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SHOWBIZ John Waters, Billy Eichner, 'Trans & Nonbinary Kids Mix,' RuPaul
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2020-07-27

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Gay filmmaker John Waters ( Serial Mom; Hairspray ) is the latest face of the French fashion brand Saint Laurent, Out.com noted. He appears in a suit from the brand with black shades, shot by David Sims. "My name is John Waters, " he says in an accompanying video. "Transgression is when you break the rules and you make people laugh."

Actor/comedian Billy Eichner ( The Lion King; TV's American Horror Story ) and producer Tom McNulty are developing Man in the Box, a biopic based on the life of groundbreaking TV icon Paul Lynde—and Eichner plans to star, Deadline noted. While Lynde was never publicly "out," he never lied about his sexuality either, as most famous gay actors of that era did. Eichner said, "There's some overlap, between Paul and I, in that we both had our breakthrough in the industry, as performers, presenting a rather larger than life, flamboyant, gay persona on screen. Even though I was always very out, Paul was never technically out."

Ants on a Log, an award-winning family folk duo from Philadelphia, curated the Trans & Nonbinary Kids Mix, a press release noted. The mix includes joyful, danceable songs, poignant ballads, songs with nonbinary pronouns, folk, hip-hop, pop and more. Ants on a Log held an open call for the compilation and invited kids artists, trans/nonbinary musicians and cisgender allies to contribute. A GoFundMe campaign supports the musicians and graphic artist Wriply Bennet, who created the cover art. The mix is free on Bandcamp, with all donations benefitting Camp Aranu'tiq ( CampAranutiq.org ), a summer camp for trans/nonbinary youth.

Premiering Friday, Aug. 21, RuPaul's Drag Race: Vegas Revue is a six-episode docuseries revolving around the RuPaul's Drag Race Live! residency, Out.com noted. The new VH1 series shows not only what happened onstage for the residency also behind the scenes. Personalities on the show will include Yvie Oddly, Asia O'Hara, Derrick Barry, Kameron Michaels, Naomi Smalls and Vanessa "Vanjie" Mateo.

The Voice season-three alum Avery Wilson celebrated his 25th birthday—and announced he's bisexual, Out.com noted. "I've always personally faced but publicly never answered one HUGE question about myself—all because I wanted my privacy and I felt like my business is just that—MY business," he stated on Instagram. "To finally answer the question ..... yes, I'm a bisexual man who's in love with LOVE. I am who I am and I love who I love. Always have and always will."

Actress Scarlett Johansson stirred controversy two years ago when it was announced that she would be playing a transgender man in the upcoming film Rub & Tug—but now the role will be played by a trans actor in what is now a TV show, LGBTQ Nation noted, citing Deadline. Film/TV production company is reportedly committed to casting a trans actor for the role, and announced that Our Lady J, who is transgender, is involved in the project as a writer.

The 10th annual iHeartRadio Music Festival will take place virtually Sept. 18-19, iHeart.com noted. The mega-concert will feature performances from BTS, Coldplay, Kane Brown with special guests Khalid, Keith Urban, Migos, Miley Cyrus, Thomas Rhett, Usher and more, with Ryan Seacrest hosting. Fans will also get to see intimate backstage moments with artists as they share how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their lives and families, given the disruption in society and touring.

Season two of the LGBTQ series After Forever was the recipient of the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Writing Team in a Digital Series in the first round of those awards, a press release noted. The release said that eason one—which introduced audiences to the love story of a middle-aged gay couple, Brian and Jason, their family and friends—made history when it won five 2019 Emmys, making it the most Emmy-awarded LGBTQ-themed drama series in any platform. See AfterForevertheSeries.com .

The second round of winners for the 47th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards were unveiled July 26 as the ceremony handed out trophies honoring Children's, Lifestyle, and Animation programming, Deadline noted. The ceremony also paid tribute to Regis Philbin, who passed away this past weekend. A few of the winners included George to the Rescue, Tom Kenny ( as SpongeBob SquarePants ), Jeopardy!, Tamron Hall, Batman: Hush and Sesame Street's 50th Anniversary Celebration. Also, Alan Menken became the 16th person in history to achieve EGOT status, joining an exclusive group of people who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.

Less than a year after the release of her album Lover, Taylor Swift surprised fans with her eighth studio album, folklore, which was released at midnight on July 24, USA Today reported. The 16-song album was written "in isolation," she said on Instagram. A music video for the song "Cardigan" was released at the same time. Swift noted that the "entire shoot was overseen by a medical inspector, everyone wore masks, stayed away from each other, and I even did my own hair, makeup, and styling." Among the celebrities loving the album is Todrick Hall, who posted, "I'm 4 songs in and this is my favorite @taylorswift13 album yet. The melodies, the lyricism, the production. So proud of her! Ughhhhhh," Billboard noted. The album sold more than 1.3 million copies around the world in under 24 hours.

Grammy-winning singer/songwriter/actress Brandy is set to release her new studio album, b7, on Friday, July 31, a press release noted. Her single "Baby Mama," featuring Chance the Rapper, is currently on the Adult R&B Chart. This 15-track album is Brandy's first full-length release since 2012's Two Eleven and is described as "her most personal to date." Other songs include "Unconditional Oceans," "Borderline" and "Bye Bipolar."

On the heels of his debut album, Bloodline, openly gay singer Ben Hazlewood released his latest music video, "Revelry," a press release noted. Following a Zoom album release celebration, Hazlewood and his team were inspired to make a music video around the idea of the video grid—and which has some queer representation. The video is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JH_EXOq0gAY&feature=youtu.be.

The Rolling Stones released previously unheard and never-before-released "Scarlet," a track recorded by the Stones in October 1974 featuring Jimmy Page and Rick Grech, a press release noted. The previously unreleased track follows the success and acclaim of the Stones' "Living In A Ghost Town" and will feature on the upcoming Sept. 4 multi-format release of Goats Head Soup 2020.

The multi-platinum alternative quartet Neon Trees released their fourth studio album, I Can Feel You Forgetting Me, a press release noted. "Writing this record was extremely cathartic," said lead singer Tyler Glenn, who penned much of the album over several years. "I had ostensibly moved to LA to work on honing a body of work for this album, but also to get away from a relationship that was haunting me."

Grammy-winning multi-platinum band Maroon 5 debuted their latest single, "Nobody's Love," via 222 Records/Interscope, a press release noted. The band's new song debuts with an accompanying music video shot by film director David Dobkin; the video ( which features Adam Levine with a shaved head, and which includes a message at its conclusion about ending the "war on marijuana" ) was recently shot in Los Angeles on an iPhone with only Adam and the director present. In tandem with the video release, Maroon 5 and Interscope Records will be making a donation to the ACLU of Southern California.

Imelda Staunton will not make her bow as Queen Elizabeth II until 2022 as The Crown takes a filming break this year amid its final cast changeover, Deadline reported. Left Bank Pictures won't start filming the fifth season of the Netflix franchise until next June, meaning the streamer will be without new episodes of one of its highest-profile shows in 2021.

In national voting, members of SAG-AFTRA ratified the 2020 TV/theatrical agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, a press release stated. Members approved the new three-year contracts covering motion pictures, television and new media production by a vote of 74.22 percent to 25.78 percent percent, with a turnout of 27.15 percent. In addition to codifying meaningful wage increases, improvements to funding for the benefit plans and significantly improved residuals for streaming video, the agreement includes new protections governing nudity, simulated sex scenes and sexual-harassment prevention.

Glee's Chris Colfer wrote an op-ed for Variety about his late co-star Naya Rivera. Among other things, he wrote, "When Naya sang, you could feel her soul resonating through your own. Her voice would break your heart in one chorus, only to rebuild it in the next," adding, "Her heroic and groundbreaking portrayal of Santana Lopez on 'Glee' inspired millions of young people around the world, especially in the LGBTQIA community, and it will be treasured for generations to come."

On a related note, the creators of Glee are setting up a college fund for Naya Rivera's 4-year-old son, CNN.com noted. Paying tribute to Rivera in a joint statement, Glee producers Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan described the 33-year-old former child actor as a "joy to write for, a joy to direct and a joy to be around." Rivera played openly lesbian cheerleader Santana Lopez on the Fox musical comedy-drama, which quickly won critical acclaim after debuting in 2009; she appeared in nearly every episode of the show, which ended in 2015.

Airplane! celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2020 with a brand-new Blu-ray in the Paramount Presents line, as well as a limited edition Blu-ray Steelbook, both now available from Paramount Home Entertainment, a press release stated. Voted "one of the 10 funniest movies ever made" by the American Film Institute, the film ( originally released in 1980 ) continues to be widely referenced and quoted 40 years after its theatrical debut.

In the wake of the response from Jennifer Hudson's performance of Aretha Franklin's "Young, Gifted & Black" on the BET Awards, and the Respect trailer that followed, MGM/United Artists Releasing is now going wide with the biopic about the legendary performer on Jan. 15, 2021, MLK weekend, Deadline noted. Previously, the studio was planning to platform the movie, with a limited Christmas Day debut, an expansion on Jan. 8 and full-on wide release on Jan. 15.

Regis Philbin, one of daytime television's longest-running hosts, died at age 88, Deadline reported. In 1988, Philbin was tapped to be the co-host of Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee alongside Kathie Lee Gifford. She left the show after 15 years, and Philbin was joined by Kelly Ripa in 2001. Philbin left the show after 23 years on-air, replaced by former football player Michael Strahan. Philbin also served as the original host of the popular game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? during 1999-2002. On Instagram, Ripa called Philbin "the ultimate class act."

Gone with the Wind and The Heiress star Olivia de Havilland—one of the last luminaries from Hollywood's Golden Age—died in Paris at age 104, UPI.com reported. The two-time, Oscar-winning actress ( the sister of actress Joan Fontaine ) was also in other films such as Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte and The Adventures of Robin Hood. In 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected de Havilland's petition to review the dismissal of her lawsuit against FX for its series Feud: Bette and Joan. De Havilland sued the cable TV network in July 2017 stating that Feud's showrunners used her name and image without permission or compensation, and negatively and inaccurately portrayed her as a gossipmonger.

Local police confirmed the home of Ellen DeGeneres and wife Portia de Rossi was burglarized—and they are investigating the possibility the pair may have been targeted because of their celebrity status, Out.com reported. DeGeneres has been broadcasting her show from her home during the recent pandemic, but it was unclear if she was home at the time of the burglary.

The GRAMMY Museum announced a senior staff reorganization, including the creation of three key senior leadership positions: vice president of finance and administration; vice president of education for GRAMMY In The Schools®; and vice president of artist relations, programs, and content, a press release noted. The changes take effect Saturday, Aug. 1.

Justin Bieber announced July 23 that he's officially kicking off his world tour next summer, Billboard noted. He postponed his entire international jaunt in support of his fifth studio album, Changes, before its May 14 start date because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now it's starting June 2, 2021, at San Diego's Pechanga Arena, wrapping around the United States and his Canadian homeland before ending Aug. 15 at Sacramento's Golden 1 Center.

Lisa Kudrow could come to Broadway—as Valerie Cherish, her character on HBO's The Comeback, Page Six noted. Kudrow is reportedly being wooed to the stage by various shows after she said in a recent interview that if cult hit The Comeback came back for a third season, she envisioned Val—a formerly famous sitcom star trying to revive her career—taking on a Broadway role.

AMC announced plans to reopen its multiplexes beginning mid-to-late August instead of the previously announced date of July 30, after a pause involving the movie Tenet, Deadline noted. Warner Bros. will likely take the Christopher Nolan thriller overseas in such markets as Asia and certain European markets, where COVID-19 has quelled, and release the film stateside in those states where it's safe to reopen movie theaters.

Paramount's A Quiet Place 2 is leaving Labor Day weekend for April 23, 2021, and now its Skydance co-production Top Gun: Maverick has been moved from Dec. 23 for July 2, 2021, Deadline noted. Other release dates Paramount is setting: Jackass will go Sept. 3, 2021, instead of July 2, 2021; Sonic the Hedgehog 2 will open April 8, 2022; Paramount Animation's Under the Boardwalk will open July 22, 2022; and the animated co-production The Tiger's Apprentice will open Feb. 10, 2023.

A few Chicago P.D. production personnel have begun to prep for COVID regulations before the crews arrive, ReelChicago.com noted. Chicago Med and Chicago Fire are also said to follow the same schedule for start-up. Production was shut down on all three sets in March, just one or two episodes away from wrapping their seasons, due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

Development of a spinoff of the Danny Strong/Lee Daniels-created series Empire with iconic matriarch Cookie Lyon is the first order of business in a new first-look deal that Taraji P. Henson signed with 20th Century Fox TV, Deadline noted. Henson has teamed with Working Title alum Christine Conley to have the latter run her newly formed TPH Entertainment.

Dave Franco confirmed he will portray Vanilla Ice in an upcoming biopic that puts a Disaster Artist-like spin on the story of the "Ice Ice Baby" rapper, The New York Post noted. The film To the Extreme was originally revealed via casting notice in January 2019, but the biopic has not yet started production.

Netflix has set an Oct. 16 streaming date for Aaron Sorkin's The Trial of the Chicago 7, Deadline noted. Directed and scripted by Oscar and Emmy winner Sorkin, the pic follows protest organizers Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Tom Hayden and Bobby Seale at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, which went from a peaceful protest to a violent clash with police and the National Guard. The foursome were charged with conspiracy to incite a riot, and the trial that followed was one of the most notorious in U.S. history. The film stars Sacha Baron Cohen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Eddie Redmayne, among others.

Broadway Murder Mysteries—the murder mystery game company created by Monica Hammond—has launched its fifth murder mystery party game, "Drama at Drag Brunch: The Slaying of the Sequin Sisters," a press release noted. The game features Ginger Minj ( from RuPaul's Drag Race ) as "Casey Closed" the Drag Detective. Broadway Murder Mysteries is a lesbian-owned business and was created in March to give projects to out-of-work talent while creating something inherently theatrical can be played virtually. See https://www.broadwaymurdermysteries.com/drama-at-drag-brunch.

Wendy Williams announced that her long-running syndicated show will resume production—from the studio—on Sept. 21, Variety noted. She posted, "I miss you and can't wait to get back in my purple chair and show you what we did to the set." Williams was shooting her hour-long show live from her home up until mid-May when she went on an indefinite hiatus, due to complications with Graves' disease.

Speaking of Williams, she faced some backlash after she posted a collage photo of the show's crew members, TheJasmineBrand stated. The collage consists of nine men who work on the popular talk show, and who appear to be non-minorities. Some social-media users commented on the lack of diversity amongst her staff, based on the post. However, certain people who appear in front of the cameras—such as senior producer Norman Baker and DJ Boof—are Black.

Charlize Theron said she faced some gender-based discrimination early in her career, People.com noted. The Oscar winner starred in the 2003 movie The Italian Job alongside actors Mark Wahlberg, Edward Norton, Jason Statham and Donald Sutherland—but she said she was forced to train for six weeks longer than the men. The actress said the situation "put a real fire under my a—. ... I vividly remember Mark Wahlberg, halfway through one of our training sessions, pulling over and throwing up because he was so nauseous from doing 360s."

HBO will adapt the critically acclaimed stage show, Between the World and Me, based on the #1 New York Times bestseller of the same name by author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates, a press release noted. Originally adapted and staged by the Apollo Theater in 2018, the special ( to air this fall ) will combine elements of that production, including readings from Coates' book, and will once again be directed by award-winning director and Apollo Theater Executive Producer Kamilah Forbes. The special will be produced under COVID-19 guidelines.

Dancing with the Stars is looking to start production in September, as ABC and BBC Studios work through health and safety protocols, Deadline noted. The show—based on the BBC format Strictly Come Dancing—is entering its 29th season with former America's Next Top Model host Tyra Banks hosting and exec-producing.

CBS will launch the season premiere of Big Brother: All-Stars on Wed., Aug. 5, Deadline noted. The show traditionally starts in June but as a result of the COVID-19 production shutdown, it's taken slightly longer than expected. The network will air three weekly episodes of the Julie Chen Moonves-hosted show on Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Season 22, which comes after the show's 20th anniversary of its U.S. launch, is the second time in its history to have featured an all-star cast, having previously done so in 2006.

Actress Anna Camp ( Pitch Perfect ) contracted COVID-19, and she believes it was after one time not wearing her mask in public, USA Today noted. The actress explained her experience in an Instagram post in which she urged readers not to let their guard down. "One time, when the world was starting to open up, I decided to forgo wearing my mask in public. One. Time. And I ended up getting it," posted Camp. She was "extremely sick" for three weeks, but has tested negative for COVID-19.

Martha Stewart generated internet chatter with her glamorous poolside selfie, The New York Daily News noted. "My pool in East Hampton is the place to be on a 89 degree day!," the celebrity chef/businesswoman captioned her selfie. Stewart's 855,000 followers took notice, including Real Housewife of New York City star Leah McSweeney, who wrote, "OMG, Martha with [a] thirst trap I love it," under the pic, according to The New York Post.


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