Manganiello brothers' 'La Bare' exposes male strippers

| Thursday, June 26, 2014, 8:55 p.m.

A pair of Pittsburgh natives is giving audiences a peak into the flashy world of male entertainment.

This weekend, Joe Manganiello, a Carnegie Mellon University graduate turned Hollywood star, and his brother Nick will screen their documentary “La Bare,” an insider's look at the history, lives and culture of the most popular male strip club in the world, La Bare Dallas. The film is a project of the pair's production company 3:59 Inc.

A “La Bare” party will be held at Ivy Pittsburgh on June 27 to kick off the weekend. Proceeds from the party, which is open to the public, will serve as a fundraiser for the Hollywood Theater and Denis Theatre. Additional screenings will be held at the Hollywood Theater.

The Manganiello men wisecrack that their Western Pennsylvania upbringing piqued their interest in the male entertainment biz.

“Western Pennsylvania is a real hotbed for male strippers,” Joe Manganiello jokes. “It's something we got into when we were young.”

In reality, it was the success of the 2012 movie “Magic Mike,” starring Manganiello alongside Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey, that inspired the pair to dig a little deeper into the lives of the men who live the reality.

“ ‘Magic Mike' scratched the surface. It needed to serve as a love story. Our documentary, as is the case with every great documentary ever seen, came down to a lot of luck. We wound up catching once-in-a-lifetime moments,” says Manganiello, who will reprise his role for 2015's “Magic Mike XXL.”

Upon further research, the brothers were surprised no one had pursued a similar project, Nick Manganiello says. Any concerns about whether or not the men would be open to sharing their stories were immediately dispelled when the guys went to La Bare and saw a giant “Magic Mike” poster hanging on the wall. That served as an instant connection and helped them build trust with the dancers.

The men even opened up to the brothers about Ruben “Angelo” Riguero, a popular La Bare performer who was shot and killed in 2012, according to news reports.

“They did realize we were there to tell to their story in a respectful way. We weren't there to make them look stupid,” Joe Manganiello says. “I have all the respect and love in the world for them.”

The men are excited to bring their project home to Pittsburgh, a town they love to spotlight whenever possible.

“We love Pittsburgh,” Nick Manganiello says. “It was an amazing place to grow up. It was a privilege to grow up there.”

“We want people to know we're from Pittsburgh and to know they can achieve their dreams,” Joe adds. “Whatever success we've found, we want to bring it back home and do some good in the community.”

Joe Manganiello, who can currently be seen as HBO's hottest werewolf Alcide in the last season of “True Blood,” says he's forever grateful to the show that gained him most of his fans.

“I wouldn't have a production company. I wouldn't be a published author. I wouldn't have done ‘Magic Mike,'” says Manganiello, who released the fitness book “Evolution” last year. “I've been acting for 21 years, but people only really started paying attention since ‘True Blood.' ”

Rachel Weaver is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7948 or

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