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)

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RNC 2016: Ivanka Trump “terrified” to introduce her father tonight

Ivanka Trump, her brothers and half-sister Tiffany, applaud a speaker at the RNC in Cleveland Tuesday night. (Getty Images)
Ivanka Trump, her brothers and half-sister Tiffany, applaud a speaker at the RNC in Cleveland Tuesday night.
(Getty Images)

Ivanka Trump Kushner says she’s “terrified” of her role at tonight’s Republican National Convention when she formally introduces her father as the GOP’s 2016 presidential candidate.

Speaking to NBC’s Savannah Guthrie this morning, Trump’s oldest daughter said, “I’ve never spoken in a stadium like this, but really I just want to make sure I do a great job for him. So it’s a real honor and a privilege that he asked me to do this, and I think it’s a testament to him as a parent.”

Ivanka, 34, daughter of Trump’s first wife, Ivana, also said, “I’m really comfortable with my speech because it comes from my heart.”

She also commented on the controversy surrounding Melania Trump’s speech that contained plagiarized phrases from Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech at the Democratic National Convention.  A Trump speechwriter has come forward to take the blame.

“I love Melania so much and I am so proud of the job that she did,” Ivanka said. “She’s a very private person and for her to come out on that stage and speak from the heart and share her story about coming to this country.

“This is such a personal experience for her and she shared it in such a graceful and articulate way, so I am enormously impressed with her ability to do that and have great respect for it.”

During the campaign, Ivanka has often been the Trump family spokesperson since Melania prefers to remain in the background with her son, Baron.

Ivanka with her father at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach in 2012. (Post file photo)
Ivanka with her father at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach in 2012. (Post file photo)

 

 

Related: Ivanka Trump: Not the Trump You’re Expecting

Related: Palm Beach Post coverage of the convention in Cleveland and of Donald Trump’s candidacy

RNC 2016: Melania Trump to speak at convention tonight

Melania and Donald Trump at a Mar-a-Lago party. (Post file photo)
Melania and Donald Trump at a Mar-a-Lago party. (Post file photo)

Melania Trump will try to repair her husband’s basement-dwelling ratings with women tonight while also talking about her own immigrant experience, say RNC organizers.

As tonight’s convention headliner, Melania will likely try to bolster her husband’s claims that women love him despite polls that show Hillary Clinton has the lead among women voters 52 to 37 percent.

As she has in the past, Melania is likely to emphasize that when she immigrated from Slovakia in 1996 to future her modeling career, she played by the rules before becoming an American citizen in 2006.

Read  What You Don’t Know About Potential First Lady Melania Trump

See photos of Melania Trump during her Mar-a-Lago years in Palm Beach

Read more stories about Donald Trump

 

3-day art event this weekend in West Palm Beach’s new ‘cultural corridor’

photo box gallery
Rolando Chang Barrero has opened The Box Gallery on Belvedere Road, marketing the thoroughfare as “West Palm Beach’s Cultural Corridor.” (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

Rolando Chang Barrero  has opened The Box Gallery as proof of his commitment to what could be Palm Beach County’s newest arts district.

The gallery is Barrero’s third, joining one at the Boynton Beach Arts District and his RCB Fine Arts Gallery in downtown Lake Worth.

Large and gleaming white, the new gallery will house the kind of cutting edge exhibitions that usually go to Miami, says Barrero, while providing space for video and performance art.

The Box Gallery has a three-day grand opening planned this weekend, which features about 30 artists from all over the world who now live in Florida.

Schedule of events:

Friday: 7- 11 p.m.:  The opening of an All Florida exhibition, featuring artists who live in the Sunshine State. The exhibit runs through June 26.

Saturday:  6 – 11 p.m.:  Projections and Performances, with video, performance art and live music.

Sunday: 3 – 5 p.m.  State of the Arts:  a casual conversation among curators, artists and arts administrators.

If you go: The Box Gallery, 811 Belvedere Road, West Palm Beach

Read our full story: ‘Is Belvedere Road the new “cultural corridor” of West Palm Beach?

Palm Beach County: 5 invasive species invading our county!

Nile monitors, native to the Nile Delta in Africa, can reach 5-foot and 15 pounds. The semi-aquatic lizards are meat-eaters with a fierce some bite.

Nile monitors, native to the Nile Delta in Africa, can reach 5-foot and 15 pounds. The semi-aquatic meat-eaters with a fearsome bite are known to breed in the canal along Southern Boulevard. (FWC)

Iguanas are tearing up our gardens while Nile monitor lizards are breeding in the C-51 Palm Beach Canal along Southern Boulevard.

Invasive exotic species abound in South Florida and Palm Beach County has its share.

The Burmese pythons breeding in the Everglades haven’t migrated this far north, but wildlife officials are concerned about the spread of tegus,  a large black-and-white lizard found in substantial numbers west of Miami and spotted a few times in Palm Beach County.

Read more about South Florida’s invasive species.

 

 

 

 

 

Prince Harry “really fun to be around,” says polo star Nacho Figueras

Polo prince Nacho Figueras and Harry, Prince of Wales, wave to the crowd before a charity polo match to benefit Sentabale, the Prince's African children's charity.(Post photo/Allen Eyestone)
Polo prince Nacho Figueras and Harry, Prince of Wales, wave to the crowd before a May 4 Wellington charity polo match to benefit Sentabale, the Prince’s African children’s charity.(Post photo/Allen Eyestone)

Is this a polo “bromance”?

Leading up to Wednesday’s charity polo match in Wellington, the Prince of England and the Prince of Polo engaged in a week of texting banter about whose team would take home the trophy from the Prince’s Sentabale Royal Salute Polo Cup, said Nacho Figueras, Argentinean polo god and Ralph Lauren model.

Figueras, a Sentabale Ambassador for the Prince’s African children’s charity, paused to speak to the media before the match, which was held May 4 under rain-swollen skies on a sodden private polo field south of Lake Worth Rd.

“He’s really fun,” said Figueras of his royal pal. “We’ve been joking about who’s going to win.  He’s really fun to be around.”

Nacho, who has four children, said he strongly supports Sentabale’s mission of helping children living with HIV and AIDS. He and Prince Harry, who’s on the cover of new People talking about how his life mission is to “make my mother incredibly proud,” visited the the charity’s operation together in the southern African country of Lesotho.

“It’s important to get over the stigma of HIV,” Figueras, 39, said, “and to get behind these kids.  They’re the future of Africa.”

A casually-dressed Harry, wearing a scruffy red beard, showed up a few minutes later escorting Figueras’ wife, photographer Delfina Blaquier.

“Welcome to the Sunshine State,” the ginger-haired Prince, 31,  said, laughing, indicating the gray skies overhead.

Prince Harry and Delfina Blaquier, wife of polo player Nacho Figueras, arrive at the private Valiente Polo Farm in Wellington May 4. (Post photo/Allen Eyestone)
Prince Harry and Delfina Blaquier, wife of polo player Nacho Figueras, arrive at the private Valiente Polo Farm in Wellington May 4. (Post photo/Allen Eyestone)

The Prince, fifth in line to the English throne, seemed to have some royal power over the weather.

As soon as he arrived at the Valiente Polo Farm, where the event was held,  the afternoon torrent trickled to a drizzle, then stopped for the duration of the match. It started up again at the end of the games, as trophies were awarded.

After the Prince’s Sentabale team won the trophy against Figueras’ Royal Salute squad, it was obvious the two men are good friends.

With some good-natured trash talk on the trophy stand, Figueras swiped the gold horse-and-rider out of the Prince’s hands, who grabbed it back.

Nacho Figueras tries to swipe the winner's trophy from Prince Harry. (Post photo/Rich Graulich)
Nacho Figueras tries to swipe the winner’s trophy from Prince Harry. (Post photo/Rich Graulich)

 

Prince Harry and Nacho Figueras shake hands after a polo match as Figueras' wife, Delfina Blanquier, looks on. (Post photo/Rich Graulich)
Prince Harry and Nacho Figueras shake hands after a polo match as Figueras’ wife, Delfina Blanquier, looks on. (Post photo/Rich Graulich)

A Sentabale spokeswoman said the Prince’s charity hoped to raise more than a million dollars from the match, which will go toward sending 1,500 children to the Mamohato Children’s Center, where they are educated about the virus in hopes of ending Africa’s AIDS epidemic.

Speaking to donors afterward, Prince Harry said later this year Sentabale expects to expand its work into Botswana.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which Florida beaches made Southern Living’s best beaches list?

beach

Southern Living magazine combed 2,000 miles of coastline to find the Best Beaches in the South.

None in Palm Beach County made the list but six spots along the Florida coast did, including Bahia Honda State Park in the Keys, Caladesi Island north of Clearwater on the Gulf of Mexico, Naples, Shell Island near Panama City in the Panhandle, South Walton Beach and St. Augustine.

Related: Best beaches in Palm Beach County

 

Which Palm Beach County festival is among state’s best for food lovers?

Garlic heads rejoice every February when Garlic Fest returns to Delray Beach (Bill Ingram/Post photo)
Garlic heads rejoice every February when Garlic Fest returns to Delray Beach (Bill Ingram/Post photo)

Garlic Fest, the February weekend devoted to the stinking rose, is the 9th best food festival in Florida, declares the website onlyinyourstate.com.

The list includes 14 festivals devoted to an only-in-the Sunshine-State mix of fare that includes Fellesmere’s Frog Leg Festival, Niceville’s Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival, the Kumquat Fest in Dade City and Labelle’s Swamp Cabbage Festival.

Most are held in the winter, but there’s still time to take in two this spring and summer:  The Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival will be held April 29-May 1 in Fernandina Beach near Jacksonville and Key West’s Lobsterfest is August 11 – 14.

 

Florida’s best waterfront bar? It’s here in Palm Beach County

Guanabana's in Jupiter has earned another top honor. (Post file photo)
Guanabanas in Jupiter has earned another top honor.
(Post file photo)

It comes as no surprise to us locals but it’s still nice to be validated.

Guanabanas, Jupiter’s wildly-popular bar and restaurant tucked into a tropical rain forest, has been named Florida’s top waterfront bar by a website called Onlyinyourstate.com.

One of Guanabanas thatched roofs was built around existing trees. (Post file photo)

Citing Guanabanas lush landscaping, laid-back attitude, seafood-centric menu and live music, the website says the tiki-themed outdoor restaurant is “a taste of paradise.”

But we already knew that.

As our tourist season winds down, it’s also far easier to get a table this time of year.

Read:  More of our top picks for waterfront dining in Palm Beach County.