When you're in the mood to be teased, but you want something a bit more theatrical than you'll find at the local strip club, there's only one solution: a burlesque show.
LA's home to many talented performers, some of whom twirl from the ceiling on hoops, while others gyrate around the room dressed like Donald Trump. Whatever your fancy -- be it a smoldering striptease or a raucous vaudeville act -- LA's got a burlesque show for you. Here are 11 of our favorites.
The LaLas are seven women who put on a 75-minute show of tight choreography and eye-popping moves. They’re based in LA, so assuming they aren't on tour, you stand a good chance of catching them at one of their many shows -- they frequent Federal Bar, both in Long Beach and NoHo. These talented dancers are all pros, with a list of film and TV credits under their garters that include Beyoncé's "Who Run The World?" video, X Factor UK, and America's Got Talent.
This unconventional show features songs with themes drawing from horror, '90s nostalgia, and things you might not normally associate with a burlesque act. Jessica Rabbit? Sure, makes sense. Chucky the killer doll, and Capt. Jack Sparrow (complete with glued-on facial hair) popping out of a treasure chest? Not so much, but WTF-lesque makes it work, marrying sexy sashaying with a keen sense of pop culture-infused humor. It's one of the only places where you'll see someone do a striptease to Rebecca Black's "Friday," as they slowly transform from a pop singer into a certain hockey-mask-wearing serial killer who also loves Fridays.
This weekly show bills itself as LA's longest-running burlesque, going strong for over a decade at Hollywood’s Three Clubs. A rotating cast of sexy dancers undress to myriad themes, from classic burlesque to more... contemporary choices (someone once did a Pennywise the Clown routine). The atmosphere is festive and fun, so expect a vaudeville vibe with lots of innuendo from busty host Lili VonSchtupp -- and if you go on your birthday, expect a spanking.
Every week, Harvelle's in Long Beach hosts Underground Comedy & Burlesque with the The Dirty Little Secrets Burlesque. However, it's not uncommon for there to be more burlesque on other nights of the week if you check the bar's events calendar. The Dirty Little Secrets call themselves the "Chinatown of burlesque," in that there’s a little something for everyone (including classic burlesque, ballet, and belly dancing) among over 20 performers. If you can't make it to Harvelle's on a Tuesday, the troupe performs regularly around Orange and LA counties, and hosts the occasional class or workshop for the burlesque curious.
Performing frequently around Los Angeles, this troupe (led by Penny Starr, Jr.) can get pretty wild and risqué, and is specifically known for pushing the envelope with subversive routines. There's even an act titled “The Wrong Show,” which consists of the most politically incorrect acts you can imagine -- working titles for skits include “FoXXX News,” “Interracial Freaky Friday,” and “The Care and Feeding of Your Vagina.”
For magic, burlesque, and even boylesque, check out the Hollywood Jane Revue. Created by Blanche Bourgeois, this group’s been twirling tassels at Rockwell Table & Stage in Los Feliz for the past three years, with fun, nerdy themes like I Spy and Fantasy Adventure. They've even done a Bob's Burgers group tease, which is either way sexier than you’d think or exactly as sexy, depending on your sensibilities.
Found by Rita D'Albert and Liz Fairbairn in 2012, this fantastic show combines striptease with Luchadores -- authentic masked Mexican wrestlers -- and comedy (of course). In classic lucha libre fashion, you will watch dramatic tales of good and evil unfold in the ring through thrilling stunts, interspersed with scintillating performances by aerialists, hula hoopers, pole pros and sensuous shakers. Plus, you'll get a good laugh from hosts Tom Kenny, Dana Gould and Blaine Capatch, as well as the occasional guest comic: Jack Black, Drew Carey and Chris Hardwick have stopped by in the past.
Devil's Playground, produced by burlesque performer Courtney Cruz, is best known for its Star Wars-themed shows, during which you can watch Storm Troopers, Kylo Ren, Luke Skywalker and even Wookies and droids strip down. Of course, there’s more than just “Star Girls,” as it's called: there’s also a trippy Wicked Oz show, because who hasn’t wondered what’s underneath that Tin man costume?
Each month, Peepshow Menagerie puts on a provocative homage to a different theme. Some are more modern, like the upcoming “Sintendo” show, while others draw from retro motifs like pulp detective novels and sci-fi flicks from the '50s and '60s -- and it gets even nerdier still, with themes like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. The monthly shows go down at Fais Do-Do on West Adams, though you can sometimes catch them at alternative venues.
Formed in 2012, Sultry Sweet combines burlesque, contortion, aerialists, comedy, magic, and vaudeville with a live, 8-piece band. The show’s found a perfect venue in El Cid, Silver Lake's gorgeous Spanish flamenco bar, occasionally dabbling in fetish-y, BDSM-inspired, or horror-themed shows, like the Drop Dead Gorgeous show -- and really, why not do a Linda Blair act if you’ve got a contortionist on hand?
The Dollface Dames take the stage for TRiPtease Burlesque on the first Wednesday of every month, which sees them work their magic accompanied by live music (courtesy of Lounge-O-Rama). On the off-chance you’re not able to make that show, have no fear: the remaining Wednesdays offer a rotating cast of LA's finest vixens and variety acts, all hosted by the original Dame herself, Lola Boutée.
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1. Three Clubs1123 Vine St, Los Angeles
2. Harvelle's Blues Club1432 4th St, Santa Monica
3. Rockwell Table and Stage1714 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles
4. Mayan Theater1038 S Hill St, Los Angeles
5. Dragonfly Bar6510 Santa Monica Blvd, Hollywood
6. Cafe-Club Fais Do-Do5257 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles
7. El Cid4212 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles
8. Trip2101 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica
Though you may remember it as the bar they go to in that movie where Vince Vaughn is skinny and cheats at NHL 94, Three Clubs also boasts a smoking patio w/ iron-embellished railings, and a bar stocked with only "unique" label booze, from which mixologist Joel Black has created a new menu featuring drinks like The Spicy One with basil, lime, jalapeno, agave & whiskey; and the Pepper Smash with whiskey, lemon, honey, basil, and bell pepper.
The oldest live music venue on the Westside, Harvelle’s still plays host to nightly shows of blues, jazz, and burlesque because, let’s face it, acrobatic lingerie-clad dancers never go out of style.
This indoor supper club-cum-bi-level open-air patio restaurant's totally upped the ante on menus with unique spins on classic eats like carrot cake french toast, brown sugar-marinaded prime rib of pork, and spicy tuna tacos, plus Norman-approved tipples including Ben's "Bobby Burns" Belles (sweet vermouth, Scotch, Benedictine, lemon twist), and Percevel's Pistachio Sour, a Grey Goose-er w/ an egg and pistaches, or what Kevin Costner regularly got on the set of Waterworld.
This landmark movie palace-turned-nightclub is known for its regular concerts and frequent hosting of Lucha Va Voom, a boisterous event that includes Mexican wrestling, a drag queen strip tease, comedy, and audience participation.
This Hollywood club is for more than just boozing and dancing: come here for quirky shows like Point Break Live! and wild Bingo nights.
Cafe Club Fais Do-Do on West Adams featuring a great lineup of monthly burlesque shows and live music. This happening hot spot showcases some of the best of Los Angeles' blues, jazz, world, comedy, funk, soul, rock, Brazilian salsa, and retro scenes. There are also drinks available to enjoy during the acts.
In the 1925, El Cid's predecessor, Jail Cafe -- picture a speakeasy that looks a hell of a lot like Elvis' 'Jailhouse Rock' (it was ahead of its time) -- was born. It then operated as a theater for a couple decades until it finally became LA's beloved El Cid in '63, and it's been serving up Latin fare and live entertainment acts ever since. Venezuelan Chef Juvenal Rodriguez uses local ingredients to create small-portion dishes with big flavor like ceviche, Spanish meatballs, and chicken empanadas. Stand up comedy, indie bands, and the occasional film keep this Silver Lake spot busy, so early birds catch the worms (well, tables) here.
TRiP Santa Monica is known for the TRiPTease Burlesque shows every Wednesday night -- but on the first Wednesday of every month, you'll catch show-stopping The Dollface Dames take the stage and work their magic accompanied by live music (courtesy of Lounge-O-Rama). This venue also offers live jazz shows, stand-up comedy, dancing, food, and over 60 selections of beer to choose from.