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There’s this intriguing uncertainty at events like an open-mike night. Who will play tonight? It could be good. It could be really bad. It could get inappropriate or completely strange. A performer could say something that brings people to tears. Maybe I’ll buy a CD or download some of the music tomorrow. Maybe I’ll never want to hear that again. Or rather, it’s so bad we have to hear it again! Rosey Robards

The New Year's Eve celebration in Anchorage, Alaska, featured fire and ice.

Alaska Dispatch staff
Not everyone in Anchorage can manage an escape to Hawaii during the winter, but the Bear Tooth Theatrepub is doing its best to bring some island flavor to those celebrating New Year's Eve here in town. Reggae-rock trio Pepper, originally from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, is headlining Bear Tooth's party to ring in 2012 and help pull attendees out of the winter doldrums.Toben Shelby

The 26,000-item collection from Harvard's Peabody Museum of North Slope artifacts includes hunting tools, harpoon parts, snow goggles and knives. 

Alaska Dispatch staff
As we barrel through the homestretch of the holiday season, now seemed a good time to jump on the best-of-2011 bandwagon and share some of highlights from the past 12 months. Whether it was new restaurants, concerts, festivals or films, there were a lot of reasons to hit the town in 2011.Matt Sullivan
After releasing their major-label debut earlier this year, Portugal. The Man is playing at the Egan Center Friday night, in an Alaska homecoming performance for front man John Gourley and bass guitarist Zach Carothers.Matt Sullivan

The airport and the TSA held a press event to show off the new security machines in Anchorage on Friday, December 9, 2011.

Stephen Nowers

Ice lanterns are fun, easy to make and brighten dark winter days and nights. 

Alaska Dispatch
As the band's lone constant member, Richard Patrick started Filter in 1993 after a stint as a hired gun for Nine Inch Nails. Now he's the one doing the hiring. Filter was initially a duo, with Patrick sharing the workload with cofounder and fellow former NIN cohort Brian Liesegang. The resulting project's first album, "Short Bus," shared a few similarities with the pair's previous band -- a crystallization of the gritty industrial music that had bubbled over in the '80s underground matched with a heavy dose of Alternative Nation overdrive.Matt Sullivan
In its 10 days, the 11th annual Anchorage International Film Festival will show more films than Anchorage's major theaters will in two months of screenings.David Harper