If you’ve been reading here for a while, or if you know me, or if you’ve ever passed me on the street and noticed my T-shirt, you know that I’m a bit of a man-child, as excited about Star Wars, Marvel superheros and all the rest as I was thirty five years ago. When I was offered press credentials for myself and my daughter for Hasbro’s first ever HasCon convention in nearby Providence my excitement levels were off the charts.
The plan was to wait until after the weekend to tell you all about it but after day one I’m all jacked up and ready to share. I want anybody that is on the fence, debating about whether or not to attend, to know this : it’s fantastic, exceeding all expectations. We spent nine hours today going back and forth between the Rhode Island Convention Center and the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, a long day for any six year old (or forty-something year old) and there wasn’t a dull moment throughout.
For those interested in the behind the scenes stories there are some fantastic panels and Q&A sessions. Today we listened to the artists and writers of IDW’s Transformers comic books talk about the various ways that they bring these characters that I grew up with to life. The highlight of my year was listening to Marvel legend Stan Lee talk about his creations Spider Man, The Incredible Hulk, and all the countless others that are still such an enormous influence in all aspects of pop culture.
All of the Hasbro brands are here and feature hands on experiences. We threw Nerf footballs, played with Play Doh, built a Star Wars lightsaber and spent almost an hour playing with the fantastic people at the Furreal exhibition, who also taught this dad how to braid hair. It was on a unicorn, but the unicorn was moving and I think that I’ve really got the basics down. She fell in love with virtual reality while exploring the world of Hanazuki and played over sized carnival-style versions of all of Hasbro’s games, classics such as Monopoly and something new called Toilet Trouble that has already been added to her Christmas list.
Face painting and makeovers are everywhere. She got a new do courtesy of the girls at Tangled: The Series, died it purple with DreamWorks Trolls, and got further ponified at My Little Pony and Equestria Girls.
Never known for her shyness, she charmed all the extremely pleasant people holding open auditions for Hasbro’s toy commercials. The girl that I jokingly call “Hollywood”, never one to pass up a photo opportunity or perform her antics for total strangers, may have just found her true calling in life.
All the toys that I grew up with were represented and still going strong. GI Joe, Transformers, Star Wars, Marvel. Photo opportunities and movie props that had me taking more pictures today than I usually do over a six month period.
As if all this wasn’t enough, the evening ended with a concert by Grammy winning recording artist Daya, one of my daughter’s favorites. If you don’t recognize the name, you know her songs: “Hide Away”, “Don’t Let Me Down”, “Words” “Feel Good”, and “Sit Still, Look Pretty.” Her stage name is Sanskrit for “compasison” or “kindness” and even if her music isn’t what would be typically on my playlist, her lyrics of female empowerment and self-reliance have made me a fan.
So what could possibly be left for us to do today? I’m looking forward to listening to James Gunn, writer and director of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, as well as learning more about IDW’s line of Hasbro comic books and Hasbro’s philanthropic initiative, “Be Fearless, Be Kind”, two of the lessons I try to teach her daily. There are still Baby Alive and Littlest Pet Shop experiences, as well as Sesame Street and Dungeons and Dragons. She wants more purple in her hair to look more like Evie from Descendants 2, also represented here, and Flo Rida hits the main stage at 5:00.
Hope to see you there.
My daughter and I were provided three day complimentary passes for the purpose of spreading awareness of this event but all opinions are my own, as always.