A portrait through poetry of a trans person’s experience, Kayleb Rae Candrilli’s Water I Won’t Touch runs powerful, emotion-laden language through moments of trauma, tenderness and joy. Candrilli’s accolades—as a 2019 Whiting Award Winner in poetry, a 2017 finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in transgender poetry, and many more—are deserved, and this latest 96-page book further reveals their distinct, necessary voice.
Franny Choi explores queerness, femininity, identity and autonomy as an Asian American woman in Soft Science, a book of poems that often center on futurism and technology in a remarkably human manner. While cyborgs feature as a vehicle for otherness, Choi also uses them in many other nuanced ways. Rhythmic and melodic, her poems enthrall readers.
Published by Artisan and based on antique prints from designer and decoupage artist John Derian’s archives, this Color Studies Notebook Set includes three booklets, each with uniquely enchanted front and back covers. Measuring 8.5 by 6 inches, the notebooks stow easily and contain 64 blank pages to stash recipes, ideas or scribbles. In addition to the Color Studies set, Derian also offers one entitled Kitchen Delights and another called The Garden.
Nevada City-based, queer-owned Stone Road (whose sun-grown flowers grow on a 57-acre off-grid farm) makes high-quality cannabis products that are beautifully packaged. The brand’s pre-rolls, available in several different strains, are a standout. Five 0.7g joints come in each box, and our favorite so far is Black Jack—which contains 16.72% THC and 1.88% CBD. It’s a hybrid that’s ideal for reducing pain and increasing relaxation, and is equally enjoyable on an outdoor adventure as it is working on an at-home creative endeavor. Plus, for the month of April, the brand is donating 10% of all proceeds to the Trevor Project, which focuses on supporting LGBTQ youth.
From the Brooklyn-based, queer-couple-owned business Queen Candle Co, this hand-poured sea salt and orchid soy candle blends luscious floral notes with a salty tang. The clean-burning creation comes in a recyclable (or reusable) container and an eight-ounce candle burns for 40 to 50 hours. Each candle is topped with a visual representation of the scent beneath—in this instance pink Himalayan salt rocks. This soothing scent is a favorite, but the brand has many more well-priced options to choose from.
Boy Smells has been a cult favorite for their divine candles since 2016, and the LA-based brand just released their first line of personal fragrances. The five scents are intended for all genders (or are “genderful,” to use the brand’s term) and calling them Cologne de Parfums reflects that intention. The diverse scents range from woody to fresh and zesty. Our pick is VIOLET ENDS, which exudes a dazzling and puzzling blend of top notes including bergamot, black pepper and violet; a base of white birch, leather and smoked papyrus; and a heart of black tea, tobacco leaf and orris. This scent will please incense enthusiasts immediately, but it evolves and softens throughout the day. For those unsure about which of the five Boy Smells fragrances to choose, the Exploratory Set ($20) contains a 1.5ml pump-spray bottle of each scent to test before committing to one—or two.
Love and Other Poems, the third collection from award-winning poet Alex Dimitrov, provides readers moments of reflection and wit, weakness and joy. Through his intimate, thoughtful and emotive lines, Dimitrov explores loneliness and hope, the sensations of time and longing for place—with repeat references to NYC and the power of presence it wields. Though Dimitrov’s paperback book is finite, one of the poems within is not; the title poem “Love” continues within a Twitter handle, @apoemcalledlove, where the poet adds one tweet each day.
Whether you’re sitting around the house in a snowstorm or walking down the beach in a light breeze, these colorful board shorts, hand-crocheted in Brooklyn, will set a playful mood. They’re made using 87% merino wool and 13% polyester, with both types of yarn made in Italy. Artwork by Gordon Flores is hand-embroidered over the knit, creating multiple layers of color, pattern and texture to admire.
Composed of seven-thread knit 100% Sopravisso Loro Piana virgin wool, this limited edition winter sweater—from a first-of-its-kind capsule collection at French active-tailoring atelier éclectic—maintains warmth but thermoregulates when necessary. Comfy, dense and dynamic, the turtleneck comes in a tailored fit with reinforced rib-cuffs.
Tom of Finland’s playful, erotic and celebratory illustrations of handsome gentlemen grace the pages of this 2021 calendar. Whether dressed as cowboys, clad in leather or entirely naked, each character exudes self-assurance and sensuality, and the scenes range from suggestive to salacious.
Best known for printing high-resolution images on the highest quality natural Italian silks, Slow Factory blends old-world luxury with new technology. Each collection they release explores stories about human rights and environmental awareness and everything the brand makes is fair trade. We’ve been fans of the label for some time, and were naturally excited to work with them for CH Omakase. The “Moon Selfie” image from the NASA archive speaks to our obsession with capturing ourselves in the moment. Hand-screened on Italian silk, this bandana (15 by 15 inches) was made in an edition of 48 especially for Omakase.
From future-forward, fashion-defining and inclusive bodywear brand Chromat, the one-piece Quartz Suit in rose-colored velvet and lycra imparts glamour to anyone wearing it poolside (or in the water). Ethically crafted from luscious Italian-made velvet in Sofia, Bulgaria, the swimsuit (which links a triangle top with a high-cut bottom) runs from sizes XS to XXL.
Bushwick’s smallshop—a queer-owned, “gentle space” for tattooing—has a few pieces of merchandise available for those who can’t travel to Brooklyn for tattoos right now. This long-sleeve T-shirt, made for all genders, comes in size small to 5XL, and features the shop’s information. It’s made from 100% cotton.
Recreation Center is Brooklyn-based artist Josephine Noel’s ceramic practice. Under that moniker, Noel produces an array of playful objects with speckled patterns and vibrant splashes of color. This Daisy Hook—available in blue, pink, sage, speckle or yellow—is shaped like the cheerful flower, features two holes for securing it to a wall and a hook to hang light objects on.
Though it draws inspiration from weekender-style suitcases popular in the 1960s, Roverlund’s soft and spacious Out-of-Office Carry-All is composed of future-forward, Marine-grade and water-resistant 1200D polyurethane (with a mountain-climbing rope handle). We first fell in love with the brand for their design-forward pet carriers; their foray into people-focused products is a welcome one. This highly functional accessory measures 18.75 by 14 by 6 inches and includes an inner storage sleeve, as well as buckled interior straps.
With they/them, ze/zir, she/her and he/him options, Gamut has made preferred pronoun pins that look more sophisticated than many we’ve seen. These black and gold pins politely request which pronouns the wearer identifies as, and $1 from each purchase is donated to Camp Aranu’tiq, which is a not-for-profit organization that transgender, gender-nonconforming and gender-variant kids and their families through camp experiences.