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Entertainment: Laverne Cox, Katy Perry, Justin Hartley, Women's Day backers
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2017-03-14

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Orange Is the New Black's Laverne Cox has been tapped as the co-lead alongside Meaghan Rath in ABC's The Trustee, Deadline noted. The show is a comedic one-hour pilot from the Smurfs writers Jay Scherick and David Ronn, Warner Bros. TV, and Elizabeth Banks and Max Handelman's studio-based Brownstone Productions. Cox is coming off CBS' midseason legal drama Doubt, in which she made history as the first transgender actor cast as a regular on a broadcast series.

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) announced that pop singer and longtime equality advocate Katy Perry will be honored with HRC's National Equality Award at the 2017 Los Angeles Gala Dinner on March 18, a press release noted. Actress/LGBTQ advocate America Ferrera will be also be recognized with HRC's Ally for Equality Award ( presented by Lena Dunham ). HRC also announced that former vice-presidential candidate and current U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine ( D-Virginia ) will be the featured speaker at the gala, and that singer/songwriter Troye Sivan will perform. Special guests include Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Justin Hartley joked during a March 7 appearance on The Talk that he is a bit unnerved that he hasn't been asked to strip down to nothing on his NBC show, This Is Us, according to US Weekly. Asked to share his feelings about costar Milo Ventimiglia showing off his bare butt for a recent scene, 40-year-old Hartley—who occasionally goes shirtless as hunky actor Kevin Pearson on the hit drama—replied, "I'm a little upset about it. I mean, what does that say? Am I losing it?"

In a show of support for International Women's Day, Beyonce, Coldplay, John Legend, Madonna and other celebrities co-signed an open letter advocating for gender equality, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The letter is co-signed by Chime for Change, a campaign Beyonce and actress Salma Hayek co-founded to "unite and strengthen the voices speaking out for girls and women globally." Hari Nef, Julia Roberts, Jada Pinkett Smith, Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele and Dakota Johnson are some of the other individuals who signed the letter.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has set a date for the 75th annual Golden Globe Awards, Deadline reported. The ceremony will air live coast-to-coast on NBC on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018. Produced by Dick Clark Productions in association with the HFPA, the Golden Globes are viewed in more than 236 countries worldwide and are one of the few awards ceremonies to include both motion picture and television achievements. Jimmy Fallon hosted the 2017 awards ceremony.

Openly gay TMZ head Harvey Levin recently met with President Trump—and his staffers reportedly are not comfortable with that development, TheWrap noted. The New York Times reported that Levin was granted an hour-long meeting with Trump that included a tour of the presidential residence and a stop in the Lincoln Bedroom. The friendliness between Trump and Levin came as Trump has antagonized more established news outlets, including The New York Times, which he has called "failing," and CNN, which he has branded "fake news." Levin was reportedly angling for a Trump interview for his upcoming Fox News series OBJECTified, slated to debut in the fall; the show is a spinoff of a November special that pulled in more than 4 million viewers.

Fathom Events, BY Experience and National Theatre Live will bring the stage to U.S. cinemas with NT LIVE: Obsession on May 11 and NT LIVE: Angels in America on July 20 and 27, a press release noted. Obsession features Jude Law ( The Young Pope ) in a tale of adultery. Andrew Garfield stars in Angels in America, a story set in New York during the 1980s AIDS crisis in a conservative country, as people fight for their lives; Denise Gough, Nathan Lane and Russell Tovey co-star.

Transparent creator Jill Soloway spent her time as the opening film keynote speaker at SXSW addressing how to enact change, The Hollywood Reporter stated. "My entire career could be simply talking to documentary directors asking me why there aren't more women directors," Soloway said to laughs before saying that, most of the time, it's male directors asking her that question. She attributed the lack of gender diversity in directorial roles to a laundry list of societal problems, including the patriarchy, men, white men and white supremacy.

Two former American Bandstand dancers claim that Dick Clark hid the sexual orientation of its dancers, LGBTQ Nation noted. "The one thing that really shocked me," Bandstand Diaries co-author Ray Smith ( with Arlene Sullivan ) told the New York Post, "was that those boys who were 14 and 15 and 16 were sleeping with each other." Smith told the paper he was "shocked" to learn that "most of the guys on Bandstand, so many of them, were gay," and that Clark was "determined" to keep the homosexuality of popular Bandstand regulars a secret.

Fashion designer Calvin Klein, 74, has been spotted frequently with model Kevin Baker, 29, according to NewNowNext. While the couple hasn't addressed their relationship publicly, they recently appeared on the American Ballet Theatre red carpet together, holding hands. Baker is a twin—his brother, Joel, is also a model.

The producer of iTunes such as Radiolab, 2 Dope Queens andFreakonomics Radio announced the launch of its latest podcast, Nancy, on Sunday, April 9, a press release stated. Co-hosted by Kathy Tu and Tobin Low, two new voices in the LGBTQ community, Nancy features intimate and frank conversations, reporting and inspirational stories. Nancy will be available at NancyPodcast.org .

Six weeks into its freshman run, the CW's midseason drama series Riverdale has received an early season-two renewal for 2017-18, Deadline noted. The Archie Comics drama has excelled in delayed and digital viewing, particularly in the young demos. Riverdale is the first freshman CW show this season to get a renewal. The network's new fall entries, No Tomorrow and Frequency, are considered long shots unless either gets major traction with reruns on Netflix.

Ahead of its expected renewal of TV's top comedy, The Big Bang Theory, for up to two more seasons, the network has ordered Young Sheldon, a spinoff about a 9-year-old version of Jim Parsons' nerdy genius lead character, for next season, USA Today reported. Sheldon will star Iain Armitage as the pint-sized Cooper, who's already attending high school at that tender age and living with his family in east Texas. Parsons will narrate the series as the adult version of Sheldon, and the series will also feature Zoe Perry, Lance Barber, Raegan Revord and Montana Jordan.

A rep for fitness icon Richard Simmons staunchly denied allegations that the fitness guru is being held captive or having his activity monitored by his housekeeper, TheWrap reported. The reclusive Sweatin' to the Oldies icon has been thrust back into the spotlight because of filmmaker Dan Taberski's popular podcast Missing Richard Simmons, in which Taberski tries to understand why Simmons abandoned public life. In the third episode, Simmons' longtime friend and former masseur, Mauro Oliveira, said he believes Simmons is being held against his will by his housekeeper, Teresa Reveles, whom he called a "witch"—remarks that Simmons' rep, Tom Estey, called "a complete load of crap."

Veteran America's Got Talent ( AGT ) judge Howie Mandel announced on social media that Tyra Banks will host the show, Deadline reported. This marks Banks' return to reality series hosting after a long stint on America's Next Top Model, which she also co-created. She replaces long-time AGT host Nick Cannon, who recently quit the series after eight seasons via an emotional post in which he announced that he was leaving after allegedly being threatened with termination by NBC over an AGT- and NBC-related racial joke in his new Showtime stand-up special.

Less than a month after the second season of the high-stakes drama Billions debuted to large numbers, Showtime said the series is coming back for a third season for an expected early 2018 debut, Deadline reported. The show stars Damian Lewis, Paul Giamatti, Maggie Siff and Malin Akerman, and made news when it had gender non-conforming actor Asia Kate Dillon co-starring in the second season.

HBO has confirmed that Game of Thrones will return for its seven-episode seventh season on Sunday, July 16, a press release noted. Based on the popular book series A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R.R. Martin, this hit Emmy-winning fantasy series chronicles an epic struggle for power in a vast and violent kingdom. Members of the ensemble cast for the sixth season included Emmy and Golden Globe winner Peter Dinklage, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Aidan Gillen, Kit Harington, Diana Rigg, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams and Jonathan Pryce.

Ed Sheeran has announced a 48-date North American arena tour, slated to kick off at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri, on June 29 and run through an Oct. 6 show at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville ( including a Sept. 15 stop at Chicago's Allstate Arena ), The Hollywood Reporter noted. The tour will celebrate the tremendous success the Grammy-winning singer has had with his third LP, Divide. With "Shape of You" and "Castle on the Hill," Sheeran has become the first artist to ever have two singles make simultaneous top-10 debuts in Billboard's 58-year history.

Declaring his vehement opposition to all things Kardashian, a Connecticut man destroyed several books by the dynasty's most famous member at the Barnes & Noble store, The Hartford Courant reported. Carl Puia, 74, was arrested and charged with third-degree criminal mischief. On Oct. 13, Puia spread an unidentified red liquid on six copies of Kim Kardashian West's book Selfish, a photographic collection of the reality-TV star and her family, according to police. Puia also left a lengthy typewritten note for store staff outlining his concerns about Kim and her kin.

In celebration of the band's 25th anniversary, Grammy-nominated pop-rock trio Hanson officially announced its "Middle of Everywhere" 25th-anniversary world tour, a press release noted. This year is also the 20th anniversary of the band's debut release Middle of Nowhere, lead by the single "Mmmbop." Also, in select markets, Taylor Hanson will DJ the "Dance Like You Don't Care" after party, which will feature an eclectic mix of modern and '90s favorites. See Hanson.net .

Criss Angel's Las Vegas show came to an abrupt halt recently after the magician reportedly passed out during one of his acts, The Hollywood Reporter noted. The incident occurred during Angel's Mindfreak Live! show at the Luxor hotel. According to TMZ, Angel was rushed to the emergency room at Spring Valley Hospital Medical Center and was discharged later that night.

Terrence Malick's long-awaited film Song to Song has several famous faces—with the cast including Ryan Gosling, Natalie Portman and other Oscar-winning actors—but several equally famous stars got the famous Malick chop in the editing room, TheWrap noted. Christian Bale, Haley Bennett and Benicio del Toro absent from the nearly two-hour film when it screened at opening night at the South by Southwest Film Festival. Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender, Natalie Portman and Cate Blanchett star in Malick's Austin-based drama, shot mostly in 2011.

Goldfrapp has unveiled its new track, "Ocean," which is taken from their forthcoming album Silver Eye, to be released March 31 through Mute, a press release noted. Silver Eye follows 2013's Tales of Us. The album was mixed by David Wrench ( The xx, fka Twigs, Caribou ).


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