This year marks the 40th Anniversary of Hello Kitty. To celebrate, the world’s first ever official Hello Kitty Convention is taking place this weekend in downtown Los Angeles at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. If you weren’t able to get tickets (they are sold out now), there are many other activities to celebrate Hello Kitty’s anniversary that are taking place in Los Angeles as well (more details at the end of this post).
Longtime readers know my love for Hello Kitty. The convention runs from Thursday through Sunday, but on Wednesday evening, they had a media preview, which allowed us to have an opportunity to take photos of the set-up before it became flooded with people. Of course I had to go!
Through this post, I’m sharing the highlights of what I saw on preview night as well a road map for those attending the Con. I’ve been actively following the happenings from Thursday and Friday, so hopefully I can provide some good tips for people attending the weekend sessions.
Inside Geffen Contemporary, you’ll find a lot of photo opportunities: Hello Kitty displays, a look into the Hello Kitty world, exclusive convention items for purchase, vintage collector items, art displays, fashion displays, an artist corner where you can get sketches from various Hello Kitty artists, a tattoo parlor, and vendors selling Hello Kitty items.
There are many adorable life-sized pieces that you can step inside for a picture.
There are also a lot of cute Hello Kitty items behind glass display cases.
Here you have cardboard cut-outs of Hello Kitty’s world, for more photo opportunities. Ride on Hello Kitty’s bus, pretend to drink tea, pet a duck, etc.
Lovely Kitty Wonder
This area showcases fashion inspired by Hello Kitty.
There is a small gallery displaying various artwork inspired by Hello Kitty. For some reason, I forgot to take photos.
If you’ve ever really wanted to get a permanent Hello Kitty tattoo, here is your chance. Tattoos were free for convention goers. I have to say, I was a little tempted.
This shop is for the serious collectors, with various vintage collectibles available for purchase and viewing.
This is where you can buy all the Hello Kitty Con exclusives as well as many other Hello Kitty items. I spent a lot of time here.
I especially love the plush toys, which include reversible ones. I have a turkey and burger from two years ago, but now they have a hot dog and a lobster.
They had a nice section of Tokidoki x Hello Kitty.
Mr. K liked this ninja Hello Kitty.
I also really loved these chopsticks, which reproduce some of the iconic designs for each year of Hello Kitty. They also had stationary with the same designs.
One of the featured items throughout the convention is the purse from 1974, which is the first item to have the Hello Kitty character. Here is the original, behind a huge glass case. They had a light beaming on it like it was a diamond. They made replicas of the purse for purchase at the convention. I definitely feel a wave of nostalgia when I see this coin purse because the very first Hello Kitty gift I ever received was a coin purse.
Get sketches by head artist Yuko Yamaguchi and other Hello Kitty artists. We saw them drawing and signing during preview night but the lines were long. I actually got a sketch from Yuko at Comic Con earlier this year.
There are various areas especially for kids, including a sketch area and this scrapbook area.
This is the section for vendors offering Hello Kitty items. There’s some free stuff too, so definitely check it out.
I especially liked this offering by Bandai. The robot is like a transformer, with the larger Hello Kitty turning into various vehicles and a mini Hello Kitty as the passenger. Mr. K commented that he isn’t a fan of Hello Kitty but he would want this if it didn’t cost so much.
There were various performances going on throughout the evening, including a mean guitar performance by Badtz-Maru. The group will be going on tour after this.
Some other things worth mentioning that I didn’t take photos of.
Hello Kitty toilet paper- Sorry I don’t have a photo, but apparently the bathrooms are equipped with Hello Kitty toilet paper. I wish I had known while I was there. *sob* I’ve seen the photos all over instagram.
Line Hotel- This is the official hotel for Hello Kitty Con and if you had booked a “sweet stay package,” you would be treated to a welcome kit of Hello Kitty things. If you booked a “super sweet stay,” your whole entire suite would be decked out in Hello Kitty things, which you get to keep. I tried to find the prices, but couldn’t. Also they decked out a private room on the top floor with even more Hello Kitty things for guests at the hotel to visit.
Outside of Geller
In addition to all of this, there are several activities going on right outside, like a Melissa’s Produce pumpkin patch and food trucks selling Hello Kitty themed foods. Especially noteworthy is the pink Hello Kitty Cafe, which will be opening a permanent storefront in the near future, so this was a preview of what is to come.
Over at the Japanese American National Museum next door are workshops for the weekend as well as their own exhibit of the 40 year history of Hello Kitty. It’s free to Hello Kitty Con pass holders. There’s a big Tokidoki statute I really want to see, but didn’t get to on this night.
There’s quite a few freebies throughout the convention. On the preview night, we got a small sampling, including these cool 3-D Hello Kitty dolls made with a 3-D printer that was making them on site. I’ve since seen that they are giving away a new Yoplait Hello Kitty yogurt that will be hitting supermarket shelves in the future.
Other events for Hello Kitty’s 40th Anniversary
If you are going to be in LA in the next several months, here are a few other activites happening to celebrate Hello Kitty’s 40th Anniversary.
Hello Kitty Hungry Hunt– from now until Nov 21, select restaurants are offering a Hello Kitty dish and a collectible pin. The pins are adorable. There is Hello Kitty eating ramen for the ramen shop, Hello Kitty drinking lemonade at Lemonade restaurant, etc. Unfortunately, I’ve heard they are pretty hard to get, especially for the restaurants downtown. Some have run out of pins a few times and have limited the number of pins they give a day and when they give them. The restaurants near Sawtelle seem to be easier to get pins from. I would advise you call and find out each restaurant’s policy before you visit. Here is the complete list of participating stores.
Japanese American National Museum– The Japanese American National Museum, which is located right next to the convention, also has their own display of the history of Hello Kitty and a souvenir gift shop. If you are a Tokidoki fan, there is a large statute designed especially for this celebration. The museum is closed to the public for this weekend of the convention, but it’s open other days and the showcase will be on display until April.
Chado Tea House– The Chado Tea House inside the Japanese Museum will also be having Hello Kitty tea sessions from now until April.
Target– Target partnered with Sanrio for this Hello Kitty Con so they will eventually be selling some exclusive merchandise designed for Hello Kitty’s 40th Anniversary.
That’s it for now. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!