Alt weeklies can't claim to have invented the list culture that's now so dominant in media (the rankings of bands and athletes, the roundups of favorite restaurants and taverns, the empirical dissections of politicians and public figures). But long before the Web came along, the nation's free papers did pretty much start the whole "favorite blank in your city here" concept. The Pitch is no different.
Except that we are different — and our Best of Kansas City issue is different — because KC is unlike other places. Sometimes we don't notice or remember just how different, and in what ways, until we once again attempt to list the specific things we love about it. That's why we make this issue: to fall in love again with the place we call home.
So day after day, we're out there next to you, scribbling in notebooks and jotting on bar napkins and whispering into voice recorders whenever we realize we've just seen something or somebody really cool. When the notebooks and recorders are full and our pockets are jammed with cocktail napkins, we writers and editors sit down and share our personal, idiosyncratic lists with one another. There's a lot of nodding and seconding. There's some argument and lobbying. Occasionally, there is sulking.
By the time we've written and compiled the micro essays that make up the issue you're about to read, though, we've all reached a happy consensus (and can't wait to read and share the results of our readers'-choice poll, too). The people and places and athletes and teams and artists and musicians and actors and vendors and entrepreneurs and restaurants and chefs and bartenders and servers named here have given us reason to take pride in our city.
And we think some of them are all-time classics. So you'll see our trophy logo throughout the issue, a little extra anointment to recognize the entities that we seem to think of first every year. Welcome, readers and winners, to The Pitch's Best of Kansas City 2012, the Hall of Fame issue:
People & Places
Sports & Recreation
Goods & Services
Arts & Entertainment
Art Director: Ashford Stamper
Photographer: Chris Mullins
Writers: Berry Anderson, Theresa Bembnister, Jonathan Bender, Charles Ferruzza, Deborah Hirsch, David Hudnall, Justin Kendall, Ben Palosaari, Matt Pearce, Nancy Hull Rigdon, Abbie Stutzer, Scott Wilson