I’ve been to many comic book and pop culture conventions and I’ve always cringed when conventions try to do too much. But these days, the lines that separate different geekdoms are so blurred that it’s almost too much stimuli for us to handle. On the positive side of being ambitious, a 3-pronged festival of sorts was put on at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, CA, by none other than one of the hardest working people I’ve had the fortune of meeting, Chris Hardwick. Chris is attributed in starting the Nerdist podcast, he is the host of AMC’s The Talking Dead, he moderates numerous convention panels including the ones I’ve attended at San Diego Comic-Con such as The Walking Dead and Doctor Who, he once hosted the MTV show Singled Out back in the day when there were still music videos on MTV, and the list goes on and on.
His ID10T festival brings together some of his favorite things (along with people he’s met during his long and awesome career) of comic book art, comedy, and music. Though it first appeared as a hodge podge of different interests, I was able to experience it with my family and close friends and was blown away how much fun it was. I, of course, was drawn in by the big name comic artists and writers that were in attendance including Rick Remender who currently writes Deadly Class from Image Comics, Babs Tarr who created the new Batgirl costume that’s both modernized and cosplay friendly, and Phil Noto who is a phenomenal artist on various Star Wars covers and titles like Poe Dameron and Chewbacca. The artists were located in a tent with ample room to peruse each table and an opportunity to chat with them. Comparing my experiences with a larger convention like San Diego Comic-Con, the ability to talk with the artist and not have to wait in line for a long time and/or get a limited number of wristbands was refreshing!
I was able to check out the Con Man panel moderated by the Chris himself with Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion, both of Joss Whedon’s Firefly show and the Serenity movie and just nerds loved by all. Again, Chris is brilliant as a moderator and asks the questions fans would ask because he is first and foremost a fan himself. What I enjoyed about the tent where the panels were held was that there were areas in the back to stand or, in our case, let the kiddos run around while we watched the panel on the 2 large screens beside the stage. This was the panel I wanted to check out and didn’t really expect to since most of the time, my kid’s attention span wouldn’t allow us to do so but happy to be given the chance to see K2S0 and Mal Reynolds on stage!
I didn’t check out any of the comedians or musical acts since it wasn’t my primary interests but some of my friends who enjoy these things enjoyed them based on their pics posted to Facebook and Instagram. What I think really worked for this festival was that each interest doesn’t really overlap too much so you had pockets of people going to certain things and not blending too much. The vendors, food trucks, and exhibitors allowed the attendees to blend the lines of their fandoms but for the most part, it wasn’t too busy or crowded as compared to larger, in-door conventions. Plus, the entire space was utilized pretty well with ample room to just walk around and slowly soak in all the awesomeness.
Overall, it was a fun festival that I’m bummed I wasn’t able to attend on Sunday. I like attending 2 days because it allows me not to rush through a convention and really check out everything. Some cool bonuses included all the cosplay fan tables included the 501st Legion, Mandalorian Mercs, the Rebel Legion, and the Bay Area Ghostbusters group. Plus, the Hip Hop Trooper was in attendance who is famously known for his red Adidas themed Stormtroopers cosplay and larger than life boombox pumping out some phat beats. And for those who wanted a bit of heart pumping fun, there was a Power Rangers themed laser tag area as well! Apparently Chris battled against Becky G. and C , the Yellow and Blue Rangers from the new movie. It looked like fun and seems like a no-brainer, awesome idea! Laser tag FTW!
I do hope they have this festival next year and that the buzz of it inspires Chris (and others) to continue putting these events on. With the massive popularity of these conventions, I see it as more opportunities to support artists and creators alike along with going out to meet like-minded individuals like me who nerd out when meeting Rick Remender or chatting up my favorite pin makers, Yesterdays. I tip my hat to Chris and company who put this spectacular event on and maybe next year, I’ll volunteer at least one day. Who knows!
*ALL IMAGES WERE taken from my camera except the cover & Chris Hardwick Photo (FOUND VIA GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH)
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