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Entertainment news: House of Cards, GLAAD Awards, Richard Simmons
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2017-05-09

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The new trailer for the upcoming season of Netflix's House of Cards has dropped—and astute viewers can catch a hint of bisexuality in the preview, LGBTQ Nation noted. Kevin Spacey's character, U.S. President Frank Underwood, has been shown having bisexual trysts before—notably with a Secret Service agent; however, the identity of the new lover isn't disclosed in the trailer. Season five of the hit show will be available on Netflix later this month.

GLAAD honored Debra Messing, Billy Porter and outstanding LGBTQ images in film and television at the 28th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at the New York Hilton Midtown in New York City, a press release noted. Whoopi Goldberg, Don Lemon, Janet Mock, Trevor Noah, Tyler Oakley, Zachary Quinto, Christian Slater, Carly Chaikin, Angelica Ross and Survivor's Zeke Smith were among the special guests. Messing called on everyone to raise their voices and call the Congressional Switchboard in Washington, D.C.; she also spoke directly to Ivanka Trump, saying, "It's not enough to simply say that women's issues are important to you. It's time to do something. You can change the lives of millions of women and children just by telling your dad stories about real people who are suffering."

Rosie O'Donnell was a surprise guest at the GLAAD Awards, showing up to bestow the Vito Russo Award upon Broadway star and longtime friend Billy Porter, People.com noted. "Things have been rough in my family in the last week. Let's just say I feel strongly Joan Crawford was framed," said O'Donnell. O'Donnell didn't speak further on the details of the recent troubles in her family, which has included an estrangement from daughter Chelsea, 19.

Julie Andrews' new children's show on Netflix will feature a non-binary character, LGBTQ Nation noted. Julie's Greenroom is about performing arts teacher Ms. Julie ( Julie Andrews ) and her students, who are puppets. The five puppets are a diverse cast; one of the puppets, Riley, was described by the show's creator as gender-neutral.

Richard Simmons filed a libel suit against the National Enquirer and Radar Online, alleging the publications relied on a blackmailer for stories claiming the former fitness guru was transitioning into a woman, Variety reported. In the suit, Simmons alleges that he has been blackmailed for several years by Mauro Oliveira, a former assistant and friend. In the suit, Simmons said he was forced to choose between staying quiet and tacitly lending credence to the story, and filing a claim and thereby insinuating there is something wrong with transitioning.

tello films announced the release of the brand-new six-episode office comedy secs & EXECS, a press release noted. Starring lesbian comedian Sandra Bernhard, Olivia D'Abo ( The Wonder years ) and Mindy Sterling ( Austin Powers ), secs & EXECS is set at Kathletics, a women's wear comedy owned by Bernhard's character, Kath Fairchild. The series follows four bosses and their assistants, shifting points of view between the two very diverse sets of co-workers. See more at tellofilms.com .

Genderfluid teen Miguel Johnson, 16, met Oscar-winning actress Julia Roberts last fall at the GLSEN Respect Awards—and now Roberts is speaking out to support Johnson and all LGBTQ youth, LGBTQ Nation reported. "I had the pleasure of presenting with Miguel at last year's GLSEN Respect Awards," Roberts said in a statement to People magazine. "Miguel, like all the students I meet there, is smart, kind and incredibly brave to live their life openly and honestly at such a young age. As a parent, I want all students to feel safe and protected at school, and I stand with Miguel and trans students across the country. You are loved." Johnson blames Trump's flip-flopping on LGBTQ issues for costing him acceptance in his small Missouri town.

Transparent creator and I Love Dick co-creator Jill Soloway has signed a new overall deal with Amazon Studios, which produces both series, Deadline reported. The three-year extension will commence June 2018, when Soloway's current overall pact with the streaming platform ends. Under the new contract, Soloway will continue as executive producer on Transparent, which is heading into its fourth season, and I Love Dick, premiering May 12, which she co-created with Sarah Gubbins.

Seven-time Billboard Music Award-winning artist and current Las Vegas resident Celine Dion will perform her hit "My Heart Will Go On" at the "2017 Billboard Music Awards on May 21, a press release noted. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the ballad, which became the anthem of one of the top-grossing films of all-time, Titanic. The event will be broadcast live from Las Vegas' T-Mobile Arena on ABC at 7 p.m. CT.

The Starz show American Gods has been getting a lot of attention lately thanks to what has been described as TV's "most pornographic sex scene" ever, The Huffington Post noted. The scene, slated to air on the show's third episode, will take place between Salim ( played by Omid Abtahi ), a young Muslim man living in New York, and a taxi driver ( Mousa Kraish ) who is actually a jinn, or a spiritual messenger found in ancient Islamic and Arabic folklore, in disguise. Kraish told Out magazine that the scene will also be a cultural milestone for Middle Eastern LGBTQ representation.

The hacker or group of hackers behind a recent high-profile Hollywood data breach may just have leaked another Netflix original to file sharers—only this time, the leak showed up on The Pirate Bay hours after the movie officially premiered on Netflix itself, Variety reported. An account associated with TheDarkOverlord—who made headlines by leaking 10 episodes of the upcoming fifth season of Orange Is the New Black—published a torrent titled "handsome" on May 5. That also happens to be the title of a Netflix original comedy that is directed by and starring Jeff Garlin.

Actor and former Calvin Klein model Antonio Sabato Jr.—a familiar face from soap operas General Hospital and Melrose Place as well as a friend of President Donald Trump—has decided to run for Congress, The Washington Post reported. Sabato ( who spoke at last year's Republican National Convention ) filed paperwork with federal regulators to begin raising money for the contest in the 26th Congressional District, northwest of Los Angeles. The seat is held by Democrat Julia Brownley, 64, a former state Assembly member.

The Today Show's Matt Lauer recently paid a visit to The Ellen Show—and while he was there, Ellen DeGeneres told him why President Donald Trump is not welcome on her show, LGBTQ Nation noted. DeGeneres told Lauer, "I'm not going to change his mind. He's against everything I stand for. We need to look at someone else who looks different than us, and believes in something that we don't believe in and still accept them and still let them have their rights."

Sudhanshu Saria's debut feature film Loev—a gay love story set in India—has debuted on Netflix, according to a Washington Blade item that cites Deadline. The film tells the story of old friends Jai ( Shiv Pandit ) and Sahil ( Dhruv Ganesh ) as they embark on a road trip into Maharashtra. Loev was filmed in secret in India due to the country's anti-gay law, which can punish homosexuality with life imprisonment. This was Ganesh's last role before he passed away in 2015 at the age of 29.

Masterworks Broadway has announced the release of The New Broadway Cast Recording of Hello, Dolly! starring three-time Grammy Award-winning legend Bette Midler as Dolly Gallagher Levi, according to a press release. Produced by multiple-Grammy Award® winner Steven Epstein, with a cast of 37 and 28 musicians, the album will be released May 12. Midler is joined by David Hyde Pierce, Gavin Creel, Kate Baldwin, Melanie Moore and many others.

The inaugural MTV Movie & TV Awards, held May 5, made it a point to celebrate diversity and inclusion, as it honored starts of the big and small screens and put actors of all genders in the same voting categories, USA Today stated. Among the winners of the Adam Devine-hosted event were Emma Watson ( Best Actor in a Movie ), who received her award from non-gender binary actor Asia Kate Dillon; Moonlight actors Ashton Sanders and Jharrel Jerome ( Best Kiss ); and Millie Bobby Brown ( Best Actor in a Show ).

ABC is officially bringing back American Idol, according to Deadline. The network just announced that American Idol will return for the 2017-2018 season, after the series ended its 15-season run on Fox in April 2016. A host and judges will be announced at a later time.

WaterTower Music has announced the release of the soundtrack to the first season of Netflix original series Sense8, according to a press release. The season one soundtrack features the score of acclaimed Golden Globe Nominees Johnny Klimek and Tom Tykwer along with songs heard in the first season of the show from 4 Non Blondes, The Antlers, Seven Lions ( featuring Kerli ) and Sigur Ros. Season two of Sense8 is currently streaming on Netflix.

Country-music icon Loretta Lynn remains hospitalized after having a stroke, according to a WJLA.com item. Lynn's website says the 85-year-old singer and songwriter was admitted to a Nashville hospital last week after suffering the stroke at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. Sony Music publicist Maria Malta confirmed that the singer was still in the hospital as of May 8—and said she is expected to make a full recovery.

Logo Documentary Films won its second consecutive Daytime Emmy Award for Out of Iraq, an LGBTQ love story following an Iraqi translator for the U.S. military and a solider in the Iraqi army, a Logo press release noted. The film, which won the "Best Special Class Special" category, was produced by World of Wonder. Logo's Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine received the award in 2016.

Peaceman Music has announced the release of Sir Ivan's new single and music video, "I Am Peaceman," featuring the vocals of pop icon Debbie Gibson, a press release noted. "I Am Peaceman" is an EDM-style song produced by AMA winner Ali Dee. The music video is directed by MTV and BET award winner Erik White; it's at https://youtu.be/UZJqg3hZ1E8.

Seventeen regional bartending champions are to converge on Key West Wednesday through Sunday, June 7-11, for the final rounds of the Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic—believed to be North America's largest annual LGBT bartender competition, a press release noted. The first-prize mixologist is named honorary grand marshal of the 2017 Pride Parade and receives $12,500 for charity. There will be celebrity judges who include former American Idol finalist LaToya London; recording artist Kym Sims is scheduled to entertain the audience.

Martha Stewart has provided a glimpse of her feelings toward her former reality TV rival, President Donald Trump, The Detroit News noted. A photo shared on social media show Stewart standing between large portraits of Trump and Snoop Dogg at an art fair in New York; a photo taken by artist Newlin Tillotson shows Stewart displaying a middle finger toward Trump and a peace sign in Snoop's direction. The photo was later removed from Tillotson's account. Stewart shared a photo of herself on her own account giving peace signs to both.

After Star magazine published that the marriage between Modern Family actress Sofia Vergara and actor husband Joe Manganiello has ended because of an alleged affair, the couple took to social media to shut down the rumors and slam the editor, People.com noted. "The editor of this magazine is an idiot," she wrote on Instagram with a laughing emoji. "If he is going to have my ring removed to created a "fake" "news" he should have made sure that he removed from social media all the other pictures of that award night in Rome where Im wearing it. By the way…thats my friend the producer of the movie Bent that I was shooting in Rome and who came to spend Easter at my home the week later."

On The Biggest Loser, contestants successfully shed hundreds of pounds with intense dieting and exercise—but when they returned to their normal lives, many quickly regain the weight. Now the show's creator, JD Roth, wants to figure out why on his new series The Big Fat Truth, People.com noted. Roth is bringing back six former contestants—including Ryan Benson, who won the first season of the show—who collectively lost 630 lbs. on The Biggest Loser, but then regained the weight and more. The show comes after a study, profiled in The New York Times, found that the diet tactics on The Biggest Loser may have permanently damaged the contestants' metabolisms.

Rapper Nicki Minaj took a break from prepping for her upcoming fourth studio album by offering to help fans pay off college tuition, student loans and other educational expenses, ABC News noted. It started with a contest to join the rapper at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas on May 21, in which fans had to tweet Minaj using the hashtag #NickiBBMAs. When one fan suggested that the "Starships" performer instead pay for that person's college tuition, Minaj responded to the challenge—and then offered to pay a few other people's expenses for books and other things.


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