For the third year in a row I was lucky enough to get an invite to Tongal’s annual award ceremony in LA and for the third year in a row I had a damn good time. I got back on Saturday but as always it took me a few days to recuperate from my trip. I’ve finally started going through my photos and this year I’ve got some great ones to share.
The festivities started on Wednesday at the Tongie’s Eve Cocktail party in Santa Monica. My girlfriend Carla and I showed up a little late and as we were walking up to the venue we could hear someone singing an Everclear song in the patio area. Carla asked, “so is this like a karaoke party? Whoever’s singing sounds really good.” But of course it wasn’t a karaoke party. We walked into the patio and up on stage was the lead singer of Everclear, Art Alexakis doing an acoustic set for about 200 very surprised guests. (Here’s a pic). After we soaked in the scene, I managed to find and say hello to some of my favorite Tonglers and Tongal staff members. I learned the hard way that you shouldn’t over-do it at the Wednesday night reception (last year I decided to try all of the custom cocktails and my brain was a little fuzzy the next day) so Carla and I slipped out before it got too late.
On Thursday we took a trip to the LACMA, had lunch (and pudding) from some food trucks and picked up my tux. We did a quick change back at the hotel and then we inched our way through LA traffic to get to the awards dinner at the Avalon in Hollywood.
The show started with a surprise aerial act. It was a big hit and it really got people amped up for the show. This kind of spectacle was a good fit and I hope Tongal does some more crazy stuff like this next year.
As always, the event was MC’ed by Tongal co-founder, Rob Salvatore….
…and individual awards were handed out by various staff members. Here’s Tongal co-founder Mark Burrell reading the nominees for best comedy video.
The winners were….Pretty Nifty Productions.
After about half an hour it was time for a dessert/cocktail/photo break. Here I am posing with my lovely lady friend….
And here’s friend of VCN, Joel Levinson with his wife Randy.
I managed to make some new friends this time around including these two guys; Eric McCoy and Justus Meyer. Their Tongal team “McCoy Meyer” was nominated in the Best Comedy category. This guys do amazing work and right now the Devin Kurtz music video they made is spreading all over the web. You know you’ve hit the big time when even Perez Hilton is saying your work is awesome.
Here’s a shot of the theater just before everyone went back to your seats. The place is huge and I’m still kind of amazed that Tongal would rent out such a baller venue.
Here’s a shot of all the Tongalers that were inducted into the Tongal hall of fame this year.
The crowd gave the inductees a standing ovation but one dude at the table next to mine gave me a smirky stink eye when I tried to get a pic of the crowd. Frankly, I don’t blame him.
The party continued after the awards ceremony ended. Here’s a semi-blurry shot of Tongal’s three co-founders, Mark Burrell, Rob Salvatore and James DeJulio as they introduce a surprise musical guest, guitar legend Johnny Marr of The Smiths.
As I’ve said, I’ve been to the Tongies three times now and Johnny Marr put on the best post-ceremony show yet.
Up near the front of the venue, folks were cramming together to get their picture taken at the digital photo booth.
And the winners showed off their new hardware. Here’s “Best Idea” winner, Tina Radel with her new Tongie.
The “Best Comedy” winners, Pretty Nifty Productions went on to be named the Tonglers of the Year. After they got their awards, a rep from Mastercard (they’re a To gal partner) came out on stage and surprised the guys with a trip to Japan.
On our way out we were given weird cardboard viewer-dealies that you can stick a smart phone into. Carla was good enough to demonstrate how they work.
So that’s it; another Tongies is in the books. As always the show was a big success and I personally had a great time. I’d like to thank all my friends at Tongal for being such amazing hosts. And I’d like to extend a special thank you and congrats to Tongal’s Senior VP of Creative and Strategy, Caleb Light-Wills. Caleb was hard at work behind the scenes so I didn’t get any shots of him…which is a shame because at one point he was walking around carrying a giant manatee. Yes, seriously.
If you’ve made it all the way down to the bottom of this post and you’ve still got Tongie fever, head here to watch all the videos that were honored this year: https://tongal.com/tongies