Comic-Con: Daytime pop culture, nighttime parties

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Comic-Con isn't just a daytime affair.

After the convention center closes for the night, the streets of downtown San Diego come alive with parties galore — dozens of events over the four-day fan festival.

"The Con is for the fans," said comic artist Eric J as he navigated between party destinations. "For the professionals and exhibitors, it's also for networking and making contacts, and that happens at the parties. Even though everyone's having a great time, more business gets done after hours. And it's not just business. There are friendships made at the convention and at the parties that last a lifetime."

The festivities began on the eve of Comic-Con with Wednesday's gathering for "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2," which drew crowds to the Hard Rock Hotel's rooftop bar. The next night, it hosted a party for "The Expendables 2," where Arnold Schwarzenegger made an appearance, and Microsoft's Xbox 360 gathering, where guests previewed games like "Dance Central 3," ''Deadlight" and "Halo 4."

Partygoers also played around at Ubisoft's soiree inside a sprawling suite overlooking Petco Park stadium. Celebrants such as "Hart of Dixie" and "Friday Night Lights" star Scott Porter tried out games like "Assassin's Creed III" and "ZombiU" as they nibbled on cheese puff-crusted fish sandwiches.

The stadium itself was home to a massive party Thursday: VH1's "Dawn of the Con," which was open to all Comic-Con pass holders and hosted by rocker Rob Zombie.

The Wired Cafe atop the Omni Hotel held a celebration for TV's "Dexter," where guests sipped "killer cosmos" and "dark defenders" while chowing down on pasta next to a wall-sized portrait of the lovable serial killer and his sister made entirely of different kinds of knives. Yvonne Strahovski, who is guest-starring in the upcoming sixth season, kept court in a corner booth with her former "Chuck" co-star Vik Sahay.

Friday brought another round of networking and partying opportunities, including Creative Arts Agency's joint event with Samsung at the Hard Rock Hotel, which inspired a spontaneous vampire gathering: Alexander Skarsgard and Deborah Ann Woll of "True Blood," and Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerhalder of "The Vampire Diaries" were among the revelers.

The Hard Rock also held events Friday for Warner Bros. Television, "Halo 4" and Spike TV.

Maxim magazine, FX and Fox Home Entertainment took over the rooftop of the nearby Andaz Hotel, recreating Paddy's Pub from the comedy series "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." Cast members snacked on hot dogs and sliders, while Christopher Mintz-Plasse was engrossed in conversation with a DJ spinning hip-hop.

Saturday's soirees include Entertainment Weekly's annual poolside party, and a Playboy and "True Blood" event that promises to recreate the restaurants and landmarks from the popular HBO show.

Comic-Con continues through Sunday.


AP Entertainment Writers Derrik J. Lang and Ryan Pearson contributed to this report.

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