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Justin Timberlake, Beyonce and Archie's gay character
Entertainment news: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy CIty Times..

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Sir Elton John has been talking with Justin Timberlake about portraying him in a biopic, E! Online reported. However, John's husband, David Furnish, said, "We're searching for a director. It's important we all share the same vision." The "Candle in the Wind" singer said recently that Timberlake—who played him in the video for the song "This Train Don't Stop There Anymore" a decade ago—was his top choice for the biographical role.

Beyonce has now made an imprint in the world of insects. According to, a previously unnamed species of horsefly ( with a golden rear end ) has been named Beyonce. Bryan Lessard, a researcher from Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, described the fly and named it Scaptia ( Plinthina ) beyonceae. Harrison Ford, Mick Jagger and the Roy Orbison are among other celebrities to have organisms named after them.

Ellen DeGeneres was very visible Oscar night, thanks to a series of commercials with JCPenney, according to . In the ads, DeGeneres is shopping through various historical periods and places, including ancient Rome and Victorian England. The anti-gay group One Million Moms had threatened to boycott the retailer unless it dropped DeGeneres; however, JCPenney kept her on board.

Speaking of One Million Moms, the conservative group has now set its sights on Toys 'R' Us. According to the Huffington Post, the organization has threatened the toy-store chain with a boycott because the retailer is carrying the controversial Archie comics issue featuring the wedding of openly gay character Kevin Keller. On its website, Moms said, "The trip to the toy store turns into a premature discussion on sexual orientation and is completely uncalled for. Toys 'R' Us should be more responsible in the products they carry."

Glee actor Max Adler talked with Entertainment Weekly about his character, bully Karofsky, attempting suicide ( in the Feb. 21 episode ) in the face of being bullied himself in school and online. Adler said, "I was incredibly happy that they were brave enough and honest enough to go there because I think it's a very prevalent issue now in the world. ... I think all our hopes is that it saves a lot of lives and, to the bullies, I think it sheds a whole new perspective on what their words really do to people." Karofsky was known for bullying gay student Kurt ( played by Chris Colfer ) —and then revealing he himself had a crush on his victim.

Although final toxicology reports have not come in, preliminary results show that Whitney Houston had a lethal mixture of Xanax, Valium and alcohol in her system when she died, according to the New York Post. Houston's "heart stopped beating because her respiratory system was suppressed" by the anti-anxiety medications, and the alcohol likely accelerated the suppression.

Speaking of Houston, the black velvet dress she wore in The Bodyguard will be part of the "Hollywood Legends" auction on March 31 and April 1, the New York Post reported. Among the other items at the auction will be Charlie Chaplin's cane and Charlton Heston's staff from The Ten Commandments. There will be a free public exhibition starting March 19 at Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Actor Ryan Phillippe has exited a CBS drama pilot partially backed by openly gay producer Greg Berlanti, reported. The parting was reportedly amicable, happening after Phillippe doubted he was ready to commit to the rigors of a network drama series. His decision was, in part, influenced by his first primetime series experience; Phillippe is currently filming an arc on the final season of the FX show Damages, which stars Glenn Close.

Barbra Streisand has re-signed with Columbia Records and will release a 12-set DVD that includes never-before-seen footage directly from her archives, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The singer/actress has been with the label for 50 years, releasing her first record, The Barbra Streisand Album, in 1963. Steve Barnett, chairman and COO of Columbia Records, said, "There are stars and there are superstars—and there's Barbra Streisand. ... Columbia Records is proud to play a vital role in her extraordinary career."

Actor Brandon Routh ( Superman ) will play Michael Urie's ( TV's Ugly Betty ) boyfriend in Partners, a CBS comedy pilot from Will & Grace creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan, according to . The plot revolves around two lifelong friends and business partners—one gay ( Urie ) and one straight. Routh will play Urie's partner: a former alcoholic, club-hopping model who is now a sober, vegan nurse.

Lily Tomlin has been cast as Reba McEntire's mother in a pilot for the new ABC sitcom Malibu Country, according to . In the show, McEntire's character ( Reba Gallagher ) is a divorcee who moves from Nashville to Malibu, Calif., to relaunch her singing career. Tomlin's character, Shirley, has been described as "Reba's classically Southern, warm and funny ( not always intentionally ) mother who joins the family in their move from Nashville to Malibu."

The finale of the PBS series Downton Abbey was a resounding success, according to a New York Post article. The show drew the biggest audience for public television in more than three years, with 5.4 million viewers. PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger told the Hollywood Reporter, "You think you're picking well, but when something really pops, it's a combination of good content and hitting at the right time."

Supermodel/producer Tyra Banks received her diploma from Harvard University's executive education owner/president manager program Feb. 17, the Washington Post reported. Those enrolled attend one three-week session, which currently cost $33,000, each year for three years. The university's website says that the program is for "CEOs, COOs, presidents and managing directors of companies with annual sales of at least $5 million."

The View's Barbara Walters said she did not ambush former panel member Star Jones during Jones' return visit Feb. 22, despite what some said was Walters' aggressive line of questioning toward her, the New York Post reported. Walters and Joy Behar grilled Jones—who had gone on the show to talk about heart health—over Jones' controversial departure from the show in 2006 and her weight-loss surgery in 2003 within the first five minutes of the segment. Walters said that producer Bill Geddie believed the audience wanted to know about why Jones left.

Former Bachelor Jake Pavelka is now a guest host at Chippendales at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas, according to . Pavelka said, "I want to bring a dry, sarcastic, quick-witted sense of humor to the show. Most of my routine—the whole thing is designed around audience participation. It doesn't matter if you're 18 or 88, it's all going to work." Pavelka also said that he's been watching Ellen DeGeneres for inspiration: "She's so flipping talented and quick."

Terry O'Neil's iconic portraits of celebrities such as Brigitte Bardot, Elton John, Raquel Welch, Audrey Hepburn, Sean Connery and others will be seen in a different light as modern-day artists reinterpret the works in a new London exhibit, according to the Daily Mail. One of the images, Raquel Welch on Cross ( 1970 ) , will actually be featured twice in the show, which is entitled "Terry O'Neill Reworked." "Reworked" will run March 8-31 at the Rook and Raven.

The daytime soap opera Days of our Lives made history Feb. 23 with the show's first same-sex kiss, the Huffington Post reported. College student Will ( played by Chandler Massey ) , dealing with his sexuality, engaged in a steamy kiss with classmate Neil ( Jesse Kristofferson, son of Kris ) . Massey told Soap Opera Digest, "After living with self-loathing and disgust over not being able to accept himself, compounded by everything else that is going on in Will's life, he's tightly wound. Will allows himself to do something he wouldn't normally do in a sober situation."

Writer Anne Rice would like now-out White Collar actor Matt Bomer to star in the film version of her new novel, The Wolf Gift, according to Entertainment Weekly. "I think he's a charming, wonderful actor. I think he's so good in White Collar, so funny and so fresh and so wonderfully handsome, and at the same time, sort of unassuming and charming," she said. The book is about a reporter who turns into a "Man Wolf" and is hunted while he looks for answers.

Radio host Fez Whatley came out of the closet on the one-year anniversary of his father's death, reported. Whatley is half of the daily program The Ron & Fez Show on SiriusXM, and has played a gay character on the air for more than 20 years. In coming out, Whatley said there are too many issues facing the LGBT community and too many great comedians who are openly gay for him to remain "an angry closet case."

Cher is embarking on yet another tour, according to . She recently tweeted, "oh my god !!!! Just saw the sets 4 the show !!! I cant show u cause youd never 4give me! Theres so much magic i am breathless!" The tour will start in Kansas; dates and venues of the entire tour will be announced soon.

Among the many post-Oscar bashes Feb. 26 was Elton John's AIDS Foundation Academy Awards viewing party. According to, Adam Lambert and boyfriend Sauli Koskinen were in attendance, as well as Neil Patrick Harris and partner David Burtka, Katy Perry, Smokey Robinson, Matthew Morrison, Heidi Klum, Miley Cyrus and Boyz II Men. The party took place in West Hollywood, Calif.

The new Dancing with the Stars cast has been unveiled. Among the celebrities participating in the 14th season are lesbian tennis legend Martina Navratilova, singer Gladys Knight, actor Jack Wagner, actress Melissa Gilbert, telenovela hottie William Levy, singer Gavin DeGraw and entertainment reporter Maria Menounos. The new season starts March 19.

Former Xena and current Spartacus: Vengeance actress Lucy Lawless was recently arrested with other Greenpeace activists after four days of occupying an Arctic-bound Shell drill ship, according to . "This chapter has ended, but the story of the battle to save the Arctic has just begun," Lawless said before being arrested. "Seven of us climbed up that drillship to stop Arctic drilling, but 133,000 of us came down." The activists were on top of a 170-foot drilling tower for 77 hours before they were arrested and charged with burglary—although prosecutors had the option of leveling a lesser charge.

Logo has announced the nominees for the 2012 NewNowNext Awards, which honor icons, trendsetters and stars on the rise, according to a press release. The public can visit or to view the entire list of nominees and cast their votes across a wide range of outrageous categories including "Cause You're Hot," "Beyond Style," and "TV You Betta Watch." Winners will be revealed Monday, April 9, on Logo's "NewNowNext Awards" 2012 show. The 90-minute special will be taped in front of a live audience at the Avalon in Hollywood, Calif., April 5.

Alan Ball, the openly gay creator of the HBO series True Blood, is stepping down from running the show after the fifth season, according to a Huffington Post item. Ball said, "True Blood has been, and will continue to be, a highlight of not only my career but my life." If the show is picked up for a sixth season, he will stay on as advisor.

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Local entertainment: Queen Latifah; Madonna; Gay horror-movie screening; gay marriage exhibit 2015-03-04
National news shorts: Wedding in Texas; Autopsy, report differ; Gay priest dies 2015-03-03
Dining news: Iron Chef Jose Garces; Shaw's wine dinner 2015-03-03
World news: HIV study; Ambassador Wally Brewster; UKIP chair leaves 2015-03-03
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World news: HIV in Cuba; Global Equality Fund; new envoy 2015-02-24
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