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Rumblings & Bumblings Responses: Lava Lady in Florida

Thanks for the questions again this week. Good stuff. Don't be afraid of the Lava Lady. She's not really made of lava. And on to your answers...

UPDATE: A tipster emails in with new info on the Marina del Rey shopping center on Washinton that a reader had asked about last week. Seems he's tracked down some of the shops. "That shopping center is being completely renovated. Some of the shops have closed, some have relocated and a few are staying. A few of the shops had been there for almost 30 years, like the Baskin Robbins that has closed. Ana's Tailors has moved further up Washington just before Redwood, between the Burger King (which is also being torn down for more lofts/condos, part of the Marina Loft District) and the Fosters Freeze. The dentist moved somewhere near downtown and I believe the jeweler has gone to work for the big jewelry store in the newly renovated Marina Waterside Shopping Center on Admiralty (Caruso project). The dry cleaner is moving to a new building in the same shopping center and their old building is being torn down to make way for a small park. The Wells Fargo across the street is moving into a new building at this site across from where the dry cleaner is currently located. I believe the Noahs and laundromat are still there." Thanks for the update!

on to the new stuff...

1) Miracle Mile/Mid Wilshire: Miss Teresa in the comments says the chicken place is being replaced by some sort of mixed-use project. As for "Johnies", which we will never be able to spell right, it remains untouched for now. Apparently it's tangled up in some preservation issues.

2) Fairfax: The Lava Lady is actually Ray Suzann Strauss (pictured from a feature in Wellington the Magazine). From the comments, "The lava lady lived in a completely black lava-stone clad house. I never saw her personally, but apparently she wore all black too, and was even said to be a witch."AND "The Lava Lady wore very, very high platform shoes, had very rosy blush on her cheeks, and had her hair shellacked into a foot-high point on the top of her head. I heard her kids wanted to sell the house." AND from an email:

"The Lava Lady was slender, redhaired done up in unicorn fashion atop her head, platform shoe wearing (5 inch platforms), and always in one color at a time, often green velvet that reminded me of the velvet suits Kristy McNichol wore on "Family" when she had a date...oh that Tizzy Lish. I understand the Lava Lady was trying to contact alien life through the construction of her lava rock home, but how I do not know. She used to roam the streets of LA with her hair standing straight up in a spire looking very tall and skinny, perhaps she felt she could be seen from outer space?

At any rate, she passed away and that's why her property went up for sale. Whew....

Actually, she may still be alive as evidenced by the article from Wellington the Magazine, based in Palm Beach County, which was published in August 05. Seems like a nice lady. 3) Studio City: The Schindler apartments on Laurelwood have a few problems, apparently. From the comments, Joseph says: "I used to live in the Laurelwood Schindler apartments. Some are in better shape than others, but the worst are in very poor shape (as in "how could this possibly be sanitary/legal" shape). As someone above said, there's not enough parking to go condo (unless you created underground parking, which would be very expensive) and really the entire place needs to be renovated, which would be expensive in its own right."

4) West LA/Mar Vista: No info about the construction/destruction site on Centinella just south of the 10. Sorry.

5) Pasadena: What is being built at the base of the Colorado St. bridge in Pasadena? From our schooling, we learned there were some really old decrepit bungalows designed by Myron Hunt in that location that were being primed for restoration. They were nice buildings, just really f'd up. In the comments, Mar Vista Pete says it might be a Moule & Polyzoides condo project and he is correct. Moule & Polyzoides are renovating and rebuilding the Vista del Arroyo Bungalows. From their site:
There are eight nationally registered historic bungalows on the site, designed between 1920 and 1938 by well-known Pasadena architects Sylvanus Marston, Garrett Van Pelt, and Myron Hunt. They are dilapidated as they have been vandalized for more than thirty years. The project will restore them and their gardens. Three new buildings of two- and three-story configurations are added to the site, one facing South Grand Avenue, and two facing the Arroyo Seco with its spectacular views. Parking is in three underground garages. We would post a pic from the M&P web site but they totally blocked us with that right-click block. Assholes. 6) Hollywood: Not a lot of info on the Banana Bungalows from readers. We tracked their address, 2775 Cahuenga, in the city planning system and there has been some recent activity. It looks like an 81-unit condo project is planned for that site, but the scope of the project appears to have been reduced in August of last year. So we're not totally sure what will show up there.

Sorry we couldn't answer all the questions thrown our way. We'll do better next week. Speaking of next week, please send your questions to us at and will get to it. Thanks!