SXSW brings us all sorts of interesting documentaries from just about every subject you can imagine. This One's For The Ladies is no different. This film explores the world of African American male and female strippers and the crowds that love them. Directed by Gene Graham we get an interesting look at these pop-up entertainment operations. The film explores the lives of several of the women who attend these shows and what they love about them. The small shows which are often held in banquet halls and put on by local communities have become big business for this industry with dance groups popping up all over for their share of the pie. Especially when the ladies start filling up the seats.
These ladies come from all backgrounds and have no problem laying out what and why they like these shows. One woman discusses how the black entertainers are far more hands-on than their white counterparts and that is one of the things she loves about these shows and what sets them apart from what you may have seen in films like Magic Mike. I am not gonna lie it can be an eye-opening experience if you are not ready for it. These guys don't know the definitely of personal space when they do these shows and the ladies love it. Simulated sex on the dance floor? Fine for them. Having a guy with his junk on your face? Totally okay. Definitely not the show you would get from places like La Bare. These women talk about how it is freeing and empowering to attend these shows. It makes just about any woman in the crowd feel sexy and wanted as these performers each give very personalized attention to their clients. These shows are meant for everyone no matter what you look like or the color of your skin. It is all about acceptance and having a good time.
Many of these shows are put on regularly by a variety of performing groups. if you think of acting troupes you would think of Broadway and improv...well this is sort of the same but a lot more naked?These guys put just the same amount of effort into putting on these events, from making elaborate flyers, to finding quality performers, and spending tons of time making costumes and practicing their moves. it is easy to overlook the amount of work that goes into something like this until you get a chance to peek behind the curtain and that is what this film does. It pulls it all the way back for us to see.
The performers themselves are an interesting bunch with most of them living almost like a celebrity in the circles they run in depending on the ladies that are clamoring for them. This documentary is interesting because we not only see a handful of male performers but also one female performer who comes to these shows with the rest of the guys. She performs right with them and manages to get these ladies out of their seats and on to the dance floor with their cash. It was really wild to watch. The thing I liked about this documentary was that is brought humanity to these performers. it is easy to forget that despite the show they are putting on it front of you these are real people with real families and hopes and dreams and for some of these performers this career is what stands between them and a much harder life on the streets. People often joke about stripping being easy money, and while at first glance it may not seem like a lot of work, this documentary easily proves otherwise, Your average couch critic cannot get out there and do what these people do.
Overall, I gave this film a B. It was interesting to see behind the curtian into this lie. A lotof this film felt like an HBO documentary. There were parts though where it felt scattered and needed some tweeks to better organize the content and help improve the flow of the film. It was trying to tell too many stories at once and had a few instances where it got lost in itself. This doesn'y mean you shouldn't check this one out because I think everyone should be open to learning about all sorts of things and an honest documentary is a good place to start. Just remember that this film is loaded with secual content and may not be for everyone. If you aren't easily offened then strap in for one hell of a ride with the cast of This One's For The Ladies.
This One's For The Ladies