Weekend Viewing: La Bare
La Bare is the name of a popular male strip club in Dallas. But the name could also easily refer to what the club’s strippers do in this documentary, revealing that what a woman sees on stage is only for show, allowing the viewer to see how they truly feel about their job.
Coming off the popularity of the Steven Soderbergh-directed film Magic Mike about male strippers, one of the film’s stars, Joe Manganiello (Alcide in True Blood) directed this documentary with great sensitivity, allowing the dancers to be themselves and exposes what it’s really like to work as a male stripper.
The mentor/father figure of the La Bare strippers is Randy, whose stage name is “Master Blaster.” He watches over the men, supplying each new employee with a manual of guidelines that he wrote himself. One of the best scenes is when he is giving instructions to contestants for La Bare’s Amateur Night-no underwear with fly openings allowed in case your penis pops out during a routine since they aren’t technically employed by the club. As for the contestants themselves, some had the It Factor needed to be a male stripper, and some were just… cringeworthy. The performances by La Bare’s strippers were pretty standard, except for the one who used something called “aerial silks,” two long pieces of silk hung from the ceiling that he uses to lift himself off the stage, twisting his arms and legs into the fabric and showing off some impressive moves like splits while hanging in the air.
There were some very poignant moments as well. A portion of the film is dedicated to Ruben, one of the strippers who died from a gunshot, a loss that deeply affected each of the men. Another scene that moved me was when one of the strippers discussed his female fans, one in particular who came to see him often when he performed. He asked her why she came to La Bare so much, and she replied she comes to the club because when she’s there, “I feel pretty.” That revelation alone makes “La Bare” worth seeing.