Pictures courtesy of The LaLas. Full gallery below.
The LaLas started humbly when Erin Lamont, a Los Angeles-based choreographer, came up with the “fun idea” of putting on a burlesque show.
After double-majoring in dance and marketing, making a name for herself in LA as a top tier choreographer and creative director, and living the stressful on-the-go lifestyle of a career-driven woman in the city, Lamont found herself at a very important happy hour in Manhattan Beach. Just blocks from her home, she and her husband-to-be were bar hopping and found themselves at a Friday night burlesque show. The lightbulb switched on.
“I can totally do this," Lamont said. "I can get a couple girlfriends, we can get our own little sexy costumes, we can go to Target and buy robes…”
Lamont gathered some friends she’d met while working in the dance industry, threw together a few costumes and went back to the same bar. She introduced herself to the owner, spinning a fib that would guarantee The LaLas their first official show in 2009. They performed in Manhattan Beach until the bar closed and the rest is history-in-the-making: what started as a happy-hour seed has now blossomed into four years of side-splitting, mouth-dropping burlesque success that's seen the LaLas perform at locations varying from The Palms in Las Vegas to more intimate venues—including right here in Long Beach at The Federal Bar.
Lamont still seems a bit baffled about The LaLas’ quickly growing popularity.
“The girls made a little extra money, it was really fun for everyone, but now it’s like ‘Let’s go to South Africa, let’s be on TV,'" Lamont said. "The last two years have completely consumed us.”
Now with two assistants, she makes all the costumes herself and sells them online and to certain retail outlets. In describing burlesque attire, Lamont laughed and spouted, “It’s all about creating interesting things that you can take off in different ways.”
The comedic element of every LaLa performance is Lamont’s way of empowering the dancers and entertaining every kind of audience. She describes burlesque as an art form that can be interpreted and created in a million different ways by a million different people, but her main goal is to “tease the audience and have them on the edge of their seats just to see a girl take her glove off.” It’s entertaining, intelligent, hilarious, and sexy all at the same time.
As far as growing as a company, Lamont is adamant about protecting the integrity of her passion-project turned full-time-gig.
“Our goal is not to be in this huge 2000 sq. ft. theater, making music videos, and triple touring. I know that one of the reasons we have been so successful is because of the girls we have now and I want to keep it that way.”
Directing The LaLas full time is Lamont’s dream job, a sought-after union of her best work and her truest passions. This is what makes her happy and the girls happy at the end of the day.
“There’s nothing sexier than a sense of humor—and that Blue Steel look is not going to work, it’s going to be boring," Lamont said.
Listening to her describe The Federal Bar and Pine Street's general atmosphere, one can vividly imagine why Long Beach is one of The LaLas’ favorite places to perform.
“Downtown and Pine are amazing," Lamont said. "And then you have a bank as this really sexy venue: when you walk in you turn a corner and you walk down these stairs and you’re surrounded by these red velvet curtains. Every time you go there you constantly get new people, people that don’t know what to expect.”
The LaLas know exactly what they're doing when it comes to bringing people back. Every show has different numbers and different dancers playing different parts. It’s never the same show twice.
Fundamentally, however, Lamont knows she and the girls have “done everything right when both the men and the women are cracking up equally and everyone leaves loving it.”
The LaLas will be performing at The Federal Bar on June 27 at 8PM; doors open at 7PM. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.thelalas.com.