Event Planner Appreciation

Last week we met with some of our event planners to show them a little appreciation the best way we know how: with food, drink, and entertainment, duh.

A number of our event planner clients gathered at Sugar to be wowed by the likes of Alain Nu, Robert Mac, Michael Rosman, and DJ Dirty Hands. These are some unique and very talented performers  and come highly recommended by Yours Truly… OK, and some other super cool event planners who have hired them for fantastic events.

Each of the performers has been striving and working with Pelonkey to reach more people, make suggestions, give feedback, and improve the online platform (which, in turn, improves their personal experience as an entertainer on the site, so hello killing two birds with one stone), BUT each of these performers is also uniquely invested in elevating the way we as an industry book talent. Just like us, they want to stabilize this sometimes very (read: too) opaque booking culture.

So we chatted and listened and watched and altogether boozed & schmoozed, and it was as lovely a time as ever.

A giant thank you to Sugar for hosting and to our attendees for, well, attending! Getting to know you means getting to know your events means getting to know the best talent to recommend for those events means getting all kinds of new talent signed up on the system! *and breathe*

Til the next one!

[Sorry some of the pictures are quite dark; we had too much fun mingling to double-check our photos!]

To learn more about each performer, and hello, book them, visit their Pelonkey pages below!

Alain Nu, The Man Who Knows (yes, that is his trademarked name) – Mentalist & Magician

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Robert Mac – Comedian

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Michael Rosman – Juggler, Circus Performer, Comedian, et al

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DJ Dirty Hands – um, DJ

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Prequel aka “Pretty Cool”…see what I did there?

Last week Prequel DC had their launch party c/o RJ Whyte Event Production, and let me be (definitely not the first and absolutely not the last) one to say Holy Guacamole, Batman! That place looked awesome-sauce.

Three floors, each with a different theme and decor, scattered with 11, yes 11, talented entertainers from our site.

I’ll let the photos do the talking (a picture says a thousand words, after all), but before we even get to the magnificent visuals, let’s chat about the man who took them: Alexander Morozov. He also took our launch party photos, and he always captures the magic of the event! He manages to get the best expressions, candid conversations, and elegant setups.

Check out Alexander’s full album here.

A big thanks to all the entertainers who helped make the Prequel Launch shine!

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Anna Pineapple – Human Statue | Second Floor

Jessie Campbell – Makeup Artist (she brought a lipstick bar!) | First Floor

DJ Wizdom | Second Floor

Rajan – Live Artist (he painted the huge canvas in under two hours!) | Second Floor

DJ Alkimist | Fourth Floor

DJ Civil | Second Floor, Roaming

DJ Sean J | First Floor

DJ Foster | Second & Fourth Floor, Roaming

Alexander Morozov – Photographer | Roaming

DJ Neekola | First Floor

Max Major – Mentalist | Roaming

Show these peeps some love, and book them for your next event! They can all be found on Pelonkey.com along with a slew of other serious talented groups and individuals.

We’re proud Mama Bears over here, always wanting to show off our Pelonkey users…can you blame us?

Hap-Pelonk-ZI Christmas!

When you sit in an office everyday, doing work on the same screen, it’s nice to get up, slap on a pretty dress, and dance the night away, am I right?

The Pelonkteam kicked off the holiday season last night at the coveted Zinzi Christmas Party at the Convention Center in DC, and what a night it was! We were dressed to the nines, food, drink, and music flowed, and we met some awesome people in the party and at our table. Also, there were multiple photo booths involved. And DJ Neekola closed out the night with the best dance set of 2015 (if we do say so ourselves).

Phew, I’m exhausted again just thinking about it.

We started our own hashtag for the night – #pelonkZI – which you can peruse on Twitter or Insta, but here are a few teasers for your viewing pleasure. We love a good (mini) photo diary. Even more when it’s holiday-themed. Bring on the Christmas cookies!

A good joke is priceless, so luckily Free DC Comedy Week is here!

The first time we met Wayne Manigo (co-founder of the Washington DC Comedy Writers Group with Mandy Dalton) was at the WeDC pre-SXSW party back in February. Our table was all kinds of flashy (duh), Wayne walked over, stuck out his hand, and said, “Alright then, tell me about Pelonkey!” And the rest is comedic history. Wayne is a high-energy, joke-cracking, people-meeting PelonKing. We’ve always been impressed with his enthusiasm, and now we are be impressed with his community involvement. Enter the Free DC Comedy Festival (#FDCCF)!

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The concept for #FDCCF is based on a number of Wayne’s previously successful designs and projects with the primary goal of informing the public of free comedy shows in the area. Most people know about the Improv, and the Arlington Draft House. And that’s where their knowledge ends. But there are more awesome venues and shows out there! You gotta catch ’em all…

#FDCCF’s secondary goal is to help comedians gain more exposure. Hilarious but unknown comedians are no good to us as we cannot laugh at their jokes if we do not hear them. Hosting a festival such as this one will provide those superstars with the opportunity to display their talent to a variety of audiences.

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The Festival is taking place all this week, November 16-21. All the details can be found on their Facebook page.

The schedule of events looks a little something like this:

Monday 11/16, 8pm – Jackpot Comedy Show
Monday, 11/16, 8:30pm – WDCCWG Comedy Writing Session @ Judy’s Bar and Restaurant
Monday, 11/16, 8:30pm – Pretty Funny Entertainment @ Recessions

Tuesday, 11/17, 8:30pm – Bottom Shelf Comedy Show @ Black Whiskey

Wednesday, 11/18, 6pm – WALA Trademark Workshop @ FHFG&D
Wednesday, 11/18, 8:30pm – The DC Writers Group Semi-Pro Show @ Duffy’s Irish Pub (Pelonkey will be there!)

Thursday, 11/19, 8:30pm – The Looking Glass Comedy Showcase (Pelonkey will be there!)

Friday, 11/20, 8pm – Jokes @ Judy’s Bar and Restaurant
Friday, 11/20, 8pm – Smokin’ Hot Comedy & Smoke BBQ

All of these events are – as the title suggests – FREE, so you should all go and check out some funny people saying funny things! And find our man Wayne and tell him nice things, laugh at his jokes, etc.; unless you find him at his roast, then feel free to roast him. But before you do, you should probably know some of Wayne’s background.

Wayne (with Mandy) is currently celebrating the Washington DC Comedy Writers Group fifth anniversary. “We started with five members at Duffy’s Irish Pub, and now we’re past 1,700 people” Wayne said. “We found it odd how there wasn’t a group in the DC area with a dedicated focus to comedy writing. So….we decided to create one!”

Developing a comedy community has always been important to Wayne. Prior to the DC Comedy Writers Group, he held two comedy conferences focused on helping comedians develop a career in the entertainment industry. He also created the annual “Comic Sunday Funday,” a networking event where people can learn more about the comedy resources available in the D.C. area. He attributes a huge part of his comedy education to the years he was employed at the (now-defunct) Riot Act Comedy Theater. “I received comedy advice and coaching from some of the best comedians on earth!” he said.

Wayne continues to provide suggestions to comedians with his “Addicted To Comedy” column for Stage Time Magazine.
He’s been on an Ellen Degeneres segment during Mardi Gras this year.
He is a former writer for On Tap Magazine.
As a chef he organized a cooking club that ran for three years.
An event he organized, “Quiet Party,”  was featured in the Style section of the Washington Post.

And now he brings you the Free DC Comedy Festival. Enjoy, folks!

Pelonkey Grand Launch Video

That’s right, it’s business video time! Our grand launch video is finally here, and we would shout the YouTube link from the rooftops if we could! Since we cannot do that (roof access is blocked from our floor), you can help us metaphorically scream the web address by sharing the link with everyone you know and their mothers! (Feel free to share it across all social media networks, we’re on ’em all.)

If you didn’t make it to the launch party, you can read a full recap here. And if after reading you’re still dying to attend such a party, fear not! We plan to take this shindig to cities up and down the East Coast before moving west. Sign up for free on www.pelonkey.com to get involved & invited. And to help you manage and plan ALL your entertainment events. (OK, sales pitch over.)

Now go watch, ya silly!

Big thanks to Skipper Films for putting together this masterpiece! We think they captured the high energy perfectly, but you’ll have to watch and see for yourself…

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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MES: Most Extraordinary Stars? Or…

MES: Many Excellent Successes. MES: Master Entrepreneur Supporters. (<– Hey, that was actually a pretty good one.)

MES: Metro Event Specialists, aka our homedawgs. Our peeps. A real swell group of hardworking event tycoons.

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We have introduced you to lots of heavy hitters in the events world (shoutout to our ab-FAB Pelonkey Launch sponsors!), but there’s one group we want to throw in the spotlight for a hot minute. MES holds a special place in our hearts as our good friends Max Major & Troy Francis are the ones that run it, and our CEO Nicole is on the board. Max & Troy and the rest of the MES gang have a finger on many crucial events that take place in DC, and they have been nice enough to toss us countless tips, tricks, and advice on our path to entertainment marketplace stardom (that’s a thing, right?).

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You’ve already heard a little about them through our MES Mixer coverage (we sponsored all the entertainment at their August mixer at the National Archives), but we want to urge all of you in the events industry to take a closer look. Get involved with them. They are a network of event professionals in the DMV area. They are 100% free (um, yes, really), AND they host super fun events with food and drink and talking and laughing and mixing and photo booths and fun and, well, now I’m just rambling.

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They were well-represented at our launch party, and we wanna throw ’em some love. Some mushy, mushy event lurrvvve. They are such a force in the area, and we are glad to call them partners. Get on their list, and don’t miss their next event! No, don’t miss it. Don’t do it. Don’t make us come over there…

Pelonkey Grand Launch Party

Last Wednesday. September 16. LIVE at 10th & G.

Were you there? Have you recovered yet?

Did you miss it? Are you still crying yourself to sleep?

Our Grand Launch Party was aMAHzing. What a night. What an awesome group of people and unbelievable support. Who’s down for a little recap?

If you were at the party, you either met me, your Pelonkey Eagle Eye, or saw me walk awkwardly on stage to accept Nicole’s thanks and give her flowers – I’m not on on-stage person, I’m a BTS, other-side-of-the-computer person – and this was my day-long Grand Launch experience.

6:03 am

Early morning reveille. Especially considering last night’s office work lasted til 10 pm. Not including my 1.5 hour commute back to VA.

6:47 am

Showered, hair prepped, bags packed for later.

7:00 am

Have to finish making name tags using a template that doesn’t work. The bane of my Grand Launch prep so far. Found out my color printer at home is working again, so I don’t need to rush to the office to print the leftover tags.

Simultaneously scheduling a Staples run for extra name tags, Costco run for green room beverages, pickup of the Step & Repeat, printing more signs, scheduling social media posts on Hootsuite, and finalizing a slideshow. Oh, and my gas tank is chilling on Empty.

8:49 am

I was wrong; color printer not working. Name tags took way longer than expected (everyone better wear these). Plan B!

9:15 am

Out the door with everything stuffed into my car in record time considering 20 minutes ago I wasn’t wearing pants.

9:32 am

Step & Repeat acquired! Success #1 of the day.

10:30 am

The rest of my errands went smoothly, and I can take off for DC.

11:04 am

For the first time maybe ever, I am actually relieved to find traffic on route 66 because it is the first time I’ve been forced to slow down in about a week. Here I have my second freakout of the day; the first was that damn printer, the second was the enormity of the impending event. Nbd.

12:37 pm

I will skip over the boring details of arriving at the office, receiving two packages, running out of ink the second I finished printing my last name tag, and getting a $16 parking ticket for only one hour in the garage.

1:00 pm

It’s venue time, baby! All eerily quiet so far because an event is going on upstairs, and we can’t start setting up yet.

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1:14 pm

I am trying unsuccessfully to iron table cloths and runners on a plastic table with an iron sans water on low heat. Machines: 1, Eagle Eye: 0.

1:30 pm

Setup can begin. We are tackling the Step & Repeat first, which was a workaround to begin with, so trying to construct our own stand has been an ordeal. And when I say “we,” I mean Nicole and her friend Cenk, while I sit at a nearby table assembling name tags (seriously, everyone better keep these forever). Ciera is running around like a crazy person and it’s not even 2 pm.

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3 pm

So far, so good! Setup flowing smoothly, vendors should be arriving now.

3:02 pm

Chaos. Vendor load-in times never end up how you originally scheduled.

4:41 pm

This place is actually looking like a party site. Some performers are starting to arrive, green room is looking lived-in, and Ciera is officially going to put holes in her shoes with her running back & forth.

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5:00 pm

Nicole’s makeup is almost done, downstairs & registration are set up, photo booth looks amazeballs, red carpet has been rolled out, and we are making sure vendors have what they need.

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5:20 pm

Holy crap, no one has chilled any of the white wine yet. To the freezer!

5:35 pm

If we leave this in the freezer too long will it explode? We may find out…

5:41 pm

Somewhere in here I have managed to throw on some makeup, curl my hair, and put on my dress.

5:59 pm

I have my comm device (think secret service agent meets trench soldier) hooked up, and it’s off to the races. Eagle Eye to Unicorn, do you have eyes on Neekola? Over. 

6:00 pm

Doors open. Let’s do this.

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6:20 pm

So. many. people! So many, in fact, that I have already found and lost half our performers three times trying to get them to the green room. I’m checking on current entertainers, chatting with guests, making sure the kitchen isn’t on fire, the usual. Ciera has flown by me at least twice on one mission or another. I sigh again with relief because what would we do without her? Perish, surely.

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7:30 pm

A lot of guest networking and problem-solving later, and it’s time to relinquish my comm. My life will never be the same. But the sound manager for the theater needs it more than I do, I guess… Theater doors also open at this time, and guests are being pulled in by the sounds of LJ MTX and the sexy DystRucXion dancers.

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7:50 pm

A word from our sponsors… And let me take a minute here to thank them. Each of them. For our success was due to them.

VeeKast, for providing the performance slide show and live tweeting action. Travelling Bean, for the specialty barista station of our caffeinated dreams. Eco Caters, for organic, fresh food that is still making our mouths water. SkipperFilms, for making sure we didn’t miss a minute of the magic. OM Digital, for the best party favor ever. Sugar Rim Bar, for sangria and stellar service. Zelos Trading, for beer (three cheers!). Event Farm, for the ticketing service from which you all received our beautimous emails. Beat Refinery, for appointing two DJs to the battle and partnering with us always. Carlos, for an unbelievable sound & lighting setup. And Tommy McFly, for Emceeing our event and lending his charisma and energy to the show.

Before the show even began, Nicole took the stage to welcome everyone, and before she could get a word out, she was met with a standing ovation. A testament to how beloved she is in this community. And for good reason. That woman is a rockstar. 

8:03 pm

A little behind schedule (if we’re being picky, which Ciera is), but I can promise nobody in the crowd cares because the best show ever is about to start. Max Major to take it away, followed by an epic lineup of DC talent we also want to thank now. You guys have no idea how amazing these folks were. Over the next few weeks, we will be spotlighting each performer who took the stage (or party room) and represented themselves and Pelonkey. Look for that on our social platforms.

Max Major – Mentalist, Kelly Jo Stull – Circus Performer & Dancer, Chicago City Limits – NYC Improv Troupe, Ben Hoyt – Violinist, DJ Sean J, DJ As-One, Michael Rosman – Comedy Circus, Chip Han – Beatboxer

DJ Foster, Anna Pineapple – Circus Performer & Dancer, DJ Gavin Holland, DJ Phlipz, Dan Lamaestra Jazz Trio, Brian Curry – Magician, DJ Heather Femia, Joe Goldman – Voice Artist & Announcer, Rajan – Artist, David Meneses – Magician

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9:09 pm

Party time! The show was great, everyone is having so much fun, and Ciera, Nicole, and I can finally take a breath, have a drink, and talk with our guests.

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10:13 pm

I’ve been giving the VIP room some love, marveling at the Dan Lamaestra Jazz Trio & Ben Hoyt transform the upstairs into the classiest act ever. Schmoozing is not my middle name, but when in Rome (and when it’s my party), I do as the Romans do… 😉 When in Rome, I also consume more than my fair share of Duck Confit Johnny Cakes c/o Eco Caters. These things were heavenly. And made fresh by Chef Robbie. Just like the rest of the bomb food.

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11:13 pm

The time, it flies. I have had so much fun, met so many wonderful people, and rubbed so many blisters onto my feet. The latter is usually a huge indication of the former.

11:48 pm

All the guests have left – reluctantly, I may add – and it’s breakdown time. The party may have been glamorous, but I’m looking around at all these trash bags knowing the next steps will not be.

12:52 am

Thanks to helping hands from our vendors and friends, we have finally gathered all the trash bags into the kitchen. The venue looks a little like a frat party came through, but I’m taking that as a successful sign. Except for the trash cans that look like beer troughs. I was really hoping I left that in my freshman year of college, but alas…

1:22 am

During load-out, we have managed to lock ourselves into the garage. Let me paint you a word picture. The glass door into the elevator room is shut, the gate to exit the garage is shut and only opened with a parking ticket, we are three floors below ground with no cell service, I have run through a maze of stairs only to lose myself in a neighboring building, and we have decided to cram three of ourselves (one ex-football player included) into the front seat of Ciera’s teeny car in order to bust ourselves out. Finally Nicole comes down to find out what the hell happened to us, and we are freed. Exhausting doesn’t cover it. Slaphappy might.

1:44 am

The venue is empty, the car is loaded, our eyelids are heavy, and it’s time to leave. What is a great party without a calamity of events before and after?

1:46 am

What was that tip my drivers’ ed teacher told us to do when we were tired and driving? Sing along to the radio? I did. To every song that played from the corner of 10th & G St. to my driveway.

2:12 am

I don’t remember getting out of my car or into bed, but I do remember falling asleep with the sounds of Pelonkey ringing in my ears. (Not trying to be cheesy; I was seriously delirious from fatigue and could only remember that something big regarding Pelonkey had just happened, but I couldn’t tell you what.)

I wish I had had the sense to take photos throughout the whole day to illustrate every tiny detail of the party, but I didn’t know I was going to write a diary account of the launch until after the fact. Like many of my great ideas, this one occurred to me too late.

We want to take this launch party city to city as Pelonkey grows. After doing it once, I can promise that the second, third, tenth times will be just as hectic and crazy. And thank god for that. Because the alternative is downright boring. And Pelonkey doesn’t do boring.

Ps. The wine never exploded in the freezer. Take that, science.

Pps. Thanks to Shimeng Tong, Alexander Morozov, and Vithaya for the photography.

Ppps. 82% of the name tags ended up in the trash. Mine is displayed proudly above my bed.

TL;DR – The show and party were a great success. Be super jealous you weren’t there. Or proud that you were. Either way, don’t miss the next one.

Grand Launch Eats by Eco Caters

Since you follow our social media (Wait, you don’t?? We might have to suspend our friendship…) you know that our grand launch party is two days away. TWO DAYS AWAY. TWO. As in the minimum number of scoops that should be on any ice cream cone. Half the number of Oreos it’s acceptable to eat in a single sitting. You know, standard stuff.

Anyway, we’re, like, kind of excited and stuff…

And part of that excitement stems from the night’s menu that is alredy making our mouths water. Have you heard of Eco Caters? Guys. Get ready to drool all over your computer screens.

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Smoked Sous-VIde Beef Carpaccio with Pickled Summer Vegetables. Described by Chef Robert Wood as “the cleanest and lightest barbecue anyone can eat…”

Eco Caters is a full-service, organic catering company that is aimed at both crazy flavorful cuisine and eco-consciousness. Their food is made 100% from scratch, is nutrient-dense, and brought directly from local organic farms in Virginia and Maryland. They’re yummy and “green”: they minimize their impact on Mama Earth and make their client’s event an eco-friendly affair while providing a customized spread of high-end dishes. For all you sports fans, they are also the official chefs and caterers for the Washington Capitals, Wizards, and Mystics.

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Black Bean Slider with Lemon Garlic Aioli

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Safe to say, Eco Caters are the super talented chefs at the cool kids table that we all wanna hang out with. This Wednesday night, you’ll get to! We don’t wanna reveal their specially-curated menu, but if you like savory meats, exotic flavors, and marinated veggies that will make you never want another Oreo again, you’ll be satisfied, to say the least.

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A big shout out to EC and our other awesome sponsors for helping us make this a night you absolutely do not want to miss and might cause you to sulk for weeks after if you do.

See you in TWO!

Stone Driver steers into our hearts… and the National Archives

Let me break it down for ya: One live band + Roaming performers + Open bar + Close vicinity to some seriously important historical documents = A chance to party all night long with the Declaration of Independence. ROCK ON

The August MES Mixer will be held at The National Archives this coming Wednesday. The Archives is a pretty sweet place, no? Well, we’re about to spice it up. With music. Rock music. Echoing through the halls and reverberating off The Constitution. Enter Stone Driver.

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The band is made up of members Chad Lesch, Tim Boyer, John Gossart, and Dan Epley, and in their own words, their music is “meaningful, relevant, and real.” It has taken them to venues across the area and featured them in media outlets around the world. Next in line to hear the crooners is the National Archives. Talk about a prominent US stage.

Besides knowing them personally (whaddup, 1776!), we also know their music. In fact, it was the soundtrack to Nicole & Danielle’s SXSW road trip. And it is good. It makes you wanna just, get down and jam, man. I mean, they categorize it as Space Grunge. That’s definitely something you want to listen to, right?

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They’ve been supporters of Pelonkey from the beginning, and we are oh-so-proud to feature them as our hard-working, hard-rocking live band entertainer of the week. (And after Wednesday, we promise they’ll become the entertainer of your hearts.)

Have you RSVP’d to the MES Mixer yet? Why would you want to miss the chance to party with Stone Driver & all our other awesome performers? Huh?? Why?! Why would you do that?!

See ya there 😉