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Entertainment: 'The Black Penguin,' Alexis Arquette, 'Grease' anniv.
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2017-04-04

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Andrew Evans has written The Black Penguin ( University of Wisconsin Press ), which describes how, as an "awkward, gay kid," he escaped into the glossy pages of National Geographic and the wide promise of the world atlas. The Black Penguin is Evans's memoir, travel tale and love story of his eventual journey to the farthest reaches of the map, traveling 12,000 miles.

Alexis Arquette's life was celebrated by sister Patricia Arquette, brothers Richmond and David Arquette, and numerous LGBTQ allies in Hollywood on March 30—the eve of Transgender Visibility Day, Variety noted. "Alexis was a pioneer who worked to raise awareness of social, civil and emotional impact of causes in support of issues faced by the LGBT community," Patricia said of her sister, who passed away last September. In February, Patricia expressed disappointment over the fact that Alexis—an artist and actor with more than 70 credited roles—was not included in the Academy Awards tribute segment.

In a related item, actor Luke Perry introduced Patricia Arquette onstage at the 28th Annual GLAAD Awards on April 1, alongside Transparent actor Jeffrey Tambor, CBS8.com reported. Perry was visibly emotional as a video of Patricia's advocacy on behalf of Alexis Arquette played for the audience. Perry, who was friends with Alexis for decades, praised Alexis' advocacy for transgender men and women getting a fair shot when applying for jobs.

Olivia Newtwon-John told Britain's The Mirror that a reunion could be in the works next year to mark Grease's 40th anniversary, ABC News noted. The Australian actress and singer, 68, confirmed that she and co-star John Travolta have been discussing ideas for a reunion, but she didn't divulge any details. Marking the 40th anniversary could be one of Newton-John's last performances before she retires from 50 years in show business.

After tying the knot in a Palm Springs ceremony on March 25, former Orange Is the New Black actress Samira Wiley and longtime partner ( and "Orange" writer ) Lauren Morelli went to Disneyland, People noted. "Thank you @disneyland for helping us continue to have the best week ever!" Wiley, 29, captioned an Instagram post of the happy couple. She also shared a snap of a special gift from the park: a customized mouse-ear cap embroidered with the words "Mrs. Morelli."

Actor Daniel Newman, who plays Kingdom member Daniel on The Walking Dead, came out on Twitter, LGBTQ Nation reported. The actor credited a young woman at a homeless youth shelter for spurring him to come out of the closet. He told fans that she thanked him for standing up for the queer community as a straight man while he was volunteering at the facility. The development also happened shortly after The Walking Dead character Jesus came out to another character.

Actor Neil Patrick Harris marked his and David Burtka's 13-year anniversary with a post on Instagram on April 2, CBS8.com noted. "Thirteen years and one day ago, I crossed paths with the guy on the left," the How I Met Your Mother star captioned a photo of Burtka with their 6-year-old son, Gideon, in hysterics. "The adventures have never ceased. The love has never waned. The gifts are never ending ( the guy on the right, e.g. ). Happy Anniversary, @dbelicious. You're the best." Burtka, 41, also celebrated the milestone on social media, sharing a photo of Harris, 43, posing against a wall.

Film/TV producer Lee Daniels spoke March 22 at Loyola Marymount University's School of Film & TV, where he took part in the ongoing interview series The Hollywood Masters, The Hollywood Reporter noted. He talked about when his father threw him in a garbage can when Daniels was 8, saying that the father didn't understand the child's homosexuality. ( By contrast, Daniels' grandmother did understand, he added. ) He also commented that, after dropping out of college, he came to Los Angeles, "and then something called AIDS hit. ... I descended into drugs and into sexual bath houses to die. That I don't have AIDS is a miracle from God. I don't understand it. I really don't understand it. Because I should have had HIV. Everybody else did."

Bob Harper has "#noroomforhaters" after his heart attack, People noted. The Biggest Loser host and trainer is fighting back against vegans who believe that his fish-heavy diet is going to give him another heart attack."To all the vegans out there that follow me and tell me that I'm gonna have another heart attack if I continue to eat fish, PLEASE refrain from posting those awful comments," Harper, 51, wrote on Instagram. "They are just plain hateful and mean."

Trey Pearson has premiered his new music video "Silver Horizon," directed by Stephen Cone, a press release noted. "Silver Horizon" marks the release of his first music video since coming out of the closet. Recently, Trey Pearson, the frontman of Christian rock band Everyday Sunday, has come out of the closet to make national news.

Emmy-winning RuPaul's Drag Race shattered records recently with its most watched episode ever, a press release noted. Nearly 1 million viewers tuned in for the season-nine premiere, which tripled the time slot on VH1 while more than doubling last season's debut. The premiere had Lady Gaga as a guest judge.

This year's Glastonbury Festival already had Ed Sheeran, Radiohead and Foo Fighters—but it has added a boatload of other major stars, Billboard.com noted. Katy Perry, Major Lazer and Solange are just a few of the big-ticket artists who were announced in the first wave of acts for the UK fest. Also joining the bill are Lorde, The xx, Barry Gibb, Run the Jewels, Father John Misty, The Flaming Lips, Haim, Alt-J, Stormzy, Clean Bandit, Anderson Paak, Glass Animals and George Ezra. Glastonbury Festival will take place at Worthy Farm in Pilton, Somerset, England, at June 21-25.

After being devastated by the loss of his collie-shepherd mix Honey and Chihuahua Leon, Cumming announced on Instagram that he's written a book about them with his husband, illustrator Grant Shaffer, "so they will live forever," according to Page Six. The book, titled The Adventures of Honey & Leon, follows the pets that worry when their owners "go away on glamorous and important business," and decide to follow, "keeping them out of danger at every turn!"

Elton John, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice will team for a feature animated version of Joseph And The Amazing Techicolor Dreamcoat, Deadline reported. Adam Fogelson, chairman of STX's Motion Picture Group, said at CinemaCon in Las Vegas to unveil the new offering and said the pic is slated for the STX Family banner. The film will also feature new songs written by Lloyd Webber and Rice.

Janeane Garofalo will make her Broadway debut in the Roundabout Theater Company's upcoming production of Marvin's Room, starring alongside Lili Taylor and Celia Weston in the 1990 play by Scott McPherson, Variety noted. Garofalo will play Lee, a single mother who is raising a teenage son. During the play, Lee reunites with her estranged sister Bessie ( Taylor ), who cares for the sisters' father and their aunt ( Weston ) when Bessie is diagnosed with leukemia. Marvin's Room will begin previews June 8 ahead of a June 29 opening—making it the play the first of production of the 2017-18 Broadway season to open.

Special guests at this year's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on April 7 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn will include Dhani Harrison, inducting ELO; Train's Pat Monahan, inducting Journey; Pharrell Williams, inducting Nile Rodgers; and Snoop Dogg, inducting Tupac Shakur. Previously announced special guests include Neil Young, inducting Pearl Jam; Jackson Browne, inducting Joan Baez; and Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of Rush, inducting Yes. Additional performers include Lenny Kravitz in a very special tribute performance to Prince, Alicia Keys, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Indigo Girls and others. The ceremony will premiere on HBO on April 29 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Following Abby Lee Miller's dramatic announcement that she'd quit Dance Moms in an Instagram post, producers on the Lifetime reality series sprung into action to find a replacement for the dance instructor, E! News noted. It turns out that Dancing with the Stars vet Cheryl Burke has stepped into the role and is already at work filming with the dancers. Prior to leaving the series, Miller had been embroiled in quite a bit of legal drama, attempting to avoid jail time after pleading guilty to the charge of concealing bankruptcy assets.

Billy Eichner, best known for his popular man-on-the street series Billy on the Street, is the latest actor to join the American Horror Story franchise, Deadline reported. The openly gay Eichner is joining American Horror Story's upcoming seventh season in a heavily recurring role opposite returning AHS franchise stars Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters. Murphy previously cast Lady Gaga in American Horror Story: Hotel, which earned her a Golden Globe award.

Stephen Belafonte appears to have made a raunchy joke about claims he enjoyed an open marriage with Mel B by sharing a saucy snap on Instagram, Page Six noted. The film producer, 41, uploaded a picture showing a man seemingly in bed with two women. The pair separated in December, and divorce papers were filed in March. Mel's brother-in-law Jeremiah, 43, recently revealed he believes the couple's decision to liven things in the bedroom sparked jealousy in their relationship.

Parsons School of Design will honor Rihanna at the institution's 69th annual benefit, Billboard reported. The honor, according to a release, recognizes exceptional individuals who empower young women on a global scale through self-expression and leadership. The Parsons Benefit, hosted by Parsons School of Design in collaboration with The New School's College of Performing Arts, will be held at Pier 60 on May 22.

Violent Femmes announced a North American co-headlining tour with Echo & The Bunnymen, a press release noted. The band is still touring in support of its album We Can Do Anything, which was the Femmes' first album in 15 years. Stops include Philadelphia ( July 11 ), Detroit ( July 18 ), Chicago ( July 23 ), Denver ( July 26 ) and Vancouver ( Aug. 3 ), among other cities. See VFemmes.com/tour.

Movie bosses at Universal are reportedly keeping Vin Diesel and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson away from each other for fear their 2016 feud will wreck promotion for the new Fast & Furious movie, The Toronto Sun noted. The two stars, who become rivals in the new film, famously fell out last year, shortly after filming wrapped, with Johnson taking aim at Diesel for his alleged bad behavior and timekeeping on set. In August, Universal bosses insisted that the actors had put the past behind them—but it appears there's still some bad blood shortely before the film hits theaters.

Singer Mary J. Blige will release her 13th studio album, Strength of a Woman, on April 28 on Capitol Records, a press release noted. Featuring production by DJ Camper, Bam, Hit-Boy and KAYTRANADA, the release will feature collaborations with Kanye West, Quavo ( of Migos ), DJ Khaled and Missy Elliot, among others. Some of the tracks include "Love Yourself" ( featuring West ), "Thick of It," "U + Me ( Love Lesson )," "Find the Love" and the title song.

Adam Pally—an actor best known for his role on The Mindy Project and playing gay on the now-defunct show Happy Endings—was busted for smoking weed on a Manhattan street and for carrying a small bag of cocaine in his pocket, Page Six reported. Cops said he was using an electronic cigarette to smoke dope. The 35-year-old, who lives in Brooklyn, was slapped with a desk appearance ticket, and will be back in court on June 8.

Supermodel/TV host Tyra Banks—who recently announced that she's doing away with age restrictions for her grand return to the reality show America's Next Top Model—has listed her high-rise apartment in New York City for $17.5 million, according to People. The five-bed, five-bath condo offers paneled walls and colorful touches, including a leaf-green ceiling in the kitchen accented by floral fabric pendants as well as a one-of-a-kind dining nook with a purple-wallpapered ceiling. There's also the opportunity to add a house manager, cook, housekeeper and personal attendant to the purchase.

PricewaterhouseCoopers ( PwC ) has been retained for the 90th Academy Awards ceremony next year despite its epic Best Picture flub in February, Page Six noted. Board members with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences decided to keep its longtime accounting firm on the payroll after a six-hour meeting. PwC has barred from future ceremonies the two accountants who screwed up doling out the envelopes for the Best Picture award.

After 17 years of garage-punk with The Gossip, Beth Ditto will make her solo debut with Fake Sugar, set for release on June 16 via Virgin Records, a press release noted. "Fire," the album's leadoff track and first single, recently debuted as BBC Radio 1's "Hottest Record in the World." Ditto—who will play sold-out shows in Berlin, Paris and London in April—enlisted Jennifer Decilveo ( Andra Day, Ryn Weaver ) as her primary collaborator on Fake Sugar.

Unicornland—a new eight-episode webseries about Annie, who explores her sexuality post-divorce by dating couples—premiered on Glamour.com alongside a feature interview with creator Lucy Gillespie, a press release noted. Each episode features a date with a new couple, from Williamsburg hipsters to Wall Street power duos. Season one is at UnicornlandSeries.com .

NBC will broadcast all of its 2018 Winter Olympics coverage live across all time zones, Variety reported. On most nights of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, the primetime broadcast will begin at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT. It will be followed in all time zones by local news, and then a "Primetime Plus" program, consisting of live continuing coverage from PyeongChang, South Korea. NBC's PyeongChang primetime coverage begins Feb. 8, 2018. The opening ceremony takes place on Friday, Feb. 9, 2018.

Ricardo Medina Jr.—a former actor who played one of television's Power Rangers—was sentenced to six years in prison for stabbing his roommate to death with a sword, The Washington Times reported. He pled guilty in March to one count of voluntary manslaughter. Medina fatally stabbed 36-year-old Joshua Sutter on Jan. 31, 2015, following an argument.


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