Top 20 Jews In The Arts - Lenora Claire
Art curator, journalist, web series host and glamour girl Lenora Claire sits down with Shalom Life on Day 13 of our special feature.
Over the next 20 days, Shalom Life will be presenting the Top 20 Jews In The Arts. One artist will be featured a day from various disciplines including visual arts, acting, writing, comedy, and music.
We sent the participating artists the same 30 questions with instructions to answer all, or just a few. Have fun learning about these fascinating individuals, and please check back daily to compare their answers. Enjoy!
Described by the LA Weekly as a “real life Jessica Rabbit,” Lenora Claire is a Los Angeles-based multiple career-juggling glamour gal who takes all of her absurd projects very seriously.
After appearing on TMZ, NPR, LA Times, National Enquirer, LA Bizarro and various other media, Lenora is perhaps best known as a national news-making curator following the success of her Golden Gals Gone Wild art show, featuring erotic depictions of the Golden Girls. The show first debuted at the World of Wonder gallery in Los Angeles in 2007 and has since appeared at the World Erotic Art Museum in Miami. Lenora followed with several headline-grabbing shows including "Bettie Page: Heaven Bound" featuring the art of legendary pin-up artist Olivia whom Lenora has also had the honour of modeling for. Lenora's celebrated shows (that have an almost Barnumesque quality) have been attended by everyone from Elvira, Perez Hilton, Dita, Mamie Van Doren, Julie Newmar, Mark Ryden and Andy Warhol legend Joe Dallesandro.
As a model, Lenora has appeared in multiple magazines and books, but her biggest accomplishment to date was being featured in the USA Network/Vanity Fair Character Project ad campaign which landed Lenora’s humble visage on billboards in Times Square, an aggressive ad campaign on the streets of NYC and the subway, commercials on CNN, USA and NBC, as well as a poster which appeared in Vanity Fair. Lenora has also appeared in over 30 music videos for such artists as Marilyn Manson and George Michael.
Lenora is also an accomplished entertainment journalist with hundreds of published articles to her credit. While on-staff at Frontiers Magazine for nearly four years, Lenora wrote four bi-weekly columns and interviewed such cult icons as Pee Wee Herman, John Waters, Elvira, Lynda Carter, Julie Newmar and Bob Mackie. Lenora is also a host of a popular webseries called doNUTS where she interviews the colourful late-night weirdos that frequent 24-hour donut shops.
Lenora is currently working as head curator at the newly opened Pop tART Gallery. Lenora is also collaborating on a TV project called Manthropology with Peter Stuart director of the number one late-night cult show in the UK Eurotrash hosted by Jean-Paul Gaultier and Adam Small and Fax Bahr producers of Mad TV and In Living Color. Lenora is also excited to work with Jer Ber Jones on an upcoming musical project.
Where do you go when your lacking inspiration?
I gather all of my inspiration from the people around me as nothing is more weird and wonderful. I'm also hugely inspired by extremes. Anything that pushes boundaries and leaves you scratching your head is likely to materialize into a project for me.
Where's your favourite place to travel to?
I had a really incredible time in London but I'm the kind of person who is capable of having a good time anywhere. I'd love the opportunity to visit/work in Tokyo and I'm pretty excited to be returning to Paris later this year.
Do you have any pets? Tell us about them.
I have a ridiculous min pin named Ellie.
What's your favourite dish? Where do you normally get it?
Astronaut ice cream. It's like eating the future.
Who, in your opinion, is the most beautiful person on earth?
Are we talking physical beauty or personality?
What's your biggest pet peeve?
Are you religious? Spiritual? Nothing at all?
I identify as a non-practicing Jew but I very much identify as a Jew culturally. Dad is a Jewish doctor from Bensonhurst. My uncle was an executive VP at Manischewitz and my mom is skilled at making matzo ball soup and dispensing guilt. So ya, culturally that makes me pretty Jewish.
What's your favourite movie?
A tie between Sunset Blvd, Danger Diabolik, Forbidden one and Showgirls.
I really enjoy It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, So Graham Norton, Night Flight and Eurotrash. I also love all the Showtime shows.
Coil, Marc and the Mambas, The Birthday Part, and just about everything Nick Cave has ever done.
If you weren't working in the arts, what would you be doing?
I would probably be incredibly frustrated without a full-time outlet to create but I think I could amuse myself as an obnoxious fortune-cookie writer.
Can you offer a piece of advice to aspiring artists?
Take whatever inspires you and push it as far as you can. Don't listen to anyone else’s advice and carve your own path. Always make sure your projects come from a genuine place as people respond to passion and authenticity.
Who's your best friend?
I treasure my friendship with photographer Austin Young. I have a deep respect for him as both friend and artist.
What's your biggest regret?
Letting my mother sell off my Apple stock in the mid 90s. Other than that I embrace my mistakes and have learned from them.
Do you play any sports?
I’m an incredible thumb-wrestler.
What are you better at than most other people you know?
Taking chances. Being fearless. Public speaking. Stupid human tricks.
What is your biggest weakness?
Do you have any vices?
Is there a quote or motto that you live by?
I really appreciate the wisdom of PT Barnum and Jayne Mansfield so a variety of thoughts they expressed work for me.
If you could work with a specific person, who would it be?
I'd love to work with Thierry Mugler, Pierre et Gilles, Alejandro Jodorowsky, David Lynch or Robert Evans.
Tell us something about yourself we might be surprised to hear.
Depending on how much you've Googled me people seem surprised to learn I was an associate editor for a magazine and have over 1,000 published articles, that I can eat glass, or that I've appeared on billboards in Times Square. Other people especially in Los Angles are shocked when they hear I've never driven in my life.
How would you describe your personal style?
My friend James St. James once remarked that I always look like I'm on the way to a clown funeral which I think sounds marvelous and Felliniesque. I sort of feel like a punk rock Jayne Mansfield but that could change any day.
What is your favorite song to sing?
Probably something by George Michael.
Where is your primary residence? Do you consider this place "home"?
My pink apartment in Los Angeles.
Who's your favourite author?
I really like Tony O'Neill, James Ellroy, Bret Easton Ellis and John Waters.
Do you watch reality TV?
Absolutely! I think it's a mirror that reflects our society pretty accurately. I'm constantly shocked and on occasion amused.
Do you prefer road trips or flying?
I enjoy both equally.
What one word would you use to describe yourself?
What item do you never leave your house without?
Tea or coffee? From where?
Tea served by someone with a funny accent.