Over the weekend, Oak Park gay bar Velvet Rope Ultra Lounge, was destroyed in a fire. Firefighters were called to the scene around 6:30 a.m. Sunday to put out the blaze, which burned the nightclub's interior. The fire could be investigated as a possible hate-crime-associated arson after anti-gay comments were discovered scribbled on a wall. In addition, the back door, which was kicked in, also showed negative comments. Arson investigators were reportedly seen removing large pieces of concrete from the wall.
Velvet Rope owner Frank Elliott, who left the bar around 2 a.m., was in shock and disbelief that his bar was the possible target of arson. "My whole life, everything that I've worked for ... my whole life is on the line and I don't know what to think or even begin with," he told the Tribune. Elliott has also been working to open Bonsai, an Asian restaurant, on Halsted in Boystown. No word on whether the Oak Park fire will impede this opening.
· Owner of Oak Park Gay Club Believes Weekend Fire Suspicious [Tribune]