If you know me, you're aware that I'm not a particularly optimistic person. (Jackie Tien, our publisher, would probably put it more strongly than that, but then she has to deal with me every day.) However, even to a certified grouch like me, it's obvious that things are looking up in the lighting industry. After the horrendous events of last year, there are definite signs of life. I'm recently back from the SIB trade show in Italy, where the mood was almost shockingly optimistic. There were several notable product debuts and at least three lighting manufacturers are looking to take their businesses to the next level. After months of pessimism at home, SIB proved to be a bit of a tonic.

On the other hand, the US business is starting to get back in gear, too. Take a look at this issue: We're running three stories about the recently completed Olympics. Each is a great achievement, both creatively and in terms of scale; some of the best and brightest of the industry's products were assembled and put to stunning use. Bob Dickinson's magnificent design for the Games' Opening and Closing Ceremonies, in particular, provided us all with a much-needed dose of pride and excitement. For that matter, Ellen Lampert-Gréaux and I were recently in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, two cities where plenty is going on.

The concert circuit is gearing up again as well. It's going to be a typically busy summer. This month, we have the spectacular Creed tour — a big, big show, as befits the group of the moment, but there's also Keith Wissmar's more intimate design for the evergreen Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Sharon Stancavage provides up-close reports on both. In the next few months, we'll be covering a broad range of touring shows, including some rather surprising names.

Broadway has had an up-and-down year, but there are already eight musicals with firm opening dates and theatres — and that's only the first half of the season. There are plenty of interesting film and TV projects underway, and architectural projects continue unabated. Also, most of the new products unveiled at LDI 2001 have yet to hit the market and some of them could make a significant impact.

Of course, let's not be too sunny. The economy is still struggling and the world is still a mess. With all the conflict in the Mideast, it's hard to see any solutions, and long-term troubles could be tough for the economy and the industry (not to mention the suffering caused by endless ethnic strife). But if the last six months teaches us anything, it's that you never know what's around the corner. Which, frankly, is about as optimistic as I can get.