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Last Minute Gifts? Check Downtown's Museums

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Sunday, December 20, 2009, at 10:31PM
IMGP0175 Ed Fuentes

Pantone Coffee Mugs at the MOCA store are some of the gift items that reflect the process of art, as well as art itself.



It is hard to believe that the last few days before Christmas are here. Looking for one more gift or a way to pass the time on that long plane ride home? A book may be just the ticket.

Grand Avenue's cultural institutions have gift stores that reflect their specific art and cultural missions, and between them they offer more than a few options for the literary minded.

By the way, don't forget some of these cultural gift shops have holiday ornaments and Christmas cards for sale, and it will be no surprise if they are marked down the day after Christmas.

LA Phil Store: Tucked in the corner of the Walt Disney Concert Hall is the LA Phil Store, an elegant retail shop that carries writings on operas, composers, and even the Walt Disney Concert Hall itself. Named after its main draw, one wonders if the store will be renamed after conductor Gustavo Dudamel.

For now, you can pick up the Gustavo ladies t-shirt or Gustavo Coffee Mug. There's also a full line of classical music CDs and DVD's. The small items under $20 include a Rosewood Conductor's Baton, which makes for a classy stocking stuffer. 131 S. Grand Ave

MOCA: One of better book and magazine stores in Los Angeles also carries imaginative gifts, such as the coffee mug of Pantone Colors, or the series of tote bags inspired by Keith Haring or Raymond Pettibon. You may not be able to dig in your pocket for a "Robert Rauschenberg Limited Edition Print: Untitled," but easily you can budget in a Robert Rauschenberg Note Card Set. MOCA also carries street pole banners from previous exhibitions for sale.

If you are simply so far behind your shopping, you can claim innocence by stamping each of your wrapped packages with the Dominic Wilcox rubber stamp that reads "What do you mean I'm always too busy?" 250 S. Grand Ave

The Library Store: Managed and run by the Library Foundation, The Library Store stocks items that compliment both readers and writers. A line of autographed books sit alongside stationery, tote bags, and note cards, and like all the above gift shops, educational toys and games for children. The collection of small gift items lean toward LA-centric, including the tote bags. 630 W. 5th

Cathedral of our Lady of the Angels Gift Shop: You can reach the small gift store from the plaza of the Cathedral, and you don't need to be a follower. There is the all-natural clover honey, expertly prepared by the Cistercian Nuns of Redwoods Monastery, or the Handmade Venezuelan Ceramic Ornamental Crosses. 555 W. Temple

OTHER MUSEUMS TO CONSIDER:

Grammy Museum: Music and more music is the theme here, and a line of t-shirts with the King of Pop is among the novelty items sharing retail floor space with items that will interest the pop-music academic. That's Dr. Rock and Roll to you. 800 W. Olympic

Japanese American National Museum: Clothing and small gifts, delicate publications, and reproductions of art works, and a complete line of publications speaking of Little Tokyo's place in Los Angeles History. 369 E. 1st

Chinese American Museum: Smaller in scale, educational materials on Chinese-Americans in Los Angeles are close to sold out. There are some items on the current exhibit, "Hollywood Chinese: The Arthur Dong Collection" El Pueblo / 425 N. Los Angeles

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