“All Male, All Nude”
A Documentary About a Naked Gay Strip Club
Filmmaker Gerald McCullough takes us into the lives of men who work at America’s only all nude, all male, gay strip club that happens to be located in the heart of The Bible Belt. His documentary, “All Male, All Nude” is a look at the world of male stripping. The men that do this kind of work cannot be categorized just as those who pay to watch them take their clothes off cannot be classified either. They are straight men, gay men, bi-sexual men and those who are gay when the money is right. The entertainers support themselves and their families if they have them, by dancing nude for a diverse clientele of men, women, and business men in town for work, married couples and everyone in between, gay men and gay women. They are in the 20-40 age range and use weight rooms and locker rooms as their home base for the evening while they connect with customers and make a few bucks. They each feel differently about their naked and they know what led them to do dance naked..
We go on an uncensored journey behind the scenes and met the men behind the strippers and the unique family they have formed. This is not a film for everyone because of the explicit and full frontal nudity throughout.
We enter the VIP room, see the nude table dances as well as the main stage and what goes on backstage. I understand that Gerald McCullough has been working on this project for four years and now the wait is over. Set in Atlanta, Georgia, a city known for its mega churches and religious populace, there are surprises to be seen and heard here. What many do not know is that Atlanta has one of the densest populations of strip bars in America. However, only one of these, Swinging Richards, is an all male, all nude staff and is geared towards a gay clientele. We enter this arousing environment and see that the dancers have created an original family unit.
Lately there has been a lot of interest in male strippers so this movie comes just as the right time. About half of the footage in the documentary is from inside the club as men dance on stage in and out of their underwear, with the other half consisting of interviews with a few of the more than 60 guys who take off their clothes at Swinging Richards.
The dancing that we see isn’t of the highly choreographed Magic Mike/Chippendales variety, it consists of gyrating on a stage (or maybe around a pole) wring few if any clothes. In chatting with the guys we get a cross-section of ideas about the plus and the minus sides of stripping. One of the dancer is using his performances to help pay his way through college and hopefully medical school. Another guy who is really enthusiastic about stripping he enjoys the job itself, as well as the freedom it gives him to explore music, another other passion of his.
Then there is Pearce, who at 26 is having a bit of a mid stripper-life crisis. He’s straight, has a five-year-old son, and has a rather conflicted relationship with his job. He likes the money but feels that his job is degrading. His son is now at an age where he’s having to actively lie to him about what he does, making him think about whether it’s time to give up the stripping game. Of course there are other negatives—unpleasant clients/patrons, drugs and the death of one of the strippers. However, the film shows that there are plenty of good things too, including a sense of fun and camaraderie, a job that many of the guys enjoy, and of course the fact that they can make a lot of money doing it.
There are also interviews with those who work in other parts of the club and these are interesting for showing how despite what’s happening on the floor, this is still a very strictly run business. There is the need to keep control of dozens of competitive young men and there are rules that the authorities lay down to allow fully nude stripping to happen. These include everything from the fact the performers can only take tips via garters on their arms (and only their arms) to every dancer needing an adult entertainers’ license. It will probably surprise many that the dancers have to pay the club to be allowed to take their clothes off on the Swinging Richards stage. Many pay the club for being able to be naked there. Of course, they make that money back (and plenty more) in tips from the patrons, and if they get a private dance they can earn around $100 for just 15 minutes. We also see that there are rivalries among the dancers with some who don’t want to be on stage at the same time as certain other performers, either because the other person is more popular/a better hustler or because their penis is bigger (and for some people the latter will cause the former).
The preparation for going on stage includes the ‘pumping up’ so that can be as big as possible while on stage (it is illegal to dance naked with an erection). There are, of course, worries about penis size since this is not a job for shy boys. We learn that the job interview y starts with applicants dropping their pants and getting measured.
It is fascinating to see the male stripping world from the outside in and learning that male strippers are not just sexual objects with no brains and no morals; gone are the assumptions that every stripper is a “junkie prostitute living a life of desperation and degradation”. “All Male All Nude” is a fun movie to watch and yes, there is something to be learned here. It is a sexy and sometimes strange documentary but it is interesting and I totally recommend it (and not just because of the nudity).