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Entertainment news: 'La La Land,' Beyonce, Sam Smith, Oprah Winfrey
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2017-05-02

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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti proclaimed April 25 "La La Land Day" in Los Angeles and honored writer/director Damien Chazelle for his portrayal of the city and its iconic locations, a press release stated. Garcetti was joined by Chazelle, producer Jordan Horowitz, composer Justin Hurwitz, production designers Sandy and David Wasco, and cinematographer Linus Sandgren. La La Land is now available on Digital HD, Blu-ray and DVD.

Beyonce has announced the launch of the Formation Scholarships, named after a single from her last album, Lemonade, Chron.com noted. Candidates are to be "young women who are unafraid to think outside the box and are bold, creative, conscious and confident." One scholarship will be awarded to "female incoming, current or graduate students pursuing studies in creative arts, music, literature or African-American studies" at each of four colleges: Berklee College of Music, Howard University, Parsons School of Design and Spelman College.

Sam Smith has been noticeably absent from the public spotlight for the past year, but a new Instagram post with Timbaland suggests new music may be on the way, Billboard noted. The legendary producer recently shared a photo with Smith in the studio, saying, "It was a pleasure working this man."

Oprah Winfrey said she received racist hate mail for starring as Ellen DeGeneres' therapist in the famous coming out episode of Ellen in 1997, titled "The Puppy Episode," according to Yahoo! TV news. The mogul made the revelation ion the comedian's talk show, which commemorated "The Puppy Episode's" 20th anniversary. Winfrey recalled seeing messages that used the N-word, told her to "go back to Africa,"and other "vile, vitriolic stuff."

GLAAD will honor Tony- and Grammy-winning actor and singer Billy Porter with the Vito Russo Award at the 28th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York City at the New York Hilton Midtown on May 6, a press release noted. GLAAD also announced that multi-platinum selling band DNCE will open the show. The organization previously announced that Debra Messing will receive the Excellence in Media Award for outspoken support of LGBTQ people and against discrimination.

Lambda Literary announced that Jacqueline Woodson will receive Lambda's Visionary Award and Jeanette Winterson will receive the Trustee Award at the 29th Annual Lambda Literary Awards ( "Lammys" ) on June 12, a press release stated. Woodson and Winterson will be honored along with the winning authors of 23 separate LGBTQ literary categories as determined by more than 75 judges. Actress Cynthia Nixon will introduce Woodson, and writer AM Homes will introduce Winterson.

Speaking from her bed in a video, Janet Jackson announced the resuming of her renamed world tour and briefly addressed her separation from husband Wissam Al Mana, The Huffington Post noted. "Yes, I separated from my husband," she said, in part. "We are in court and the rest is in God's hands." She then declared she was continuing her Unbreakable tour, which she postponed to plan her family—but it's now called State of the World. "It's not about politics," she said. "It's about people, the world, relationships and just love." Tickets for the new shows go on sale May 5; passes from Unbreakable will be honored as well.

Katy Perry has teamed on the new single "Bon Appetit" with a rapper who's made homophobic remarks in the past, the UK's Attitude reported. The song is a follow-up to the hit "Chained to the Rhythm." It's been revealed that Perry has teamed with the act Migos on "Bon Appetit"—and social media exploded, with people posting that the group "are a bunch of homophobic men[—]but whatever helps you get money!" In an interview earlier this year, rapper Quavo—who's one third of the group—gave his controversial opinion about fellow musician iLoveMakonnen, who had recently come out as gay. Perry accepted a National Equality Award at this year's Human Rights Campaign gala in March.

During the second weekend of Coachella, Lady Gaga paused her performance before singing a stripped-down piano rendition of "The Edge of Glory" to make a request: "My friend Sonja is very sick and I love her so much and if it's okay with you, I'd like to sing this song for her," Out.com noted. Her decades-long friend and former assistant, Sonja Durham, is currently battling stage 4 cancer in her lungs and brain. In an interview with Radio magazine, Gaga discussed how Durham was the main inspiration for her Joanne bonus track, "Grigio Girls."

Jonathan Demme—the Oscar-winning director, producer and screenwriter and screenwriter—has died at age 73, Deadline reported. He rose to prominence in the 1980s with his comedy films Melvin and Howard ( 1980 ), Swing Shift ( 1984 ), Something Wild ( 1986 ) and Married to the Mob ( 1988 ). He won his Oscar for directing The Silence of the Lambs ( 1991 ) and later helmed the acclaimed films Philadelphia ( 1993 ) and Rachel Getting Married ( 2008 ), along with many seminal documentaries.

The National Gay Basketball Association ( NGBA ) will host its annual Coady Roundball Classic tournament at Competitive Edge Sports in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, on May 6-7, a press release stated. The Coady Roundball Classic ( CRC ) is the largest and longest running annual gay basketball tournament in the world. This will be the second year this event is being held outside of its birthplace, Chicago, after a 25-year run; divisions offered include open, intermediate and recreational. See "Coady Roundball Classic" on Facebook.

Actress and singer Lea Michele has released her new album, Places, via Columbia Records, a press release noted. Available on all digital platforms, her new full-length features songs such as "Love Is Alive," "Anything's Possible," "Run To You" and "Getaway Car." Michele has also launched a series of intimate concerts that will take place in cities such as Boston, Seattle and Toronto.

Aretha Franklin re-ignited a five-year feud with fellow singing star -Dionne Warwick over comments Warwick made at the 2012 funeral of Whitney Houston, Page Six noted. The Queen of Soul blasted Warwick for spinning a "libelous" story about Franklin's absence from the New Jersey funeral service and about Franklin being Houston's godmother. Franklin went public about the feud after Warwick spotted her at the Tribeca Film Festival and tried to make amends. "She said, 'Give me a hug,'" Franklin recalled. "I said, 'Oh, hell no. You couldn't be serious.' We've never been friends and I don't think that Dionne has ever liked me."

Jean Stein—the author best known for writing the oral histories Edie: American Girl, about Andy Warhol's muse, and the Hollywood insider's tale West of Eden: An American Place—has committed suicide in New York City at age 83, The Hollywood Reporter noted. Stein, a former editor at the Paris Review who worked with Elia Kazan on the original Broadway version of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, jumped from the 15th floor of an Upper East Side apartment building and landed on an eighth-floor balcony.

Madonna has spoken out against plans to film an unauthorized biopic of her life, hopping on Instagram to label anyone but her trying to tell her life story as a "charlatan and a fool," A.V. Club noted. The music icon's ire was focused on Blonde Ambition, a new project that was announced by Universal. Based on a Black List script from writer Elyse Hollander, the film purports to tell the story of Madonna in the 1980s, "navigating fame, romance, and the dismissive attitude of the music industry at the time." But, Madonna contends, that's not anybody's story to tell but her own. "Nobody knows what I know and what I have seen," she posted.

Whitney Houston's long-rumored bisexuality will be among the subjects tackled in a new documentary about the late singer's life, The Toronto Sun noted. Whitney: Can I Be Me premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, and attendees saw the music legend's nearest and dearest open up about their relationships with her. Among the film's contributors was Whitney's best friend and assistant Robyn Crawford, who is alleged to have had an intimate relationship with the "Queen of the Night" singer. Houston died on Feb. 11, 2012, after being found unconscious in a bathtub.

A revival of the popular sitcom Roseanne is in the works—with original cast members Roseanne Barr, John Goodman and Sara Gilbert already on board, Variety confirmed. Tom Werner and Bruce Helford will return as executive producers, with Barr and Gilbert also executive-producing. The original series ( which also starred Laurie Metcalf and Big Bang Theory regular Johnny Galecki ) ran for nine seasons on ABC and was widely praised for its portrayal of working-class people.

Organizers behind the first-ever Fyre Festival offered an official apology and an explanation of what exactly led to the disastrous outcome that resulted in the festival being postponed indefinitely after hundred of negative social media posts from attendees, People.com reported. The Bahamas-set event was touted as a unique, multi-day luxury music and arts festival with celebrity chef-catered meals and impressive accommodations. In part, a statement said that co-organizers Billy McFarland and Ja Rule "simply weren't ready for what happened next, or how big this thing would get. ... Thousands of people wanted to come. They were excited, but then the roadblocks started popping up."

Fox has cancelled the baseball drama Pitch after one season, Deadline noted. The move was fully expected; in anticipation of the cancelation, the show released all of its writers two weeks ago. Pitch earned some of the strongest reviews when it debuted in the fall. However444, whether it was scheduling or other reasons, it never drew large enough audience.

The New Jersey Hall of Fame will induct 15 new honorees at this year's induction ceremony on May 7 at historic Convention Hall on the Asbury Park Boardwalk, according to a press release. Some of the inducteed will include former New York Liberty President/General Manager Carol Blazejowski, actress/TV personality Kelly Ripa, author Carol Higgins Clark, musician Wyclef Jean, pro-soccer player Carli Lloyd and actor Ray Liotta.

Actress Dame Joan Collins left viewers baffled after saying "there's no terrorism" in France when discussing her views about Brexit, the UK's Metro noted. Speaking on the show about Brexit, Collins said, "I think it's going to be very good for us. I've been able to go to France with no problems whatsoever. I just came back yesterday. Everybody's very happy there, there's no terrorism. ... I mean you don't see a lot of policeman around, you see loads of tourists. It was beautiful." The comment about France generated a lot of backlash on social media.


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