You guys, San Diego Comic Con is stressful. Like I said in my previous post, it is a gauntlet. The convention hall is massive, the lines are epic, cell phone signals are overloaded, and you are tired. However, one part of SDCC that I can’t recommend enough is NerdHQ. Started by Zachary Levi, NerdHQ offers something that SDCC could never hope to: some peace and quiet, punctuated by far more moments of geek excellence per square inch than you could hope for.
This year, NerdHQ took over part of Petco Park, the baseball stadium directly across from the convention center. A few minutes and several worlds away, you could walk right in with or without a badge, relax on the leather sofas with your homies, use the free Wifi, have a tasty lunch or snack while looking out at the green and breezy ball field, and maybe say hi to Nathan Fillion! The crew had decorated the bare concrete-and-steel section of the stadium with nerd swag and epic murals, plus there was a stage set up for impromptu and scheduled interviews (all of those were non-ticketed and open to the public). Additionally, NerdHQ also offers ticketed panels in private stadium boxes, called Conversations for a Cause, and keeps fans updated on Twitter as soon as the tickets go on sale for only $20 per ticket. The only panel I attended at SDCC was the Nathan Fillion/Alan Tudyk panel at NerdHQ. And guess what? It was great, and all proceeds from the entire NerdHQ situation goes to Operation Smile. Yes, they offer this oasis of geek love for charity. You would not believe what Nathan and Alan were auctioning off and what people were paying.
Nerd HQ also hosts an open-to-the-public dance party at SDCC and the stars tend to drop in by the dozen! Robb Stark and Jon Snow were there to get their groove on this year, and you pretty much can’t turn around at NerdHQ without seeing Zach Levi, who happens to be the sweetest guy, giving of his time and energy all weekend long to make the experience fantastic for all the fans. Also, he’s kind of hot. Yum!
The panels they offered this year were impressive – several panels with Nathan, a star-studded Doctor Who panel, Hannibal, Robot Chicken, Supernatural, the hunky Joe Manganiello, Sherlock, Haven, Evangeline Lilly, and Joss Whedon to name a few. And if you want to watch these magical moments, you can go to their website RIGHT NOW and watch any one you want. You might even spy me in the audience for Nathan’s (second) panel!
I cannot praise the organized, affordable, and relaxing atmosphere that Nerd HQ fostered enough. Even the volunteers were lovely, welcoming us to the HQ and chatting about all manner of geekery while remaining informed about what was going on around us. The geek royalty that stopped by were always smiling and ready to hop in front of the camera for photos, and willing to auction off pretty much anything and give the proceeds to Operation Smile. If you want to support this great outfit and get yourself some fun swag to boot, head over to the Nerd HQ store for clothes, bags, phone accessories, and other fun stuff.
Thanks so much to Zachary Levi and the entire force behind Nerd HQ – I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent there and I deeply appreciate being given a space to relax and gather myself while getting my geek on at the craziness known as SDCC. Keep on rocking out!
This article is reproduced with permission from Shoes and Starships.