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Say Goodbye to Tongue Tied, the Longtime Phoenix Dance Night

Jay "Funkfinger" Wiggins and Michele "Roya" Chinichian of Tongue Tied.
Jay "Funkfinger" Wiggins and Michele "Roya" Chinichian of Tongue Tied. Benjamin Leatherman
Local nightlife fans, you've only got a few more chances to get a taste of popular local dance night Tongue Tied.

The DJs behind the monthly indie and alternative dance affair, which takes place at the Linger Longer Lounge and features a different theme with each edition, have decided to end the event after several years of serving up goofy and colorful fun.

As such, Tongue Tied will get in its last licks during three more parties over the next few months before wrapping things up with its annual Dia De Los Muertos-themed Dance of the Dead event in early November.

A message posted to Tongue Tied’s Facebook page on Wednesday, August 9, announced the news.

“After nearly five years of fun tunes, themed outfits, and lots and lots of dancing, we've decided to hang up our headphones and retire Tongue Tied as a monthly night,” the message stated. “Attendance has been great and there is no drama; Jobs, kids, travel and other personal life changes are making a dance night a little harder for us to keep juggling.”

Tongue Tied has taken place on the first Saturday of almost every month since 2013. It originally was hosted by now-defunct gay bar Apollo’s Lounge before moving to nearby nightspot Linger Longer Lounge a couple of years later.

Throughout its run, Tongue Tied has featured local selectors Michele Chinichian (a.k.a. DJ Roya) and Jay Wiggins (a.k.a. DJ Funkfinger) spinning indie rock, alternative songs, and popular dance tunes of both the retro and modern variety.

(Both DJs have been a part of the Phoenix dance music scene for even longer. Chinichian, for instance, used to spin at the old Obscura party several years back.)

Each month, Tongue Tied boasted a distinct theme, typically of an amusing, playful, or colorful bent. There have been events inspired by the Olympics, video games, hair metal, Daft Punk, geeky pursuits, zombies, cats, and even Lisa Frank’s art. As you might expect, costumes were a regular part of Tongue Tied parties.

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Two attendees of Tongue Tied's Tiki-tastic Dance Party in 2015.
Benjamin Leatherman
Chinichian, a social worker by trade, told New Times via Facebook chat that while Tongue Tied was popular and putting together each edition was fun, it also took up a great deal of their personal and professional lives.

“Basically, we're trying to free up some responsibilities so we can focus on some of our personal life changes (career, family stuff, kids, health, upcoming plans and travels) that have been starting to pile up,” she says. “We've been doing parties one weekend a month for over 10 years now; it's a big commitment to revolve our lives around.”

Unfortunately, Chinichian says, something just had to give.

“We don't feel we can continue to always be available to the night and give it the attention it deserves in the new year,” she says. “Jay and I don't ever want to shortchange the night or its reputation. The reality of the situation is ... a lot of soul-searching went into the decision and there's been a shift in our current responsibilities and priorities; sometimes adulting has to come first.”

Chinichian adds that both her and Wiggins knew that Tongue Tied eventually would have an expiration date.

“From from the get-go, Jay and I were in agreement that since nothing lasts forever, our ideal ending would be to go out in style and on a high note, so we're grateful we get to do just that. We're fortunate that we still have large crowds, so while this may feel premature and definitely bittersweet, it's been a great run and we've achieved all of our goals for the night, so it feels strangely satisfying, too,” she says. “We've always been clear that we didn't want one of those sad, long, drawn-out endings that many dance nights before us have had.”

Instead, they’re going to have a memorable send-off over the next few months with a "Pure Pop Night" on September 2, the "Totally Bitchin' '80s Party" on October 7, and the Dance of the Dead affair on November 4.

“We want an epic finale that completes and feels worthy of the night,” Chinichian says. “The Dance of the Dead party seemed liked the perfect theme to pull the plug on the night and celebrate its life and all the great memories we've had.”

Tongue Tied's Pure Pop Night will take place Saturday, September 2, at Linger Longer Lounge.
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.

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