Just when Hello Kitty fatigue was starting to set in, Hello Kitty Con came along with a shot of delight. Sure, it has all of the trappings of typical fan conventions—long lines, crowded halls, pricey merch—but it's impossible to resist its colorful cuteness. HK fans donned cat ears, red bows and all sorts of over-the-top getups to celebrate the supercute Sanrio icon's 40th anniversary in Little Tokyo.
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The convention itself is a mix of larger-than-life Hello Kitty art and collectible installations, along with mountains of merchandise. It's an impeccably produced event; those whiskers have found their way into seemingly every detail, from wall murals to trash cans. What the Geffen Contemporary lacks in space, it makes up for with personality; its clean, bright warehouse interior is the perfect canvas for an event that's as much an adorable art installation as it is a fan expo. And on that note, it's all you could hope for as a fan: vintage toys, meet and greets, games, crafts, a plethora of limited edition plush and live action character performances (we're talking Badtz-Maru shredding a guitar).
If you're going to the event this weekend, there are a few things you should know. The lines are about what you'd expect for a highly-hyped kitty con (i.e. long, but predictably so). After the initial opening rush, the biggest bottleneck is at the badge pickup; do that ahead of time and you'll be able to get into the Geffen without much of a wait. On the other hand, if you want to peruse the limited edition gift shop, be prepared to wait for two hours (though, to the organizers' credit, the store itself is as orderly as it is adorable). Similarly, the line to get a free tattoo—yes, real ink—can run above an hour and cuts off before closing—because, let's be real, those "hug life" tats look pretty badass. The most important piece of advice we can give: have fun. This is an entire fest dedicated to Hello Kitty and its fans, and who knows when it'll happen again—but we really hope it's soon.