If you have not heard of the amazing event which launched San Diego Comic Con last year and is returning this year to kick off the biggest Comic Book convention in the world, then you clearly have not been paying attention. The event in question is called ‘Ready Party One,’ and is put on by XLEVELENT by a team led by Bernie Bregman, who I had the pleasure of speaking to recently about the events they have in store for fans this year at SDCC 2019.
After the success of last year’s event, they were asked to put on two more events this year alongside their co-hosts Crunchyroll and Nerdist, an opportunity they happily took. What makes these events different from other themed parties going on at SDCC is the time and dedication, as well as the attention to detail put in by Bernie and his team, who came together wanting to “up the ante” on events like this and bring fans “really memorable immersions” into their favorite pop-culture franchises.
While they admitted that putting on 3 events 3 nights in a row was going to be “a heck of a feat” (especially considering the event space is being used by the convention during the day), the team seemed very energetic and up for the challenge with their passion shining through, especially with their excitement about what they are putting together. In Bregman’s own words:
“We geek out about all of these ideas.”
The whole mission statement of their group is to push the creativity of their events as far as they can possibly go, bringing fans what they described as a “nerd elevated” experience. Along with that, Bregman also spoke on how he and his team thought it was important that their events were also “a lot about inclusiveness and diversity,” something especially important nowadays. Bregman spoke about looking for representation in the line-up for every event, and make everyone feel like the parties were comfortable and safe, even highlighting “consent conscious messaging” when speaking to me on the topic.
Here are some details on each event the group is putting on:
READY PARTY ONE – Wednesday, July 17th
An event to kick off San Diego Comic Con 2019, the second annual ‘Ready Party One,’ Bregman and company promise an “immersive experience” that will have fans going into the Oasis as never before. Bregman is hopeful that the event will become the tentpole event to kick off SDCC this year and hopefully into the future. It is the second time the group is putting on this particular event after the success of last year, and they have already sold out tickets for over 1,000 people. They are hoping fans turn out with as much enthusiasm as last year, where many dressed as characters from the film, complete with artifacts from the Oasis. The group told me that in particular for this event and the others they “love the costumes and what people bring,” claiming a lot of the fun is the creativity of the fans who attend the events. With both this event and the one planned for the next night, the group is hoping fans will experience an “ultimate feeling of nostalgia” as they step back into the past and enjoy music and worlds dominated by 80’s culture.
THE UPSIDE DOWN: A STRANGER PARTY – Thursday, July 18th
Promising fans “…a trip into Hawkins” starting with entering the party through Castle Byers itself. Entertainment will include the band The Flux Capacitors, who also recently played at the Santa Monica Pier event where the area was turned into a replica of the Hawkins Fun Fair as seen in the trailer for Season 3. The event will feature many locations from the series, including the aforementioned Castle Byers, the Palace Arcade, and even parts of the Hawkins Pool which we have only seen in trailers for the upcoming season. Bernie and company told me a hope of theirs was to tug on the heartstrings of fans with this one, though they were also excited about the thriller-horror genre elements they could mix in due to the nature of the series, saying it makes for a “spooky twist” to the event which will differentiate it from night 1. On top of all of that, they also informed me that Satine Phoenix herself will be hosting the evening, giving some D&D cred to the proceedings, which also ties back in very neatly to the series itself.
These guys really seem to think of everything, and it is no surprise that the event sold out pretty quickly. What is interesting is that this event was actually the last one the team conceived, as they originally were looking into doing something with a bit darker of a vibe, considering ‘The Dark Crystal’ and even a ‘Game of Thrones’ themed party before landing on ‘Stranger Things,’ which worked out perfectly since Season 3 would be premiering only a few weeks beforehand, and it met their desire to do something darker with all of the horror and suspense elements of the franchise.
AWESOME MIXER: VOL. 2 – Friday, July 19th
The only party that still has some available tickets, the first theme they thought of last year, almost immediately after they finished the first ‘Ready Party One,’ and knew it was both a great title (who doesn’t love a good pun) and a great theme for a Comic-Con party. They teased some majority celebrity guest performances though they could not reveal any just yet (aside from hinting that one was a Tony Award winning performer who stars in his own franchise), but assured me the full details would be coming out soon enough for audiences members to know and be excited about. The party will also have cast members from both ‘Stargate’ and ‘Farscape’ in attendance, with the latter having its 20th Anniversary VIP Meet and Greet in the space right before the ‘Awesome Mixer: Vol. 2’ event begins, with the cast members staying for the party in the exclusive VIP section. And with Marvel Studios back in Hall H this year, there are sure to be plenty of fans in attendance who will be very excited about a party themed after the Galactic Side of the MCU, not to mention the potential for some amazing music.
All in all, it seems like these 3 parties are the place to be for Wednesday through Friday night this year at SDCC, if you can get a ticket of course. And with a crew like this behind the parties, fans are sure to have plenty to enjoy.