- Terence Johnson / AwardsCircuit.com
When I got the call letting me know that not only was Stephen Soderbergh not retiring but that he was offering me the role of “Big Dick Richie” in his new movie about male strippers, MAGIC MIKE, I honestly didn’t know what to think. I, like most of the mass general public was full of pre-conceived notions about the profession of male entertainment. Lucky for me, I remembered a conversation I had had with an old friend of mine in which he mumbled something under his breath about having been a male stripper during the 90s at some club with a funny name in Dallas, Texas. At the time, I had no interest in prodding any sort of conversation out of him due to my fear about what I might learn about one of my best friends… I let that one lie. BUT, just a few short years later, here I was with an offer to work with an Oscar winning director and a great cast of guys on a film looking to tackle this mysterious sub-culture. I called my friend and asked if I could take him out to lunch and pick his brain about everything he could remember. The result was two full hours of me laughing as hard as I’ve ever laughed at anything in my life.
The next part of the story you know… MAGIC MIKE became the indie underdog smash of 2012, going on to become not only a financial home run for all involved but a legitimate cultural phenomenon, igniting some very interesting discussions about hot button topics like objectification and post feminist relations between the sexes.
Throughout all of MAGIC MIKE’s success, the one prevailing compliment/complaint I received from just about everyone who saw the film was that they wanted more of the guys. People were unanimously interested in knowing more about our characters, who they were, where they lived, how they grew up, who they dated, etc. So, when my brother and I started our production company 3:59 in the late fall of last year, we decided that as our first order of business, we’d take a small crew to Dallas to see if we could find a story capable of satisfying everyone’s curiosity.
What we found was a goldmine.
Much to my surprise, there were no Victorian era male strippers. The profession owes its birth to the opportunities created by late 70s feminism and LA BARE, DALLAS was one of the first clubs in the world to open its doors. We had unknowingly stumbled onto the “Mt. Ararat” of the entire male entertainment profession and along with it, its “Noah.” Enter Randy “Master Blaster” Ricks, the self professed “205 lbs. of twisted steel and sex appeal.”
He’d been dancing since LA BARE opened its doors in ’78-’79 and was still going strong. Backing up Randy, was a motley crew of characters no screenwriter could have cooked up in their wildest dreams. They were unique, and funny, and likable, and full of wisdom about men and women. They opened their lives to us extrapolating on the perils of navigating their wild lives of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, living as rock stars in a bubble filled to the brim of every temptation a young man could possibly fathom.
An insider’s look at the history, the lives and the culture of the most popular male strip club in the world, La Bare Dallas.