My experience at Nerd HQ 2015


Last year, for the first time in many years, I ventured to San Diego during Comic-Con and attended The Nerd Machine’s Nerd HQ for the first time. I had such a wonderful time, I vowed to return this year. And I did.

Started by actor Zachary Levi, the free-to-attend attraction provides weary con-goers with a little different experience from that of inside the convention center. Once you register for a wristband, you are able to relax, enjoy the festivities, and partake in various demonstrations. If you so choose, you can also take your involvement a step further and purchase tickets to their panels. These panels, known as Conversations for a Cause, are intimate discussions with some of your favorite stars, with all the proceeds benefiting Operation Smile, a charity that provides surgeries to children with cleft lips and palates in underdeveloped countries. You can read more about the panels themselves here.


The 5th annual Nerd HQ was held at The New Children’s Museum this year, moving from its previous home at Petco Park. Given the fact that the entire event, including the proceeds from the Conversations for a Cause panels, benefits a children’s charity, I felt like this venue was more fitting. The building has lovely and interesting architecture. Upon entering the building, you’ll cross a bridge to the main floor. Very impactful. All of the things I loved from last year were back, including the dance floor that was used for the evening fan parties. Beyond the dance floor was a large grouping of black couches in which attendees could relax and even charge their cell phones (this is a necessity for when you’re on the go during the convention)! A photo booth where photo ops with panelists was available for an additional charge. (It sat directly across from a cash bar and just inside another sitting space on the outdoor balcony.) On the opposite end of the museum, a small existing snack stand called Green Bellies was still in operation by their normal employees, who were delighted to have Nerd HQ there. And, of course, The Nerd Machine provided their merchandise stand, where fans could purchase all the latest nerd gear.


Some of the demonstrations this year included a sneak peek at EA’s Star Wars Battlefront, the third major release in the Battlefront series which is set for release in November. Levi himself spent 20 minutes playing one day! Fans also had the opportunity to take a photo on a speeder bike, which my friend Kim Horcher from Nerd Alert was happy to participate in.


My only gripe this year? The panel room itself unfortunately, which was located downstairs from the main hall. I felt as though the size benefited fans as a mere 200 attendees really gives you the opportunity to get a question in to someone you admire, but the setup versus last year was a drawback. When the event was held at Petco Park, the panel room was a makeshift, sanctioned off area of the bleachers, meaning you were in raked stadium seating so that even someone in the back row could see the stage. The new room at The New Children’s Museum has a flat floor, so seeing the stage from anywhere but the first few rows was a challenge. The ceiling in the room is fairly low, so putting the audience chairs on bleacher-style risers probably wouldn’t be an option, but I do feel as though elevating the stage a bit might solve the problem if the event is held at the museum again next year.

For more information on Nerd HQ and Conversations for a Cause, visit The Nerd Machine.

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Holly Amos
Holly Amos 125 posts

Pro Trekspert. Sherlockian. Tolkienist. Movie/TV freak. Music lover. Sports enthusiast. Cosplayer. Fangirl/geek extraordinaire.