Nerd HQ 2016
In the midst of the swirling maelstrom of nerdom that is San Diego Comic Con, Nerd HQ is something of an oasis. While it's buzzing and packed with fans from morning til late at night, Zach Levi has created a culture and space that feels more like you are hanging out at a mate's place. You can pop in and play some of the latest games, lounge on a couch on the balcony with a refreshing bevvie or three, and chat with your favourite celebrity.
For me and my friends, NerdHQ was a very large and wonderful part of our Con experience. The "Conversations for a Cause" in particular offer something rarely found elsewhere at Comic Con -- a chance to see our favourite actors in an intimate setting. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing like the explosive energy of being at a packed Hall H panel, but I relish the chance to listen to someone I admire talk in a more relaxed way, and one that is not only focussed on promoting their TV show or movie.
The great thing about the Conversations is that, like any conversation, you have no idea where they are going to go. The first panel I went to was with Felicia Day. She talked about
A large focus of Nerd HQ is raising money for Operation Smile, a charity that works around the world to provide reconstructive surgery for people with clefts. It sits well with my view of fandom, that we get to be part of giving back in this way. Also important is that all the panels are live-streamed in high quality for free, so that fans around the world get to be part of the awesome experience. It speaks to a clear philosophy that Zach has for Nerd HQ, that embodies the best, most generous aspects of fandom.
Nerd HQ was again located at the Children's Museum in San Diego, about a 10 minute walk from the main Convention Hall. Significant improvements had been made to the venue this year, with much improved air-conditioning and tiered seating in the panel room. As always it’s the many volunteers who make NerdHQ so awesome and do make you feel like a guest. As one of my Con roomies was part of the crew, I know how hard they work, yet even on Sunday afternoon, they were all still happy and wonderfully helpful.