Nerding Out For Hello Kitty And Her Pals at Sanrio's Small Gift Celebration

Revenge of the Bubble Punch babes.

Lina LecaroRevenge of the Bubble Punch babes.

When we think about the ultimate Sanrio fan, it's usually an adorable little Japanese girl or a punky, pink-haired grown-up Amercian girl, not a boy in broken glasses, suspenders and argyle socks. So we didn't quite get the "I Heart Nerds" theme of the party that brought hundreds to the Barker Hanger Saturday night, part of the full week of activities and events celebrating Sanrio's 50th anniversary under the name, "Small Gift."

It made sense, however, as soon as we walked into the event (under a giant blow-up rainbow) and saw - and awed at- Sanrio fandom in action. Nerding out is really the only way to describe it. From the detailed perfection of Hello Kitty, Keroppi and My Melody-inspired outfits to the patient and ceaselessly perky hordes who waited easily an hour or more in line for a chance to get the latest Sanrio merch in the pop shop (most chattering about what was limited edition, what was available elsewhere and what was brand new) to the wide-eyed enthusiasm seen near the various art installations, to the craft workshops which offered a chance to make one's own arty Kitty goodies, Sanrio junkies are a hardcore bunch.

Fervent for Loungefly freebies.

Lina LecaroFervent for Loungefly freebies.

Hosted by Loungefly (one of the biggest licensers of HK products), the bash's nerd-theme was evoked in both the fervent fan sense and the stereotypical fashion sense. Attendees scored free black rimmed glasses -with white tape between the eyes- and a Kitty headband with plaid bow and many came out in their best/worst sweater vest and bowtie embellished ensembles. The web revolution might have made nerds cool a long time ago, but with Sanrio involved, they've never been cuter. A sampling of the best Sanrio nerd herds below.

Nerd costume contest. Guy in center (& his robot) won first. Boys on left won second.

Lina LecaroNerd costume contest. Guy in center (& his robot) won first. Boys on left won second.

Small Gift's art show curator: Japan LA's Jamie Rivadeneria.

Lina LecaroSmall Gift's art show curator: Japan LA's Jamie Rivadeneria.

Bedazzled nerds.

Lina LecaroBedazzled nerds.

Speak nerdy -not dirty- to them.

Lina LecaroSpeak nerdy -not dirty- to them.

Nerds rule!

Lina LecaroNerds rule!