This Lake Worth woman is one of Playboy magazine’s first centerfolds

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She’s been a catalog model, cigarette girl, Vegas cocktail waitress, New York theater actress and bit part player in an Oscar-winning movie.

But it was one photo session in the early 1950s that sealed Neva Gilbert’s claim to pop culture fame. The Lake Worth resident was one of Playboy magazine’s earliest centerfolds, Miss July 1954, a beautiful, long-legged blonde posed alluringly across a tiger skin rug.

“I’m the oldest living Playboy Playmate,” she proudly tells people.

But is she?

Find out, and see more photos of Gilbert then and now, in our story:

THE CENTERFOLD NEXT DOOR

 

Photos: Who was the Witch of Wellington? The answer with amazing photos

Suzan Strauss was known as the Lava Lady in Los Angeles in the 1990's, where she let photographer Osker Jimenez capture her in her DIY couture. (Osker Jimenez Exposure House)
Suzan Strauss on a street near her Los Angeles home in the 1990’s. (Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)
In Wellington, Strauss was a regular at local thrift stores. (Lourdes Cabrera)
In Wellington, Strauss was a regular at Wellington thrift stores. (Lourdes Cabrera)

In Florida’s suffocating heat, she wore head-to-toe black, as if in mourning a loss.

Consequently, locals dubbed her the Witch of Wellington.

Read the full story about this eccentric Wellington and Los Angeles icon

But in Los Angeles in the 1980’s and ’90’s, Suzan Strauss was a street style star for the colorful outfits she designed, always worn with platform boots as high as horses’ hooves and a towering hat covering her hair.

The effect, said photographer Osker Jimenez, was to make her look seven feet tall as she glided slowly along Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood, among the era’s pierced punks, dark goths and glam rock kids.

Fascinated with this self-assured, eccentrically-dressed woman, Jimenez photographed her for a decade, eventually publishing two books and staging a photo exhibition of his Strauss photos.

Photographer Osker Jimenez had an art gallery show of his photos of Strauss superimposed against stark landscapers. (Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)
Photographer Osker Jimenez had an art gallery show of his photos of Strauss superimposed against stark landscapes. (Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)

 

The Lava Lady waters her garden from the lava rock wall surrounding her Los Angeles home. (Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)
The Lava Lady waters her garden from the lava rock wall surrounding her Los Angeles home. (Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)

 

 

Strauss' Wellington home, where she constructed semi-circular courtyards at each end of the house, which was decorated with a row of upside down flower pots. (Post photo/Barbara Marshall)
Strauss’ Wellington home, where she constructed semi-circular courtyards at each end of the house, which was decorated with a row of upside down flower pots. (Post photo/Barbara Marshall)

 

(Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)
(Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)
(Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)
Strauss was born to an Orthodox Jewish family. In accordance with custom, she always wore hats or wigs to cover her hair. (Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)
In Los Angeles, she carefully cultivated the garden surrounding her home. (Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)
In Los Angeles, she carefully cultivated the garden surrounding the lava rock-covered home that gave her the name “Lava Lady.” (Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)
Another of Jimenez' photos of Strauss, superimposed on a background of fireworks. (Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)
Another of Jimenez’ photos of Strauss, superimposed on a background of fireworks. (Osker Jimenez/Exposure House)

Why is there a Red Sox plane parked at Palm Beach International?

Yes, that plane at Palm Beach International Airport does have the Boston Red Sox logo on it.

There’s a good reason for that: It belongs to Red Sox minority owner Phillip Morse.

What's the story behind this plane with the logo of the Boston Red Sox on the tail? (Contributed)
What’s the story behind this plane with the logo of the Boston Red Sox on the tail? (Contributed)

Morse — who serves as vice chairman for Fenway Sports Group, the John Henry-led group that owns the Sox — lives on an estate valued at nearly $1.3 million in Jupiter.

The 5,200-square-foot home sits on a half-acre in the Loxahatchee Club community.

His plane, a 1991 Gulfstream IV, can often be spotted from Southern Boulevard, where it parks near the south side of the airport. 

Three readers have contacted this reporter in recent weeks — possibly because I’m the transportation reporter, but more likely because I’m a Red Sox fan — asking where the plane is from and to whom it belongs. Some thought it could belong to Henry, who owns a home in suburban Boca Raton.

 

 

 

 

 

Trump’s Mar-A-Lago paintings back in news after presidential debate

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One of the weirder sideshows of the presidential season is all the attention paid to portraits of Donald Trump.

At Wednesday night’s debate, Trump attacked Hillary Clinton over donations accepted by her family’s Clinton Foundation. She sparred back, mentioning his use of money by the Trump Foundation:

“I’d be happy to compare what (the Clinton Foundation does) with the Trump Foundation, which took money from other people and bought a 6-foot portrait of Donald. I mean, who does that? It just was astonishing.”

Clinton was referring to a six-foot tall portrait of Trump by Palm Beach County artist Michael Israel. The Washington Post reported that Trump Foundation money was used by Trump to buy the portrait during an auction at his Palm Beach mansion-club, Mar-A-Lago.

As Post reporter Jennifer Sorentrue wrote in a story on the controversy:

The 2007 painting sold for $20,000. According to Israel and press reports, Trump’s wife, Melania, bid $10,000 for the piece, before the auctioneer pushed her to double that number. The Donald J. Trump Foundation cut the check for the artwork, raising questions about whether the foundation broke IRS rules by bidding on an item that might have benefited Trump directly.

The charity auction was for the local non-profit HomeSafe, which helps children with housing issues. Since that story broke, Israel painted another portrait of Trump to help HomeSafe raise money. With a minimum bid of $15,000, nobody bid on the portrait and the online auction was closed.

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This isn’t the only story recently about a Trump painting. Reporters have been buzzing all election season about a Trump portrait hanging in the bar at Mar-A-Lago and the backstory of why Trump insisted that the hand on the portrait be repainted.

You can read the full story of that here:

Why did Trump insist artist repaint his hand on Mar-A-Lago portrait?

 

When Michelle Obama comes through just in time for WCW

As First Lady Michelle Obama in her custom Versace gown sits at #7 on what’s trending on google, Instagram users are posting collages of her from last night’s final State Dinner from every angle. She’s basically got folks thinking, does she ever disappoint?

 

The answer is No.

There’s something about the way Michelle Obama carries herself that makes every skirt the right length, every neckline flattering and every color appropriate for the occasion. Last night was no different.

She rocked a custom-made, rose-gold Atelier Versace gown that would make anyone look twice.

At past state dinners, she complimented President Obama’s go-to black tuxedo and bow-tie with dark teals, purples and shades of ivory with a little sequin or sparkle here and there. But never something as dramatic as a draped gown made completely of chain-mail, a material of tiny interlinked metal rings.

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 18: First lady Michelle Obama (R) welcomes Mrs. Agnese Landini, wife of Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, upon their arrival for a state dinner at the White House, October 18, 2016 in Washington, DC. President Obama is hosting the last state visit of his presidency. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 18: First lady Michelle Obama (R) welcomes Mrs. Agnese Landini, wife of Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, upon their arrival for a state dinner at the White House, October 18, 2016 in Washington, DC. President Obama is hosting the last state visit of his presidency. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

It was daring and unforgettable.

Can we just coin the phrase ‘Presidential Glam’ as a look in honor of all the times our current First Lady walked into a room with her hair laid and outfit slayed? We don’t think she’d mind.

 

Why did Trump insist artist repaint his hand in Mar-A-Lago portrait?

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It’s become practically a mystery story: The Case of The Donald’s Repainted Hand.

But the only person who knows the true story is the man who painted — and at Donald Trump‘s insistence, repainted — the Republican presidential candidate’s hand on his Mar-A-Lago portrait, the artist himself, Ralph Wolfe Cowan.

The West Palm Beach painter tells us the full story — and clears up what he says are discrepancies in the accounting of it — as well as talking about his long career painting romantic portraits of kings, movie stars and moguls, everybody from Elvis to Princess Grace to Michael Jackson.

It’s a story you must read:

THE LAST OF THE PORTRAIT PAINTERS: THE RALPH WOLFE COWAN STORY

Must watch: Britney Spears unofficial ‘Do You Wanna Come Over’ lyric video

Britney Spears is as horny and digital as they come in the music video that’s stopping the Internet in it’s tracks.

Digital-Britney is calling for womanizers over and over in a new, Grindr-esque, unofficial lyric video created by Peruvian digital designer, Luigi Luciano for her song “Do You Wanna Come Over” off her latest album, Glory.

https://vimeo.com/185340191

Can’t see the video? Click here for the goods.

If you let the Internet tell it, the blonde Lolita hasn’t pleased her fans with a decent music video since Work Bitch, but this one right here, this one puts Britney back on top… even though she had nothing to do with it.

“I told myself, I need to do this video because the [Britney Spears] team doesn’t do much to make iconic videos anymore,” Luciano said to The Palm Beach Post via Facebook Messenger on October 4th.

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The clip portrays a sexy Britney Spears searching for men in a hook-up app. While she’s unsuccessful at first, America’s sweetheart ends up with a TDH, green-eyed stud who she seduces with her curves before finally reaching the glory she’s been looking for.

The dance moves, the fire in her eyes, and the story plot will take you back to the days when the Britney Spears’s money-making brand actually cared to put out good music videos.

Luigi Luciano’s work brings back that nostalgia that reminds us why we love Britney Spears and why she’ll continue being the Princess of Pop.

Glory had a rough start with a highly-teased music video for its first single “Make Me” ft. G-Easy. The video was straight up trashed, unreleased and then substituted with what fans think was an obviously rushed and boring video.

Fans were not having at all! Check some tweets:

https://twitter.com/jrnascimento_o/status/778635923659558912

However, Glory managed to debut at #3 on the Top Album Billboard chart earlier this year with an amazing overall album, one rank above her previous Will.i.am. produced album “Britney Jean.” Neither lives up to the fan-favorite Blackout. 

Give it a listen and let us know what you think.

For more pop culture, follow @juliopoletti on Twitter and Instagram.

Which movie did late director Curtis Hanson make in Palm Beach County?

Curtis Hanson (Associated Press)
Curtis Hanson (Associated Press)

Film lovers are mourning today the death of Curtis Hanson, the Oscar-winning director who made such movies as “L.A. Confidential,” “Eight Mile,” “The Hand That Rocks The Cradle” and “Wonder Boys.”

An underrated gem on his resume is “In Her Shoes,” a 2005 mother-daughter comedy starring Cameron Diaz and Shirley MacLaine that brought Hanson to Palm Beach County. He filmed scenes for the movie in Briny Breezes and around Delray Beach.

Band leader Billy Duke took part in the filming, and told the Palm Beach Post in 2004 that Hanson surprised him: “I thought the director would be yelling and screaming, but he was really quiet.”

Here are pictures we shot of star Shirley MacLaine during the filming in Briny Breezes:

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Palm Beach yacht wreck brings back memories of beached freighter

Socialite Mollie Wilmot stands near the 197-foot freighter that ran aground on her beachfront home in November, 1984. (Post file photo)
Socialite Mollie Wilmot stands near the 197-foot freighter, Mercedes, that ran aground at her oceanfront home in November, 1984.
(Post file photo)
The 72-foot yacht, Time Out, beached on the sand just south of the Palm Beach Inlet on September 7, 2016. (Post photo/Lannis Waters)
The 72-foot yacht, Time Out, beached on the sand just south of the Palm Beach Inlet on September 7, 2016. (Post photo/Lannis Waters)

The 72-foot yacht that ran aground on Palm Beach last week brought back memories of the time a storm drove a far-larger freighter into a socialite’s seawall for an uninvited three-month stay.

On Wednesday, yacht owner Thomas Henry Baker’s boat, the Time Out, ended up on the beach just south of the Palm Beach Inlet as he returned from a trip to the Bahamas.  Baker, who police say admitted drinking Long Island iced teas on board, blamed his GPS for directing him to shallow waters near the beach.  He was charged with boating under the influence, his second such arrest in the last month.

Back in 1984, Mollie Wilmot’s maid awakened her the day after Thanksgiving, saying the society hostess had guests at her oceanfront mansion, one door south of what was then still the Kennedy estate.

Wilmot expected it was the photographer scheduled to shoot her house for Town & Country magazine that day.

Instead, it was the captain and 10-member crew of a 197-foot Venezuelan freighter now towering over her pool cabana as the derelict rust bucket pounded her seawall into concrete chips.

Ever the hostess, Wilmot served the crew finger sandwiches, caviar and coffee in her gazebo, becoming the glamorous star of a reality show playing out on her beach.

I was working for a Miami TV station at the time and was among the gaggle of reporters and photographers who showed up later that day.

Reporter Barbara Marshall (at left) worked for a Miami TV station while covering the beaching of the Mercedes. (Post file photo.)
Reporter Barbara Marshall (at left) worked for a Miami TV station while covering the beaching of the Mercedes. (Post file photo.)

To us, Wilmot offered hot cocoa on cold mornings and icy martinis at cocktail hour almost every evening.  (I recall the network correspondents who didn’t have a story on the air that night indulging.  The rest of us were always on deadline or preparing for live shots.)

A Venezuelan freighter named Mercedes was an uninvited guest at socialite Mollie Wilmot's seawall, Thanksgiving weekend of 1984. (Post file photo)
A Venezuelan freighter named Mercedes was an uninvited guest at socialite Mollie Wilmot’s pool pavilion on Thanksgiving weekend of 1984. (Post file photo)

In her big white sunglasses, Wilmot, a horse breeder and department store heiress who died in 2002, became a national figure as she tottered around her pool patio, always wearing white while carrying her dog, a white fur ball named “Fluff.”

While various agencies debated how best to get the freighter afloat and reporters made bets on when it would be hauled out to sea, the droll Wilmot gathered her Palm Beach friends to sip cocktails and watch the news unfold live from her back yard.

After overstaying its welcome by 105 days, the Mercedes was finally hauled away to become an artificial reef off the Broward County coast.

Disney studios hoped to turn the saga into a movie called “Palm Beached,” but Wilmot balked at the choice of Bette Midler playing her as well as a plot line that had her cavorting with the ship’s captain.

Wilmot’s house was sold and demolished after her death.  A new house on the property sold for $23 million in 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Melania Trump: Has she disappeared from the campaign trail?

Melania and Donald Trump at Mar-A-Lago.
Melania and Donald Trump at Mar-A-Lago.

Melania Trump made one of her first appearances since the Republican National Convention at Wednesday night’s Commander-In-Chief Forum, the Washington Post noted. While daughter Ivanka has been seen frequently on the campaign trail, Melania has been mostly mum since July.

The woman who may become First Lady is extremely private, as The Palm Beach Post’s Barbara Marshall reported. “It’s hard not to feel sorry for Melania Trump,” she wrote.

Read more:

What you don’t know about Melania Trump, the Potential First Lady.

Our complete coverage of Donald Trump’s candidacy.