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Lisa Lisa, a mom who likes singing onstage

Lisa Lisa of the band Lisa Lisa and

Lisa Lisa of the band Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam poses backstage at the BET Awards on Tuesday June 24, 2008 in Los Angeles. Credit: AP Photo

Lisa Lisa laughs as she thinks about how different her life is now.

It wasn't that long ago that the "Queen of Latin Hip-Hop" and pioneer of freestyle music would be on the road for six months at a time, touring to support her massive, hit-filled catalog that includes "I Wonder If I Take You Home" and "All Cried Out."

Now, she spends more time at home, raising her family in Port Jefferson Station, though she still makes plenty of time for shows like her appearance at The Emporium in Patchogue on Friday.

It must be tough to balance both sides of your life.

They're both crazy, but it's a crazy that I love to be in. My thing is to be on a stage. I get this crazy, wild feeling once I get up on the stage and hear the roar from that audience. I live for that. That's my blood flow. When I come home, I get that same feeling; when I open the door, my kids scream. I love that. If there's something in your life that you want to do, you make it happen. And that's what I did.

Why do you think freestyle music, which started in the '80s, still draws such big crowds today?

The audience that we had from back then, they've always brought their children, and now their children's children, to the shows. These songs take you there again. It's a feeling that you get. Freestyle music is the music that the breakdancers used to dance to in the clubs and in the streets.

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Is your live show still built around that feeling?

I love a stage. . . . In my show, I'm gonna take you back like you were in the '80s. I'm going to remind you of what you were doing and who you were doing it with. You're going to feel like you're up on that stage.

WHO Lisa Lisa

WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. Friday, The Emporium, 9 Railroad Ave., Patchogue

INFO $15; 631-627-8787,

Emporium's formula: an older crowd

While competition among Long Island clubs is notoriously fierce to fill their spaces with free-spending 20-somethings, Tim Lorito believes he has found a different formula for success. He's aiming a little older.

Lorito, president and co-founder of The Emporium in Patchogue, is packing his 1,100-capacity club with music fans in their 30s, 40s and 50s, eager to hear the music they grew up with and newer acts who want to carry on that tradition.

"We've noticed that no one was catering to an older crowd," said Lorito, who opened the club in September and already has enjoyed lots of sold-out nights. "We felt that there were some great special events that we could do with an older crowd. And they've proved that they're still spending money, and they still want to go out because they fill the place up."

In addition to its rock and country shows, The Emporium has set itself apart by going after disco acts like Gloria Gaynor, '80s acts like Bret Michaels and freestyle acts like Lisa Lisa.

"We felt there was a void on Long Island," Lorito said. "We felt there wasn't anyone catering to that kind of 'old school' music. We went after the best national acts we could get in those genres. We've had terrific success with that."

Lorito says every one of the club's country and freestyle shows has sold out. By concentrating on those genres, as well as The Emporium's restaurant and beer garden, he believes the new club has found its niche.

"It's our formula," he said. "It's working for us."


The wide variety of concerts at The Emporium includes:

Thursday The "Electronic Divas," including Robin S., Shawnee Taylor and Reina

April 5 The Freestyle Explosion featuring TKA and Fascination

April 7 Poison front man Bret Michaels

April 23 Punk pioneers Suicidal Tendencies

April 24 Rapper Sammy Adams

April 25 Country traditionalist Jamey Johnson

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