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Beyonce's good deed; Lily Tomlin at Gilda's LaughFest in '14
Entertainment news: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2013-11-13

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Beyonce made a fan's dream come true in Australia when she duetted with legally blind concertgoer Sophie Kotkis, according to Popcrush.com . A Kotkis family friend sent a video featuring Sophie to Beyonce's manager and, as a result, Sophie was invited to attend the singer's Nov. 8 concert. However, Sophie had no idea anything was going to happen until Beyonce flew across the arena on a harness and landed right in front of her. Beyonce and Sophie then sang "to the left, to the left," from the song "Irreplaceable."

Speaking of Beyonce, a man named John Barry has created a Change.org petition entitled "Beyonce Cannot Attend Kim Kardashian's Wedding," according to a Huffington Post item. Part of the petition reads, "We must do all in our power to stop Beyonce from attending that god forsaken [sic] wedding, since her husband Jay Z is BFFs with Kanye he problaby [sic] wants both of them to go..." Barry offered some excuses the superstar singer could give to get out of going to the upcoming nuptials, including extending "The Mrs. Carter Show" world tour.

Lily Tomlin, Chris Tucker, and LaughFest veterans Jim Gaffigan and Sinbad will headline Gilda's LaughFest on March 6-16, 2014, according to a press release. This year's Signature Event will feature Emmy-winning comedian, longtime TV personality and late-night talk show host Jay Leno. Several other acts were also announced for LaughFest, along with a "$50,000 Challenge" from five local companies to raise funds specifically for Gilda's Club Grand Rapids Children's cancer, grief and emotional health programs. See www.laughfestgr.org .

Ryan Murphy's American Horror Story has been renewed for a fourth season, according to TheWrap.com . FX made the announcement Nov. 6, saying that the 13-episode fourth season will debut in 2014. The current third season—subtitled "Coven"—set a series record with its premiere episode, has been the best-rated installment of the series so far.

Lady Gaga will perform in ... outer space, according to a New York Daily News item. The "Applause" singer is heading into outer space as part of a Zero G Colony music festival in New Mexico. The 27-year-old star will board a Virgin Galactic ship to sing just one song. The event will mark the first time a pop artist will have performed in space.

In an interview with MTV News, the surviving members of TLC ( T-Boz and Chilli ) revealed why they passed on "... Baby One More Time," the song that launched then-16-year-old Britney Spears' career, the Huffington Post noted. "I was like, I like the song but do I think it's a hit? Do I think it's TLC? I'm not saying 'hit me baby,'" T-Boz said. "No disrespect to Britney. It's good for her. But was I going to say 'hit me baby one more time'? Hell no!" The single remains Spears' biggest hit to date.

Thor star Chris Hemsworth is doing what actors such as Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey have done—lose a lot of weight, according to Page Six. The 30-year-old has undertaken a starvation diet to become as "scrawny" as possible for his new film Heart Of The Sea, which depicts the true events that inspired Herman Melville to write Moby Dick. Hemsworth said he isn't enjoying the new diet regime, which limits him to 500-600 calories daily.

Following RuPaul Drag Race favorite Carmen Carrera's appearance in the Marco Marco runway show, a new Change.org petition is calling on lingerie giant Victoria's Secret to reach out to Carrera and invite the trailblazing icon to become the brand's first transgender model, The Huffington Post reported. Since her "Drag Race" days, Carrera has been making headlines as a show-stopping part of W Magazine's "Showgirls" and a voice for transgender women through outlets such as GLAAD. The petition has garnered more than 35,000 signatures.

Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne tweeted that "Lip$ha," his name for a collaboration album between his band and Ke$ha, is no longer happening, according to Rolling Stone. The Flaming Lips and Ke$ha previously collaborated on "2012 ( You Must Be Upgraded )," a track on the Lips collaborations album The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends.

Singer Sia will donate the money she earns from "Beautiful Pain"—a track she recorded with Eminem for his latest LP, The Marshall Mathers LP 2—to the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center, according to Rolling Stone. Her decision follows her fans scrutinizing her collaboration with Eminem after it was revealed the rapper uses anti-gay slurs on the album. Since the Australian artist identifies herself as "queer," she has decided the proceeds she receives from the track should benefit homeless LGBT youth.

Fashion designer Oscar de la Renta talked at the recent Design Leadership Summit about his decision to temporarily hire controversial designer John Galliano this spring, according to WWD.com . "I've known John for more than 30 years," de la Renta said. "He is an extraordinary talent. John has a lot of problems. I very strongly felt that when people fall, you should try to lift them up. I think everyone in life deserves a second chance. I'm not sure about a third or fourth." Galliano said infamous anti-Semitic remarks in 2011 that resulted in his dismissal from Dior.

Jessica Simpson has reportedly banned her father, Joe, from her upcoming wedding to Eric Johnson, according to Showbiz Spy. Jessica allegedly feels that her father will embarrass her during the event. Last year, the Simpson family was rocked by Joe's confession that he was gay, followed by reports that he'd had a relationship with gay escort Joey Anderson.

Talking with The Daily Beast, James Franco discussed why he plays so many gay characters, according to The Huffington Post. Franco said, in part, "It's not like it's my mission to tell the stories of as many gay men as possible, although in some cases, I think it is the point. ... With characters like Allen Ginsberg [in Howl], my love for him started with his work when I was a teenager. So his sexuality is secondary to me. It's an important aspect of who he was and his character, but it wasn't like, 'Yes, I want to play another gay role.' It was more, 'Yes, I'd love to play another one of my heroes.'"

In an interview with UK gay mag Attitude, Lady Gaga said that she's no gay icon, according to a Queerty item. Responding to a query about similarities between her and Madonna, Gaga said, "I truthfully believe that was nothing about those records [Gaga's "Born This Way" and Madonna's "Express Yourself"] sounding alike, and everything about this gay icon-versus -gay icon nonsense. I don't need to take anybody's torch. I have no interest in taking anybody's torch." She added, "I never said I was a gay icon. ... I'm a gay supporter."

The Talk's Sharon Osbourne gave talk-show host Arsenio Hall's audience an earful when the host asked, "What's the difference between The Talk and The View?" According to Mediaite.com, Osbourne said, "Barbara—idolize her, divine, she is super-human, I love Barbara Walters. The rest can go f-ck themselves!" The next day, Osbourne apologized on the set of The Talk, saying, "I want to apologize to Jenny [McCarthy], Sherri [Shepherd] and Whoopi [Goldberg], who are all accomplished, self-made women who have amazing careers. … It was my irreverent behavior and no disrespect meant."

Actor Anthony Mackie was behind the wheel of a red 2010 Dodge Challenger R/T when he was busted for allegedly driving while intoxicated in Harlem Nov. 9, according to AceShowbiz.com . The 35-year-old star was initially stopped for tinted windows, and then cops noticed his watery, bloodshot eyes and smelled an odor of alcohol. Mackie has starred in movies such as 8 Mile, The Hurt Locker and the gay-themed Brother to Brother.

A certain part of actor Jon Hamm's anatomy has made its presence known again, according to AceShowbiz.com . Some pictures of the 42-year-old actor clearly showed his preference to go commando even when he is on set—even after he was "politely instructed by a staffer at the network to please wear underwear while shooting his scenes" for the sixth season. Hamm's package actually has a Tumblr page under the name "Jon Hamm's Wang." Also, underwear brands Fruit of the Loom and Jockey had also made offers to supply the actor free underwear for life.

During an interview with Ryan Seacrest on KIIS-FM, rapper Kanye West as asked if he ever apologized to Taylor Swift for interrupting her acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. West responded, "I talked to her right before she was going to do a song based on it [and] I tried to get her on the phone [right after] and they wouldn't get her on the phone. ... You know what? I would not want some crazy drunk rockstar cutting my daughter off also. But, my daughter would 100 percent also be like, 'Yes, Beyonce did have the best video.' That's what my daughter would do!"

The fourth season of Downton Abbey hasn't even arrived in the United States, but a fifth season is already on the way, according to TheWrap.com . The show's fourth season recently completed its run in the United Kingdom, where it drew 11.8 million average viewers, making it Britain's highest-rated television drama this year. More than 24 million viewers watched the third season of the series in the United States, making it PBS's most-watched drama ever.

Samuel L. Jackson is breaking one of his own rules for his next role. The actor—who once vowed he would never play a gay man or "kiss a dude" in a movie—has signed on to play gay engineer Tom McCourt in Stephen King's The Cell, BET.com noted. McCourt is also a former soldier who flees to Boston when a powerful signal broadcast to all cell phones turns the world into bloodthirsty monsters. Jackson once told Playboy of playing a gay or transgender character, "I don't think people want to see me do that." He later added, "But you know what? If it's done right and the story is good, I might."

Actress Winona Ryder told V Magazine that she was once "gay-bashed" to the point where she had to be removed from school, according to Refinery29.com . Ryder claimed she had to be pulled out of junior high and home-schooled after being "gay-bashed" by students who thought she was a boy. "I was obsessed with Bugsy Malone and had cut my hair short," she recalled. "I remember the halls were empty and these kids started shouting 'faggot,' and I didn't think they were talking to me."

Katy Perry won the award for best female singer at the 2013 MTV EMA music awards Nov. 10, edging Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga, according to a Chicago Tribune item. However, Cyrus stole the show, lighting what may have been a joint on stage. British-Irish boy band One Direction won for best pop while one of the act's members, Harry Styles, won for best style. Thirty Seconds to Mars won the best alternative award while Beyonce and Bruno Mars won awards for best live act and best song, respectively. Eminem—in hot water for anti-gay lyrics on his most recent CD—was given a "Global Icon" prize for lifetime achievement, along with the best hip-hop award. China's Chris Lee won for best worldwide act, and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis won for best new act.

The 2013 Soul Train Awards took place at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nov. 8, according to HipHopDX.com . Kendrick Lamar won for Album of the Year while Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams, and T.I. earned the Song of the Year award for Thicke's smash single "Blurred Lines," which broke the record for the highest radio audience ever. Among those performing at the event were Jennifer Hudson, Chaka Khan and rapper Warren G ( "Regulate" ). The ceremony will be televised Sunday, Dec. 1, on BET and CENTRIC.

The Broadway musical Big Fish is closing Dec. 29 after failing to find a big audience, according to the New York Daily News. The $14-million show—based on a book and movie about an eccentric storyteller—opened Oct. 6. Its early demise marks a high-profile flop for its Oscar-winning producers Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen ( American Beauty ), Tony-winning director-choreographer Susan Stroman and two-time Tony-winning star Norbert Leo Butz. Big Fish is the third Broadway show to close early in a week, including the John Grisham dramatization A Time to Kill, which concludes Nov. 20, and the musical First Date, which ends Jan. 5.

Singer Alicia Keys hosted her Keep a Child Alive Black Ball in New York City's Hammerstein Ballroom—and raised $4 million to help children and families dealing with AIDS in India and South Africa, the New York Daily News noted. Keys went through a series of costume changes to perform her hit song "No One" and Cheryl Lynn's 1978 disco classic "Got to Be Real." Guests included esigners Diane Von Furstenberg and Tommy Hilfiger, singer Carole King, legendary producer Clive Davis and billionaire philanthropist Stewart Rahr, who paid $200,000 to buy two tables and then decided to match all the other donations and hand over another $2 million.

In a candid interview with Esquire magazine, actor/director George Clooney criticized several of Hollywood's other leading men, including Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio, according to a New York Daily News item. Clooney poked fun at Crowe's effort to mend fences after the New Zealand-born on-screen tough guy called Clooney a "sellout" and a "Frank Sinatra wannabe." Regarding DiCaprio, Clooney said he needs a better entourage, recalling that DiCaprio's crew ran their mouths during a pickup basketball game.

Angela Lansbury—who starred in the original TV series Murder, She Wrote—has said the reboot of the show is a "mistake," according to TheWrap.com . NBC announced last month it would reimagine the show with Oscar winner Octavia Spencer in the lead. Lansbury, 88, said she bears no ill will toward Spencer but added, "I think it's a mistake to call it Murder, She Wrote because 'Murder, She Wrote' will always be about a Cabot Cove and this wonderful little group of people who told those lovely stories and enjoyed a piece of that place, and also enjoyed Jessica Fletcher, who is a rare and very individual kind of person."

Talking with The Advocate, the creator of the MTV show Teen Wolf talked about the show's world, where homophobia is practically nonexistent. Creator Jeff Davis ( an out gay man himself ) said, "I wanted it to be an idealized world—one where being gay isn't just accepted, it's a part of everyday life." Star Tyler Posey added, "I love it because I have a lot of friends who are gay and lesbian, and for a ton of people like me, that's a part of everyday life." A major storyline in the upcoming second half of the third season will involve Beacon Hills High lacrosse goalie Danny Mahealani ( played by Keahu Kahuanui ) and werewolf Ethan ( Charlie Carver, one of a set of identical twins on and off the series ).

Oscar and Grammy winner Adele has walked away from negotiations to replace Cheryl Cole as the face of L'Oreal, according to BroadwayWorld.com . The singer was reportedly offered a $19 million contract. A source said, "L'Oreal is gobsmacked that she turned down such a huge amount." The singer is currently working on her third studio album with Ryan Tedder.

Patti LaBelle's bodyguard has been cleared in a 2011 confrontation with a drunken cadet, Richard King, at a Houston airport terminal, according to Ace Showbiz. On Nov. 11, a Harris County jury returned its verdict, acquitting Efrem Holmes of misdemeanor assault charge against him. LaBelle and her son, Zuri Edwards, had previously testified in the trial for the case. In his testimony, Edwards said King was "intoxicated, loud, obnoxious" and launching racial epithets at his mother.

TVGN, partnering with Lionsgate, has announced its first development slate, Deadline.com reported. TVGN has unveiled a development slate featuring seven unscripted projects, including a series featuring New Kids on the Block that features the band's fans taking cruises with the singers; a game show based on the Celebrity Celebrity parlor game produced by Scandal's Joshua Malina; and Tour Wars, featuring tour-giving vendors who are willing to go to extremes in order to cash in on excitable tourists.

Transgender actress Laverne Cox co-stars in the movie Musical Chairs ( directed by Susan Seidelman of Desperate Seeking Susan ), which debuts Nov. 15 on HBO Latino, according to a press release. The film—set in the world of competitive ballroom dancing—stars newcomers Leah Pipes and E.J. Bonilla as a pair of unlikely lovers in contemporary New York who must face a number of challenges. The film runs through Nov. 28 on HBO Latino and Dec. 12-18 on HBO Signature.

Xcel Brands has signed an exclusive licensing agreement with The Alexander Doll Co. to create a selection of Madame Alexander dolls, doll apparel and doll accessories under the Isaac Mizrahi New York label, WWD.com noted. The deal consists of both collectable and play dolls: Cissy, the 21-inch couture collectible doll ( $1,000 retail ); a 16-inch contemporary fashion collectible doll ( $200 ) and an 18-inch play doll ( $70 ). The doll collection will launch at the American International Toy Fair in New York in February.

Lady Gaga has opened up about her addiction to marijuana, Digital Spy reported. She explained to New York radio station Z100 that she smokes to deal with the pressures of her career. "I have been addicted to it and it's ultimately related to anxiety coping and it's a form of self-medication and I was smoking up to 15-20 marijuana cigarettes a day with no tobacco," she said. After saying she has also become addicted "to various things since I was young," Gaga added, "Can I be brilliant without it? I know that I can be and I have to be because I want to live, and I want my fans to want to live."

Actress Jessica Biel has provided gay NSync member Lance Bass advice about his upcoming wedding, according to USMagazine.com . Bass said that Biel—the wife of former NSync bandmate Justin Timberlake—has given him ideas such as "send[ing] out personalized onesies to all our guests so that at midnight after the reception it turns into a pajama party." Bass spilled few details about his own wedding day, but he does know that it will take place sometime next year, probably around October.

Actor Zac Efron slipped in a puddle of water outside his Hollywood home and broke his jaw, also suffering a gash that required stitches, according to an EW.com item. Efron's mouth is now wired shut. The 26-year-old heartthrob, best known for his work in the High School Musical films and movies such as The Paperboy, recently completed a stint in rehab. Promotional appearances for Efron's upcoming film, That Awkward Moment, have been put on hold.


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