It might seem frivolous to pick out the best in entertainment in a year where real life played such a prominent role in the lives of Joplin residents.
But it's because of that real-life tragedy that made us cherish the entertainment even more.
Epic new event: Joplin Running of the Bulls
The tornado didn't stop residents' drives to push new festivals, features and other fetes, from Oktoberfest to a Glee-style sing-off. But our favorite was a great twist on a Spanish tradition. A group re-enacted Pamplona's Running of the Bulls, using members of a roller derby team as the bulls. More than 100 ran in the fundraiser for St. Mary's Elementary School. Can't wait to see how big this gets in 2012.
Epic breaking big for a local band: LiveWire
This is a good year for the tater-fed band from the Joplin area. Videos for their songs "Tater Fed" and "Miracle of the Human Spirit" are in rotation on CMT. The band has been featured in Billboard magazine, signed with Way Out West in Nashville and were featured in segments on the "Breaking Out" show on The Country Networks.
Epic tornado-related song: "Naked Trees," by Me Like Bees
It's almost unfair to pick a best tornado song — so many artists have poured their heart and soul into music to help Joplin residents deal with the tornado.
Winning post-tornado celebrity visit: Carlos Mencia
Joplin has received a lot of attention from big names, as big as Katy Perry, Barry Manilow and members of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Epic Moment: JHS lip dub video
But for us, we were suckers for a lip dub video on YouTube.
Winning online app: Spotify
Music's large role in our lives is a big reason we love Spotify so much in the newsroom. It makes sharing music between friends so much easier. But Spotify's service goes way beyond letting the world know how great that new "Foster the People" album is.
Epic tribute to longevity: 25th anniversary of the Kitchen Pass
Back when the worst weather-related thing on our minds was snowmageddon, one of Joplin's longest-running nightspots celebrated a milestone.
Epic moment in history captured by locals: Joplin High School students witnessing history in Washington D.C.
Talk about being in the right place at the right time. As the Constitution Team celebrated a well-earned trip to nationals in Washington D.C., its trip coincided with the announcement of Osama bin Laden's death, and the crazy, street-filling celebration.
Joe's favorite album of 2011: "The Experiment," Art vs. Science
Ever since its February release, I've listened to "The Experiment" countless times. (I guess I could check my iTunes play count. Meh.) Every song on this album is strong.
Scott's favorite book of 2011: "Ready Player One," Ernest Cline
I enjoyed a number of new books in 2011. I welcomed the look back at Jack Reacher's early days in Lee Child's "The Affair"; got wrapped up in the latest Harry Bosch outing in Michael Connelly's "The Drop"; marveled at Stephen King's ability to sustain a story for nearly 900 pages in "11/22/63"; and cheered on the human resistance in Daniel Wilson's "Robopocalypse."
Strolling season: As Third Thursday returns, organizers make changes to emphasize art
Since the second year of its existence, Kristen Girard has missed only one Third Thursday. The jeweler, who creates handmade jewelry under her business Kristin's Laboratory, has seen the crowds grow since that second year.
Bentonville exhibit features African-American artists
An exhibit featuring some of the nation's pre-eminent African-America artists will be featured in Bentonville next week.
Joe Hadsall: Close-up episodes important for TV shows' growth
Judging from the howling I hear from friends who love "The Walking Dead," last week's milquetoast Oscars were slightly more exciting than a snoozer episode featuring Daryl and Beth.
Benji Tunnell: 'Peabody' continues run of great animated movies
We haven't exactly seen that kick in yet, but we've seen something almost as good: intelligent family entertainment that doesn't pander to children, but instead offers something to be enjoyed by all ages.
Jeremiah Tucker: New documentary gives detailed look at rural poverty
Halfway through "Rich Hill," a new documentary about three boys growing up in the titular rural town about an 80-minute drive from Joplin, Harley, an angry 15-year-old who loves knives and can barely suppress his anger when his grandmother balks at using their food stamps to buy his Monster energy drinks, is walking alone on Halloween night.
Joe Hadsall: #GlobePhoneTest reviews will evaluate how well mobile devices work
The smartphones available today are the definition of diversity. From all-in-one powerhouses to specifically customized tools with a clear specialty, the devices fit into our lives in so many ways -- or sometimes not at all.
Benji Tunnell: Boring, safe Oscars better than last year's program
Last year's Oscars were a mixed bag. Often trading class for crass, host Seth MacFarlane managed to be as offensive as he was entertaining.
Joe Hadsall: Show based on Internet champions quick wit
"@midnight" is a new almost-nightly show on Comedy Central that mixes great comedians with the mad random viral memes on the Internet.
Titanic's musicians honored in Branson museum's new gallery
Mary Kellogg spent much of the past decade researching the lives of those who sailed on RMS Titanic's maiden voyage.
Veteran, new artist share Legends stage with tributes to Tina Turner, Adele
J.C. Brando knew she liked the music of Adele, but never thought impersonating the English pop songstress would turn into a career.
- More Enjoy Headlines
- Strolling season: As Third Thursday returns, organizers make changes to emphasize art