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Posted: Saturday December 31, 2011, 3:04 AM
By The Record Staff

Bergen County is a most entertaining region. Don't believe us? Here's our fond (and not-so-fond) look back at the year in arts:

* Most maddeningly brief celebrity sighting, part 1: Charlie Sheen.

In the wee hours of April 9, after the first of his two "Violent Torpedo of Truth" shows at Radio City Music Hall, Sheen made a fleeting appearance at the Dragonfly in Carlstadt. Arriving at the club with his entourage about 1:20 a.m. — four hours after being booed off the Radio City stage — the actor was whisked away to a VIP tent, which was off-limits to VIP ticket holders. After some 15 minutes of cocooning, Sheen emerged to briefly address those who had not already lost patience and left. And then he was gone — by 1:55 a.m.

— Virginia Rohan

* Most maddeningly brief celebrity sighting, part 2: the Kardashian sisters.

On Nov. 16, Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian were supposed to appear together at Bookends in Ridgewood to promote their new novel, "Dollhouse." Kim canceled her appearance, but the event still drew nearly 700 Kardashian fans, some of whom waited in the rain for hours to meet her two sisters.

Khloe and Kourtney arrived 15 minutes late and left early to catch a flight. Many fans expressed disappointment that they did not get much time with the sisters or didn't get to take photos with them.

Some speculated that Kim was absent because she wanted to avoid questions about her filing for divorce from Nets player Kris Humphries, just 72 days after their $10 million televised fairy-tale wedding. (She subsequently won a role in Tyler Perry's film "The Marriage Counselor.")

— Virginia Rohan

* Concert of the year: Foo Fighters, Izod Center, Sept. 26.

There were seats available at this show. Maybe music fans were hesitant to pony up money for a Monday night show in September. Maybe fans were waiting for Foo Fighters to circle back and play the Rock and Madison Square Garden seven weeks later.

But this was a fantastic show, start to finish. Dave Grohl had the audience in a vise grip and fans loved every minute of it.

The group emptied their catalog of hits, put together a seven-song encore and stayed onstage until 11:47 p.m.

"This is the biggest [expletive] show on the tour right now," Grohl said four songs into his set. It was hard to argue with that.

— Mike Kerwick

* Best theater of the absurd: "The Little Dog Laughed."

It sounds like the premise for a comedy. Straight-laced citizens attend their local community theater, expecting the usual innocuous fare. What they don't expect – especially with the innocent-sounding title – is a play about a gay Hollywood actor and his hustler, complete with nude scene. The result: The Great North Jersey Theater Scandal of 2011, complete with walkouts, angry letters and community uproar. The brouhaha, at Oradell's Bergen County Players in March, sent tremors through other North Jersey community theaters that were planning their own tentative forays into the kind of risqué material now standard on Broadway.

Somebody needs to turn this into a backstage farce. But please — no nude scenes.

— Jim Beckerman

* Best rock-and-roll returns of the year: Fountains of Wayne and The Feelies.

It's not every band that takes its inspiration from a (now-closed) Route 46 lawn ornament store. In fact, it's only one band, Fountains of Wayne — who emerged with their first album since 2007, "Sky Full of Holes," in August. Not to be outdone, underground legends The Feelies emerged from their North Haledon lair in April with a new album of irresistibly jangly rock, "Here Before" — their first studio album since 1991. Welcome back, fellas.

— Jim Beckerman

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