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Entertainment news: Zachary Quinto, Dolly Parton, Tig Notaro, Michael Sam
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2016-07-12

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Heroes and Star Trek actor Zachary Quinto is set to star and executive produce Biopunk, an hourlong drama based on the book Biopunk: DIY Scientists Hack the Software of Life, by Wired magazine's senior business/technology writer Marcus Wohlsen, Deadline reported. Quinto and his longtime producing partner, Neal Dodson of Before The Door Pictures, are among those executive-producing the series. Biopunk chronicles the underground world of bio-hackers—DIY garage scientists seeking to do for biotech what Steve Jobs did for personal computing.

Speaking of Star Trek, while news broke that Star Trek Beyond will feature an openly gay Hikaru Sulu in a nod to original Sulu actor George Takei, it turns out Takei was never actually on board with this development, The L.A. Times reported. While the openly gay Takei is happy the Star Trek universe is gay, his objection is that this gay character is Sulu. This is because rather than having Sulu's family situation be an homage to him, Takei would prefer the new film honor creator Gene Roddenberry's original vision, especially on the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. Star Trek Beyond hits theaters July 22.

Dolly Parton clarified comments she said were taken out of context during a recent interview that included a question about the 2016 presidential election, a press release stated. She said, "[W]hile I was watching the news, I saw many reports that I had endorsed Hillary Clinton. My comment about supporting a woman in the White House was taken out of context. I have not endorsed Hillary Clinton [or] Donald Trump. ... I have not decided who I'm voting for, but no matter what we're gonna be suffering from PMS—Presidential Mood Swings."

Comedian Tig Notaro and her wife, Stephanie Allynne, have welcomed twin boys, Finn and Max, into the world, US Weekly noted. Notaro, who married in October 2015 in her hometown of Pass Christian, Mississippi, shared a picture of her babies' tiny cribs laying side by side as her pet kitty, Fluff, gazed at them. Ellen DeGeneres tweeted, "Congrats to my friend @TigNotaro and her wife @StephAllynne who are the parents of twins!"

Orange Is the New Black star Ruby Rose has a new girlfriend, according to People. She and Harley Gusman, vice president and head of marketing at skin-care company Truly Organic, were photographed sharing an Independence Day kiss. The couple had celebrated the Fourth of July alongside Taylor Swift and her squad at the singer's Rhode Island beach house. Cara Delevingne and St. Vincent were also together at the event, Just Jared noted.

Onetime football star Michael Sam described presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump as "an asshole" when talking with TMZ Sports, Advocate.com noted. "If you want to vote for someone who has LGBT rights [in mind], vote for Hillary," Sam added. In a 2014 appearance on Fox News, Trump criticized Sam—the first openly gay player to be drafted in the National Football League—for sharing an on-screen kiss with then-boyfriend Vito Cammisano after learning that he was drafted by the St. Louis Rams.

Martina Navratilova will turn 60 this October and, ahead of that, the BBC has honored her via a new documentary film called Just Call Me Martina, Tennis.com noted. The film opens with a depiction of Navratilova's wedding day with Julia Lemigova, a businesswoman and former beauty queen in Russia. Also, people such as actor Stephen Fry, entertainer Sir Elton John, and tennis stars like Chris Evert and Rafael Nadal lend their thoughts on Navratilova.

Food Network has ordered six half-hour episodes of Smollett Eats, which will showcase favorite foods and recipes among the six siblings that include Empire's Jussie Smollett and Underground's Jurnee Smollett. Jake Smollett ( the film Eve's Bayou ) is the head chef of the family that also includes brothers Jocqui and Jojo and sister Jazz. Smollett Eats, which bows in August, is from Triage Entertainment.

Actress Aubrey Plaza ( the film Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates ) has come out as bisexual, according to a Page Six item. "I know I have an androgynous thing going on, and there's something masculine about my energy," she told The Advocate. "Girls are into me—that's no secret. Hey, I'm into them, too. I fall in love with girls and guys. I can't help it." The actress, also known for her role as April Ludgate on TV's Parks and Recreation, said her relationship with the LGBT community began very early, starting with her family.

The three original Dreamgirls—Independent Spirit Award winner Sheryl Lee Ralph, Emmy Award winner Loretta Devine and Tony Award and two-time Grammy Award winner Jennifer Holliday—took part in the July 10 "Broadway Under the Stars" concert event, Playbill noted. The evening featured a mix of Broadway tunes, including a tribute to the 35th anniversary of Dreamgirls. Hosted by Perez Hilton, the fundraiser also featured Mary Wilson and Kenny Lattimore.

Javier Munoz—who steps in for departing Hamilton star Lin-Manuel Miranda—is gay, HIV-positive and a cancer survivor, according to a NewNowNext item. Munoz, Miranda's understudy throughout Hamilton's run, has stepped into the role once a week on the star's day off and watched nearly every performance for nuances and flow. The 40-year-old actor was diagnosed with HIV in 2002—and, last year, was diagnosed with cancer. In October, Munoz underwent surgery and chemotherapy, missing weeks of performances; his cancer tests have come back negative.

Lance Bass has been set to host a new dating competition series on Logo that will feature all gay competitors, TheWrap noted. Logo has greenlit "Finding Prince Charming,"which will feature 13 suitors, all housed together, who compete to win the heart of one eligible gay bachelor. Bass is best known for his time as a member of the musical group N'Sync, which has sold more than 60 million albums worldwide. In 2016, Bass will be joining radio veterans like Dr. Drew and Adam Corolla and when he relaunches his show on PodcastOne.

The co-editors of Male Sex Work & Society ( Harrington Park Press ) have launched a new website to lobby for decriminalization, a press release stated. The new website, Me, Us & Male Escorting ( Aboutmaleescorting.com ) aims to challenge misconceptions and to lobby for the decriminalization of sex work through an on ongoing series of blogs and resources, including links to widely cited and read books and research papers published on male escorting.

Wendy Williams has been getting educated by activist Roland Martin after backlash she received for criticizing historically Black schools and the NAACP, Page Six noted. In part, Williams has previously said, "I would be really offended if there was a school that was known as a historically white college. We have historically black colleges. What if there was the National Organization for White People, only? There's the NAACP." ( Chevrolet reportedly pulled out of an exclusive deal with Williams over the comments. ) Martin is slated to appear on Williams' show July 14.

Music star and actress Ariana Grande has been added to the cast for NBC's Hairspray Live!, playing the role of Penny Pingleton, Tracy Turnblad's incorrigible best friend, according to a press release. Grande joins a cast that includes Harvey Fierstein, Jennifer Hudson, Kristin Chenoweth, Martin Short, Derek Hough and newcomer Maddie Baillio. The live musical production, to be telecast Wed., Dec. 7, will be executive-produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron.

Nike and adidas are co-sponsoring the world gay soccer championships in Portland, Oregon, on Aug. 6-13, Outsports reported. The finals on Aug. 13 will be held at Providence Park, home field of both the MLS Portland Timbers and NWSL Portland Thorns. The event will bring more than 400 LGBT soccer players from around the world.

A Change.com petition calling for Jesse Williams to be fired from Grey's Anatomy for his speech at the BET Awards has garnered thousands of signatures, People.com noted. However, show creator Shonda Rhimes is not listening to the drama. "Um, people? Boo don't need a petition," Rhimes tweeted to her 1.25 million followers with the hashtag "#shondalandrules." Williams posted, "Do not promote empty people & their tantrums. Pure clickbait to gain followers, attention & money, for themselves, not you. Never you."

After teasing a major announcement with a series of performances on Facebook Live, Kelly Clarkson announced that she signed a long-term record deal with Atlantic Records, and that she'll be recording a soul album, Time reported. This means two firsts for Clarkson: She finally got to choose her label, and she will realize her dream of creating an entire soulful album, which will be released in 2017.

Ellen DeGeneres, actress wife Portia de Rossi, Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams, and Beyonce and Jay-Z were among those who attended Wimbledon during the ladies' final, US Weekly noted. Serena Williams won her seventh Wimbledon title ( later teaming with sister Venus to nab the women's doubles championship ) and tied legend Steffi Graf with 22 Grand Slam titles. Many celebrities congratulated Serena on social media, including Kerry Washington, Colton Haynes, Gabrielle Union, Laverne Cox and Hugh Jackman.

Billionaire David Geffen—who joined Instagram in May—has been posting shots of his trip to Capri, including one of his 453-foot luxury yacht Rising Sun coasting through the water, Page Six noted. Also pictured was his pal, Interscope records Jimmy Iovine, having a leisurely breakfast on the ship, which was originally built for Oracle's Larry Ellison and cost more than $200 million to build. He spent July Fourth off the coast of the island with Mariah Carey and James Packer.

Chaka Khan canceled her upcoming performance at the California State Fair—as well as all her performances through the end of July—and checked herself into rehab for an addiction to prescription pain medication, according to an US Weekly item that cites The Modesto Bee. "[Khan has] voluntarily entered the program to get healthy and stay that way," representatives for the music legend said. According to the paper, the singer has already enrolled in rehab and an aftercare program. Khan was close friends and a collaborator with the late Prince, who was found to have had a longtime struggle with a painkiller addiction leading up to his death in April.

Martha Stewart isn't impressed by millennials, who she says need to stop living with their parents and find some "initiative," according to Page Six, citing Luxury Listings. "I think every business is trying to target millennials. But who are millennials?" she said. "Now we are finding out that they are living with their parents. They don't have the initiative to go out and find a little apartment and grow a tomato plant on the terrace."

There was a lot of awkwardness in New Orleans recently involving Tamar Braxton, the now-former co-host of The Real, according to Page Six. Braxton and her former colleagues were all booked at the same hotel in New Orleans for the Essence Festival, but Braxton bolted for new lodging. Billboards of the show featuring remaining hosts Tamera Mowry-Housley, Loni Love, Adrienne Bailon and Jeannie Mai were plastered all over the city to promote special live episodes from the Big Easy. Braxton is reportedly gearing another talk show, with Steve Harvey.

VH1 Hip Hop Honors returned after a six-year hiatus, honoring Missy Elliott, Lil Kim and Queen Latifah, according to Page Six. The event took place July 11 in New York City's David Geffen Hall, and Monica, Fantasia, Jazmine Sullivan, Eve, Raven-Symone, Common and Da Brat, among others paid tribute to the honorees.

GLAAD and Interscope Records have released "Hands," a musical tribute to the shooting victims of Orlando, a press release stated. The song features musicians such as Mary J Blige, Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Jason Derulo, Tyler Glenn, Selena Gomez, Halsey, Ty Herndon, Imagine Dragons, Juanes, Adam Lambert, Mary Lambert, RuPaul, Prince Royce, Jussie Smollett and Gwen Stefani, among others. It's available for digital download, and the song can be heard at www.youtube.com/watch. In an interesting move, proceeds will benefit GLAAD as well as Equality Florida Pulse Victims Fund and the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida.


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