they will bring one giant Christmas rager to Club Infinity in Williamsville. Tickets available at That is all the “shinfo” you’ll need.

Genesee Heritage Collection 12-Pack

Various locations

About $8 plus tax and deposit

This holiday season, Genesee in the traditional 12-ounce squat bottles is the drink of choice for the 99 percent. Genesee Lager (introduced 1878), Cream Ale (introduced 1960), and 12 Horse Ale (introduced 1933) have never appeared so stylish. Maybe they never were. And maybe that’s the point.

Membership to the Vault

The Vault - 702 Main Street

Price TBD - stop in and ask

The Vault, one of downtown Buffalo’s emergent art and music venues, host to a dizzying array of local and international music acts and a gallery that focuses on work by local artists, wants you to join the club. We’re not talking about the Buffalo Club. A basic membership at the Vault gets you access to the new reading room and an eclectic collection of donated books—in other words, a place to hang with likeminded people. (And, if you’re an actual occupier, an escape from Niagara Square with a hot cup of tea.) At a higher price point, your membership includes passes to several shows.

Dime Bags

Headspace - 67 Elmwood Avenue

$22 to $62

Made of hemp, cotton, and polyester, these pouch bags are perfect for transporting a variety of things, especially your most prized glass possessions. Nobody will know you’re carrying your favorite bong in one of these discrete, 15-inch-long padded duffle bags—unless, of course, they see the words “Dime Bag” printed on the side.

Embroidered Wallet

Half & Half Trading Company - 1088 Elmwood Avenue


Even 99-percenters have a few pennies. Why not store your change in style? These cheery wallets from Half & Half Trading Company on Elmwood Avenue will keep your spirits high and your hipster cred intact (everyone knows that a true hipster puts a bird on it) as you begrudgingly pay your bills/landlord/taxes. This gift would also be great for a teen, perhaps a whimsical wallet in tow would encourage them to start saving their funds for the future, which is not a bad idea considering our current economic climate.

Red V-Neck Sweater

Splash Panic - 818 Elmwood Avenue


For the multi-tasking woman in your life, this sweater would look great at a holiday party and keep any Occupy Buffalo protester warm as the colder months approach. Not to mention this pop of color would add to the recipient’s seasonal glow while making them easy to spot in a crowd of black and earth-tone shirts at the protest. For extra warmth and to demonstrate your Buffalove, include Splash Panic’s soft jersey cotton with a Buffalo silhouette emblazoned hood. As every Buffalonian knows, layering is a way of life.

Convergence by Jackson Pollock Postcard

Albright-Knox Art Gallery Shop AK - 1285 Elmwood Avenue


Just because the 99 percenter in your life can’t afford an authentic Jackson Pollock painting and is too busy protesting to visit the Albright-Knox Art Gallery doesn’t mean that they aren’t yearning to feast their eyes on some modern art. A postcard from the Shop AK will satiate their appetite without breaking the bank. This bite-sized masterpiece can be purchased for just $1.09. When standing close enough, a 99 percenter can imagine what it must feel like to be a swanky, art collecting one percenter.

Tanzanian Peaberry Coffee

Blue Mountain Coffee - 509 Elmwood Avenue

$13.49 per pound

Coffee is the drink of the people. Warming, motivating, and tasty, you’ll find a wide selection at Blue Mountain Coffee on Elmwood. Flavors like Banana Nut Crème, Blueberry Muffin, and German Chocolate Cake fill the store, but my personal favorite is the rich, medium-bodied taste of Tanzanian Peaberry.

Bowling Gift Certificate

Voelker’s Bowling Center - 686 Amherst Street

Available in any amount

What better way to spend a chilly, gray Buffalo day than to get out of the house and walk in to the sound of pins cracking and arcade games ringing in a classic old bowling alley? The perfect gift for all ages and most income brackets, a day at the bowling lanes will be appreciated by pro and novice alike. Fortunately at Voelker’s, you can buy gift certificates in any amount that can be applied toward the cost of games, food, and shoe rental. The person we spoke to was pretty sure we could even use them at their distinctive oval bar. The Dude abides.

Custom-made Pasteurized Tee

Pasteurized Tees - 478 Elmwood Avenue

Price Range: $10-$30

Maybe you want a T-shirt that boasts your status as part of the 99-percent movement. Or maybe you’re part of the one percent and proud of it. Well, you can put anything you’d like on a t-shirt at Pasteurized Tees on Elmwood. Like a tattoo shop for your t-shirt, you come up with the idea, they’ll draw it and put it on your chest.

Atomic Skis

Campus Wheelworks - 744 Elmwood Ave.

$399 to $999

This is the year you actually taking up skiing in Buffalo. If you’re a beginner you might want to start with a nice pair of handmade Atomic Skies. Made in Altenmarkt, Austria you can find Atomic Skis right here in Buffalo at Campus Wheelworks. Ranging in price from $399 to $999 a pair, you’ll get a 15 percent discount if you buy your downhill skies, boots, and poles all at once at Wheelworks.

Jasmine Acoustic Guitar

Allentown Music - 1113 Elmwood Ave.


The acoustic guitar is a staple for any protester. Not only can it be used as a form of entertainment, but the acoustic guitar can also unify people through music, as long as “Stairway to Heaven” is not the only song you know. If you’re looking for a great deal on a solid axe, check out the Jasmine Acoustic on sale at Allentown Music this weekend. Marked down from $249 to $139, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (November 25-27) only.

The Experience on DVD

To purchase, call 1-866-280-0859


The local filmmakers at Knuckle City—the same guys who made Forgotten City, an award-winning documentary about race relations in Buffalo—debuted their latest film, The Experience, last week. This feature documentary follows five individuals on a pilgrimage to Ghana, West Africa, in search of the buried history of the Transatlantic slave trade. This is a human journey of understanding one’s own identity on a global scale. Currently on a film festival and nation-wide college tour, The Experience has inspired many and initiated a meaningful discussion of the underlying causes of the incessant issues affecting African Americans. If you weren’t able to catch the recent screening of this documentary, you can now buy it on DVD. To purchase a copy, call 1-866-280-0859.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

Oogie Games - 6051 Transit Road, Depew


Hopefully these occupation protests remain fairly friendly. (In Buffalo, occupiers personally thanked the Buffalo Police Department for allowing them to continue occupying without trouble. The students at UC Davis won’t be thanking any cops.)

In the event that things escalate and World War III becomes inevitable, you’ll be glad you spent 10 hours a day playing Modern Warfare 3. With a killer campaign mode, familiar and addicting multiplayer, and the new “Survival Mode,” calling in a Pave Low is more satisfying than ever. My class of choice: a P-90, claymores, and an RPG. See you at prestige level 15.

22-foot Geodesic Dome

eBay, various online retailers

About $3,000

The pricepoint is high, it’s true. (Come to think of it, this might make a good gift for the one-percenter who loves to grow orchids and hold garden parties in February, too.) But even this basic Bucky Ball, with an aluminum frame and durable marine poly cover, can withstand 60-mile-per-hour winds. That and it’s ability to hold up under a heavy snowload make this a valuable gift for a community of occupiers. Bigger and stronger models are available, too, for a little more scratch. Imagine this built on a wood deck to keep 99-percenters off the cold ground. Come on, one percenters: Dig deep for the folks in Niagara Square.

Give Away the Store

Membership to the Lexington Co-op

Eighty big ones can be a lot to shell out for just one gift especially when it is small enough to fit into a holiday card. Weighing the dollars against how much sense the gift makes is a no-brainer when the card holds a lifetime membership to the Lexington Co-op (807 Elmwood Avenue).

Last-minute shoppers can take refuge in the easy and instantaneous gratification of giving the gift that keeps giving. Signing up that special someone for a membership at the Lexington Co-op is a quick, creative, and community-conscious gift.

Joann Tomasulo is the marketing and member services manager at the Co-op and is, naturally, an advocate for local gift-giving.

“If any of your loved ones are thinking more about their health, where to get delicious whole foods, and want to support the local economy, then a membership to the Co-op is ideal,” says Tomasulo. “We love our owners with all kinds of deals, and it’s fun to be an owner of a thriving local business.”

The benefits of being an owner-member extend well beyond the possession of a free, ever-fashionable Co-op canvas tote. A membership offers deep discounts and patronage payouts based on monies spent. In addition to the monetary benefits, shoppers have access to locally sourced, sustainable foods. Extra cash and tasty food aside, perhaps the most significant component to this holiday offering is the pride that is achieved by giving back to the community.

Membership applications can be found online at or at the store. To make the gift-giving even easier and less damaging to your wallet, the $80 can be spread out over eight months.

—jennifer mogensen

It’s A Deal

Buffalo Dining Cards

Deciding on a fabulous and affordable gift for the holidays can seem like a monumental task. The only decision perhaps more difficult than what to buy is answering the nearly impossible question of where to go for dinner. There is one gift that can answer both those questions and it’s easy to wrap.

This December, skip the nut-crusted cheeseball and the overpriced meal at a chain restaurant, and pick up a deck of cards.

Two years into their inception, Buffalo Dining Cards are one of the hottest and easiest gifts to give. Costing a palatable $20, each deck holds 52 cards offering incredible savings at local eateries in and around the city.

The cards were conceived by a group of five local designers, including Patrick Finan, founder and principle at Block Club.

Finan explains that the thought process behind the cards is a hyper-local focus on area businesses. Finan also wanted to keep the cards simple. There are no restrictions on days or times. Once hungry diners run the dinner tab past $30, they can toss the card on the table and save 10 bucks. The same effortless action can occur every week of the year. It truly is a gift that continues to give all year round.

Katie Krawczyk is a communications and public relations strategist brought on by Block Club to promote these crafty cards. According to Krawczyk, the cards are more than just a gift. She views them as a call to action. By purchasing a deck, both the giver and the recipient are helping to spread the wealth by supporting area business while enjoying local foods sourced at local farms. The dining dollars spent are being placed directly back into the community.

“From a consumer standpoint, the cards are a great resource because they’re cool and fresh-looking, they’re easy to use, and they offer great deals with no hassles or fine print,” says Krawczyk.

This year the Block Club has expanded the deck concept to include more than just morsels of fantastic food. Their new decks offer savings on libations and merchandise. They also have created the oh-so-popular BOGO deck. Consumers can purchase one item from one of the cards and get another item for free.

“Everyone likes a coupon,” says Finan.

The cards are on sale throughout the holidays at local locations, including the Lexington Co-op and Premier Gourmet. Cards can also be purchased online at A portion of the proceeds is fed back into the community via donations to Children’s Hospital, Give 4 Greatness, Roswell Park, and Habitat for Humanity.

As a holiday gift, Buffalo Dining Cards are always a safe bet.

—jennifer mogensen

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