Film | Interview | Joe Manganiello

The Men Of 'La Bare' Reveal What's Behind the 'Magic Mike' Fantasy


With a sequel and a stage musical in development, we haven’t seen the last of Magic Mike. If you need another fix of rippling abs and gyrating hips in the meantime, look no further than La Bare, a new documentary directed and produced by Magic Mike star Joe Manganiello.

The film, which hit theaters this weekend, follows the dancers at a Dallas, Texas strip club. For those who have watched Magic Mike nearly as many times as I have, some elements of La Bare will feel very familiar. The costumes, the dance routines, even some of the characters of La Bare feel as if they were ripped from scenes of Magic Mike. [There’s a number with the guys (temporarily) in black raincoats with umbrellas, and La Bare’s elder statesman, Randy “Master Blaster” Ricks, bears more than a passing resemblance to Matthew McConaughey’s character, Dallas.]

In a case of life imitating art imitating life (Magic Mike was loosely based on Channing Tatum’s own stripper past), one dancer was inspired to audition to work at La Bare after seeing Tatum stripping on screen. He now goes by the stage name “Channing.”

“Watching how insane all the women went whenever Channing Tatum came up on stage, seeing how crazy they all got watching him was really inspiring,” La Bare’s Channing said.

We spoke to Channing and fellow dancer Axl about what they love about the job, what customers do that drives them crazy and how they interact with male customers. See what they had to say, AFTER THE JUMP…


Although this Channing was originally attracted to dancing for the attention (and, he admits, a little for the partying), the reality of the job isn’t all fun and games.

“A lot of effort goes into this; a lot of the choreography is very difficult,” he said. “It’s also an investment — you need to spend money to make money — we have to buy our costumes, we have to pay our gym memberships, tanning memberships, dieting gets really expensive.”

LB_AxlThese are not just go-go boys rocking their hips in jockstaps. The men of La Bare are performing highly-choreographed routines. Some acts even incorporate more elaborate elements, like Axl’s aerial silks.

“It’s definitely something different,” Axl said. “I had to be devoted to spend the time learning it and making sure it was safe.”

But if folks’ assumptions about the work that goes into being a male stripper are off the mark, so are common beliefs about the kind of guys who go into the business. Axl, for example, studied physics, worked as an accountant and is an author.

“Some women come in there and treat you like you’re just a stripper,” Axl said. “The first time girls treated me in a demeaning matter, it surprised me because I’m an actual human being, first of all, and, second of all, I’m actually a decently intelligent human being.”

For the sizable gay audience that came out for Magic Mike, that film didn’t touch on the male visitors to the strip club. At La Bare, men need to be accompanied by a female, sit back at the bar and cannot tip the men directly.

“It’s not that any of the guys are homophobic or anything like that,” Channing said. “We just have a reputation we have to keep as a female fantasy.”

If you do find yourself at La Bare (escorted by a female, of course), Axl shared one small way to curry a dancer’s favor: Don’t fold your bills in half.

“I just have to unfold them,” he said. “It’s such a small thing, and I should just be grateful for the bills, but you get 20 of those and you just need to sit there unfolding them.”


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  1. Funny trivial comment by Axl. I'll unfold them for 20%! :-)

    Posted by: Terry Miller | Jun 30, 2014 12:36:20 PM

  2. Oh please. More effeminate men fetishizing the masculine ideal that they will never be.

    Posted by: Rick | Jun 30, 2014 1:20:13 PM

  3. I'll never be a masculine man, either. All I'll ever be is an anonymous internet troll. Seriously, do you people have *ANY* idea how much my parents hated me?

    Posted by: Rick | Jun 30, 2014 1:25:48 PM

  4. Hey, effeminate or masculine, I want some of that.

    Bro Rick, seriously, do you have *ANY* idea how little we care how much your parents hated you? Check yourself, grow up, and be the best Internet troll the world has ever seen. Be the best that you can be.

    Posted by: BrokebackBob | Jun 30, 2014 1:33:46 PM

  5. They hated YOU so much Kiwi that they never taught you how to do, or seek, an honest days work.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Jun 30, 2014 1:35:49 PM

  6. Not that I would know anything about honesty, love, compassion or decency. But hey you don't need to have credibility when you're just an anonymous internet troll.

    Posted by: uffda | Jun 30, 2014 1:53:47 PM

  7. Gods, I love this site. Be having moar flesh please! :D

    Posted by: WOLF | Jun 30, 2014 2:38:07 PM

  8. “Some women come in there and treat you like you’re just a stripper,” Axl said. “The first time girls treated me in a demeaning matter, it surprised me because I’m an actual human being, first of all, and, second of all, I’m actually a decently intelligent human being.”

    Boo-freaking-Hoo My heart bleeds for you that no one takes you serious while you girate in your G-string and/or nothing. Look at me play the world's smallest violin for you.

    Posted by: Perry | Jun 30, 2014 3:16:46 PM

  9. I guess they must not take it all off in Texas. At places I've been to in Canada, the bills are wrapped around the, uh, rooster. Folded bills would just fall to the floor.

    Posted by: Randy | Jun 30, 2014 5:47:30 PM

  10. Hey KIWI pinhead, you think a signature gives you credibility? Only a life does that. Get one.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Jun 30, 2014 9:07:01 PM

  11. Hi, Mr. Harkinson.........surely as a writer you know the difference between "their" and "there"? Ref: "........but you get 20 of those and you just need to sit their unfolding them.”

    Posted by: Texan78730 | Jul 1, 2014 10:24:53 AM

  12. @Texan78730: Must've been blinded by abs. Thanks for the catch.

    Posted by: Bobby | Jul 1, 2014 10:31:21 AM

  13. Did anyone actually watch Magic Mike? It had less of a plot thread than Showgirls. Like... I don't know how anyone fell in love with it.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Jul 3, 2014 7:35:14 PM

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