Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

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

This article shared 2540 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 2540 times since Wed Aug 19, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Colin Powell dies from COVID-19 complications
2021-10-18
Colin Powell—the first Black U.S. secretary of state, whose leadership in several Republican administrations helped shape the country's foreign policy in the last years of the 20th century and the early years of the 21st—died from ...


Gay News

Trans woman D'isaya Dior Monaee Smith, a victim of violence, dies
2021-09-24
D'isaya Dior Monaee Smith was shot and killed Sept. 6 at the Prestige Motel in Dolton, Illinois. She was 27. A Human Rights Campaign report showed that, in 2020, a record 44 transgender, nonbinary or gender-nonconforming ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Carl Bean dies, LGBT History Month, military events, Dykes on Bikes
2021-09-19
Archbishop Carl Bean—an openly gay former Motown singer, longtime AIDS activist and leader in the LGBTQ church movement—died at age 77, The New York Daily News reported. In a statement entitled "The Giant Sleeps," the Unity ...


Gay News

Former bishop who pushed for LGBTQ+ inclusion dies at 90
2021-09-19
Retired Newark Bishop John Shelby Spong—a best-selling author and cleric known for his progressive theology and his support of women and LGBTQ+ clergy in The Episcopal Church—has died at age 90, Episcopal News Service reported. "It ...


Gay News

'Andersonville Homecoming' Sept. 24-26; line-up, vendors, safety protocols announced
2021-09-15
--From a press release - CHICAGO (Sept. 15, 2021) — The Andersonville Chamber of Commerce (ACC) is pleased to announce the full entertainment line-up and vendors for Andersonville Homecoming--a three-night, two-day outdoor festival featuring ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Pioneering lesbian business owner Susan Mazer dies
2021-09-04
Susan Mazer died August 31 due to COVID-19 complications. She was 77. At the time of her death, Mazer was living in Port Saint Lucie, Florida with her wife Janet Norton. Mazer was born May 10, ...


Gay News

Celebration of life for Roman Buenrostro taking place Oct. 5
2021-08-31
A celebration of life for the late Chicago advocate Roman Buenrostro will take place Tuesday, Oct. 5, 3-6 p.m., at Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. Buenrostro was an LGBTQ- and HIV/AIDS-rights activist who passed away ...


Gay News

The National Black Justice Coalition mourns death of Pooh Johnson
2021-08-26
--From a press release - SHREVEPORT, LA — The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) mourns the loss of Pooh Johnson, a 25-year-old Black gender-nonconforming person. Pooh was found shot to death inside a car early in the morning on August 23, ...


Gay News

Next OUTspoken show Sept. 7
2021-08-24
An OUTspoken Storytelling Night taking place Tuesday, Sept. 7, will offer tales told by six people who will relate their stories of fun and fortune from a LGBTQ+ perspective. The entertainment will start at 7 p.m. ...


Gay News

PFLAG National mourns passing of past president Paulette Goodman
2021-08-16
--From a press release - WASHINGTON—PFLAGers everywhere mourn the death of Paulette Goodman, who served as PFLAG National President from 1988 until 1992. Goodman was born in a Jewish family, ...


Gay News

James Hormel, the first LGBTQ U.S. ambassador, dies
2021-08-13
James Catherwood Hormel—the first openly gay man to represent the United States as an ambassador—died Aug. 13 at age 88. ...


Gay News

Bernie Hansen's gay-rights legacy remembered
2021-07-30
Activist Arthur Johnston recalled the late 44th Ward Alderman Bernie Hansen as perhaps "the most unlikely gay-rights alderman." Johnston—one of the activists involved with, among other endeavors, the push for the city's Human Rights Ordinance i ...


Gay News

Taste of River North cancelled
2021-07-29
On July 29, the River North Residents Association, along with theMART and Duff Entertainment, announced the cancellation of the 2021 edition of Taste of River North. The event was slated to take place Aug. 20-21 at ...


Gay News

Photographer/activist Ed Negron's funeral will take place Aug. 3
2021-07-29
On his own Facebook page, one of the brothers of the late Chicago photographer/activist Ed Negron has revealed the details of his impending funeral. According to Leo Negron Rodriguez, Negron's funeral will take place at ...


Gay News

OUTspoken storytelling to host six takes from LGBTQ+ perspective
2021-07-26
--From a press release - The month of August is hot - but OUTspoken at the Sidetrack will be even hotter on Aug. 3 when six storytellers will tell tales of fun and fortune from a LGBTQ+ perspective! The program will start at 7:00 pm at ...


 



Copyright © 2021 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


Donate


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.