The first thing I wanted to write about was House of Blues (like that first post wasn't enough, right?). This wasn't a SDCC sanctioned event, but it happened during that time and I am still sorely disappointed with how they handled, or really didn't handle, the harassment my husband and I dealt with at the podcast. I have been to concerts at other HOB venues and at even the first inkling of trouble, the security guards have stepped in to intervene. So why it didn't happen this time, I don't know. Maybe they figured concerts get violent and podcasts don't? Or maybe they figured geek harassment is not as bad as concert-goer harassment? I mean, the security was lacking, not only in caring, but in numbers too. I think the venue should have known better. Anyone who had been to SD during Comic Con knows what the crowds are like, and they sold a certain amount of tickets, so they had exact numbers. I really enjoyed the podcast, but I don't know if I would see it again if they continue to do it there.
Next up is Nerd HQ. This was my first year going to Nerd HQ and I was really impressed with it. Located in Petco Park, it was a free event that didn't require a SDCC badge. It had photo booths, panels that didn't cost money, video game demos, couches for relaxing and more. My husband and I were there mostly for the two Conversations for a Cause panels that we purchased tickets to. I really enjoyed my experiences there, although I saw online that some people didn't (mostly angry people wondering what the money raised during Zach's Indiegogo campaign went to since every station at Nerd HQ was sponsored, also some people were upset about not being able to get into the parties there). The only thing that was a little off-putting to me as a first timer was when someone would ask for an autograph or something in a panel, a price would be thrown at them. I get that the majority of what they're doing at Nerd HQ is for charity, but it was still a bit of a surprise. But I will say, that I can imagine running something like Nerd HQ must be stressful, and Zach never looked stressed, which I thought was amazing. He was always smiling, very friendly and polite to everyone. Even the staff and volunteers that were there were all very personable and cheerful, which is an amazing feat at a convention of that magnitude, not to mention a refreshing change of pace from some of the less than friendly vendors inside the convention. I don't regret purchasing panel tickets or photo ops, and I definitely hope that I get to spend more time at Nerd HQ next year.
Also! The app they had for Nerd HQ was amazing! It is available for Apple and Android phones and was so helpful- in announcing when you could buy tickets to panels, when photo ops were happening....I hope they continue to use it next year. That app made my experience at Nerd HQ possible, not even joking.
The last thing I wanted to talk about was the line situation inside the convention center. If you attended the convention this year, you probably noticed the increased presence of actual police officers walking the convention floor, not just security guards. You may not have noticed the increase of fire marshals walking the floor, but they were there, and constantly harassing the security guards to get the crowds in order. I wrote about my first experience at the Blizzard booth where they had capped the line due to security and how frustrating that was. When we were walking the floor, I noticed they did that to a lot of the larger booths (think video games or comic book companies), but signings seemed to be exempt from it. There were many book signing lines that went right in the middle of the walkways and nothing was said to them about it. To me, the rules didn't make sense. On Sunday, I wanted to look at the We Love Fine booth that was way in a corner. I couldn't. Why? Because there was a security guard standing right next to the booth saying, "If you're not buying anything, you can't be here." I said,"How do I know if I want to buy anything if I can't stop to look at the shirts?" and he said, "That's not my problem. No standing around. No lingering. Fire marshal's rules." How that booth did any business is beyond me. The regulating of the booth lines and walkways just seemed to add more stress. There were more guards yelling, and I felt rushed in everything I did. I appreciate the fact that they seemed to care about how things were moving this year (I didn't hit too many huge traffic jams on the floor), but at the same time, I think there could've been other ways to handle it. Hopefully next year will be better, and I can actually look at things without being yelled at.
I didn't get to hit the Hall H line, but I am interested in how that wristband system worked out. If any of you did it, please let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
And now for some pictures :)
Sanjay and Craig panel.
Alan Tudyk at Nerd HQ.
Norman Reedus, Robert Kirkman
Old fortune and Hearthstone token.
View from the bathrooms at
the Heroes Brewfest.
Those who arrive.....
(Did anyone else see Glenn hanging off the
roof or was that just me?)
Felicia Day, Aisha Tyler, Wil Wheaton
at Nerd HQ.
Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton