Politicon wrapped up yesterday, bringing thousands of people to the Pasadena Convention Center for two days of panels and presentations from some of the biggest names in politics.
The packed event was almost too big for the facility, and many panels quickly filled to capacity, creating long lines that spiraled around the building. Attendees were hoping to watch some of the biggest names in political punditry face off — folks like Democratic strategist James Carville debating former Alaska Governor and VP nominee Sarah Palin on gun control, or CNN pundit Van Jones facing off against conservative writer Anne Coulter.
In its second year, Politicon is the ComicCon of politics (or Campaign-Chella as Variety calls it), complete with its own art show and exhibition hall where fans could purchase Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump t-shirts, sit in on a podcast taping by political celebrities like 538 Blog’s Nate Silver or sit down for a Q&A between Barbara Boxer and LA Times political correspondent Ron Brownstein. A group dressed like the Founding Fathers roamed the halls and took selfies with attendees, while media celebrities like S.E. Cupp, Glenn Beck and Touré sat in on large panels. The event bills itself as a non-partisan convention with constant activity over two days — political consultant Frank Lutz conducted live focus groups to gauge political opinion, while science writer Bill Nye made his case for a manned trip to Mars.
The June event was the second Politcon — the first one launched in October at the Los Angeles Convention Center. General admission tickets were $30 and included access to most of the event, although the popular panels were quickly filled by VIP badge holders. The event was organized by Simon Sidi, a British national and former production and tour manager who got the idea for Politicon after watching a live taping of Slate’s Political Gabfest and deciding to create an event that encouraged one-on-one interaction with political pundits.
“You can watch all these people on Fox News or CNN,” Sidi told the Riverside Press-Enterprise. “But you’re going to see them in real life.”
“This is for the people who can’t stop watching Fox or CNN or MSNBC,” he added. “They’re noodling around on The Huffington Post or The Daily Beast. They read a newspaper every day.”
We’ve got more pictures from Politicon below: