Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Archives OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor


  WINDY CITY TIMES

PASSAGES Medusa's owner Dave Shelton passes away
by Matt Simonette
2020-08-19

This article shared 1602 times since Wed Aug 19, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Dave Shelton, a.k.a. Dave "Medusa" Shelton—so named for his trademark frizzy locks— "just was different," recalled his good friend of 45 years, Richard Cooke.

Shelton was the proprietor of the iconic nightspot Medusa's on Sheffield in Lake View, where numerous Chicagoans came to dance during 1982-92, becoming one of Chicago's premier locations for house music and kicking off a "goth" movement that lasted for years in neighborhood. Shelton passed away at age 64 on Aug. 7.

Numerous locals paid tribute to Shelton on Facebook as news of his passing spread: "Dave Medusa, you touched more lives than you ever knew," wrote Jorge Heitz.

Heather Santowski posted, "Thank you Dave for creating such an amazing bond between so many strangers that made us all so happy all these years."

Cooke said that he and Shelton met when they first worked together in 1976, and that they were immediately drawn to one another because they "were a pair of oddballs."

Not only was Shelton cut from a different cloth, Cooke added, but his nightclubs were as well. "His clubs were different. He had good mix of people in there. He always thought he could do someplace that was more progressive."

Shelton had long dreamed of having his own nightspot, and spent a great deal of time saving money—he financed much of club through pop-up dance parties—and looking for just the right location. When he did, he settled on a three-story location at 3257 N. Sheffield Ave.

The club was located on the top two floors of the building, above an acupuncturist's office on the ground floor. "We were always cleaning up needles all over the place," Cooke recalled.

Shelton managed to book a great deal of then-unknown talent as they were on their way up the show-business ladder, he added. Among those Cooke recalled performing at Medusa's were Red Hot Chili Peppers, Smashing Pumpkins and Loleatta Holloway, as well as DJ Frankie Knuckles. Artist Keith Haring also showed up from time to time, Cooke said, leaving behind artwork he etched into the walls of the DJ's booth.

"We should have removed those when we closed," Cooke said. He further recalled Shelton's drag performances as Medusa L. Wallflower, which frequently left the crowd in stitches. "Dave wasn't really a drag queen—he just wanted to be a performer."

Cooke frequently worked at the front door. A 70-year-old woman, backed up by two larger security guards, worked as bouncers. "She was tiny," he recalled about the woman. "But nobody wanted to fuck with her, either."

Medusa's was a "juice bar," meaning no alcohol was served and underage patrons were welcome. But that meant panicked parents occasionally showed up looking for their children. "We just let them in," Cooke said, noting that Medusa's was patronized by several children of well-known Chicago elected officials.

One politician who never was impressed with Medusa's was Ald. Bernie Hansen, who steadily declared the nightclub was a public nuisance. Shelton attributed the closing of the Sheffield location to Hansen's strong-arming the building owner's into not renewing Shelton's lease; the Lake View Medusa's closed in 1992.

Shelton tried other Chicago locations but eventually returned to his hometown of Elgin, where a Medusa's location—which Clarke noted significantly resembled the original Medusa's—still remains.

Shelton went through a phase were he where he tinkered with old cars, especially a treasured 1957 Cadillac. Cooke noted that, after years of having a dog he doted upon, Shelton suddenly became a "cat person," adopting numerous cats. "He was feeding feral cats all the time too," he added.

Recalling the legacy of the first Medusa's, Cooke attributed its popularity to the club's openness to a diverse crowd, who was served with a minimum of attitude.

"We welcomed everyone," he said. "We welcomed gays. We welcomed straights. … At Medusa's, everyone was special."


This article shared 1602 times since Wed Aug 19, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Award-winning journalist Deb Price dead at 62
2020-11-27
Deb Price, the award-winning journalist and author who wrote the first nationally syndicated column on LGBT issues in mainstream newspapers, has died in a hospital at age 62 in Hong Kong, where she had lived for ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Adrian Ford
2020-11-24
Adrian Robert Ford, of Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood, died unexpectedly Nov. 17. He was 74 Born in Rochester, New York, on May 11, 1946 to Clarence and Ruth Ford, Adrian grew up in Webster, New York, ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Marsha M. Wetzel
2020-11-17
Marsha Marie Wetzel, advocate for the LGBTQ community, died peacefully at her Greenview Place home in Chicago, Illinois, on Nov. 1, 2020. In keeping with her faith, she passed on All Saints Day. She was preceded ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Kevin Putz
2020-11-04
Evanston resident Kevin Andrew Putz has passed away, He was 56. Kevin was the beloved husband of Michael McNamara; son of Sharon Putz and the late Dr. Gerard J. Putz; loving brother of Michael (Connie) Putz ...


Gay News

OUTspoken Storytelling to host tales from LGBTQ perspectives Nov. 10
2020-11-01
--From a press release - Another exciting OUTspoken Storytelling Night will offer the perspective of four Chicagoans telling life's stories from their LGBTQ+ viewpoint or that of their close friends and relatives, Tuesday, Nov. 10, starting at 7 p.m. on Zoom. ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Activist John Chester remembered
2020-10-30
Longtime LGBT activist and former Chicagoan John Chester passed away Oct. 10 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he had been living since retirement. He was 78. Chester, who was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian ...


Gay News

Arts in the Dark Halloween Parade, this year a drive-through
2020-10-26
--From a Chicago Park District press release - CHICAGO: LUMA8, in collaboration with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), the Chicago Park District and Presenting Sponsor, the Blommer Chocolate Company, is pleased to announce Arts in the Dark - an UPSIDE ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Transgender advocate, journalist Monica Roberts dies
2020-10-08
--From a National LGBTQ Task Force press release - "This week, the LGBTQ+ community lost one of our fiercest voices in Monica Roberts, an activist who not only lifted up the stories of trans people and inspired generations of countless transgender and non-binary people but ...


Gay News

WORLD Egypt arrests, Trans Legal Mapping Report, designer dies
2020-10-05
In Egypt, authorities are accused of using dating apps and social media to track down and arrest queer folks in their latest attempt to "clean the streets," Out.com noted. Human Rights Watch interviewed 15 people who ...


Gay News

Oct. 3 vigil to honor Ramos Vargas
2020-10-02
Chicagoans will gather in Humboldt Park the evening of Saturday, Oct. 3 to honor the memory of Michelin Ramos Vargas, a transgender woman who was murdered in Puerto Rico on Sept. 30. The event begins at ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Timothy Ray Brown, who was cured of HIV, dies of cancer at 54
2020-10-01
After a five-month battle with leukemia, Timothy Ray Brown—publicized as the first known person to be cured of HIV, and also known by many as "The Berlin Patient"—has died of cancer, according to the International AIDS ...


Gay News

Nightlines 1990-2001, Nightspots 2001-2015
2020-09-30
Throughout the 1990s, Nightlines focused on the LGBTQ entertainment scene, from the bars to the stage and everything in between. With the new millennium came a significant format change as Nightspots focused in on the bar ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Former Northalsted bartender Eric Sangster dies at 37
2020-09-27
Northalsted bartender Eric Sangster died Sept. 17 unexpectedly at the age of 37. At the time of this article's publication, Sangster's cause of death is unknown. Sangster was born June 4, 1983, on a Jacksonville, North ...


Gay News

Ruth Bader Ginsburg films out Sept. 25
2020-09-23
As a tribute of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's life and legacy, Focus Features and Magnolia Pictures will be re-releasing On the Basis of Sex and RBG—both films about Ginsburg—Friday, Sept. 25 in theaters, ...


Gay News

Trans Puerto Rico icon dies at 73
2020-09-23
Soraya Santiago—the first person from Puerto Rico known to have undergone gender reassignment surgery and a longtime icon for the U.S. territory's LGBTQ community—has died of cancer, ABC News reported. She was 73. Santiago had frequented ...


 



Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Archives OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.