Chicago woke up to news reports Monday morning of looting in neighborhoods including South Loop, Gold Coast, Magnificent Mile, Bronzeville, and Lincoln Park. Windows were shattered and merchandise taken. Chicago Police Supt. David Brown says the looting was sparked on Sunday morning after officers shot and wounded a 20-year-old man in Englewood.
The man doesn’t not have life-threatening injuries, according to Brown. “Misinformation” led to the looting. He told reporters that police responded to a report of a man with a gun. After police arrive, the man allegedly shot at the officers without hitting his target, Brown said. After the gunfire, a crowd — one that Brown described as “intense” — gathered in front of the officers. The backdrop of all this are the instances of anti-Black police brutality seen across America.
Brown and Mayor Lori Lightfoot spoke to reporters Monday morning. Lightfoot said the looting had nothing to do with any form of protest, and that it represented “straight-up felony conduct.” She told reporters that there will be restricted access to the city from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. It’s unclear what the mayor means. Actions may include closed highway ramps or CTA closures.
Any closures will have an impact on Chicago restaurant industry, as workers scramble to find transportation home after their night shifts. Lightfoot mentioned restaurants in her Monday remarks: “Stores that were targeted were more than large chains, these were small businesses and restaurants representing our city’s jobs and livelihoods.”
One of those businesses was Cafe Crèmerie, 838 N. State Street, in Gold Coast. Owner Lisa Gasparian posted a photo of smashed window at the cafe. She tells Eater Chicago that looters ripped a safe bolted to the floor and took the Square register and tablet computers used to work with third-party delivery companies. The gelato shop’s windows have been boarded up since 3 a.m. Another business — part of a chain — Nando’s Peri-Peri, 22 S. Wabash Avenue, was looted on Jewelers Row.
Gasparian recently converted her shop from a franchise location of Amorino to an independent shop as a response to the pandemic. COVID-19 has made running her business difficult, and looting — which also happened in May — has hurt even more. Gasparian questioned Lightfoot’s leadership and called the looting “disgusting.” She made a Facebook post asking for President Donald Trump to “send help to Chicago.”
“We need people to not be scared,” Gasparian tells Eater. “Not scared to leave their homes from virus, not scared to be normal because of these criminals.”
Lighftoot would later say “we do not need federal troops in Chicago,” adding that Trump will “have his way with this incident.” The president frequently targets Chicago in his tweets, talking about gun violence. Instead of troops, Lightfoot would prefer the federal government to step up efforts in conducting background checks on gun dealers.
Ald. (2nd Ward) Brian Hopkins, whose ward includes Old Town and Wicker Park, also criticized Lightfoot, saying city officials knew the looting would happen and didn’t take action. Lightfoot, at a second news conference, responded to Hopkins by saying the alderman “has a [penchant] for letting his mouth run before he actually gets the facts.”
The looting is also affecting plans at Revival Food Hall in the Loop. Art of Dosa, one of the food stalls inside, planned to reopen Tuesday. It has been closed since Gov. J.B. Pritzker shuttered all of the state’s dining rooms closed in March. While other food hallvendors have reopened, Art of Dosa owner Ravi Nagubadi says they’re “now evaluating next steps.”
When asked what police can do to make people feel safer downtown, Brown said officers are “committed to working 12-hour shifts,” and that all days off are now cancelled. He also mentioned protecting downtown businesses is as important as protecting areas away from the center of the city. Looters also struck the flagship Binny’s Beverage Depot near Clybourn and Sheffield avenues in Lincoln Park. A second Binny’s location in the Loop was also hit.
And in other news...
— The Illinois Craft Brewers Guild has cancelled Chicago’s 18th Festival of Wood and Barrel-Aged Beer (FOBAB), originally scheduled to be held November 13 and 14, 2020 at the UIC Forum, according to the Tribune. It will, however, still hand out awards in 12 categories for the best beers and ciders of the genre and live-stream a ceremony in November. At $85 per ticket, festival is a key revenue generator for the guild. Members hope to sell competition entries in a fundraiser to help make up for the cancellation.
— Chance the Rapper confirmed Thursday that he forgot to tip a server at Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises restaurant Beatrix in Fulton Market where he had drinks with musician Justin Bieber and his wife, model Hailey Bieber, on social media. A person present for the incident, who claims that they spoke with the server in question, described what allegedly happened in a post on celebrity gossip Instagram account Deuxmoi, writing that the famous trio didn’t tip and were walking around without masks.
When asked about the exchange on Twitter, Chance writes that “my homie owns the restaurant and told us not to pay,” but that he can understand why the worker would be “confused and upset” about not receiving a tip. There’s no word if the homie Chance refers to is one of the Melmans. Rich Melman co-founded LEYE, the largest restaurant group in Chicago. The rapper disputes, however, the claim about masks, writing that he and the Biebers only removed them upon being seated. Hours later, Chance writes in the thread that he regrets responding to the question publicly and will rectify the situation privately, writing, “always tip the server, folks.”
— Chicagoans of a certain age are in mourning over the weekend news that the founder of Medusa’s — a beloved all-ages nightclub — has died, according to the Tribune. Dave Shelton, also known as “Dave Medusa,” founded the club in 1983 at 3257 N. Sheffield Avenue to create a Lakeview space for young people with a “countercultural vibe.” “For Chicago youth, growing up in the ‘80s, MEDUSA’S was a rare lifeline,” friends and collaborators at Wax Trax Records write in a tribute to Shelton on Instagram. “Whether you were gay, straight, punk, new wave, house, metal, a suburban kid, goth, or any other group that didn’t want to be a part of Reagan’s America, MEDUSA’S created a safe space where we all could thrive.” The club’s landlord declined to renew its lease in 1992. Shelton reportedly died of natural causes, and information about services is not currently available.
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We were devastated to learn last night that we lost a dear friend and legend in Chicago. Dave Shelton, AKA Dave Medusa, was the visionary and creator behind MEDUSA’S and played a pivotal role in the development of dance culture here in Chicago. It is safe to say that the early Industrial and House music scene would look very different today had it not been for Dave. The unique environment he created elevated and nurtured art and artists, not only from our city, but from around the world. For Chicago youth, growing up in the 80s, MEDUSA’S was a rare lifeline. Whether you were gay, straight, punk, new wave, house, metal, a suburban kid, goth, or any other group that didn’t want to be a part of Reagan’s America, MEDUSA’S created a safe space where we all could thrive. For Wax Trax! Records, Dave Medusa was the perfect partner in crime. It isn’t new news that Jim & Dannie set up early shows with Dave for Front 242, Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Animal Liberation Showcase, and My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult. What some people may not realize is that when the Wax Trax! label was getting started, MEDUSA DJs and VJs were instrumental in the label’s growth by including Wax Trax! releases in their reporting to national music services like Billboard Magazine. This was invaluable for helping put Wax Trax! on national dance charts and reaching other DJs outside Chicago. The label would have had a very different trajectory had there not been a MEDUSA’S. Dave, thank you for your friendship your twisted sense of humor and your love of animals. Your contributions to the city of Chicago, music, art and youth culture are countless. You will be missed beyond words. #waxtrax #waxtraxrecords #waxtraxchicago #medusaschicago #chicagoindustrial #chicagohousemusic #chicagopunk