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Entertainment: Elton John, Maria Bello, Gwen Stefani, TMZ's Harvey Levin
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2016-03-29

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An ex-bodyguard is suing Sir Elton John for allegedly grabbing his crotch, twisting his nipples and demanding he "say hello to Uncle Elton," The New York Daily News reported. Jeffrey Wenninger quit his security gig in 2014, ending a 12-year stint protecting the "Nikita" singer. Wenninger cited multiple incidents of "unwelcome and offensive touching and groping" in a lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of California. NME.com reported that, in response, Orin Snyder—the U.S .attorney for John's Rocket Entertainment Group—has said in a statement, "This baseless lawsuit is brought by a disgruntled former security officer seeking to extract an undeserved payment. These claims are patently untrue and contradicted by numerous previous statements made by this plaintiff. We will not give into his latest abuse of the legal system."

The Walt Disney Co. and Marvel Studios indicated opposition to a Georgia religious-liberty bill pending before Gov. Nathan Deal ( before he vetoed the measure ), saying that they will take their business elsewhere "should any legislation allowing discriminatory practices be signed into state law," Variety reported. With generous tax incentives, Georgia has become a production hub, with Marvel currently shooting Guardians of the Galaxy 2 at Pinewood Studios outside Atlanta. Captain America: Civil War shot there last summer. The MPAA, representing major studios, has already spoken out against the legislation. More than a dozen major entertainment companies and 38 individuals—including Anne Hathaway, Greg Berlanti, Aaron Sorkin, Lee Daniels and Seth MacFarlane—came forward against the bill.

Actress Maria Bello, 48, is dating 29-year-old Elijah Allan-Blitz after splitting from girlfriend Clare Munn, People reported. Bello and Allen-Blitz, a virtual reality director for mindfulness teaching, were first linked in August. Allan-Blitz co-directred a promotional video for Bello's book Whatever ... Love Is Love over the summer, alongside Munn, her girlfriend of two years. Bello wrote a personal essay in 2013 titled "Coming Out as a Modern Family," in which she described falling in love with her female best friend.

Singer-songwriter Gwen Stefani said in a recent interview that she would be okay if one of her two sons with ex-husband Gavin Rossdale came out as gay, according to an On Top Magazine item that cites PrideSource. "I would be blessed with a gay son—you know that I would feel blessed about that," she said. "I just want my boys to be happy and healthy, and I just ask God to guide me every day to be a good mother because it is not an easy job." The co-founder and lead vocalist of No Doubt added that being gay "seems so normal" to her. Her newest CD, This Is What the Truth Feels Like, debuted at number one on the Billboard Top 200 Album chart, bowing with 84,000 album equivalent units.

Singer Adam Lambert discussed why he decided not to take the role of Dr. Frank-N-Furter in Fox's upcoming remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, On Top Magazine reported. Lambert said he felt the role should go to a transgender actor—and it will, as Laverne Cox will play Frank-N-Furter. "I think casting Laverne was so brilliant," Lambert said. "It's so appropriate, you know what I mean? And to re-imagine [the character], as well, because she's entirely different." Lambert has been cast as Eddie, a rock 'n' roller who crashes the party at Frank-N-Furter's castle.

Harvey Levin—the managing editor of TMZ.com and executive producer and host of TMZ on TV—got personal about growing up gay in an essay published by the Los Angeles LGBT Center, Gay Star News noted. "When I was a teenager, I found myself in a profound internal struggle—what I perceived as a mandate to live a 'straight' life, despite contrary feelings that were welling to the surface," Levin writes in The Center's Vanguard Now. When I finally began to experiment, I felt such shame. If I went to a gay bar, I would wait—sometimes for half an hour—just to make sure cars weren't passing by the front door for fear a driver might see me enter."

In Rolling Stone, actor James Franco talks about his infatuation with gay culture. He said, "When I was studying at NYU, I took classes in critical studies, and one of my favorites was on queer cinema. We've told the straight, heteronormative stories ad nauseam by now, in our movies, our shows, our commercials—everywhere. I think it's healthy to make work that disrupts and questions that, and shows alternative narratives. That's what an artist should do."

Jordin Sparks will be the headline performer for the 8th Annual Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade and Festival, a press release stated. Sparks will perform Sunday, April 10, from the Guyzapp.com Main Stage in Lummus Park. Since its inception in 2009, Miami Beach Gay Pride has become an event with celebrities such as Elvis Duran, Gloria Estefan, Mario Lopez and Adam Lambert serving as grand marshals. Also, rapper Iggy Azalea ( "Fancy" ) will join the Y100 Morning Show host as Duran's guest of honor on his official radio show float as they lead the parade.

A Colorado Mesa assistant baseball coach has apologized for making what an investigation concluded was an anti-gay remark in front of a gay player who said he eventually left the game because of homophobia, The Associated Press reported. Sean McKinney apologized Thursday for the 2014 remark, which he made while talking about the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard. He was speaking in front of players, including Tyler Dunnington. Recently, Outsports.com reported that the comment that lingered with Dunnington the longest came from an unnamed college coach who said, "We kill gay people in Wyoming."

Prison Break star Wentworth Miller found himself the butt of a new Internet meme —and he took a little time out of his day to explain why fat-shaming just isn't cool, US Weekly reported. The out actor posted, "In 2010, semi-retired from acting, I was keeping a low-profile for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I was suicidal. I was looking everywhere for relief/comfort/distraction. And I turned to food. It could have been anything. Drugs. Alcohol. Sex. But eating became the one thing I could look forward to. And I put on weight. Big f—king deal."

Melissa Etheridge has opened up about selecting a sperm donor for her two children, saying Brad Pitt was a serious contender to be the baby daddy, reported Page Six. While there was plenty of speculation about who fathered the kids ( bornin 1997 and 1998 ), Rolling Stone magazine revealed in 2010 that their biological father was musician David Crosby, from Crosby, Stills & Nash. But in an interview with Angela Bishop on Studio 10, the singer said Hollywood heartthrob Brad Pitt could've been their dad. Etheridge and Pitt had become close friends over the years, with the singer performing at Pitt's 2000 wedding to Jennifer Aniston.

In a shake-up, Miley Cyrus and Alicia Keys will join NBC's The Voice as judges next season while singer-producer Pharrell Williams will leave, TheWrap reported. Country star Blake Shelton and Adam Levine—who each reportedly earn $13 million each per season—have re-upped their deals as coaches. Other sources reported that Christina Aguilera will leave for season 11, making the upcoming season the first with two female coaches.

EastSiders: The Series—a dark comedy about a gay couple trying to stay together—has received two Daytime Emmy nominations, a press release stated. EastSiders: The Series was included in the Outstanding Daytime Digital Drama Series category, and received a nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Digital Daytime Drama Series for Van Hansis' performance—marking his fourth such nomination ( including nods for his role on As the World Turns as gay character Luke Snyder ).

Members of an audience walked out of a recent Margaret Cho show, Page Six reported. At the Stress Factory comedy club in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Cho allegedly opened her set by talking about Garry Shandling's death and her own rape instead of telling jokes. "She kept on talking about rape and how bad rape is, and it evidently pissed off a few people in the audience," an audience member said. "She really got into it with the hecklers. It turned ugly and it just got brutal. People were walking out like crazy."

As one might guess from the previous item, the full slate of Daytime Emmy Awards ( taking place May 1, according to the Emmy website ) has been revealed. According to E! Online, Ellen DeGeneres, Judge Judy, Good Morning America, Wendy Williams and Dr. Mehmet Oz were among those received nods—but The Young and the Restless,earned the most nominations ( 27 ).

JD Samson is a musician, producer, songwriter, DJ—and a huge Christina Aguilera fan, NewNowNext noted. Samson worked with Aguilera on the latter's 2010 CD, Bionic; she saw how much work Aguilera put into the album, and was discouraged to see it not work out. "She works her f*cking ass off," Samson recently told Loverboy Magazine. "I consider her to be a true feminist." Samson also said she thought Bionic didn't sell well because "Lady Gaga's album came out around the same time. People were really into her and dissing Christina."

America's Next Top Model winner and Dancing with the Stars contestant Nyle DiMarco can now add another title: video star, according to NewNowNext. DiMarco is in the brand-new Alex Newell video, "B.O.Y. ( Basically Over You )." In the video for the new single, Newell is getting revenge on his ex, played by DiMarco, by throwing a party at DiMarco's place—without the ex's knowledge.

MOVIE SPOILER ALERT: During an appearance on HuffPost Live, Nia Vardalos said that she surprised Joey Fatone with a gay coming-out storyline in My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, On Top Magazine noted. Vardalos, who wrote and stars in the films, said that Fatone was unaware that his character of cousin Angelo would come out in the sequel. She added that Fatone didn't read the script until "a couple of nights before we started" filming.

With the wrap of Madonna's Rebel Heart Tour on March 20 in Sydney, the pop superstar solidified her status as the highest-grossing solo touring artist in Billboard Boxscore history, the publication revealed. Based on Billboard's Boxscore archives that stretch back to 1990, her overall concert grosses reached $1.31 billion with the tour's final show. The Rebel Heart tour grossed $169.8 million from more than 1 million tickets sold at 82 performances.

A longtime NFL reporter revealed the NFL agreed to a deal where the Los Angeles Rams—then St. Louis—didn't have to do HBO's sports-documentary series Hard Knocks in 2014 if they drafted Michael Sam, CBS News reported. Howard Balzer tweeted, "Sources say NFL agreed not to have Rams on Hard Knocks in 2014 if they drafted Michael Sam." Balzer reported the NFL was concerned the openly gay Sam wouldn't be drafted, so a deal was made with the Rams. Last November, Sam said he wished he wasn't drafted.

Robbie Rogers and Warren Alfie Baker will host Out magazine's Fashion Vanguard Awards March 30 at L.A.'s Taglyan Complex, according to Out.com . The website says the publication is "searching for the next great talent on the cutting edge of fashion. All can enter, but only one will be named the first OUT Fashion Vanguard." The finalists are Andrew Morrison, Kim Mesches and Marcel Coleman Jr.

Songs from Billy Joel ( "Piano Man" ), Gloria Gaynor ( "I Will Survive" ), The Supremes ( "Where Did Our Love Go" ), John Coltrane ( "A Love Supreme" ), The Impressions ( "People Get Ready" ) and Merle Haggard ( "Mama Tried" ) have been selected for induction into the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry, Billboard noted. Under the terms of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, the Librarian of Congress, with advice from the National Recording Preservation Board, selects 25 recordings each year to be preserved. They must be "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" and at least 10 years old.

Betty White's former caretaker is suing the actress for allegedly not allowing her to take breaks or paying her overtime, Page Six reported, citing BuzzFeed. Anita Maynard's suit detail claims she was not properly compensated for work. Maynard states she worked as a live-in caretaker for the Golden Girls actress from Feb. 23, 1994, until March 11, 2016. She is asking the court for wages owed and attorney fees.

Tim Bergling—the Swedish DJ and producer better known by the stage name Avicii—has said he will stop touring after this year, according to Page Six. In message posted on his official website, Bergling, 26, said he will continue to make music "but I've decided this 2016 run will be my last tour and last shows." His best-known hits include "Levels," "Wake Me Up and "Hey Brother."

This past weekend, the Ryan Reynolds movie Deadpool hit a worldwide gross of $745.9 million, which solidifies its status as the highest-grossing R-rated movie worldwide ever, Collider.com noted. The movie surpassed The Matrix Reloaded's previous record haul of $742 million. On the domestic chart, Deadpool still sits at number three as far as R-rated grosses go; its $349.4 million haul is just a hair short of American Sniper's $350.1 million gross, while The Passion of the Christ continues to reign supreme with $370.7 million.

During her concert March 22 at London's 02 arena, Adele paid tribute to the victims of the terrorist attacks in Brussels earlier in the day, ABC News noted. The singer asked the audience to turn on their cellphones to light the arena, according to Entertainment Weekly, which has posted video of the moment. Bomb attacks at the Brussels Airport in Zaventem, Belgium, and at a subway station killed dozens and injured hundreds more.

On another Brussels-related note, Mariah Carey canceled a concert there, TheWrap noted. "I am being advised to cancel my show for the safety of my fans, my band, crew and everyone involved with the tour," the "Someday" singer tweeted. "I hope to see you soon and send my prayers and eternal love, laughter and light to my Lambs."

Former supermodel and reality-show star Janice Dickinson revealed to the Daily Mail that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer, CNN reported. Dickinson was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ ( DCIS ) on March 12, days after her doctor found a lump. The cancer, which Dickinson's doctor caught in its early stages, is the most common type of non-invasive breast cancer. DCIS is not seen as life-threatening but can increase the odds of developing invasive breast cancer, according to Breastcancer.org .

Madonna posted official-looking, but unauthorized, no-parking signs—and even installed additional "NO PARKING" warnings in raised concrete block letters—outside her $40-million NYC home to keep cars from blocking her driveway, Page Six noted. At least one neighbor called the city to complain, prompting a Department of Transportation inspector to visit the signage and reportedly issue a "letter of defacement."

NBC is throwing its hat in the dance competition reality arena with a series starring actress-dancer Jenna Dewan Tatum, Deadline reported. Dewan Tatum will serve as an executive producer, judge and mentor on the series. Also, Dewan Tatum's husband, fellow actor-dancer Channing Tatum, is set to appear.

Rapper Azealia Banks lashed out at photographers who were attempting to snap pictures of the celeb as she left Manhattan Criminal Court for a hearing—and it just so happened to be a court appearance in reference to an alleged assault case from late last year, E! Online noted. Banks was charged with misdemeanor assault, harassment and disorderly conduct for getting into a physical altercation with a female security guard at a club on Dec. 16. She later tweeted, "Taking pictures for the news has to be the whackest hustle ever. Just give it up and become a school picture photographer. Much safer."

BBC America has announced After the Black, a companion show that will air weekly following the show Orphan Black, EW.com noted. Hosted by Innerspace's Ajay Fry, Morgan Hoffman, and Teddy Wilson, After the Black is a 30-minute after show that will feature various cast, crew, and special guest stars chatting about the plot, twists, and theories on future episodes. After the Black will debut air Thursday, April 14, following the season-four premiere of Orphan Black, and will include stars Tatiana Maslany and Kevin Hanchard.

Former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has agreed to appear in a courtroom reality show similar to Judge Judy, TheWrap reported, citing People. The team working on the show includes executives who helped develop Judge Judy and Judge Joe Brown. Despite Palin's political experience, she has never practiced law nor does she have a law degree. Other courtroom show stars like Judy Sheindlin and Joe Brown have served as actual judges before getting their own shows.

A Utah judge has dismissed domestic violence and assault charges against Olympic gold-medal skier Picabo Street, CBS News reported. Street was facing misdemeanor charges after prosecutors say she threw her 76-year-old father down the stairs and locked him in the basement during a fight at her home near Park City. Her lawyer says Street was defending herself during the Dec. 23, 2015, incident.

Giorgio Armani has agreed to stop using fur for all its products, following years of lobbying by animal-rights activists, Page Six reported. Armani said in a statement that new technologies "render the use of cruel practices unnecessary as regards animals." The Armani group will be fur-free from the autumn/winter 2016 collection.


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