It's hard to believe that 2012 is almost in the books. After a quick look through the archives, it's also hard to believe how many big local entertainment stories broke in the past 12 months. It's been a busy but great year to be an entertainment reporter. Bring on 2013. (I fully retain the right to regret saying that two months from now.)

Live makes headlines

Three members of the multiplatinum rock band that got its start in York announced plans in January for a $45 million development project in their hometown.

Patrick Dahlheimer, Chad Gracey and Chad Taylor said they wanted to bring a studio and jobs to the area with the 47,000-square-foot Bi-Comp building purchased by Think Loud Development.

On March 12, Live debuted a new singer - Chris Shinn - at the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center in York. Shinn stepped in for former lead singer Ed Kowalczyk, who parted ways with the group in 2009. In July, reasons for the split

surfaced in the form of two ongoing lawsuits against Kowalczyk. The former lead singer returned to the area in November for an acoustic show at Penn State York's Pullo Family Peforming Arts Center.

Club XS fights with LCB

Club XS owner Joel Weinstein learned that the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board did not renew the nightspot's liquor license Feb. 1. Instead of closing, the gay-friendly club served free alcohol - which was still legal. For about two years, the club had been in a legal battle with the LCB over its liquor license. On Aug. 8, the state police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement seized the bar's liquor. After trying to operate as a BYOB, Weinstein announced the club was for sale later that month.

Local's movie up for Oscar

Central York High School grad Neal Dodson attended the Academy Awards ceremony Feb. 26 in Los Angeles. His production company's first movie, "Margin Call," was nominated for best original screenplay. Dodson started the company in 2008 with friends Zachary Quinto and Corey Moosa. "Margin Call" starred Quinto, Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons and Stanley Tucci. Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" ended up winning the Oscar in that category.

Big names in art return to York

Award-winning playwright Ken Ludwig visited York Little Theatre for the production of his comedy "Leading Ladies" Feb. 5. Federal, state and local officials from York County presented him with a proclamation that the day was Ken Ludwig Day. YLT kicked off its 80th season in the fall.

In April, York Mayor Kim Bracey honored visual artist Jeff Koons with an Award for the Visual Arts during a ceremony at Central Market in York. Koons attended the ceremony, as did other honorees, including members of Live. On Nov. 30, Koons, who grew up in York County, was among the first State Department Medal of Arts recipients. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented him with the award for his work with the Art in

Embassies program.

Tough break for YSO

In February, the York Symphony Orchestra announced that award-winning composer and lyricist Marvin Hamlisch would be at the helm of a new pops series. It also announced that at the end of its 80th season, which started in the fall and runs through spring 2013, longtime conductor Robert Hart Baker will transition to music director laureate as the orchestra searches for a new music director.

When Hamlisch died

Aug. 6, the YSO had to scramble to fill his shoes. Broadway music director Todd Ellison signed on to take over the YSO's pop series.

Frankie Muniz joins Kingsfoil

In April, Frankie Muniz announced that he joined the York County rock band Kingsfoil. Muniz, who starred in the Fox comedy "Malcolm in the Middle," replaced Kingsfoil drummer Joe Cipollini. The band's lineup also includes Jordan Davis, Tristan Martin and Tim Warren. Earlier this month, Muniz stunned the nation by announcing he had a mini stroke at the age of 26. After recuperating, he rejoined his band on a tour, which will stop at Lancaster's Chameleon Club on Dec. 29.

Changes to area events

It was announced in September that the annual high school theater awards - The Rosies - will no longer be staged at York's Strand-

Capitol Performing Arts Center. The 2013 event will be held at Central York High School in Springettsbury Township.

In November, the Cultural Alliance of York County announced that after more than 35 years, the annual Fourth of July fireworks will move from the York Expo Center to Sovereign Bank Stadium in York. The YSO will not be part of 2013 festivities.

Many holiday events in York, including the Halloween Parade, Light Up Night and New Year's Eve festivities struggled in 2012. All three were saved by donations.

Halestorm headed to Grammys

The year ended on a high note for Halestorm. With its first Grammy nomination - announced Dec. 6 - the hard rockers joined the ranks of other York County music giants, including Del McCoury and Dominick Argento. The group, which lived in Red Lion for a few years, was nominated in the Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance category for its song "Love Bites (So Do I)." Lead singer Lzzy Hale said the group hopes to attend the Feb. 10 Grammys ceremony in Los Angeles.

PopEye is a bi-weekly column focusing on the ever-changing landscape of popular culture. To reach writer Erin McCracken, call 717-771-2051 or send an email to