1) the shifter looks a little bent inwards, if I remove it and put it in the vice grips to bend it a little, is that okay?
Easy to do. Just make a mark where the shifter come off at. The metal is soft so go easy.
2) the gas gauge says empty, but at the pump after removing the gas cap the tank looks full, is that a easy fix?
Remove the right black side panel, you should be able to see a single wire connected to the bottom of the tank, make sure it's connected.