Sanrio’s FIRST Hello Kitty Convention took place last weekend from October 30th to November 2nd at the Geffen Contemporary in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. My friend Daniel and I were lucky enough to score Saturday tickets to this sold-out con and when I say lucky enough to score tickets, I really mean we paid the aftermarket prices for them… That’s right, not many people including us expected something to like this to be sold-out so quickly but the people that did made some easy money.
Case in point. But I’m not going to spend the whole post talking about how I spent my entire week stalking eBay and Craiglist for our Hello Kitty Con tickets. Instead, I will be talking about my Hello Kitty Con experience, or lack thereof…
Honestly, the only vivid memory I had at the convention was being in a line for another line to get into another line just to be somewhere we wanted to be. Lined up for badges, lined up to get into the convention, lined up for free goodies, lined up to take a picture with Hello Kitty, lined up to get free swags, and don’t get me started about lining up just to go shop for official merchandises… If you have to know, we stood in THAT line for 2.5 hours and I ended up buying nothing. You can imagine how bummed I was when they told me they sold out of this Hello Kitty Vinyl Bow Figure.
To say waiting in all those lines ruined our immersive experience of an otherwise, kawaii-filled convention is an understatement. Daniel waited in line 5AM in the morning in hopes to score a free Hello Kitty Tattoo. Yes, FREE PERMANENT HELLO KITTY TATTOO for the first 75 people each day. Problem was there were no signs that clearly labeled where we needed to go to line up for that so when the convention opened up, the attendees who knew where to go already rushed to the line for the tattoos.
With that being said, it seems like the best way to approach Hello Kitty Convention (or any conventions in general) is to go at least two days, one to figure out where everything are and find out all your wants, two to go get what you want. However, poor organization is to be expected of a first time convention so Daniel and I still made the most of what we got and ended up having a good time anyway.
As you have expected, the entire convention is themed Hello Kitty so while other Sanrio’s other popular mascots such as Keroppi and Badtz-Maru were there, you won’t find too many of their merchandises. The con’s sole focus is on Hello Kitty and her family and boyfriend. Yes, she has a boyfriend who is named Daniel. No not my friend Daniel, this Daniel.
Oh and she has a twin sister called Mimmy.
Guess she’s the unspoken twin. Okay, I’m being mean and I should stop now.
Anyway, the entire convention is for all ages. Kids & their parents could enjoy variety of activities such as carnival games sponsored by Target, workshops where they can make Hello Kitty cupcakes with Ace of Cakes’ Duff Goldman or other art crafts, panels where they learn more about the culture and history, and booths where they can get their nails done. Hardcore Hello Kitty enthusiasts could enjoy FREE permanent tattoos as mentioned above, find vintage Hello Kitty merchandises if they are serious collectors, and gander at avant-garde fashions inspired by the 40 year old cat.
If it wasn’t already convenient enough, the convention was also located RIGHT NEXT TO the Japanese American National Museum, which held an exclusive exhibit for Hello Kitty from now until April 26th, 2015. Attendees could go in for free for an otherwise $20 visit. Pretty great deal in my book. And the activities doesn’t stop there. Right across the streets from the convention and the museum is the Japanese Village Plaza which housed a few of the Hello Kitty Hungry Hunt spots for attendees to pick up their Hello Kitty pins while enjoying some of LA’s delicious delights! While the convention itself was a little disorganized, Sanrio still did an awesome job planning all these events so tightly close to one another so attendees would never run out of things to do within the premises. And let’s not forget the most important thing: like any convention, Hello Kitty Con brought together fans who all love this 40 year old adorable cat-looking girl so overall I’d say Hello Kitty’s 40th Anniversary was a huge success.
Would I go to another one if there was say a 45th Anniversary or a 50th Anniversary? Absolutely. Next time Daniel and I will do it right! Until then, check out Daniel’s gallery for more pictures.
All Photo Credits: Daniel He