Hot Import Nights – Imports, Glow Sticks and Serious Babes
Hot Import Nights is celebrating their 20th anniversary, but is it growing old gracefully? We remember going to Hot Import Nights shows in Chicago in the early 2000’s and those shows were more like a night club, with go-go dancers, model contests and a ton of cars in a very dimly lit convention center showing off their lighting concepts as much if not more than any of the rest of the work that had been done. Not all of the cars were local either. Hot Import Nights once had cars that traveled with them. If nothing else this guaranteed you would see something you hadn’t seen before.
A decade and a half later we found ourselves in San Jose and back at a HIN show. We are no longer in a dimly lit building but now at a fairground with the majority of the cars and stage outdoors. Much like Matthew McConaughey’s “High School Girls” in Dazed and Confused, the models and dancers have all stayed the same age. Oddly on the opposite side of the building as the stage, there is now a bounce house for the kids. Apparently, the HIN audience is getting older.
We’re not entirely sure the new HIN is working. The attendance appeared to be flat. Some of the people we talked to that didn’t attend just assumed that everything that was at HIN would also be at Wekfest which was scheduled for the following weekend down the street at the San Jose Convention Center. There are so many shows today that it is very important that you have something that makes you different. While we think there is in fact room for HIN to grow especially now that many of the original participants are obviously getting older, turning it into just another outdoor show that can’t be distinguished from the next five events probably isn’t the right direction.
That aside – this event provided some fruit. There was a nice variety of car builds on hand, so no matter what your tastes you should have found something you wanted to be driving home in. The Miss HIN competition is always worth a look, or two! LOL. Maybe three. In between the Miss HIN rounds they had a few local performers up on stage all of which were better than some signed bands we’ve somehow paid to see. The biggest highlight still for us was the host. Jargon hosted last year as well, and even with a crowd that would rather capture the event on their phones than actually live it, he stays upbeat, positive, and most importantly funny. If it wasn’t for him we would have had a lot fewer photos. Maybe HIN should be letting him do a bit more planning for next year’s events?