Interview: L.K. Thayer, foto fetishist and much more

By Mark McNease

In the late 1980s I had the pleasure of meeting Lisa Thayer (L.K.) when we were both with a theater there. I thought she was fascinating and engaging the first time I met her. She’s done many things in her life, and now curates (that seems like the appropriate word) The Juice Bar, a poetry and photography website.

Staying in touch with people is one of the joys in life, and I was delighted she agreed to the following interview. Be sure to check out The Juice Bar, and a YouTube clip of L.K. Thayer reading her poetry at the Stella Adler Theatre. Fabulous.

MM: I pegged you as a renaissance woman the first time I met you, late 1980s at Friends and Artists Theatre Ensemble in L.A. I was right – unless you don’t like being called a renaissance woman! What all are you doing now (Juice Bar, Foto Fetish, jewelry)?

LK: I love being called a Renaissance Woman! Thank you, a compliment! My main passion is photography right now, mostly self nudes. Shooting nudes at 53, unheard of! Still of course lots of poetry and reading at various events all over LA. Including Stella Adler Theatre, Beyond Baroque, bookstores and cafes etc…it’s my theatre these days.

MM: Last time I saw you, you were in New York doing a play and there seemed to be some flirtation with moving here. You stayed in Los Angeles. What are the main attractions for you there?

L.K.: It seems LA embraced me more & NYC’s arms were not around me, it was so much more a fight to exist there and LA seemed more receptive to my nature and more open to my self expression. I love NY but felt very insignificant there. Also LA gives you more quality of life & space for a lot less money, it’s a bit less jarring and more peaceful.

MM: You started a poetry website called The Juice Bar. How long has it been going now, and how did it come into being?

L.K.: I wanted a poetry site of my own with just my work. The Juice Bar is the first name that came to me, as in ‘creative juices flowing’, then I just opened it up to everyone & it felt right to share it, about 3 years now I think, over 200,000 hits. I’ve ‘guest squeezed’ a lot of poets, including your brilliant work Mark!

MM: Thanks, I’m blushing. I had the pleasure of having several poems there. It actually got me to write poetry for the first time in 25 years. Are most of the people you publish poets you know, and if so how do you know them?

L. K.: I know a lot of them from Jack Grapes (yes that’s his real name!) Method Writing class, classmates and then lots of writers I’ve never met, it’s quite international! Also lots of incredible photography, including my own is there.

MM: You also have L.K. Thayer’s Foto Fetish. Are these photographs you take yourself? Can you speak a little about that side of the Juice Bar?

L. K.: Again, it started out my own fotos then I opened it up having ‘guest fotographer’s’ work. I’m a complete junkie now with photography, it’s given me new passion in life for sure!

MM: As I recall your job was eliminated after a long time (you started there when I was still in L.A.) Was it expected, and how has that change shaped the life you’re living now?

L. K.: Yes, I was a stylist at the E! Chanel for 15 years. But if I didn’t get laid off I never would have taken advantage of my health benefits and found out I had Colon cancer at 46, no symptoms! So actually being laid off saved my life… It was just divine intervention that I decided to have a colonoscopy…my Grandmother had it too, she survived, luckily I’m cancer free, but they took 8 inches out of my colon, now I’m a ‘semi-colon’…lol, sorry, ha!

MM: What’s your favorite piece of jewelry you’ve made, and did you keep it?

L. K: I can’t believe how much jewelry I made! Now I save my eyes for shooting photos, but one of my fave pieces is an amber bracelet with a big Amber drop dangling from it.

MM: Is love a dog from Hell?

L.K: Wow, and you better have rabies shots cause it can hurt like hell!

(That last question refers to a collection of Charles Bukowski poems.)