SXSW 2016 Recap

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This morning we woke up, looked at the rain outside our window, and thought, We need something exciting to counter this dreary day. And then BAM! it hit us – we never recapped our 2016 SXSW trip! And now the sun is peeking out from behind the clouds, ready to join us in our happy nostalgia of getting weird for another year in Austin, TX.

Partnering with our faves at EventsDC and WeDC, we had Rex Riot, Mathias., JC Flores, & DJ Neekola perform at various times throughout the entire weekend-long event. The DJs provided dance music during the day while attendees mingled at the WeDC house, as well as a little at night. In fact, Rex Riot helped warm up the crowd for QuestLove at the crazay closing party. We had a big presence, wearing our Pelonkey tees all over Austin.

 

In addition to that, our CEO, Nicole, was able to pitch to a ton of tech people at the WeDC house at their Tech Breakfast, which included 1776‘s very own Evan Burfield. And (yes, there’s more!) Nicole participated in the WeDC startup showcase along with other DC innovators, such as our new friends at BlueCart, to spread the good Pelonkey word to other SXSW attendees. At the showcase, we had a booth for one day where visitors could come by, ask questions, and generally be wowed by all things Pelonkey. It was a hit, and we were able to talk to so many new people!

Let’s see… what else? We saw Chromeo perform (can we just get them on our platform already & be BFFs??), met the COO of TechWeek at the TechWeek party, mingled some more, party-hopped, explored the city, met DC mayor, Muriel Bowser, were featured on Buzzfeed’s SXSW promo, saw some Events DC friends – Ashley & Greg – and hung out and rocked the WeDC house from Saturday-Monday.

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A huge, gigantic shoutout to Julie, Damelia, and Tiffany for being awesome, as always, and running the WeDC show like the #bosses they are! Wow, the WeDC has made a baller name for itself at SXSW; it’s always the party and place to be! We are so proud to call them Pelonkey supporters and friends. D’awww, DC love, y’all!

We like to think of ourselves as seasoned pros now that we’ve been to SXSW twice…and really it’s just a matter of time before people are partying it up at the PelonkHouse with some kickass DJs, performers, and peeps. 2017, here we come! #DoYouPelonkey

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Pelonkey Spotlight: Alexander Morozov, Photographer

He photographed our launch party. He photographed the Prequel launch party. He’s been capturing magical weddings for years. He’ll make your corporate event look enchanting even if it isn’t. His name is Alexander Morozov, and he’s your new photography superstar.

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How long have you been a photographer?

Since I was a kid, for fun, but that eventually evolved into doing it full-time since 2005.

How did you make that transition?

I was in Baltimore just walking around when I saw a photographer capturing a wedding outside. I was excited to see this and began thinking, This would be so cool to help out and learn the skill, so I approached the guy – without interrupting his work too much – and said, “Hey can I reach out to you later?” He gave me his card and that’s how I started, by helping him out.

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How would you describe your style?

I understand that an event just flies by in a few hours, or a day, then it’s gone. So my goal is to capture it in a way where a couple [for a wedding] can look back at it and relive the event with as many details as possible. I want to bring that emotion back to them. I call it “creative storytelling.” In reality it’s a combination of different styles blended together: photo journalism, fashion, fine art, product photography, nature photography, scenic shots.

A pure photojournalist will capture the day as it unfolds. I take it a step further. I pull from fine art, dramatic lighting, shadows, depth of field. A little bit of fashion comes in handy for bride and groom shots. [Laughs] I can make the groom look tougher if he wants to. It’s part of my skill to make sure [the clients] are happy. Now, if someone falls on a cake, if something happens, a dress gets torn or dirty, or someone is injured, I don’t capture that. That’s not what the day is for. I capture the day beautifully.

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Now that you have your own studio and brand, how do you ensure your other photographers stick to your style?

When I train my associates I tell them the same thing: what to do, how to pay attention [to the guests and their surroundings]. Sometimes people skip the architecture of the place or the outside shots of the venue, which is very common in corporate photography. Some photographers don’t pay attention to where the event was held, they look at the speakers and people. But I see that the venue is kind of neglected, and I like to capture it and do the scenic shots and architecture shots to tell the full story.

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In what other ways does corporate event photography differ from your wedding shoots?

Take a fundraising gala or something. In addition to lots of different details and environmental shots, my goal is to show that it was a successful, highly attended, exciting event. I look for the angles that will showcase the most people, I capture the best sides of the event. Like in PR, I want to portray the event in the best light possible. But again I think what’s neglected in corporate photography are the detailed shots. They’re not important in the sense that the speakers and the VIPs are, but in the scope of [telling the story] and shooting the ambiance, they are. It’s similar to a restaurant. It might be a hole in the wall with delicious food, and that’s great, but in my opinion, it would be more enhanced by [strategic] ambiance – low light, comfortable seating – these things are not important to the taste of the food, but will enhance the experience. I try to recreate that with my corporate photography.

Even if you don’t have an event coming up, you should hire Alexander to take photos of you and your family at home. Or just hire him as your own personal paparazzi throughout the day to capture you in your best light from breakfast to dessert. It’ll be so worth it!

Because he’s so fancy, he has two different websites you can check out : [uno] & [dos]. He’s also on your favorite social media sites, so go, run, Like! Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

WeDC 2016 SXSW Kickoff

WeDC has this great way of making everyone at their events feel like one of the gang. I mean, hello, it is We DC after all! We the people… Well, another WeDC event later, and we are just as obsessed with these guys!

The SXSW kickoff was a blast, and we brought DJ Duffin, DJ Civil, and DJ Rene to rock the house as the guests mingled, networked, and checked out the startup tables (um, ours was the best, le duh).

 

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Notice the company you see wherever you look? 😉

DJ Duffin kicked off the night with a fun mix of music to pump up the arriving guests. From high above the evening’s Pelonkey perch, he had the best vantage of anyone there!

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We met a ton of great people, exchanged more than a few business cards, and let’s be honest, did what Pelonkey does best: told people what we’re all about, and probably cracked a few bad jokes as well 😉

Prior to Black Alley, the band for the evening, taking the stage, DJ Civil had us grooving to some R&B, some throwbacks, and like the rockstar she is, she made WeDC’s recap collage, so for your viewing pleasure… (Bottom red tee haaaaay girl!) –>

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And after Black Alley finished up, it was DJ Rene with the closeout. Another rockstar, I tell ya. But, really, when you come to Pelonkey, it’s rockstars left and right. The talent we’ve got on our side are serious performers. In case you didn’t already know based on the amount of bragging we like to do about them.

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Great day for the PelonkTeam, and anytime we’re able to hang with WeDC it’s a great day overall.

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Rene, Ciera, Nicole, Danielle, Duffin, Civil

Until next time, WeDC!

So… the rest of y’all ready to get this SXSW wagon on the road to Austin?? We sure are!

Neeks in Cancun con la Marriott!

I bet I know where you wish you were right now…

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Cancun. Am I right? Knew it.

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Pelonkey CEO, DJ Neekola was there recently as part of the Marriott’s Fearless conference… because Pelonkey’s supporters are always awesome sauce clients who host conferences on tropical islands. (Thanks to Entertainment Exchange for hooking up Neekola with the Marriott!) And cue the jealousy. Well, you can pretend you were also there by listening to the playlist of all the jams Neekola played throughout the duration of the convention. And then look at the sunshine outside and pretend it’s not going to drop to 40 degrees tonight.

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Alright, alright, DC. Just throw on your bikini and this playlist & dance around your apartment. No one will ever know.

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To JAM:

SLEDGE – Croatia Squad, Me & My Toothbrush and Peter Gabriel
Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger (Groove Conductor’s Remix) – Daft Punk
Bright Lights (Extended Clean) – VICE Ft. Estelle
Can’t Feel My Face (Joe Maz and Adam Foster Remix) – The Weekend
We Found Love (Toy Armada Diamond Remix) – Rihanna
September (Taylor Wise Remix) – Earth Wind and Fire
Geronimo (Sunstars Remix) – Sheppard
Barbara Streisand – Duck Sauce
Thunderstruck (Shameless Bootleg) – ACDC
Uptown Funk (Neekola Disco Remix) Bruno Mars
Don’t Stop the Party – Pitbull
Bamboleo (Neekola Remix) Gypsy Kings
Malosax – Afro Mix – Stan Courtois
Fun – Mixshow Intro – Pitbull
Should’ve Been Us (Noodles Remix) – Tori Kelly
Sweet Dreams Vs. Just Dance, Lady Gaga Vs. Eurythmics
Call on Me – Eric Prydz (Neekola Remix)
I Love It – Icona Pop (Neekola Remix)
Sexyback – Scooter Remix – Justin Timberlake
Michael Jackson – Don’t Stop tip you Get Enough – Gigamesh Vs. Neekola
Dance – Pitbull and Jennifer Lopez, Party Starter Neekola Remix
What’s My Name Moombahton Remix – Rihanna
Latch Vs. What Do you Mean – Sam Smith Vs. Justin Bieber
Levels Die Young – Avicii Vs. Ke$ha
Let Me Clear My Throat – Party Favor Remix – DJ Kool
Temperature Vs. Americano – Sean Paul Vs. Yolanda Be Cool
Five Hours – Chris Brown

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To CHILLAX:

Adore – Jasmine Thompson
Dreams – Gigamesh Remix – Fleetwood Mac
Promise – Kaskade
Bondye – Never Too Much
Cream – Flyosphy – Claptone Remix
Aint Nobody Loves Me Better – Felix Jaehn Remix
One Thing (Nora en Pure Remix) – Me and My Toothbrush
Clocks – Coldplay Vs. Rythims Del Mundo, Cuba Salsa Remix
Hello (Paul Damixie Remix) Clean AXB Cut – Adele
Say My Name (Kids Want Techno Remix) Odezsa
Colors – Leo Perez
Oxas – Gamper Dadoni De Hofnar
Summer Sippin – Boehm & DVNNI
Sugar – Robin Schulz
Cold As Ice – Louie Fresco Remix
Shades of Grey (Nora En Pure Remix) – Oliver Heldens and Shaun Frank
Night – Janet Jackson
Groove is in the Heart – Gigamesh Remix – Deee Lite
Hotline Bling – Kue Remix – Clean AXB Cut – Sam Smith / Drake
Show Me Love – EDX Remix – Sam Feldt

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Landmark Festival Shenanigans

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The line to get in. When doors opened at noon, the crowds flooded to the stages! Head to Instagram for that video…

Didn’t you hear us yelling from the rooftops? (Or see our snapchats on @neekola?) Pelonkey was at Landmark Music Festival with Events DC on Saturday and Sunday. We invaded their Recharge & Chill Out tent and brought DJs to spin all weekend long. Props to this fantastic partnership, by the way, as the Events DC tent was the only one to have live house DJs bringing the party to the non-stages of the festival. *Pats self on the back*

Many things happened this weekend:

The Pelonkey team ate a bunch of shaved ice and turned their tongues every color of the rainbow.

We started a massive dance party in the rain.

Nicole pushed her way to the front row of the Chromeo concert, aka her future husband’s band.

We got into then kicked out of the VIP area.

Lauren Mayberry from Chvrches made Danielle’s heart melt.

All in all, it was a DC weekend for the books. We had superstar DJs Chris Styles, Rex Riot, DJ Alkimist, DJ Neekola, DJ Dirty Hands, DJ Trayze, and DJ CYD on the decks, and they rocked the house, each and every one of them. The other artists were ya know, also great and stuff. Drake, Miguel, Wale, Lord Huron, Chromeo (obvs), Chvrches, and more. How could that lineup not bring all the DC kids to the yard?

Take a looksie at our photo diary below. And then come with us next year, ‘kay??

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Meet the super cool Pelonkey people

A lot of companies are pretty faceless, dontcha think? It’s rare that you get to see the masters behind the logo, but we all know when you do, it makes the company so much more real. (This is the true story of seven strangers, picked to live in a house… <– That kind of real.) Up the personal factor, see who you are working with, and the “working” part becomes a lot more fun. In the startup circle of life, Pelonkey is in the foal-learning-how-to-run stage, and we are made up of just six faces (sans development team and advisory board), so when you are working with us, you really are working with us. And “us” is a pretty sweet group of people.

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Nicole is our CEO. You may know her as DJ Neekola. We know her as someone who never sleeps, lives off coffee, and would narrate her entire life with an EDM soundtrack if she could. She’s our people-person, our partnership-making queen. Which is the role you’d expect of a CEO, except she’s actually awesome at it. People who meet her can’t help but love her. Which, whew, is a huge help, let’s be honest.

Ciera is our COO. Nicole knows her as her younger sister. The rest of us know her as the competitive, flag-football-playing wisp of a thing who knows more about negotiating the proper rate of a wedding DJ for a six-hour reception than, let’s face it, Google does. Ciera is so organized it’d make Staples jealous, and you can bet she is on top of every nook & cranny of the Pelonkey process.

Danielle is our Special Projects Manager. You know her as the omnipresent voice of the Pelonkey social media. We know her as someone who takes an inordinate number of bathroom selfies and can smell free food a mile away. She’s never without a song recommendation or a “let’s try something new and see how it works” idea about how to make Pelonkey awesome.

Puneet is one-third of our interns. We fondly call him our “office bro” because there’s nobody he can’t have a real, down-to-earth conversation with. When not calling our users and getting them pumped about the site, he has been conducting our market research like a champ.

Ali makes up another one-third of our interns. He was a key part of the beta testing process, running scripts, testing features and site processes, and intricately recording all the results so we knew exactly what needed our attention most.

Brook is the final one-third of our interns. She is our journalistic, international relations butterfly, always surprising us with connections she has made as a correspondent for media outlets both here and in China. She is a constant brainstorm of marketing, outreach, and user experience ideas.

All that said, titles are a formality here; we all do everything with hands in so many honey pots it’d make Pooh Bear jealous. But behind the “Pelonkey Team” title, we are a group of friends who make coming to work, dare we say it, fun.

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We work out of tech incubator 1776, with lots of like-minded startup individuals and a laid-back yet hard-working atmosphere. We have so many ideas for the kind of office culture we want to adopt when we land our own space (read: Zappos is our role model), but for now, the resources and character at 1776 are more than accommodating, they’re awesome.

We have a work hard/play hard mentality. After all, we are an entertainment company. So you know we know where the party’s at. But we earn our free time, and then it’s back to work on Monday (Tuesday, Friday, Sunday, really seven days a week…), and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Entertainers, update your profiles!

Do we sound like your mom yet? Pick up your room, eat your veggies, update your Pelonkey profile. Are we at that level? We can’t believe you’re tired of hearing us ask you to update your profile because not all of you have done it yet! So we say it again. Update your Pelonkey profile. Like, yesterday.

And just as when Mom tells you if you finish all the veggies on your plate you can have dessert, we are telling you if you update and promote your profile you will make money. (And in the dessert vs. money race, there really are no losers, am I right?) We won’t waste more of this post nagging you, but we will shame you into logging in and customizing your photos & bio by showing you some fab examples of users who have already done so.

There are three steps to updating:

Step 1 – Fill out your Profile details. (You know, your name, your Bio, your social media links, your keywords to show up in event planners’ searches. Get witty jiggy creative with it.)

Step 2 – Choose a profile picture. (Come on, we all have Facebook. You know what profile pix are and how disturbing it is when someone doesn’t have one – are they real?! are they a bot?! are they catfishing me?!)

Step 3 – Upload three (3) profile slider photos. (These pictures will slide behind the text at the very top of your public profile like a scrolling marquee.)

Now, watch & learn…

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You do all these things, and that’ll lead to glowing reviews (aka: you booked a gig, you put on a killer show, you made the $$). And those reviews lead to more gigs, which lead to more $$, which lead to general merriment and all around good times, ya dig?

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Now, let’s get to business. Hop to it!

Pelonkey at 2015 SXSW Interactive

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Austin, is it time to come back yet?

It was just a couple months ago that our CEO Nicole and social media intern Danielle hit the road in their swanky Chevy Volt, courtesy of Buick and Digital DC, and headed to Austin, TX to exhibit Pelonkey at SXSW Interactive. 22 hours of driving led them through Knoxville, Nashville, Memphis, Little Rock, and parts of Texas where they met local talent, checked out the entertainment scene (or at least what they could see of it during their hour-long rest stops), and spoke to a few performers about their life on the stage.

Once in Austin, Nicole and Danielle hit networking events, parties after parties, and conferences meeting local and remote companies and representatives, their only goal to make sure that everyone knew the name Pelonkey by the time they left. Arriving with a fairly open game plan, the two also spent time in the convention center and on the city streets checking out talented performers (and not only musicians!) that make Austin the live music capital of the country.

The highlight, for sure, was taking part in the Monday night WeDC House event, which was the place to be. Pelonkey was the most sought-after table inside, passing out swag left and right, and DJ Neekola made an appearance outside, spinning between live acts as the evening’s host. A surprise visit and shout out from DJ Kool sealed the deal as the best night of SXSW! No doubt about it, Pelonkey will definitely be back next year.

Throughout all of SXSW and the journey traveling to Austin from DC, Nicole and Danielle had their GoPro turned on, gathering footage of daily events, parties, and interviews with local entertainment.

Below, check out our little photo diary of Pelonkey’s trip to SXSW 2015!

 

We started our drive bright and early on Saturday morning, March 14. Taking a car down to Austin instead of a plane allowed us the freedom to stop whenever and wherever we wanted to explore. We were out to discover any kind of local talent we could. After conducting some research and outreach at home before the trip, it turned out that hitting the streets yielded the best results. On Day 1, from Knoxville to Nashville to Memphis, the Pelonkey duo was uncovering talent and native flair around every corner. And also eating some crazy good southern BBQ while enjoying the sites!

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On the second and last exhausting and exhilarating day of the road trip (you try squeezing 22 hours of driving into two days without wanting to stop, drop, and nap), we were anxious to finally arrive in Austin. We took a pit stop in Little Rock and then flew straight on to Texas, where we only stopped for more BBQ (never enough) and finally arrived in the heart of downtown Austin. Our first party (and main event!) that evening was with Tech Cocktail at Maggie Mae’s. From there, we wandered the city streets, hopped to more bars and parties, made new friends, and soaked up as much of Austin as we could until 3am, running on fumes from little sleep.

        

Continuing with the motto “sleep is for the weak”, we were up and at ’em Monday morning preparing for a long day in Austin. The first half of the day was spent party-hopping, chatting up new people, plotting and planning the Pelonkey launch, and sniffing out free food & drink. Finally, after a focus meeting, it was time to get ready for the We DC House event, where DJ Neekola donned her pink ‘do to hit the decks and Danielle worked the Pelonkey table inside. We DC has been a great supporter of Pelonkey, and partnering with them for their SXSW event was just one of many collaborations to come. Thank you guys so much for helping to bring us to Austin and for putting on such a great party! You guys rock!

                        

The highlight of the night was when Neekola was blasting “Let Me Clear My Throat”, and DJ Kool himself walked over to say “Hey, that’s my song!” He grabbed the mic and gave Neekola and Pelonkey a shout-out, essentially rocking both the party and our world.

The last few days of SXSW, Nicole and Danielle did more of what they came to do: network. Beautiful Austin weather followed them everywhere, and introductions were made to individuals and companies from all across the country.

We are so grateful we were able to go to SXSW 2015, and we can’t stress enough how much we learned and how many great contacts we made. Pelonkey is close to launching, and the excitement we felt in Austin surrounding our venture and the tech culture in general was infectious! Thanks to everyone who helped get us to Austin, and we can’t wait to come back! 

              

Spotlight on Our Amazing DJ Stylus Chris

We here at Pelonkey love to spotlight some of our original supporters and entertainers, and DJ Stylus Chris has been bomb from the beginning. Also a Pelonkey partner with the Beat Refinery DJ School, Stylus sports both real talent with his art and commitment to making the industry better every day.

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Over the holiday season, Stylus performed for a super fun casino-themed corporate party. Representing Pelonkey well, the client had rave reviews. You da man, Chris, and we can’t wait to collab on some more awesome events with you!

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If you’re interested in having Stylus Chris at your next event, please reach out to ciera@pelonkey.com for more details.

Pelonkey’s DJ Wizdom spins at L2 Lounge

DJ Wizdom really knows how to drop a hot house beat, and there’s no better place for it than Georgetown’s sexy L2 Lounge.

Saturday night was poppin’ for L2, sporting all of DC’s hottest socialites and “in” crowd. Wizdom had no problem playing some deep and vocal house, transitioning into the party vibe as the night progressed.

Interested in having DJ Wizdom perform for your next event? Email ciera@pelonkey.com to find out how through Pelonkey!