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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Sister DJ Duo Lisbona on the Charms of Spandex-Filled '80s Workout Videos and Their Stretch Sunday Party

Posted By on Thu, Jul 10, 2014 at 10:17 AM

Laura and Ava Lisbona host the Stretch party this Sunday at Monarch. - NINA NOEL
  • Nina Noel
  • Laura and Ava Lisbona host the Stretch party this Sunday at Monarch.

For sisters Ava and Laura, together known as DJ duo Lisbona, Sunday nights are all about neon, spandex, and booty-shaking beats. As kids, the two idolized and made up dance routines to artists like TLC and Salt-N-Pepa, and wanted to share their musical favorites and dance moves with others. In recent years, they found the best way to do so was by DJing. "We're just nice ladies that like to dance and make other people dance, so this seemed like a good way to go," says Laura. Two years ago, they started Stretch Sunday, which has since featured artists like Mr. C and Lee Foss. We spoke with Lisbona about working together, their favorite outfits, and how their love of funky house. Stretch Sunday takes place this Sunday, July 13, at Monarch, with Slow Hands headlining.

When did you decide working together as sisters would be better than solo? 

Laura (L): I would say around age 5, after Ava was around for a little over a year and I realized she was actually pretty cool. Before that, I was super pissed she was born and would thrown constant tantrums because I felt she was hogging too much of our parents' attention. One time, to express my frustration with Ava having been born, I smeared an entire tube of my mom's favorite lipstick, a hot red-orange color called Tangerine Sunrise, (it was the '80s, so you can imagine the kick it had to it), into our very nice white berber carpet. They never got it out.  Shortly thereafter, I loosened up a bit, and we became best friends.  

Ava (A): Our mom used to tell us that we must never live together, but we would be great in business together, and I'm going to say that's pretty spot-on.  We're really complementary in a lot of ways, and it's no exception with music.

Do you guys usually take turns DJing, one for one, or whatever feels right for the occasion?

A: It all depends on the night and how we're feeling.  

L: We've been doing two-for-twosies more than anything recently, but it's mostly dependent on the situation. If you're on a roll, then do the damn thing.

Tell us how Stretch Sunday was born.

L: If you want to get really technical with it, it would have to go back to when I was about two years old. I remember laying on my stomach with my headphones on, listening to Frankie Valli "Big Girls Don't Cry" on repeat on my Walkman, and watching my mom work out to The Firm workout tapes in her spandex. That type of stuff stays ingrained in you forever. In my more recent years as it pertains to music and parties, I love wearing spandex and trainers. It's just so freaking comfortable and perfect for getting down.  When it comes to the '80s workout sensation, there's something so fabulously tacky about the whole thing that people love to be a part of. It's cheeky, it's sexy, and, dammit, it sure is fun.

A: We started with Stretch almost two years ago at Monarch and the whole thing took off more powerfully than we ever expected. We love dance music and wanted to create something original. There are already tons of parties so we knew we wanted more than just DJs; something that was ridiculously interactive and high-energy -- a true production, which is why we do things like book dance performances and have pop-up clothing shops. Most importantly, we really wanted a concept where people couldn't take themselves too seriously, which you definitely can't do in brightly colored spandex.

What genre do you typically play?

A: It's mainly deep, techy, funky house, but we love to have some '80s and '90s jams thrown in there to keep the spirit alive. Whatever makes people boogie.

L: Even though we're such house-heads, we love our funk and disco; we like to make this a party where DJs can feel free to play around a little bit, as long as it keeps the people dancing. The next party we have coming up will feature the WERD DJs upstairs playing all fun '80s and funk stuff, so it keeps the energy fresh.


What's a jam that represents Stretch Sundays? 

L: First, there's Jamie Jones' "Road to the Studio (Fly Mix)", simply because it instantly evokes images of the Stretch promo video.  Other than that, I'm going to say Eddie Murphy's "Party All the Time".


What's all the craziness behind Stretch promo video?

A: Our friend William Perls is a ridiculously talented photographer and videographer and was really pumped up on the concept of Stretch. He's so talented and had all of these great ideas, one of which was having a bunch of hot girls working out alongside some comedic relief to save the whole thing from being over-sexualized.  Our friend Charlie was the natural decision, and he ended up being the perfect addition.

L: We spent the whole day shooting at Monarch. We had a bunch of friends come down to hang out and get stretchy in exchange for free cocktails all day.  By the time we got to the workout scene at the end, we were all pretty tipsy, but we held it together, as you can see. There were lots of giggles and shenanigans throughout the whole process. When we got down to the editing process, I wanted to use that Jamie Jones track but was a little concerned about just using it without proper permission.  I knew his assistant pretty well and sent the video over to her to ask her if she wouldn't mind running it past him to see if he was cool with it. I was really nervous about the whole thing, but she ended up writing me back to tell me that he loved it, and he even ended up posting it on his artist page. We had Sex+Design magazine debut it for us on their website and it got over 200,000 hits within the first two weeks alone. We knew we crushed it. Sometimes I still just watch it for fun; it's the perfect one-minute burst of energy.


What's the most unique outfit you guys have seen?

A: We've seen a lot of creativity. All amazing. People come fully decked out with their best '80s workout gear: wigs, neon colors, Thighmasters, very revealing onesies, and so on.


What's the best formula to rally to get to Stretch Sunday on a Sunday night?

L: Just put on the spandex and start stretching -- you already feel amazing!  Watching our promo video is a good instigator. Then, I'd say watch the Prancercise video (that lady is off the chains), and any of the segments from the Crystal Light National Aerobics Championships -- the boys from San Francisco are the best, obviously. Pair that with the Flashdance soundtrack and I'd say you're good to go.

A: The fun thing about our party is that we've built such a great community. You know when you come to Stretch that you're going to see and meet amazing people dressed in their most ridiculous ensembles, and that's the best motivation. We don't put these parties on super often, so when we do, we like to make it really special, and people know that. It's a good sign when people are asking me for outfit advice a month in advance!

-- @ChrisxtinaLi

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