Usually this column is all about me — and why not, after all? — but this month I'd like to shine my Strong Gladiator II followspot on some of our columnists. We started the On Lighting, On Sound, and On Projection columns a year ago this month, as a chance for designers, technicians, and manufacturers to get on their soapbox about a wide variety of topics, from industry issues to technical gear to career advice. There were no set contributors at the beginning, since people in this industry are too busy, or at least their schedules are too insanely erratic, to be able to commit to a monthly column.

Two things quickly emerged: one, folks in this industry are better writers than a lot of freelancers I know; and two, you seem to really like what they had to say. Over the course of a few issues, something else emerged: I had stumbled across a few exceptionally witty, thoughtful, and engaging writers among the expanding pool of contributors.

Sound designer Jim van Bergen, lighting designer Patrick Dierson, and projection designers Bob and Colleen Bonniol are all familiar names in the industry. Jim served for years as this magazine's technical editor and has since become a much-sought-after designer and mixer for theatre, television, and myriad live events. Patrick, with whom I bonded at a Musikmesse some years back (ask him about Was ist Flubber?), was a longtime programmer for Roy Bennett and others before establishing himself as a designer in his own right. And Seattle's own Bob and Colleen have done some truly impressive work on such touring shows as Footloose and Dame Edna, as well as work at the Seattle Opera house. Their early efforts were well-written and thought-provoking — not to mention on time! Smart editor that I am, I quickly asked them if they'd be interested in writing on a bi-monthly basis; I was pleased as punch when they agreed, and I've been even more pleased in the ensuing months with their work. The letters we've received indicate you agree with me.

While I'm on the subject, I'm always open to column ideas from the rest of you. E-mail me at with your suggestions. Who knows? Maybe I'll stop talking about me long enough to sing your praises in this space in the months ahead.