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 2022-12-07
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 3814 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 3814 times since Wed Aug 19, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Chicagoans gather for Jackhammer re-opening
2023-01-30
Photos by Joseph Stevens - Rogers Park leather and fetish bar Jackhammer held its grand re-opening the evening of Jan. 27 after a long renovation process. The longtime North Side watering hole opened in 1999, taking over the space previously occupied ...


Gay News

ONYX Midwest forum tackles racist performance at Touche's anniversary party
2023-01-22
In a response to the racist performance that took place at the leather, fetish and bear-focused Touche Chicago's 45th anniversary celebration on Nov. 1, 2022, ONYX Midwest hosted a community forum Jan. 21 at The Leather ...


Gay News

LGBTQ+ police officer remembered as 'wonder woman'
2022-12-30
On Dec. 29, the friends and loved ones of LGBTQ+ Bradley Police Sgt. Marlene Rittmanic gathered at the Comfort Inn in Bourbonnais to mark the one-year anniversary of her passing, ABC 7 Chicago reported. The hotel ...


Gay News

In memoriam: LGBTQ community obituaries 2022
2022-12-27
The LGBTQ community lost many members in 2022, including at least 35 people in incidents of hate violence against individual transgender people and against patrons of the Club Q bar in Colorado. Here are other memorable ...


Gay News

Memorial set for Charlotte Newfeld
2022-12-09
Memorial set for Charlotte Newfeld Memorial services for LGBTQ+ community ally and Lakeview activist Charlotte Newfeld will be Tuesday, Jan. 24 at Ann Sather's on Belmont, from 6-8 p.m. Newfeld died Nov. 17 due to natural causes. She ...


Gay News

PASSAGES: LGBTQ+ ally, activist and artist Charlotte Newfeld passes away
2022-11-23
LGBTQ+ ally, activist and artist Charlotte Newfeld died Nov. 17 due to natural causes. She was 91. At the time of her death, Newfeld was living at the Dobson Memory Care facility in Evanston. Newfeld was ...


Gay News

Passages: Sexologist and activist Dr. Thomas Gertz passes away
2022-11-19
Sexologist and activist Dr. Thomas Gertz died Oct. 28 due to natural causes. He was 77. At the time of his death, Gertz was in an assisted living facility. He had previously lived at Heartland ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Singer Aaron Carter dies at 34
2022-11-05
Singer Aaron Carter—the brother of Backstreet Boys member Nick Carter—has died after apparently drowning at his L.A. home at age 34, according to media reports. TMZ originally reported the news. The outlet said that he was ...


Gay News

Touche Chicago's 45th-anniversary celebration marred by racist performance
2022-11-03
Racist performance mires Touche Chicago's 45th anniversary celebration By Carrie Maxwell On Nov. 1, the leather, fetish and bear-focused Touche Chicago celebrated its 45th anniversary with a feature performance by ...


Gay News

Memorial for Urvashi Vaid to be livestreamed Nov. 3
2022-10-29
A memorial celebration of the life of Urvashi Vaid will be held on Thursday, Nov. 3, at 5 p.m. ET/4 p.m. CT at B'Nai Jesherun, 258 W. 88th St., New York City. In-person RSVPs are at capacity. However, the event will ...


Gay News

Howard Brown Health's Big Orange Ball has 'Saturday Night Fever' theme
2022-10-27
Howard Brown Health's Big Orange Ball was back in-person at Park West on Oct. 22—this time with a big (not orange) disco ball. About 300 people brought their Halloween spirit to the event, dressed in costumes ...


Gay News

'Will & Grace' actor Leslie Jordan dies in car accident
2022-10-24
Leslie Jordan—the openly gay actor who rose to fame on Will & Grace as the frenemy of Megan Mullally's Karen Walker and was immediately recognizable by his Southern accent—died in a single-car crash in Hollywood on ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'P-Valley,' Dan Levy, trans/non-binary panel, Christina Aguilera, Spirit Day
2022-10-23
Video below - Starz has renewed the show P-Valley (the network's most-watched series) for a third season, The Hollywood Reporter noted. The renewal for the series from creator/showrunner Katori Hall arrives more than two months after the sophomore season ...


Gay News

'Martinis That Matter' to honor former TPAN CEO Jeff Berry on Oct. 30
2022-10-19
Marty's Martini Bar, 1511 W. Balmoral Ave., presents "Martinis That Matter," a community giving-back program that funds community groups, charities and organizations. Profits from the sales during these events go to the organizations hosting. On Sunda ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Kathleen Joan DeBold
2022-10-15
-- From www.kfhpa.com/obituary/Kathleen-DeBold - Kathleen Joan DeBold, celebrated DC LGBT activist, died suddenly on October 9, 2022 in Ocean City, MD. Kathleen was born on November 16, 1955 in Brooklyn, NY, to Francis Charles and Joan Marie DeBold. During childhood, ...


 




Copyright © 2023 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


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
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     
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.