There was a moment last May, at the wedding reception of co-publisher Sean Bugg, where our hearts stopped cold. Our Scene photographer, Ward Morrison, who'd been hired by Sean to document the day, had leapt up on a railing. Before him, soft, cushy grass. Behind him, a steep descent of sharp cement steps. Ward, who is the most buoyant, carefree person imaginable, was precariously balanced as he tried to compose a shot of the crowd.
''Ward, please get down,'' we implored, trying not to sound too parental, but incapable of erasing from our minds the vision of him tumbling onto the steps below. It would be a profound loss to Metro Weekly, as we would lose the most energetic, personable, gifted Scene photographer we've had in our 13 years.
''Please, please, please get down,'' we begged. ''We can't have you die in a freak accident!''
Ward laughed -- not a mocking laugh, but a loud, hearty laugh, the kind of laugh from a man confident in his ability to balance his person -- took his picture, bounded over and gave us hugs. Such is the way of Ward.
On the pages within, you will find many moments captured by Ward as he zoomed and zipped his way from one event and nightspot to another to another to another, sometimes covering up to three events on a given night.
Ward sometimes takes more than 1,000 photographs per assignment. Editing them down to a final 18 or so for our printed pages is less a chore than it is a pleasure, with the surplus frequently posted at metroweekly.com, where our online photo album as of this writing contains 26,121 exclusive shots from 928 of D.C.'s favorite gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender events.
Assembling the annual Year in Scene has always been one of our favorite editorial duties -- it never fails to make us smile. But this year, a certain sadness crept in, as we would often come upon a photo of our community's beloved Cheryl Spector, who passed away earlier and suddenly this year after battling a virulent form of leukemia. Cheryl was indeed everywhere, and the pictures of her are there to prove it. She could adapt to any role -- from tuxedoed beauty to leather gal to drag king performer extraordinaire -- but her most vital role was as our community's unofficial historian. Cheryl documented every event, every happening, every local milestone on video and in countless photographs. History, of course, doesn't stop, but our community's history will never be the same without Cheryl. We miss her terribly.
On another note entirely, the issue you're holding marks a milestone in the continual evolution of Metro Weekly. The question we're asked most frequently is ''Why aren't you glossy?'' And the simple answer is, ''Because we like our advertisers to be able to afford us.'' But we have finally achieved a dream of a glossy wrap, which means -- everyone all together now -- the ink will no longer rub off on your hands. Not to mention the fact that Art Director Todd Franson's already gorgeous covers will finally have the showcase they deserve.
It's a shiny start to a new year serving our vibrant and exciting local GLBT community. We want to thank you for all your support and enthusiasm in the past, and wish you the best for you, your friends and your families in the future.