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Special Events


I'M no techno geek, but I can't imagine going back to creating magazines the way it was done when I started as an editor. Today, an article — including full-color photography — can move from my desk to the art director to the printer as an approved proof ready to go to press in only an hour or two. Compare that to the old days, when we were happy to get overnight service from the typesetter who picked up our typed manuscripts, re-keyed all the stories and returned them the next day as galley proofs. And then the proofs still had to go out to the graphic artist for a couple of days, then to prepress for the pages to be made up, then at last to the printer ….

Indeed, high-tech tools have become so common in our lives that sometimes we're in danger of being a little too reliant on them. We were lucky to get an editorial intern to work with Special Events over the summer. (You can read Leanndra Martinez's first article for us starting on page 41.) But though she was ready to go to work on her first day, her computer wasn't. It took some creative scrambling to keep her productive while we waited for the right widget to be installed and get her computer back in business.

This issue presents the two sides of special events — the exciting new capabilities that high-tech tools can add to events, and the timeless power of talented performers in action.

Our cover story, beginning on page 26, looks at the new world of an ancient art — acrobatic performers. Contributing editor Natasha Garber shows how event entertainment is going to extremes, with performers who rappel down walls and soar over audiences in acts that transcend language and culture barriers.

We also interview some of today's top technical services providers to learn what they can offer event planners (see the story beginning on page 22). In the face of all the cool new capabilities that a professional tech company can offer an event, the experts remind us these capabilities are still tools. They're only as good as the people using them.

“Yes, we have cutting-edge equipment,” notes Kevin Gros, director of business development for the Chicago office of Creative Technology. “But our most important asset is our staff. We understand the deadlines and demands that event planners are under. We look ahead to see where we can head off obstacles in the planner's path. When laying out an event, we consider not just our equipment but how it will work with the venue, the F&B, party rentals, etc.”

“The biggest mistake any planner can make in working with their tech partner is underestimating the power, value and impact of the tech partner,” notes David Fischette, president and CEO of Go West Events and Multimedia of Westlake Village, Calif. “Bring us into the whole picture.”

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