Featured Pop Cultcha — 13 September 2011
Are You An Obscenester?

You never know what’s going to pop out of the wonderfully warped mind  of Lenora Claire next, but rest assured it wont be boring. The crimson-haired beauty is definitely leaving her mark on the art and nightlife scenes, curating shows  at Pop tART Gallery such as Austin Young‘s popular “Your Face Here” project (the photo to the left is one of his and the shot on our “About” page is from the exhibit) and co-hosting parties such as the Tuesday boy boy institution, Mr. Black LA. Though she’d been putting together wild Apocolipstick performance art and music shows at local clubs for a few years, it was probably her work with World of Wonder Gallery that remains most unforgettable, particularly “Golden Gals Gone Wild” (featuring sexy rendering of the  bitties from the TV sitcom). We’re excited to have the awesomely creative Ms. Claire as a contributor to LA Slush. Her essays promise a glimpse behind the subversive glitz of not only her eye-popping personna, but LA itself. Enjoy. -LL

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By Lenora Claire

Even though I love Los Angeles and feel very lucky to have been raised here,
 growing up I never really felt like I fit in.  I always felt like a Jem doll 
amongst the Barbies. As an incredibly precocious child everything about me 
developed way too quickly. Skipping a grade didn’t help. By the 6th grade I 
had won numerous essay contests and young writer awards but if you ask anyone 
who knew me then they would all tell you I was known as the girl with the 
giant jugs. Even in elementary school nothing is elementary when your giant
 rack can’t buy clothes off the rack. By the time I was 13 I had accepted that 
my bust was going to be more ample size than sample size. However this being
 the early 90′s I could put on my riot grrrl gear and know everyone was busy 
picking on the chubby kid with the sweaty pits highlighted by his Hypercolor 
shirt and pretty much leave me alone.

Shortly after I discovered cult film, Bettie Page, brooding boys who loved
 Joy Division, and swapped goth makeup tricks with cholas. I made friends with 
all the other weirdos in the valley. Together we would make pilgrimages to
 Hollywood to buy records at Vinyl Fetish and bondage bracelets from Rozz 
Williams from Christian Death at Retail Slut. Never fully appreciating the 
irony that he sold us those items while a wall of his own band shirts were
 on sale directly behind him. I guess that might make me suicidal too. As a 
teenage goth I would do things like buy wedding dresses, dye them black, 
and bury them for six months before wearing them to high school. My
 psychiatrist father would insist it was because I felt the need to
externalize all the chaos that was manifesting internally. I argued that black 
was slimming and that I was being resourceful sharing collars and other 
accessories with the family dog.

As the years passed and stores like Hot Topic came out (full disclosure: I was 
one of their first models. If you search hard enough you can find photos of me
 modeling pleather prom gowns for them) my tastes evolved and I could no longer 
identify with what was now a mass marketed movement.  So in a culture that 
needs to qualify and explain everything, what was I?  Well, like most people 
I’m many things. I’ve been an entertainment journalist and have interviewed 
people I grew up loving such as Elvira, Pee Wee Herman, and Julie Newmar. I
 often joke that having been on Q TV which predated LOGO, giving gay men dating 
advice on Sirius radio, and spending 4 years at Frontiers magazine, that I’m 
the one straight girl that has managed to penetrate queer media. So am I a
 professional fag hag? No, that phrase has never been acceptable.

I’ve curated multiple outrageous art shows that have gotten me national news
 coverage and have appeared on media outlets so huge they don’t even need names– 
they can just go by a few letters such as TMZ, NBC, MTV, to NPR. Can I proudly 
call myself an artist when my biggest show to date brought Bea Arthur’s 
boobies into the headlines or is my art being an instigator and master media 
manipulator? I’ve been in a few ad campaigns, am pretty sure I know how to 
smile with my eyes, and believe it or not, even had my face all giant on a 
billboard in Time Square but I certainly would never call myself a model. I
 recently had a short stint where I was hired to help write and develop TV
 shows. Now all my brain can do is come up with the most obscene ideas possible 
and try to get them seen by as many people as possible. It’s gotten to the
 point where I’m tempted to send a pitch in to A&E which I feel has gone from 
the arts & entertainment network to the abuse & exploitation network. My idea 
for a new show is to take the methed out people from Intervention and send 
them over to clean up the houses on Hoarders. I’m certain the network would 
smell a hit on their hands but before I start writing my Emmy acceptance 
speech, I think I’d like to write my manifesto first. You see in a world
 where those like myself who embraced the counterculture were once
 considered outrageous weirdos, we’ve totally become less strange and less
 outrageous as the internet and reality TV have brought upon massive global 
weirding. I can spend a year of my life trying to make a painting of Bea
 Arthur nude famous (yes, I’ve done this) but that is nowhere as shocking 
as super square secretaries sending each other links to the “2 girls 1 cup” 
video. So with that said I think I’ve found my identity and my calling.

Much like John Waters before me I’d like to inspire a generation of 
deviants, drag queens, art kids, questionable glamour girls, flamboyant boys,
and anyone who every stood in the corner of a school dance and wished they had 
Telekenesis like Carrie to make their own art and better yet, make it for the
 right reasons. Every good movement needs a name. I’ve decided we’ll be called 
Obscenesters. Next week I will share our manifesto.

Claire is producing this weekend’s “Illuminate Parkinsons by Allan Amato” event, which will be hosted by popular comic/graphic novel author Neil Gaiman. See info, here.

Check out Claire’s website for upcoming events and projects.

 

 

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(29) Readers Comments

  1. Lenora, you are The Bees Knees!! Love you girl!

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  7. I can’t help but think that this wedding is one of the greatest things to happen of the decade. Felicitations to the happy newlyweds and any body that doesn’t agree is a stick in the mud.

  8. In light of the 60 Minutes Program I would bet Lance is caught.

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  17. Great Stuff, do you have a twitter account?

    • Please follow! => @L_in_A

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