To close out 2004, this issue takes a look at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.

Specifically, writer Matt Hurwitz examines the “Allegory” sequence from the Opening Ceremonies. If you saw the sequence on television, then you tasted a casserole of design, video, light, rigging, stagecraft, and technical excellence — a prototypical “how did they do that” moment for our industry.

Matt learned exactly how producers pulled off what they all initially considered a crazy idea. After all, it's not every day a crew choreographs and flies several large pieces of artwork over and across a packed, open stadium at night, joining them into a giant statue, and then breaking that statue apart, while projecting high-resolution imagery onto the various pieces throughout the presentation — all in front of millions of people. It's a tale of art and design, but also of hydraulic clamps, radio control, pulleys, 3D simulations, and sophisticated projection techniques.

Watching the event on TV this summer, I was struck by how unique our industry is — years of work, millions of dollars, extraordinary technical and creative breakthroughs, all to execute a single “moment” that will happen just once, never to be repeated. And once the event finishes, the bar is promptly raised again, and a whole new series of challenges and corresponding solutions will be required the next time around.

That article illustrates just one of 2004's great staging accomplishments. Next year looms ready to pose new challenges for our industry. I'm pleased to announce that guiding SRO's coverage of those challenges from 2005 onward will be David Johnson. David takes over as the new associate publisher/editorial director of SRO, and he's well known to live-event industry aficionados as the longtime editor of SRO's sister publications, Entertainment Design and Lighting Dimensions, for which he also now serves as associate publisher and editorial director.

This magazine's move to David's group here at Primedia Business Magazines & Media makes a world of sense, given SRO's natural synergy with those two related titles and David's years of experience covering live events and technology.

I wish David and SRO well in 2005 and beyond as the magazine continues to provide comprehensive coverage of the rental and staging industry in unique and creative ways. I look forward to watching its continued growth.