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Arts and Entertainment

Photos: Dudes Love Hello Kitty, Too

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While we saw mostly women and girls deck themselves out in adorable Hello Kitty gear, there were plenty of dudes at the first-ever Hello Kitty Con going on through Sunday.

Hello Kitty Con hosted a panel called "Guys Love Hello Kitty Too!" and featured four guests who share a love for collecting Hello Kitty memorabilia: software engineer, Oliver Juang (aka HKGuy), Adam Haus cosmetics founder Prince Robbie, elementary school teacher and hardcore HK collector Marty Garrett, and founder of punk rock Malfunction records Linas Garsys.

They discussed some of their favorite Hello Kitty collectibles, which included a Hello Kitty luche libre mask, bowling ball, and even a Dreamcast console.

Garrett, who shares an extensive Hello Kitty collection with his wife, who was in the audience, said one of their favorite collectibles is one of the original fiberglass Hello Kitty statues that had been in the window of a store for over 20 years. "So we just think about all the people saw it, got so much joy from it, took pictures with it," he said. "All the nostalgia that was built into that statue is now encapsulated into our collection."

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Prince Robbie talked about how he first got into Hello Kitty: “I went through a very strange goth phase—I think everybody does that at some point in high school. And Hello Kitty was a very strange goth phase, too."

But the male Hello Kitty fandom extended past this lecture hall. While there were a lot of guys who told LAist they were there just for their girlfriends, others said that they, too, liked other Sanrio characters like Badtz Maru and Kerropi when they were in elementary school. And then there were some really hardcore fans.

Tommy Moreno told LAist that he decided to celebrate his 50th birthday with Hello Kitty on her 40th. Moreno, who goes by the Twitter handle @MrHelloKittyBoy, said he's been a fan of Hello Kitty since 1976. When he was a teenager, he would help his local Hallmark store owner pick out the best Sanrio products she should sell at her shop. That eventually led the then 15-year-old Moreno to dress up as the Hello Kitty mascot in a parade representing the Hallmark store. He once even threw a Hello Kitty-products party in his Riverside County home in the '80s—kind of like a Tupperware party, but cooler. The Sanrio folks actually sent a mascot from Los Angeles to his home.

"You’re never too old for Hello Kitty and you never grow out of it," Moreno said.

LAist visited the sold-out, four-day convention at the Geffen Contemporary of MOCA that's going on now through November 2. It's celebrating the iconic Sanrio character's 40th birthday, and fans came out wearing their best cosplay outfits, Kitty ears, and Hello Kitty shirts—women and men alike.

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