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Entertainment news: amfAR gala, Freddie Mercury, Ellen, Greg Louganis
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2016-11-09

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The seventh annual amfAR Inspiration Gala recently took place at Milk Studios in Los Angeles, Vogue noted. The gala, which this year raised more than $2 million for AIDS research programs, featured such attendees/performers as Heidi Klum, Kenneth Cole, Jesse Metcalfe, Charlize Theron, Paris Hilton, Jason Derulo, Cheyenne Jackson, Jane Lynch and Dita Von Teese. Theron and producer Jeffrey Katzenberg were honored at the gala, The L.A. Times noted.

Mr. Robot star and Emmy winner Rami Malek is attached to play Freddie Mercury in the long-development biopic Bohemian Rhapsody—and out director Bryan Singer is in talks to helm the project, Variety revealed. The Theory of Everything's Anthony McCarten penned the script. Producer Graham King has been trying to get the project off the ground for some time, having originally set it up at Sony with Sacha Baron Cohen at one point set to star. When Cohen dropped out, King began shopping the project elsewhere while looking for a new director and front man to star.

Ellen DeGeneres revealed in a new interview that she hit "rock bottom" after coming out in 1997, Page Six noted. "I was the punch line of lots of jokes. I laughed at some, but I realized there's somebody on the other side of them. It's cruel," DeGeneres told Out. "I've never liked mean comedy, but that became even more important to me after I was the brunt of it." DeGeneres came out as a lesbian on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1997, and she also appeared on the cover of Time magazine shortly thereafter.

Out Olympian Greg Louganis was named a grand marshal for the 128th Rose Parade, On Top Magazine noted. According to The Mercury News, Louganis is likely the first openly gay person to be given the honor. "I hope it inspires people," Louganis said, "and that they know they are loved." Louganis and fellow Olympians Janet Evans and Allyson Felix will helm the Jan. 2 parade, themed "Echoes of Success."

During an appearance on Conan, Ryan Reynolds shared a clip from The Notebook 2, in which he and host Conan O'Brien share a passionate kiss, according to On Top Magazine. Reynolds had to remind O'Brien about their vacation in Tijuana. "Remember that vacation that we took in Tijuana a couple of years ago? We split that bottle of absinthe? Well, we fell in love and I filmed it," Reynolds said.

Actress-singer Anna Kendrick told The Advocate in a recent interview that all of her best friends are gay, On Top Magazine noted. Kendrick is promoting Trolls, the animated musical comedy that premiered this past weekend. "I don't even notice it," Kendrick said, "but then I'll think about my 10 closest friends right now, male and female, and honestly, they're all gay."

Until now, Nick Jonas' Kingdom character, Nate Kulina, was a closeted MMA fighter. But in a recent episode of the series, we got to see Nate ( at long last ) come out to his older brother, Instinct noted. Brother Jay says, "Except, you better be on top because you're my brother and you do the f—king. … You're my brother and there's a certain line that needs to be toed."

Elton John, who's now a sober father of two, ordered plenty of Becks nonalcoholic beer for his private "green room" at his AIDS fundraiser, the 15th annual An Enduring Vision Benefit at Cipriani Wall Street, according to Page Six. Host Andy Cohen gave the tony audience regular updates on the World Series' seventh game, which, he said, made him feel "so butch, it's ridiculous." Despite John's abstinence, Chopin Vodka and Clase Azul Tequila sponsored the event, which raised $3.5 million.

On Thursday, Dec. 1, the Heroes In The Struggle Gala Reception and Award Presentation ( to benefit the Black AIDS Institute ) will take place in Los Angeles, a press release stated. Producer/director Lee Daniels will be among those honored, and Empire actor Jussie Smollett will host the event. See BlackAIDS.org .

Meryl Streep has been named the recipient of the Golden Globes' Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement, Deadline reported. The honor will be bestowed Jan. 8 at the Globes, which Jimmy Fallon is hosting on NBC. Chosen by organizer Hollywood Foreign Press' board of directors, the award is given to a talented individual for outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment; Denzel Washington was honored last year. Streep is only the third female recipient of the award since 2000, when Barbra Streisand won it; Jodie Foster was honored in 2013.

NBC has made a decision on its Cruel Intentions reboot, opting not to pick up the pilot starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Deadline reported. The studio behind it, Sony Pictures TV, now is planning to shop it elsewhere. Based on the 1999 cult movie, Cruel Intentions is set in present day and picks up more than 15 years after the film left off.

America's Got Talent judge/Spice Girl Melanie Brown is joining the musical Chicago, playing jailed killer Roxie Hart, Page Six noted. Brown, also known as Scary Spice during her time with the 1990s pop group the Spice Girls, starts Dec. 28 at the Ambassador Theatre. She follows Marilu Henner, Ashlee Simpson and Christie Brinkley, who have all portrayed Hart.

A young, gay actor will be taking on of the key roles in the upcoming TV adaption of cult black comedy Heathers, Gay Star News noted. Brendan Scanell, who also does stand-up comedy, has been cast to play one of the three Heathers in TV Land's reboot, alongside Melanie Field and Jasmine Mathews. Quiet, bulimic Heather Duke, who was originally portrayed by Shannen Doherty, is now a male character; born as Heath, they identify as genderqueer. He is joined by Mathews as Heather McNamara, who, in the TV Land pilot, will be a Black lesbian.

The cast members from USA's new breakout series Eyewitness teamed with It Gets Better Project to throw a party for series lead character Philip Shea's officially coming out on the latest episode airing Sunday, Nov. 6, a press release stated. The Coming Out party was celebrated in person in Los Angeles and on social media with fans who have already helped the show trend on Twitter for the past few episodes. Played by newcomer Tyler Young, Philip Shea witnesses a triple murder with his closeted boyfriend —and the two boys swear themselves to secrecy for fear of being outed.

Glee actor Mark Salling ( who played Puck ), who was indicted in May for possessing thousands of obscene photos and videos featuring children as young as 5 years old, requested to delay a Nov. 7 hearing in Los Angeles court—and was promptly approved by the judge, Radar Online reported. According to U.S. District Court documents obtained by Radar, the 34-year-old's attorney Michael J. Proctor claimed he is still seeking a "computer forensic expert" to examine his "digital media," which the court previously revealed adds up to 100,000 pages of evidence. The lawyer also indicated that a plea-deal proposal could be in the works.

"You're So Vain" singer-songwriter Carly Simon repurposed her popular song from 1972 as an anti-Donald Trump anthem, CNN Money noted. A video featuring the song—paid for by pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC Patriotic Artists and Creatives—marked the first time Simon has allowed the song to be put toward a political cause. The two-and-a-half minute video is filled with clips from various public figures denouncing Trump and a barrage of mistakes from the nominee's campaign.

The legal smackdown that Hulk Hogan delivered to Gawker over publishing a sex tape of him has seen multimillion-dollar awards, bankruptcy for the Nick Denton-founded media outlet and, now, a truce of sorts. ( Gay PayPal founder Peter Thiel funded Hogan's suit. ) "After four years of litigation funded by a billionaire with a grudge going back even further, a settlement has been reached," Denton said in a online statement with "a hard peace' as its title. "The saga is over." Back in May, a Florida jury awarded the wrestler $140.1 million, finding that the video Gawker posted showing him engaged in an extramarital affair was not newsworthy. The settlement is reportedly $31 million.

Music producer and sometimes RuPaul's Drag Race judge Lucian Piane has made his distaste for Hillary Clinton clear on Twitter in the past—but he recently unloaded conspiracy-theory tweets going after the Clintons and Obamas, calling them out as murderers and, in the case of the Clintons, pedophiles as well, LGBTQ Nation reported. Piane also went after a number of celebrities, like Portia de Rossi, Anderson Cooper, Madonna, Perez Hilton and RuPaul himself. He said he would write in Bernie Sanders on his ballot.

Sia performed an unconventional concert recently at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, The New Orleans Advocate noted. She relegated herself to a small, box-size platform at a back corner of the stage, where she stood, statue-like, for the entirety of the 80-minute show. Also, there was no band; the music was prerecorded, except for Sia's powerhouse vocals, which, at times, evoked Adele's.

Kim Kardashian West and husband Kanye West reportedly let go of their main bodyguard, Pascal Duvier, following Kim's robbery in Paris, ETOnline.com noted. Duvier, 43, had been working with Kim since 2013, and with Kanye since 2012. While Duvier was with Kim in France during Paris Fashion Week, he was with her older sister, Kourtney Kardashian—who was enjoying a night out with their younger sister, Kendall Jenner—at the time of the robbery.

Model/reality-TV star Kendall Jenner celebrated turning 21 at LA's Catch as well as Delilah with friends and family, including mom Kris Jenner and sisters Kim, Kourtney and Khloé Kardashian and Kylie Jenner, according to Page Six. A source said Caitlyn Jenner also attended, but "It didn't seem like [Caitlyn] was warmly welcomed. … It was super-awkward." Caitlyn "brought a present and was really casually dressed."

Gigi Hadid was covered in a gigantic poncho on Tommy Hilfiger's runway because of her weight, Page Six revealed. "Our casting director said, 'She doesn't really fit because you know she's not quite as tall as the other girls, she's not quite as thin,'" Hilfiger told Joe Zee in a Yahoo Style interview. Apparently there were no hard feelings, though, because the model accepted Hilfiger's offer to collaborate on a clothing collection unveiled earlier this year.

Speaking of Hadid, ABC and dick clark productions that she and actor/comedian Jay Pharoah will co-host the 2016 American Music Awards on Sunday, Nov. 20, a press release stated. Scheduled performers include Lady Gaga, Shawn Mendes, Green Day, Twenty One Pilots, Ariana Grande and The Weeknd, among others. Tickets are on sale at AXS.com .

Amid strong-as-ever ratings, Fox has renewed The Simpsons for an unprecedented 29th and 30th seasons, Deadline reported. The renewal takes the long-running hit animated series to 669 episodes, the largest number of episodes for any scripted television series ever, and breaks the record previously set by Gunsmoke ( 635 episodes ). The cast also has been locked in for both new seasons. Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria and Harry Shearer are all confirmed to return.

When Sixteen Candles star Molly Ringwald, now 48, was offered a role in the off-Broadway version of the 1983 tear-jerker Terms of Endearment,"she assumed she'd play the part originated by Debra Winger—but the role was that of the older family matriarch, played in the film by Shirley MacLaine, Page Six noted. Ringwald revealed at an ICP Spotlights Q&A it was Laurie Simmons—the artist mom of Lena Dunham, whom she met last year and became close with—who talked her into the role. After all, MacLaine was 49 when she played it.

After a three-week test last summer, Page Six TV, a daily gossip magazine, has been picked up by the Fox Television Stations for a national debut in fall 2017 in 17 markets, including New York and Los Angeles, Deadline reported. The show is set for key access-time periods and double runs across the Fox stations where it will join two other gossip-themed daily programs, TMZ and TMZ Live. Modeled after the style of the Page Six newspaper column, the show will feature gossip and news from entertainment, culture, the media, finance, real estate and politics.

Lil Wayne walked out of a television interview after being questioned about his support of the Black Lives Matter movement, according to Page Six. Wayne walked out as Linsey Davis of ABC News was following up on his comment to Fox Sports in September when he said there's "no such thing as racism." Wayne said he stands by the comment and doesn't "feel connected" to Black Lives Matter. Wayne describes himself as a "young, Black, rich" man, which he says shows America understands that Black lives do matter. The rapper is promoting a new biography detailing his 2010 stint in New York's Riker's Island prison.

Capitol Records will launch its 75th-anniversary celebration in November with an extensive slate of music, film and literary projects, a press release stated. There will be a year-long major vinyl reissue campaign—The Capitol Records 75th Anniversary Collection, 75 albums that illustrate the unparalleled artistry of Capitol Records throughout its history—will launch in partnership with Crate and Barrel; the publication of a deluxe photograph and essay book from TASCHEN, 75 Years Of Capitol Records, on Dec. 15; and the development of a Capitol Records docuseries being produced by Nigel Sinclair/Whitehorse Pictures.


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