After the resident webmistress had spent some time bored and browsing the new Neiman Marcus Christmas Book, she emailed me and instructed me I simply had to cover this – and the webmister agreed willingly. What may result from this is a compilation of perhaps the craziest gift ideas for the… shall we say… well-heeled folks that roam the lands. Very few will actually be able, much less even willing to please their family, friends or significant others with these gifts, but they are very cool to look at nonetheless. Let’s get started.
I sure as hell have never seen one of these on sale in a big department store such as NM, but I really like the idea. I’m sure many of you have been on dates before that ended up in a photobooth sooner or later, capturing the romatic moment on a strip of snapshots that eventually helped spark the relationship to another level. Such a wonderful cliche, but so true. For almost half a century this photobooth madness has been going on, and now you can get your very own customized booth for yourself. This Photo-Me Classic Photobooth features a customized NM exterior and uses proven technology to ensure efficient operation and ID-quality color photographs. In about 4 minutes your captures are done and within another 30 seconds, you’re ready for the next round. What a great party item to have – it’ll make sure your celebration, party or get-together will stay memorable for a long time to come. The downside: it’s gonna cost ya. $20,000 to be precise. But what are 20 grand if you can get eternity?
If your childhood included a treehouse, it was something your daddy nailed together with a bunch of 2x4s and provided you with your own little getaway hideout to escape from the meanness of the world. Or your parents, which is redundant. Former musician and artisan Roderick Romero envisions that grownups should have getaways of their own, but his structures differ from what daddy created in the backyard shack when you were young. Romero designs and constructs breathtaking, naturalistic sculptures that nestle into branches as if they had grown there. Clients of his include famous names like Sting and Donna Karan. He uses indigenous wood from naturally fallen trees whenever possible and has incorporated musical elements for some of his branch dwellers. Each and every treehouse is unique, which has its price; the sculptures start at $50,000. I’m pretty sure it’ll make a great party deck, too.
Next up my absolute favorite. The Dreamboat Limited-Edition Levitating Sculpture is a nerd’s wet dream come true. Don’t laugh, it’s true. This work of polished aluminum, strong magnets, and tasteful mahogany floats on the crest of a magnetic wave, floating with ambient air currents but never losing altitude. Star Trek, anyone? The magnetic levitation system, invented by sculptor and installation artist Tom Shannon, utilizes permanent magnets that never lose their strength, helping the piece hover indefinitely until it is physically moved. The sculpture is available in a 16-inch limited edition of 100 ($18,000) or a 6-foot limited edition of 8 ($90,000). If that is not the coolest way to spend nearly $100k, then I don’t know what it is. More info here.
Sir Elton does not need an introduction. What needs an introduction is the opportunity for someone lucky to score an exclusive 1.5h concert for a private party of up to 500 people with Elton John himself for a mere 1.5 million dollars American. All the profits are donated straight to the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF)> EJAF has distributed over $60 million to worthy programs in 55 countries around the globe since its founding. The price of the concert does not include the travel or production expenses, hence it’s safe to say that the price will go up by a significant margin before the gig actually takes place. Great gift for a greater cause, thumbs up to Elton for making this happen. (info)
Lastly on our journey of ridiculous extravaganza, I’d like to mention the $3,500,000 Moller Skycar Prototype. There’s been a lot of fuzz about this particular vehicle in the past months, in print, television and on various internet sites. This ethanol fueled, personal vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) vehicle is the first of its kind in the world. Moller claims it to be the first feasible solution for personal air travel, whether it’s as afforable as their website claims is a whole different story. Either way, you can purchase the very first working prototype after its inaugural piloted test flight scheduled for later this year or early 2006. More info on the red bird here.