(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 one another.
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 and shawls that she made herself. suzan wore her hair- dyed shoe polish back in a sever ponytail pointing straight up- like an antenna.
i once saw suzan 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 to me polity. "that's a very nice fabric. what do you plan to do with it?" she thought for a moment and then pensively replied,
"perhaps a skirt."
years later, (approx. 1994) 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 flint rock.
* she used no electricity.
* she once had a black panther. the neighbors complained, and the city made her remove it.
* she only ate baby food and non- cooked foods.
* all the furniture was blue plastic kids furniture.
* she made all her 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