(known here in LA as "THE LAVA LADY" in florida as "THE WELLINGTON WITCH")
passed to the other side on September 1st, 2016.
suzan was a los angeles institution. anyone living in los angeles during the 80s & 90s had suzan spottings, and suzan stories to tell.
my personal stories with suzan were many. she daily walked down melrose and la brea aves- wearing 13 inch brown platform shoes with matching burlap pantsuits & shawl combos. all self-made. suzan wore her hair- dyed shoe polish back in a severe ponytail pointing straight up- like an antenna.
i once saw suzan, (approx 1987ish) at the original jet- rag- (on la brea- across the street from where it is now) looking in the mirror with a brocade black rose curtain wrapped around her shoulders.
i said to her- "hello suzan". she nodded her head politely. "that's a very nice fabric. what do you plan to do with it?" she thought for a moment , then pensively replied,
"perhaps a skirt."
years later, (approx. 1993) i wanted to show my then BF- dan where she lived in a black house off la brea ave. suzan's house and the house next door were covered in black flint rock, (hence the nickname- lava lady).
as we were viewing the two black rock houses, a man exited the house next door. "hay! exclaimed by BF- dan, "that's my locksmith!" "you know suzan's tenant?" i said in shock.
well apparently he did, so we pried him with question after question, and this is what we found out-
* suzan strauss was an heir to levi strauss company.
* she had a fortune in real estate, among other holdings.
* the entire outsides of the two houses, including garages were covered in black sheet rock.
* all the outside plants were green yucca & cypress ferns.
*she had a green astro turf catwalk in the front yard.
* she would walk up and down the catwalk on a regular basis.
* the insides were cover with natural color flint rock.
* she used no electricity, only candles,
* she once had a black panther. neighbors complained, the city made her remove it.
* she only ate baby food , canned food and non- cooked foods.
* all the furniture was blue plastic kids furniture.
* she made all her own clothes from burlap or heavy fabrics.
* she wore 13 inch platforms shoes- pretty much everyday.
* she move to wellington florida in the early 2000s.
* two gay guys bought her black rock house and painted it beige!
during early 2000's i saw suzan on labrea ave walking by Ralph's market.
i took out my camera and waited for her to approach, (in 13 inch platforms this took awhile)
when she saw me she hesitated. i didn't want to scare her so i immediately said, "hello suzan". "hello", she responded cordially.
"may i take your photo?" i asked.
"yes," she replied in a happy sorta way and struck this pose for me-
photo- rick castro
suzan strauss was one of the los angeles eccentrics that made this city magical. she was one-of-a-kind. there will never be another person like her.
RIP- MY LEGEND- RIP.
you can read my extensive account of suzan over the years here-
Ray Suzan Strauss, passed away on Thursday, September 1, 2016 in Florida at the age of 86. A Graveside service will be held at 2:00PM on Sunday, September 4, 2016 at King Solomon Cemetery in New Jersey