That's right, LDI was founded in 1988 in Dallas, and it has come a long way since then. From just over 300 booth spaces that first year at the Infomart, we now have 1,330 booths comprised of 390 companies, including 64 first-timers, making the show floor four times bigger this year at the Sands Expo Center where LDI2000 will be held October 20-22. Those are the dates the show floor will be open, but LDI2000 is much more: Our intensive training courses at the LDInstitute start Monday, October 16, with four full days of in-depth professional training in meeting rooms on the 26th floor of the North Tower at Bally's Las Vegas and other area locations, such as the spacious headquarters for PRG and Cinema Services who are generously hosting the High End Systems/Wholehog training courses this year.

The Institute also includes the annual AutoCAD three-day intensive and a one-day 3D Design studio taught by Rich Rose of UCLA, back once again by popular demand. Also back are the show-control duo of John Huntington and George Kindler for a three-day problem-solving course. New to the Institute this year are two courses: the NSCA's Audio Hardware Applications, taught by Ted Uzzle, editor emeritus of Sound & Video Contractor magazine; and a full-day look at using automated rigging, taught in the recently built Theatre des Arts at Paris Las Vegas.

On the days the show floor is open, there are three tracks of workshop sessions, including Lighting Design and Production Techniques, Light in Architecture, and Sound in Entertainment. There are a range of topics and speakers in sessions that cover everything from the lighting of Las Vegas to the latest projects in the UK, and solo sessions by such top names as Patrick Woodroffe (LD for the Rolling Stones among his many projects), themed expert Tom Ruzika (currently working on the lighting design for Universal Studios Japan), and top Broadway sound designer Tony Meola (who created the sound design for Disney's The Lion King).

There is also a series of tutorials at LDI that range from a High End Systems fixture overview and Hog Clinic featuring Wholehog fans Christian Choi and Arnold Serame, to hands-on training at Martin University, and the introduction of VectorWorks taught by Frank Brault of Nemetschek North America (formerly Diehl Graphsoft). They will also be on the show floor (booth 2849) and will be holding a drawing for one lucky winner who will take home a copy of VectorWorks Focus, a new add-on module that plugs into VectorWorks, making it easy to quickly create accurate light plots and pre-visualize design concepts.

If you are an early riser, be sure to join us for the New Technology Breakfasts. This is a great way to start the day with coffee and muffins brought to you by generous breakfast sponsors and to hear all about the new products on the show floor as manufacturers tell all. Technical editor Bill Maiman will be back as emcee, with Nat Hecht, editor of S&VC, sharing the duties for the audio breakfast. This year the new lighting product event has been expaned to two hours to try and meet the demand for companies that would like to participate.

You can also network with the power women in the industry at the annual Women in Entertainment Technology breakfast, moderated by Marge Romans; and this year LD Ted Ferreira of City Design Group in Pasadena, CA, is introducing a lighting designer roundtable at 9am on Sunday morning.

In fact, I've dubbed this session "Lights of the Roundtable," and Ted has lined up a talented and diverse group of leading lighting design professionals. "Discussions will feature projects, equipment, and problem-solving techniques employed in different specialties from theatre to theme parks and everything in between," says Ferriera. Those who have agreed to participate to date are: Norm Schwab and John Featherstone (Lightswitch), Steve Brill and Dennis Size (Lighting Design Group), Richard Hoyes (Fisher Dachs Associates), and Brad Bouch (Spectrum Lighting).

LDI2000 promises to be a great event, one that is light years ahead in entertainment technology. For complete details on all LDI2000 workshop sessions and online registration, check the website at www.ldishow.com or call 800/601-3858 or 732/885-6723 for a fax-on-demand version of the LDI2000 brochure.