As LDI celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, it is also morphing into its new incarnation as The Entertainment Technology Show. Since its inception in 1988, LDI has always had this second identity: we knew from the beginning that it was a total entertainment technology show, with sound, lighting, rigging, staging, and special effects all part of that big equipment package that creates the excitement for any live performance, wherever it may take place. As LDI expands in keeping with the industry, the show has also expanded its professional training opportunities, offering hands-on experience with the latest new technologies on the market, how-to classes to sharpen technical skills, and three days of panel discussions where industry experts share their experience with you, the LDI attendee.

This year the educational program begins on Monday, October 14, 2002, with the fifth annual LDInstitute, a four-day program of in-depth training I like to think of it as boot camp for designers and techies. Its also a great networking opportunity, with the chance to meet not only the pros, but also your peers, from all corners of the globe, and the attendance in these courses is often very international.

The hands-on training at LDI begins with automated lighting training as presented by Jim Waits in conjunction with various console manufacturers. With a rig of Vari-Lite's newest luminaires, the object is to learn to program DMX consoles to control moving lights. For the first time this year, a two-day basics class will be followed by a two-day advanced class where the moves get even trickier. Other console training is manufacturer-based, and ranges from High End Systems/Flying Pig Systems' just-released Wholehog III console, to the two-day grandMA University with MA Lighting's grandMA console, as distributed in the US by ACT Lighting.

You can also get your hands on hot new software programs, from the latest at AutoCAD and 3D Studio VIZ-R3 (both taught by Rich Rose of UCLA), the newest version of WYSIWYG (taught by Laura Sellors and Paul Major of Cast Software), and the hot new buttons of LD Assistant Ac (taught by Rufus Warren of Design & Drafting), to Vectorworks (taught by Frank Brault on behalf of Nemetschek North America).

Other LDInstitute courses include an architectural design charette and a full-day tour of hot new attractions in Las Vegas (both led by experience architect Gregory Beck, AIA), not to mention “Principles of Architectural Lighting” with Dawn Hollingsworth of Visual Terrain, “Scenic Projection Techniques,” coordinated by lighting designers Christina Giannelli and Clifton Taylor with special guests projection designer Lisa Cuscuna and Anne Johnston of Fourth Phase. Sound designer Jon Gottlieb leads a full-day course on theatre sound design with support by Steve Ellison of Level Control Systems, and ESTA gets in on the act with the electrifying “Jolts and Volts” (led by Mitch Hefter of Entertainment Technology, part of the Genlyte Thomas Group) and “Troubleshooting Techniques” (led by David Johnson of Theatrical Lighting Services).

More? Try a special lunch in the Jubilee! Theatre at Ballys (which just underwent a $2-million lighting retrofit with equipment by ETC and installation by 4Wall Entertainment), or a visit to Cirque du Soleil's fabulous production of O, with a post-show panel and party. Or the LDI 2002 Club Crawl, led by Adam Steyh of Fourth Phase — I've been clubbing with him; you'll have quite a time of it.

And that's all on October 14-17, the four-day lead-in to LDI 2002! The fun continues with the New Technology Breakfasts and three days of panel discussions designed to get you the information you need to do your job better. Have you registered yet? If not, what are you waiting for? Log on today to www.ldishow.com for complete details about this year's show. There's so much more to LDI than just the exhibit floor, which is of course bigger and better than ever this year, with more audio and projection technology, proving that while LDI is still LDI, it has also grown into its full identity as the “total” entertainment technology show we always knew it was. See you in Las Vegas!