This is the last issue of Isthmus for 2011, a year that saw widespread dysfunction in the engines of government in many states and Washington, D.C. This is a very good thing for the traditional theme of our year-end edition, Cheap Shots. You couldn't make some of this stuff up.
Cheap Shots predate the contemporary term best used to describe them - snarky. And the erstwhile chief snarkmeister, Bill Lueders, is no longer with this publication, having been recruited by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. The current news staff, assisted by the art department, were only too eager to fill the void with dyspeptic observations on the year's personalities and events. As mentioned, they had great material to work from.
In another year-ending tradition, our coterie of arts critics review the year in culture, highlighting the highlights of a year that saw a continued expansion of the arts infrastructure of this creativity-oriented city with the Chazen Museum of Art addition and the revelation of a plan to expand the Overture Center's sphere of influence. (We shouldn't forget the newly commissioned Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, a monument to the inquisitive arts.)
It's also time for the best-films-of-the-year lists to blossom. Contributor Scott Renshaw recounts his 10 best for 2011 - a list that you are permitted, even encouraged, to disagree with and substitute your own. In a sign of the changing times, though movie theater attendance fell compared to 2010, movies were more ubiquitous than ever, available from multiple sources through a plethora of devices as the digital revolution advanced unabated.
So, congratulations for surviving 2011 and good luck in 2012. If this year caused you palpitations, you'd better up the dosage on your heart medicine for what lies before us.