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, video: Watch the Norton Museum of Art get demolished

There’s quite an exhibit going on this month at the Norton Museum, but it’s not all inside the art institution.

Travel down South Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach and you can watch construction crews tearing great hunks out of the museum: the first step to preparing for its $100 million expansion and renovation, scheduled to be completed two years from now in December 2018.

A bulldozer guts part of the Norton on its Dixie Highway side. (Photos by Larry Aydlette/The Palm Beach Post)
A bulldozer guts part of the Norton on its Dixie Highway side. (Photos by Larry Aydlette/The Palm Beach Post)

According to Norton spokesman Scott Benarde, these areas of the museum are being demolished: the inner atrium and stairs, the Harris Pavilion (former home of the Chihuly glass ceiling), the Great Hall entranceway, the cafe, and classroom and boardroom space.

Areas being gutted for renovation include the three-story Nessel Wing, the theater, great hall and museum gift shop.

 

Construction work continues near the former entrance of the museum.
Construction work continues near the former entrance of the museum.

Demolition should be completed by late December, Benarde said. In the meantime, admission continues to be free to the museum. And, despite the construction inconvenience, there is still a lot to see there, especially the Question Bridge video exhibit and the Rudin Prize photography show.

While many favorite paintings remain in storage, there are still plenty of famous names on the wall, inclusing Picasso, Matisse, O’Keeefe and Hopper.

A worker walks through the construction zone on the Dixie Highway side of the museum.
A worker walks through the construction zone on the Dixie Highway side of the museum.

 

A view from the Jefferson Avenue side of the museum.
A view from the Jefferson Avenue side of the museum.

 

The new Olive Avenue entrance, which is the old entrance when it was known as The Norton Gallery.
The new Olive Avenue entrance, which is the old entrance when it was known as The Norton Gallery.

 

The inner courtyard is still a sun-dappled oasis from the construction chaos.
The inner courtyard is still a sun-dappled oasis from the construction chaos.

 

Sign of the times: The museum is open with free admission, but you've got to take a long walk from the parking lot or use the free shuttle service.
Sign of the times: The museum is open with free admission, but you’ve got to take a long walk from the parking lot or use the free shuttle service.

 

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)