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Entertainment: VH1 slate, Kristen Stewart, 'Stranger Things,' Morrissey
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2017-04-18

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VH1 has unveiled its 2017-18 slate, Deadline noted. It includes a season-10 renewal of recent transplant RuPaul's Drag Race for premiere in March 2018; five new series, including a project starring Ricky Martin and '90's House, co-hosted by Lance Bass; and 11 returning series. The network also announced a June 5 premiere date for new satirical scripted series Daytime Divas, inspired by Star Jones' book Satan's Sisters … A Novel of Fiction and starring Vanessa Williams.

Kristen Stewart rang in her 27th birthday with model girlfriend Stella Maxwell in New Orleans, Page Six noted. Although the social-savvy Maxwell didn't share a special birthday snap of Stewart on Instagram, it appears the couple of four months is going strong. First linked in December, the once-notoriously private Stewart has enjoyed Maxwell's company, even while she's on the clock. "When Kristen filmed in Savannah, she spent several days together with Stella, who came to visit her," a source told People of Stewart's upcoming Lizzie Borden film.

Shannon Purser—the actress behind beloved character Barb from Stranger Things—recently tweeted about her sexuality and her personal journey to authenticity, The Huffington Post noted. Among the items she posted was "Getting comfortable with your sexuality is a process. It's going to be ok. I wish I'd known that sooner."

Morrissey lost his voice and ended his show in Tucson, Arizona, about six songs in, Stereogum reported. He was also supposed to perform at San Antonio's Tobin Center, but that show was cancelled as well. Pitchfork noted that several of the dates on the tour were rescheduled events from the previously postponed leg of his 2016 tour. Morrissey's last album was 2014's World Peace Is None of Your Business.

Kelly Osbourne is opening about about her sexuality and relationship with the LGBTQ community in a new interview, The Huffington Post noted. Speaking to PrideSource, Osbourne says that while she has never been in a relationship with a woman, she is not opposed to the possibility. "I'm open to loving anybody," Osbourne said. "It's about the person. I don't think it's about sexuality at all... It's not like I'm trying to be forward-thinking or progressive—it's just that 'sexuality' is a word I try not to even define the way the world defines it.

Panic! at the Disco's singer Brendon Urie is about to make his Broadway stage debut in Kinky Boots, according to Page Six. The singer-songwriter will play a factory honcho in the musical starting next month, lured by the show's producers who were curious to see if he was interested in exploring some sort of musical-theater role. Urie will play the role originated by Stark Sands, who earned a Tony nomination in it.

One of Louis C.K.'s strongest sketches from his recent SNL appearance, "Birthday Clown," has been criticized for possibly ripping off Tig Notaro's short film "Clown Service"—and Notaro is one of those speaking out, The Huffington Post reported. Notaro said, "While I don't know how all this actually happened, I did find it extremely disappointing." She said a "writer/director" who was aware of "Clown Service" worked on Louis C.K.'s "Birthday Clown." Notaro hasn't talked to Louis C.K. in around a year and a half, and never gave anyone any permission to use her material.

The news that Jude Law is to play a young Dumbledore in the sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them has led to speculation over the direction of the movie—and whether his character will be openly gay, BBC News reported. It's been 10 years since author JK Rowling revealed that Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore was gay in a Q&A with fans. Some LGBT fans were upset that JK Rowling didn't mention in any of the books that Dumbledore was gay and saw it as an "afterthought."

Queen Latifah, Betsy Brandt ( Life in Pieces; Breaking Bad ), Jill Scott and Marin Ireland ( Sneaky Pete ) are set to headline Flint, Lifetime's original movie about the water-contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan, Deadline noted. Queen Latifah also will serve as an executive producer on the project alongside Craig Zadan, Neil Meron and Katie Couric, reuniting with Zadan and Meron, Lifetime and Sony TV after collaborating on the Steel Magnolias reimagining. Brandt, Scott and Ireland will play real-life activists and Latifah will play a fourth resident, fighting to expose the poisoning of the community during the events of the water crisis.

Caitlyn Jenner claims in her upcoming memoir, The Secrets of My Life, that Robert Kardashian knew his close friend and client O.J. Simpson was guilty of the 1994 murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, US Weekly reported. Caitlyn also shares her take on Simpson's murder trial; "I believe he got away with two savage murders," she reportedly writes. Jenner also shares that had gender-reassignment surgery in January, USA Today noted.

Also, Caitlyn Jenner apparently partially blames Ellen DeGeneres for her perceived unpopularity, LGBTQ Nation noted. According to Radar, which reportedly obtained a copy of Jenner's soon to be released book The Secrets of My Life, Jenner believes the lesbian comedian and talk-show host deliberately portrayed her as anti-gay, leaving out parts of their interview she claims would have painted a more accepting picture. "I believed, as anyone would, that that was exactly what she wanted to talk about—my progression in terms of changing attitude over the years," Jenner states in the book.

GLAAD announced that it will honor Debra Messing with the Excellence in Media Award at the 28th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York City at the New York Hilton Midtown on May 6, a press release stated. Television host Ross Mathews will host the event for the fourth time. Special guests will include Whoopi Goldberg, Don Lemon, Rami Malek, Janet Mock, Trevor Noah, Christian Slater and Survivor's Zeke Smith ( who was recently outed as transgender on the show ). Previous Excellence in Media Award honorees include Robert De Niro, Russell Simmons, Kelly Ripa, Patti LaBelle, Tyra Banks, Julianne Moore, Glenn Close, Barbara Walters, Bob and Harvey Weinstein and Diane Sawyer.

Latinx singer, dancer and choreographer Jose Rivera Jr. has premiered his cover of Queen's "Somebody to Love" on LOGO's NewNowNext, claiming the song as a queer resistance anthem for the Trump era, a press release noted. ( The video also features nightlife personality Rify Royalty in the role of Rivera Jr.'s father. ) Rivera Jr. has also launched a funding campaign for his first visual EP, LQQK, The Way I Look, on Kickstarter. The video is at https://youtu.be/qFw4CMgMxI0.

Melissa Etheridge has revealed that smoking cannabis with her children has brought them closer together, AOL.com reported. The Grammy-winning singer became an activist for the drug after using it for medicinal purposes during her battle with cancer, and says her kids now refer to it as medicine. "I have smoked with my older two," Etheridge has said, referring to 20-year-old daughter Bailey and 18-year-old son Beckett. "It was funny at first and then they realized it's a very natural end of the day and it brings you closer, so I'd much rather have a smoke with my grown kids than a drink."

In a new interview with New York magazine, Girls actor Andrew Rannells talks extensively about being an openly gay actor playing gay roles on TV and the Broadway stage, according to NewNowNext. While discussing The New Normal, the NBC sitcom he co-starred in that lasted one season, he blamed having to be "too perfect" with his on-screen husband, Justin Bartha, for one of the reasons the series was canceled. Also, The Book of Mormon actor blamed representation for one of the reasons HBO's Looking was canceled: "They're not supposed to represent every gay man in America! It's just this group of friends, that's all."

One of the stand-out queens from the sixth season of RuPaul's Drag Race is sharing her trans identity with the world, The Huffington Post noted. Gia Gunn used the occasion of March 31, Trans Day of Visibility, to Instagram a video of herself opening up about her transition and encouraging others to share their own stories in the comments. Gunn stated, ""I have been on hormone replacement therapy now for about a year and I identify as female and I am indeed transgender. Thank you all so much to everyone who has supported me on this journey." Gunn is one of several "Drag Race" contestants, including model Carmen Carrera and Monica Beverley Hillz, who have gone public with their transitions after appearing on the show.

After headlining a successful second night at Coachella, Lady Gaga, alongside co-star Bradley Cooper, will be filming scenes for their upcoming movie A Star Is Born in Indio, California, according to Page Six. On April 16, festivalgoers were notified on Coachella's mobile app that they had the chance to be in a scene for the upcoming Cooper-directed musical, according to the Los Angeles Times. Filming happened April 18-19 and the scenes portrayed a country-western concert.

Reality-TV star Clay Adler has passed away at the age of 27, Extra noted. TMZ reported that Adler ( who struggled with mental illness ) committed suicide, shooting himself in the head during a trip to the desert with his friends on March 25. A day after, the Newport Harbor: The Real Orange County star died from the wound. MTV said in a statement to E! News, "We are saddened by the news of Clay Adler's passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time."

Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre has revealed casting for the world-premiere musical Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, Playbill noted. Cortney Wolfson ( Broadway's Kinky Boots ) and Stephanie Renee Wall ( Disney's Frozen Live ) will co-star as the two best friends from high school. The roles were created on screen by Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow in the 1997 cult classic. Romy and Michele screenwriter Robin Schiff authored the book for the musical, which features music and lyrics by Orange Is the New Black songwriters Gwendolyn Sanford and Brandon Jay.

The Broadway company of The Lion King came out to cap a memorial service for theatrical giant ( and their late landlord ) James M. Nederlander, according to Playbill. The tribute was presented in the Nederlander-owned Minskoff Theatre, and the event also included names like Tony Bennett, Tommy Tune, Billy Joel, Harry Connick Jr. and Kristin Chenoweth. Nederlander died July 25, 2016; he was 94.

Clive Barker has his own graphic novel imprint, Seraphim Comics, and it has released the new 90-page Hellraiser: Anthology, BleedingCool.com noted. The book features 11 original Hellraiser tales, with stories written by Barker, Ben Meares, Mark Alan Miller, Blumhouse's David and Rebekah McKendry and POW Entertainment's Matt Murray. Hellraiser: Anthology is $35, with copies signed by Barker priced at $65 and the digital download version at $15.

Court documents revealed that opioid painkillers were found in several places in Paisley Park in the days following Prince's death last year, CNN noted. According to a search warrant issued April 21, 2016 ( the day Prince was found dead in his home in Chanhassen, Minnesota ), investigators found several pills labeled "Watson 853"—hydrocodone-acetaminophen—in different bottles in the residence. Also according to the search warrant, investigators were told by witnesses that Prince "recently had a history of going through withdrawals, which are believed to be the result of abuse of prescription medication."

Tony Award-winning actor Linda Hopkins has died at age 92, Playbill reported. The gospel and blues singer known for embodying an earlier jazz giant, Bessie Smith, in the 1974 musical Me and Bessie, died April 10 at a care facility in Wisconsin of natural causes. She was discovered by gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, and spent most of her early life touring the South with various gospel groups, notably the Southern Harp Spiritual Singers.

Grammy-nominated singer and actor Janelle Monae will deliver the 2017 commencement address at Dillard University on May 13, Page Six noted. The Hidden Figures co-star, who's known for her activism against social injustices and police brutality, is also an advocate for STEM, programs that promote the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Queen Sugar will be debuting its second season on June 20-21 in a two-night premiere on OWN, according to Deadline. Like it did for season one, the Oprah Winfrey and Ava DuVernay executive-produced sibling drama will not only have that two-night launch but an all-female directing team handling things behind the camera—probably including DuVernay herself.

Nick Cannon isn't surprised that Bryan Tanaka was jealous of his closeness to Mariah Carey, but he was pretty surprised to hear they'd split, Page Six noted. Tanaka, 34, reportedly envied Carey's relationship with ex-husband Cannon, 36, with whom she shares 5-year-old twins Moroccan and Monroe. Cannon previously told Howard Stern that he thought Carey and Tanaka's relationship may have been exaggerated for her E! docuseries, Mariah's World—but the breakup actually made him less convinced of that.

After making his bow at Sundance last January, extreme surfer Laird Hamilton has caught his wave with Sundance Selects, Deadline noted. The distributor has acquired U.S. rights to Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton, the documentary directed by Last Days in Vietnam and Ethel helmer Rory Kennedy.


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