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Entertainment news: Beyonce's 'Becky,' Hugh Jackman, Big Freedia
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2016-08-16

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Broadway musical theater producers Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley will be honored at the 2016 National LGBTQ Task Force Gala—Miami, according to a press release. The annual fundraising gala will take place Saturday, Oct. 8, at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. Rudetsky and Wesley will be presented with the National Leadership Award for their work to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer ( LGBTQ ) people and people living with HIV/AIDS. Earlier this year, in response to the Pulse Orlando Night Club shooting, Wesley conceived the idea of the Broadway community uniting to sing, "What the World Needs Now is Love," to raise funds benefiting the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida.

Ever since Beyonce released her Lemonade album, there has been major speculation of the identity of "Becky with the Good Hair." However, The Source revealed that according to "Sorry" songwriter Diana Gordon ( previously known as Wynter Gordon ), there is no such person. The Beyhive believed "Becky" to be Rachel Roy, Rita Ora and Taylor Swift with Roy receiving the most backlash—and all three women denied the rumors. Gordon told Elle Women, "The idea started in my mind but it's not mine anymore. It was very funny and amusing to me to watch it spread over the world… With Beyonce, I feel like the songs we worked on were specifically for her."

An Instagram photo of Hugh Jackman caused a panic on social media, as the actor reportedly looks old and gaunt in it, EW.com noted. However, given the fact that Jackman is currently shooting the third Wolverine movie, and he's teased that it could be based on the popular Wolverine comic storyline "Old Man Logan," some are wondering if the two things might be connected. Set in the post-apocalyptic future, Old Man Logan follows a Wolverine who has given up on violence and refused to use his claws.

A federal judge delayed sentencing until Aug. 25 for bounce rapper Big Freedia, The New Orleans Advocate noted. Freedia pled guilty in March to the theft of federal Section 8 housing voucher funds and was ordered to a halfway house last month after a drug test proved positive for marijuana and methamphetamine use. U.S. District Judge Lance Africk cited an unspecified court conflict in delaying sentencing for the 38-year-old bounce artist.

Barbra Streisand will headline an LGBT-focused fundraiser for Hillary Clinton, Page Six noted. She will sing a few songs for Hillary supporters at the Sept. 9 event at Cipriani Wall Street. Individual tickets start at $1,200 and go to $10,000, and tables are going for up to $250,000. Also, Cher is getting ready to embark on a Hillary Clinton big gay fundraising tour in three different cities, TheWrap noted. They'll take place in Fire Island, Miami Beach and Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Emmy nominee Laverne Cox is making history as the first transgender series regular on network TV on CBS's upcoming Doubt, starring in Fox's new version of Rocky Horror Picture Show and maintaining a presence on Orange Is the New Black, E! News noted. As for her character on Doubt, attorney Cameron Wirth, Cox said, "Yes, Cameron is transgender, but that's just one aspect of who she is. ... That's what I kind of love. ... I love that, yes, she's trans; it's not a secret, but she's so much more than that. She's really good at what she does. She fights like hell for her clients, she believes in what she's doing—and that's really great."

The Flash and Supergirl will have two musical crossover episodes in the back half of the season, around episode 13 or 14, the executive producers revealed at The CW's Television Critics Association summer press tour, Variety reported. Stars Grant Gustin and Melissa Benoist both alums of Glee, and a number of other cast members ( including John Barrowman, Victor Garber, Jesse L. Martin and Jeremy Jordan ) having done stints on Broadway. Also, a mystery character will be exploring his or her sexuality and coming out this season, but the producers declined to reveal which character or show ( out of Flash, Supergirl, Arrow and DC's Legends of Tomorrow ).

An "intimate" upcoming documentary about Madonna's romance with a New York musician before the Material Girl was a megastar will include deeply personal letters and recordings made by the singer in bed, Page Six revealed. The film, which follows Madonna's relationship with fellow singer Dan Gilroy, will include private tapes of "bedroom talk" that she allegedly made while in bed with Gilroy, as well as love letters that she wrote him. Gilroy—who fronted the one-hit-wonder pop group the Breakfast Club, and dated Madonna for around 18 months beginning in 1979—has turned over hours of video and stacks of letters and photos to director Guy Guido for the project.

Like HBO's Looking or Girls, but set in Memphis, Tennessee—that's how creator Morgan Jon Fox characterizes Feral, a Dekkoo.com original TV series that debuts Oct. 6 exclusively on the subscription streaming service dedicated to gay men, according to a press release. In Feral, Fox ( who is also the series writer and director ) weaves a tale of survival as a group of gay twentysomethings learn about love, loss and friendship while living in the vibrant, artistic queer community of Memphis.

Taylor Lautner revealed during a Scream Queens Facebook Live video that Taylor Swift's "Back to December" was written about their 2009 Taylor-Taylor relationship, Billboard noted. Fans always speculated that the breakup single from Swift's 2010 album Speak Now was about the Twilight actor, thanks to the lyrics "I miss your tan skin, your sweet smile." Scream Queens co-star Lea Michele pushed Lautner to reveal the tidbit to fans after bringing up his past relationships.

Culture Project's world premiere of MotherStruck!—written and performed by Staceyann Chin and directed by Cynthia Nixon—will no longer begin performances Sept. 24 at Off-Broadway's Lynn Redgrave Theater, Playbill reported. Just two days before first preview, the production has been delayed indefinitely. A spokesperson for Culture Project said that the organization is still planning to produce the work at a later date, but no details have been confirmed. Neither Nixon nor Chin has spoken out about the cancellation.

Eight months after announcing their engagement, Victor Voronov ( who was once married to former ice skater Johnny Weir ) and Joti Polizoakis have called it quits, Page Six noted. Voronov, 32, told Page Six dishonesty and mistrust are behind their breakup—mainly Polizoakis' murky intentions in their relationship. Polizoakis is a 21-year-old ice dancer for the German national team who had hopes of making it to the Olympics.

Is The View phasing out co-host Raven-Symone? "The plan is to phase Raven out slowly. She has some projects cooking, and they'll say she left to focus on those," a source told Page Six. Paula Faris will appear two days a week, but will increasingly focus on Good Morning America. ABC News President James Goldston issued a denial, saying, "No one is being phased out, period. Paula and Raven have been a tremendous part of our success this year, they're just getting started."

Several stage and screen veterans have joined the cast of HBO Films' The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, according to a PLaybill item that cites Deadline. Renee Elise Goldsberry—whose rap skills lit up her 2016 Tony Award-winning performance as Angelica Schuyler in the Broadway smash Hamilton—will star opposite Oprah Winfrey in the forthcoming TV film. Newly announced cast members include Courtney B. Vance, Leslie Uggams, Reg E. Cathey, Reed Birney, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, John Douglas Thompson, Adriane Lenox and Roger Robinson. Director/playwright George C. Wolfe ( The Colored Museum, Angels In America, Shuffle Along ) adapted a book about Lacks and will direct his TV adaptation.

Jennifer Lopez is set to star in an HBO movie based on the life of a notorious real-life cocaine smuggler, TheWrap reported. The film will trace the rise and fall of Griselda Blanco, the drug lord known as "The Cocaine Godmother" who revolutionized the U.S. drug trade during the 1970s and 1980s and became the most powerful female cartel member of all time. Lopez will also executive-produce the series through her Nuyorican Productions banner; Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, also of Nuyorican, will also executive-produce.

Adele is quashing rumors that she's singing at halftime of the next Super Bowl, Page Six noted. The British singer told an audience Saturday at her Los Angeles concert that she was asked to perform at the event. "First of all, I'm not doing the Super Bowl," Adele said from the stage in a video posted on Twitter. "I mean, come on, that show is not about music. And I don't really—I can't dance or anything like that. They were very kind, they did ask me, but I did say no."

Warner Bros is moving forward with its all-female spinoff of Ocean's Eleven, this time dubbed Ocean's Ocho, and has filled seven of the eight titular spots, The Hollywood Reporter noted. Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett will head the cast, which also includes Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna and Awkwafina ( Neighbors 2 ). Ocean's Eleven director Steven Soderbergh, who is based in New York and is expected to be deeply involved with the spinoff, is producing solo, ( Ocean's Eleven producer Jerry Weintraub died last year. )

Black Magic—about the lives of seven slain Black men in the era of Orlando, Ferguson and Black Lives Matter—will receive its world premiere in the 2016 New York International Fringe Festival, according to a press release. Black Magic was written by Tony Jenkins as an immediate response to current news stories concerning young Black men and the Black Lives Matter movement. Performances will be held through Aug. 20; visit www.blackmagicplay.wordpress.com .

Speaking of Black Lives Matter, Grammy-winning singer The Weeknd is donating $250,000 to the organization, Page Six noted. The "I Can't Feel My Face" singer made the announcement days after donating $38,000 to the University of Toronto to establish an Ethiopian studies program.

Bruno Mars is reportedly in talks for a money-spinning Las Vegas residency, according to a WLJA item that cites The Toronto Sun. The 30-year-old singer is apparently being courted by bosses at Caesars Palace to sign up for a stretch at the venue, following in the footsteps of Mariah Carey, Elton John and Celine Dion. The venue is reportedly offering the "Uptown Funk" musician close to $1 million per show.

Back in June, male model Krit McClean shut down Times Square as he stripped completely naked, danced on the TKTS booth, taunted police for an hour and jumped three stories—and is now talking about what happened, CBS New York reported. McClean has since been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and has been undergoing therapy, said McClean, a student at Columbia University who is now a mental-health advocate. Charges of public lewdness, disorderly conduct and exposure have been dropped.

Ashley Judd announced in a Q&A session with fans on Facebook Live that she's enrolled to start classes at UC Berkeley this fall and will earn her Ph.D. in public policy, People noted. "I have decided to take the next step in my academic journey," Judd, 48, said. "Sometimes I'm really excited, sometimes I'm like 'What have I gotten myself into?!' I'm very esteemed and honored that they accepted me." Judd continued, revealing that the program is promoted as number one in the country, and only accepts two or three candidates each year.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson slammed some of his male Fast 8 costars in an Instagram rant, US Weekly reported. While he didn't name any names, the 44-year-old actor, who has starred as federal agent Luke Hobbs since the fifth film of the hit franchise, called out some of them for being unprofessional on set. Among the male co-stars are Vin Diesel ( who some say the post was directed toward ), Ludacris, Scott Eastwood, Jason Statham, Kurt Russell, Lucas Black and Tyrese Gibson. Gibson has subsequently defended Diesel, Page Six noted.

iHeartMedia and Turner announced that the popular, fan-fueled iHeartRadio Music Awards will return on Sunday, March 5, 2017, to the Forum in Los Angeles, a press release stated. The fourth year of the event will again be televised live on TBS, TNT and truTV. Over the past three years, the lineup has included live performances and appearances by artists such as Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Sam Smith, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Meghan Trainor, Katy Perry, Snoop Dogg, Nick Jonas, Blake Shelton, Kendrick Lamar and others.

A judge in Minnesota has given the administrator of Prince's estate approval to sell some properties belonging to the late recording artist, Page Six noted. Prince's home and recording complex, Paisley Park, is not on the list of properties Bremer Trust wants to liquidate. Carver County Judge Kevin Eide gave the trust permission to list six properties for sale this month.

The Bad Boy 20th Anniversary Box Set Edition is now available in physical and digital formats, according to a press release. Some of the songs in the set include "I Need a Girl," "Juicy," "I Don't Wanna Know," "Hypnotize," "Money, Power, Respect," "Peaches & Cream," "Can't You See," "Flava In Ya Ear ( Remix )" and "I'll Be Missing You." Artists include Puff Daddy, The Notorious B.I.G., Craig Mack, Faith Evans, Total, Carl Thomas, Mase and Janelle Monae, among others.

Criminal Minds star Thomas Gibson has been fired from the show, NBC News reported. The firing happened days after Gibson was suspended after an reported on-set altercation with a producer during filming. Gibson has played investigator Aaron Hotchner on the popular crime drama since its debut in 2005. After his firing, Gibson said he wishes he could remain on the show and thanked the shows writers and producers, among others.


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