January 14 2015

5 Strip Clubs in 5 Hours: One Night in LA with Lisa Solberg

Los Angeles-One Night Standard

This fall, the LA-based contemporary artist Lisa Solberg took over the 6th Street mural at The Standard, Downtown LA with her large format COCO BUNNIES. When we suggested a profile of her work for Standard Culture, she made a counter offer we simply couldn’t refuse: a one night fact-finding mission to some of LA’s notorious strip clubs ...for research purposes, of course. Cash in hand, Polaroid camera in tote, Solberg reports.

Coco Bunny Fantastica

Step aside, Make-A-Wish foundation. The Standard recently paid me, Lisa Solberg, real U.S. money to spend one night partying in East LA’s finest strip clubs. Visiting five strips clubs in one night is ambitious even for this maniac, so I enlisted the help of Downtown-Don, Chris Nelson.

Chris arrived an hour late [What kind of person is late to a paid strip club tour?!], but he got straight to work, buying us shots of tequila and having me forge a fake permission slip from The Standard. I tried explaining to Chris that the night’s activities were to serve as research for my upcoming pop-up exotic dance club and installation, Mister Lee’s, as well as a complement to my recently installed COCO BUNNY mural (not some one-way ticket to titty town), but I’m pretty sure he wasn’t listening.

Rest assured, this wasn’t some blind effort — we deployed my proprietary COCO-Matic™ Rating System, which uses five key categories to assess each club’s merits:

Vibe
Quality of Dancers
First Date Appropriateness
Bang for your Buck
Fantasy Factor
Special Category: Unicorn Sighting#

#Unicorn – (n.) a mythic girl possessing spellbinding qualities against which both men and women are powerless.

First Stop: Jumbo’s Clown Room

Jumbo’s is notorious around LA for its rigorous auditions and selection of only the most talented dancers. The club is a shrine to Flashdance with each dancer choreographing her own performance. We loved Jumbo’s for many reasons, but mainly because the atmosphere is spot on—intimate and titillating. Fantasy rules here. Like any good strip club worth its pasties, the dances are sexually-driven, but mixed with a fierce athletic energy. And these girls are the best: there were Fiona’s handstands, Reagan’s burlesque. Meanwhile, Jumbo’s unicorn, Zeldah (pictured below), owned the stage.


Vibe – 4.5
Quality of Dancers - 4.5
First Date Appropriateness - 5
Bang for your Buck - 4.5
Fantasy Factor - 5
Unicorn Sighting - Zeldah +1
OVERALL: 4.8

Next stop: Cheetahs

Cheetahs has a great atmosphere, no cover, and it’s pretty inviting. The layout is well done with a long catwalk in the middle of a velvet-clad room. We got to sit and chat with Cheetahs unicorn, Malice, who has a perfect tattoo-covered body, an insane black Mohawk, and a sort of “phantom-sorceress-from-another-universe” vibe. People go to Cheetahs exclusively to see Malice, so get with the program and go see what the fuss is about.


Vibe - 3.5
Quality of Dancers - 3.5
First Date Appropriateness - 3
Bang for your Buck - 3
Fantasy Factor - Overall creativity 4
Unicorn Sighting - Malice +1
OVERALL: 4.4

Stop #3: Dames & Games

While the management was impressed enough with our permission letter to allow us in for free, there’s not much positive to be said about Dames & Games. The smell is horrendous. We waited at the bar amidst a mini bartender-girl-on-server-girl fight for probably 20 minutes before getting served…but hey, at least the girls are topless! No unicorn sightings here, sadly. The smoke machine theatrics are pretty much all that saved Dames & Games from a zero bunny score.


Vibe - 2
Quality of Dancers - 2
First Date Appropriateness - 1
Bang for your Buck - 3
Fantasy Factor - 3
OVERALL: - 2.2

Stop #4: Sam’s Hofbrau

Walking into Sam’s is like stepping into a rap video. Yes, there’s a $10 cover, (subject to change), but it’s worth every penny. This is a full on free-for-all with girls packed on stage like sardines, shaking it as hard as they can, for as long as they can. Sure, there are some girls on poles spinning themselves around a bit, but that’s mostly to give their buns a little break. This was hands-down one of the most entertaining and enjoyable experiences I’ve ever had. The atmosphere is impossible to replicate. Plus, the drinks are cheap, and a little liquid courage goes a long way towards navigating the place, which is filled with all sorts of characters. Much respect, Sam, you received 4.6 joyous COCO BUNNIES! I can’t wait to go back on a Monday (supposedly the best night).


Vibe - 5
Quality of Dancers - 3.5
First Date Appropriateness - 5
Bang for your Buck - 4.5
Fantasy Factor - 5
OVERALL: 4.6


Last stop: Déjà Vu

Finally, we arrived at Déjà Vu. At this point, I think it was about 4am. Not only is there a $20 cover, a $10 ATM fee, and $5 bottles of water, but there was NO BOOZE. I repeat, NO BOOZE. The only bonus here is that they stay open until 6am. Did I mention it’s fully nude? The only subject worth talking about is Déjà Vu’s unicorn, Vanessa, who notified us that we had visited on the wrong night. She’s a true natural beauty with a cool disposition, not to mention the badass snake tattoo gracing her right upper thigh. Déjà Vu does offer those cheap peppermint candies, which almost got them one bunny, but most of the clubs had those.


Vibe - 0
Quality of Dancers - 0
First Date Appropriateness - 0
Bang for your Buck - 1
Fantasy Factor - 0
Unicorn Sighting - Vanessa +1
OVERALL: 2
 

FINAL OVERALL STANDINGS:
1. Jumbos Clown Room
2. Sam’s Hofbrau
3. Cheetahs
4. Dames & Games
5. Déjà Vu

We hope you enjoyed the Tour de COCO BUNNY FANTASTICA!

*If you would like further information about private lap dances, contact Chris here.

**If you would like to tryout for Solberg’s upcoming performance-based installation, Mister Lee’s, please send your photo and work experience to studio@lisasolberg.com.

-Lisa Solberg