Lighting Dimensions International, North America's largest entertainment and design trade show and conference, continues its winning streak in an appropriate locale: Las Vegas. Surrounded by the glitz and glitter of America's casino capital, LDI97 is set to attract more than 9,600 industry professionals to the 200,000 sq. ft. (18,000 sq. m) of exhibit space at the Sands Expo Center, where a jackpot of more than 300 international manufacturers and distributors of entertainment design equipment awaits. This year's exhibition dates (October 24-26) are a full month earlier than usual, allowing additional rambling-and-gambling time for attendees in the bustling trade show season.

Workshop sessions at LDI97 in Las Vegas will focus on lighting for live performance, architecture, and themed entertainment. Sessions feature designers, consultants, and technicians who will share inside information on recent projects, from Disney's new Light Magic parade to the renovation of some of the leading opera houses in the United States.

LDI's traditional workshop track of sessions in lighting design and production techniques includes "Light Magic," a round-table discussion on the new nighttime parade at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA. This discussion will be led by Phil Lindsey, who served as technical director for the project. With him will be lighting designer Brian Gale and DMX specialist Doug Fleenor. Light Magic represents the implementation of new lighting technology, with all of the lighting on four self-powered 80' (24m) floats--there are no cables or tracks. Light Magic also used miles of fiber optics to relight Main Street, and the plaza area in front of It's a Small World was renovated as a parade site.

Another event of interest this past year is the completion of major renovation projects at leading opera houses. Distinguished theatre consultant Richard Pilbrow, of Theatre Projects Consultants, will lead a panel with lighting designers, consultants, and manufacturers' representatives who worked on these renovations. Included are representatives from Strand Lighting, who worked closely with designer Thomas Munn and consultant Larry French of Auerbach + Associates on the San Francisco Opera House. Other teams include Electronic Theatre Controls and Wayne Chouinard to talk about the ongoing updates of the lighting system of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.

Other sessions will be more technical in content, such as "512 Things to Do With DMX," which features the inventors of some of the industry's clever DMX tools. Steve Carlson, Doug Fleenor, Dave Higgins, and Maris Ensing will share their techniques for taming DMX. A session in "Basic Electricity for Performance Venues" examines AC voltage, from circuit protection and circuit breakers to three-phase service, power distribution, and ground fault interruption. There will also be the annual LDI update on the National Electrical Code and the impact code changes can have on our industry. This is always one of the most popular sessions and imparts information of concern to all who work in our industry.

In collaboration with ESTA (Entertainment Services and Technology Association), LDI97 presents three early morning technical sessions based on reports from ESTA's technical standards working groups. These are scheduled from 9:00-10:30am so that all LDI97 exhibitors are free to attend before the show floor opens. All ESTA members are invited to attend.

The first of these on Friday, October 24, will be a presentation by Rocky Paulson and Mike Garl on the latest industry standards for wire rope ladders, aluminum trusses, and towers in the performance arena. On Saturday, October 25, ESTA's technical standards manager, Karl G. Ruling, will present results of an interim report by Certified Industrial Hygienists, who have been hired to do research on scientific studies on glycol inhalation. And on Sunday, October 26, Steve Carlson will take a look at the design of systems to support 100Mb ethernet, rather than 10Mb.

A new addition to the LDI97 workshop schedule is "The Light Lunch," a one-hour informal meeting with designers who will talk about the details of a recent project. This year's Light Lunchers are lighting designer John Broderick, who will discuss the challenges of lighting Metallica's 1997 in-the-round tour, and Murray Campbell, lighting director for the PBS children's show Barney & Friends, who will look at the equipping, designing, and taping of the show at Las Colinas Studios in Irving, TX. Debi Moen of High End Systems and John Calhoun, film and television editor for Lighting Dimensions/TCI, moderate these sessions respectively. Bring your own lunch!

On the architectural front, LDI97 will present a round-up of recent themed retail projects, with lighting designers Paula Dinkel, Marc Rosenberg, and Stefan Graf in the spotlight. Also on deck is LD Paul Gregory, who will present an in-depth report of the lighting for the Mohegan Sun themed casino in Connecticut, with gaming areas, five themed restaurants, and the Wolf Den show lounge. And from across the Atlantic comes LD Jonathan Speirs, who will teach a session on the nuances of control in the architectural environment.

Themed entertainment is also on the docket, especially as Las Vegas is the quintessential themed environment of the world, with new projects opening daily. With its "Backstage Las Vegas" track, October 26-28, LDI97 will look first at the updates and retrofits of projects at the Luxor and MGM Grand hotels, and then examine new projects on the famed Las Vegas strip. All this is just a prelude to the "Backstage Las Vegas" tour, which will take a group of 100 participants behind the scenes to the newest attractions and themed venues in town. Based on the success of the last "Backstage Las Vegas" adventure in 1994, this year's trip should be quite exciting.

For information and registration information on all of the LDI97 workshops, tutorials, mini-courses, and "Backstage Las Vegas," please call the fax-on-demand line at 800/601-3858. For more information about LDI97, see the advertisements elsewhere in the issue, call the LDI97 Hotline at 800/288-8606 and 303/220-0600, or visit the LDI home page at ETEC W3 (www.etecnyc.net).