WonderCon 2016: Bring It On, L.A.

Just four days to check-in at the Omni Los Angeles, kittens! Dr. Lucy and Yours Truly are headed north and changing hotels for the weekend so we can cover all the geeky, gooey goodness of WonderCon 2016 (March 25 – 27, L.A. ConvCtr) just for you, fair reader! Playing under the bright lights of Hollywood (well, H-town adjacent), especially after the Con doors close, brings a splash of glamour to this year’s WC that, as much as we love The O.C. (Psst, don’t call it that.), Anaheim just cannot provide.

Downtown L.A., home to WonderCon 2016. Photo: Arman Thanvir
Downtown L.A., home to WonderCon 2016. Photo: Arman Thanvir

Previous years have found the pre-SDCC crowd playing D&D and Magic the Gathering tourneys, or cosplaying and masquerading in grand fashion at WonderCon Anaheim (WCA). WCA was fab fun, as it was housed in the Anaheim Convention Ctr, just across the street from our Disneyland. What beats a night at Disneyland, after the Con? Nothing. You could still go this year! It is, after all, only about thirty miles down the road. Of course, if Disney admission (currently $119/day, March 21st – 31st) isn’t factored into your budget, with the exception of Downtown Disney (no admission fee) and a string of restaurants at Anaheim Gardenwalk, there was, and still is, little else to do within walking distance of the Anaheim convention center.

For this geek girl, just being near the House of Mouse, the manicured lawns and immaculate beaches of Orange County makes me swoon; but even the geekiest of pure geekage on the Con circuit, sometimes, need a little more hip and a little more grit. L.A. can proffer both. Sure the traffic sucks, the parking bites (ex: $48/dy at Omni Los Angeles) and the prices for everything make Disney Dollars seem like Indian rupees, but no matter all that. Like that fun, albeit obnoxious, pal who drinks too much, is always too loud and never offers to chip in, L.A. is worth the effort and the drive … occasionally.

Might I digress with a brief history of WC, fair reader?

What an excellent idea, Miss Hannah!

Well then … Like many a restless adventurer, in 2013 WonderCon packed her Tokidoki luggage and left her longtime, NorCal home (since the 1980s) of San Francisco’s Moscone Center. With her home being in a long-term refurbishment phase, a SoCal sojourn, near Big Sis San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC), seemed in order. However, once WC experienced the fun, sun and pristine beauty of Orange County, not to mention being neighbour to Disneyland, she decided she wanted to stay down south a teensy bit longer. One day, after noticing how popular she was, L.A. came a-wooing and, by 2014 WonderCon, a.k.a. SDCC’s little sister, was seriously considering a move to the real action: Hollywood! (Or, Hollywood-adjacent.) After some long, thoughtful walks on those immaculate Orange County beaches, usually below the Ritz-Carlton in Monarch Beach, she came to a decision. Why not?! Being just a short drive up the 5 (but with an ugly, evil stretch of a bumpy, crowded freeway, compared to the beauteous, virtuous stretch of smooth, wide lanes in Orange County’s jurisdiction), WC packed her Tokidoki bags once again and hit the road.

Cut to: WonderCon 2016, the bosom of Downtown L.A. (*choking* But, sir, there’s nothing to do downtown *choking released*. If you get that reference, you’re definitely my target demo.)

New digs (L.A. ConvCtr), for this year anyway, mean new, après-Con adventures. Kittens, you are now within walking, or Uber, distance of all manner of entertainment: from the ultra hip (L.A. Live, like Dwntwn Disney, but with the volume on 11; Corkbar, wine tasting w/o the stuffed shirts; Mayan Nightclub, dance dance!), to the moderately historic (Millennium Biltmore Hotel, once home to the Academy Awards; Chateau Marmont, wear your best vintage and keep eye for Johnny Depp; Hollywood Hotel Roosevelt, first home of the Academy Awards).

Twilight at Chateau Marmont (built 1929), Los Angeles. Photo: Neil Kremer
Twilight at Chateau Marmont (built 1929), Los Angeles. Photo: Neil Kremer

No matter which path you wander when you leave the LACC, you can surely find fun when the Con doors close. Venture, explore, get lost, dress up, make new friends, or new fiends, spend too much money and play tourist, especially if you’re a local. Did I mention dress up, and not just in costume?

IMG_20151008_193822Listen, you don’t have to look like a dork going to a small town prom, but put some effort into it. Wear jeans if you like, but sport some quality footwear, do your nails and shine your locks. L.A. may be cas, but it’s not your WalMart brand of casual. Vintage, for men and women, works with everything and gives you a bit of Old Hollywood glam. Buy something unique and geeky at the Con, then work it that night with stilettos, vintage jewelry or your best fedora. Funk it up, kids! You don’t have to try too hard, but for Jebus’ sake, try. To paraphrase comedian Sebastian Maniscalco, “I’m uncomfortable you’re so comfortable. Aren’t you embarrassed?”

Above all, fellow geeks, be safe, keep your phone charged (one can actually find plugs at WC easily, unlike at SDCC), please don’t drink and drive (so many Ubers, Lyfts, taxis and sober friends available!) be kind and be smart. Cons are for comics, not for consequences.

Find the trademark Agent Carter red fedora and Union Jack bag, and you've found Miss Hannah Hart! Photo: JSDevore
Find the trademark Agent Carter red fedora and Union Jack bag, and you’ve found Miss Hannah Hart! Photo: JSDevore

For regular updates and tips (parking, new RFID-badge scans, weapons/prop checks, program schedules, exhibit hall maps, hotel shuttles, public trans, weather, etc.) from the good folks at Comic-Con Int’l, use the handy-dandy WonderCon App! While your phone’s out, share your adventures and pix with us on Twitter @JennyPopNet @GoodToBeAGeek and @Eslilay, using #wondercon and #wc2016! (BTW, if you see Marvel’s Agent Carter, in true, late-1940s vintage, it might just be Moi. Be nice and say, Hi, Hannah Hart! Nice dress! Nice chapeau! Nice to meet you!)


Abyssinia on the Con Floor!

Hannah’s other fave places to haunt online?

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