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SHOWBIZ Adam Rippon, Celine Dion, Jussie Smollett, George Takei
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-05-29

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Adam Rippon's romance with his Finnish boyfriend is getting serious, Page Six noted, citing People. "We'll live together," Rippon, 28, shared with People confirming news that Finnish boyfriend Jussi-Pekka Kajaala is moving to the United States. "It's like a whole process to move out here—like you're moving countries." Rippon famously ended things with his previous boyfriend of two years just before he competed in the Winter Olympics.

Two months after undergoing ear surgery, Celine Dion returned to a standing ovation in Las Vegas, Page Six noted. According to People, Dion said, in part, "I have to tell you, I'm extremely happy to be back. The stage is kind of my home away from home and I have to admit I can barely stand on my feet tonight, as I am a little bit nervous." In March, Dion underwent a "minimally invasive" surgery to correct a Patulous Eustachian tube.

Actor/musician Jussie Smollett has announced a summer tour to support his debut full-length studio album release, Sum of My Music, according to BlackAIDS.org . The fittingly titled Sum of My Music Tour debuted in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on April 20, and will span Europe and the United States, culminating in a performance in New Orleans for the Essence Festival. A portion of the tour's proceeds will support The Black AIDS Institute ( BAI ) and Flint Kids.

Months after George Takei was accused of sexual assault, former model Scott R. Brunton, who said the Star Trek actor drugged and groped him without his consent 36 years ago, is walking back certain parts of his story, HuffPost noted. In a lengthy interview with The New York Observer's Shane Snow published Thursday, Brunton recounted the night at the actor's home where the alleged incident occurred—but admitted he didn't remember Takei touching his genitals. In addition to parsing out the details of the alleged groping, Snow noted various inconsistencies in accounts Brunton shared with numerous outlets. However, according to ABC News, Brunton has said he specifically remembers waking up to find Takei on top of him, trying to remove his underwear.

Shawn Mendes sent a message of support to his transgender best friend Teddy Geiger, Gay Star News noted. Geiger came out publicly as transgender at the end of 2017. Mendes told Billboard, "For me, one of my closest friends going through a transition period in her life, was incredible to watch." Geiger is an Australian singer-songwriter who originally appeared on Australian Idol; she now writes songs for One Direction and Shawn Mendes.

Jeffrey Tambor is back in the spotlight, three months after he was fired from Amazon's Transparent following allegations of sexual harassment, USA Today reported. The two-time Emmy winner is on a promotional tour for season five of Netflix's Arrested Development, which wrapped production last fall, just after his Transparent co-stars Van Barnes and Trace Lysette came forward with accusations of inappropriate and abusive behavior. Asked whether there's anything he wishes he'd done differently, Tambor said, "Absolutely. The death of [Transparent character] Maura has been like a death. It's like a grief but, in grief, you learn."

In a related situation, Arrested Development star Jason Bateman apologized for comments in a New York Times interview in which he appeared to defend Jeffrey Tambor after co-star Jessica Walter accused him of verbally abusive behavior, TheWrap noted. "I have to let go of being angry at him," Walter said during the interview. She added that in "almost 60 years of working, I've never had anybody yell at me like that on a set and it's hard to deal with, but I'm over it now." In the Times interview, Bateman said that the behavior Walter described was typical with certain performers—but he later waled back those comments. "I sound like I'm condoning yelling at work. I do not," Bateman tweeted.

GLAAD announced that country-music icon Tanya Tucker will take the stage for a very special performance at the GLAAD + Ty Herndon Concert for Love and Acceptance, set for June 7 at the Wildhorse Saloon during CMA Fest in Nashville, a press release noted. GLAAD and Herndon also today announced performances by Billy Dean, Cale Dodds, Parson James, Temecula Road and Thompson Square. Previous announced special guests and performers include Terri Clark, Cam, Shelly Fairchild, Cassadee Pope, Michael Ray, Calum Scott and Brandon Stansell.

Funk musicians George Clinton and Parliament have dropped Medicaid Fraud Dogg—the group's first album release in 38 years, according to a press release. Their May 26 live performance at the L.A. Greek Theater kicked off Clinton's final world tour. George Clinton & Parliament-Funkadelic will circle the globe for the next year, after which Parliament-Funkadelic will continue on its own without Clinton. See Distrokid.com/parliament.

Paramount Pictures has dated Taron Egerton's Rocketman for May 17, 2019, TheWrap noted. Egerton portrays John in the various stages of his legendary life. Lee Hall wrote the script for the package, and John is producing with Marv Films and Matthew Vaughn alongside John's Rocket Pictures partner/husband David Furnish. Egerton is set to sing John's songs himself, with production set to begin in August.

Fresh from the announcement that Little Big Town will host the 2018 CMT Music Awards, CMT revealed that Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson, Chris Stapleton, Kelsea Ballerini, Luke Bryan and Sam Hunt are slated to perform at this year's show, Variety reported. The awards will air live from Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on June 6. Additional performers will be announced soon.

Rita Ora's controversial new single "Girls" was penned about her relationship with model Cara Delevingne—and hints that they were more than just friends, according to Page Six. The pair were practically inseparable a few years ago, with Ora even calling the bisexual model her "wifey." The provocative track—which also features Charli XCX, Bebe Rexha and Cardi B—is about a girl named "Lara."

Pop singer-songwriter Betty Who will put out her independent EP Betty Pt. 1, out June 15, a press release noted. The EP is the first in a series of her conceptual new music rollout; a second EP will be released in the fall and a full-length album next year. Ahead of its June 15 release, who has debuted the new track "Taste."

The last race of Danica Patrick's 14-year career behind the wheel ended with a crash, leaving her devastated at the Indianapolis 500 on May 27, according to USA Today. Her car got loose as she drove through Turn 2 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on lap 68. She spun out and slammed into the wall as pieces of her bright green No. 13 GoDaddy Chevrolet flew through the air. This was Patrick's first race in the IndyCar series since the 2011 season, after which she made the jump to racing in NASCAR full time; she had qualified seventh out of 33 drivers.

Charlize Theron is portraying Megyn Kelly for an upcoming movie about disgraced Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, Vanity Fair noted, citing The Hollywood Reporter. The Academy Award-winning actress will play the former Fox anchor in the upcoming drama, which will be directed by Jay Roach. Theron will also co-produce under her Denver & Delilah banner. Annapurna is behind the project, lining it up after its Dick Cheney biopic, which stars Christian Bale as the former vice president.

The results of Actors' Equity Association's 2018 National Council election have been announced, Playbill reported. Four officers ran without opposition: President Kate Shindle, 3rd Vice President Ira Mont, Secretary/Treasurer Sandra Karas, Central Regional Vice President Dev Kennedy and Western Regional Vice President Doug Carfrae. In total, 55 Council seats across all three regions ( Eastern, Central and Western ) representing three categories ( principal actor, chorus actor and stage manager ) were filled for the union, which represents more than 51,000 professional stage actors and stage managers.

NBC announced that it's set the '70s Broadway hit Hair as its next live musical, TheWrap reported. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who have executive produced each of the Peacock's song-fueled telecasts since The Sound of Music—including the recent John Legend-led Jesus Christ Superstar Live—will lead the production, which is set for spring 2019. Hair Live! tells the story of a group of politically active hippies living a bohemian life in New York while fighting against and resisting the Vietnam War. Iconic songs from the rock opera that first hit Broadway in 1968 include "( The Age of ) Aquarius," "Let the Sun Shine In" and "Good Morning Starshine."

Manhattan Theatre Club will pay tribute to the late Jan Maxwell with a June 4 memorial service at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, Playbill noted. Maxwell passed away in February at 61 following a battle with cancer. Throughout her stage career, she earned five Tony Award nominations, becoming the fourth performer in Broadway history to be nominated in all four possible acting categories.

ABC is expanding Good Morning America to a third hour, The Hollywood Reporter noted. To make room for an expansion of GMA, the network is canceling daytime cooking show The Chew. The Chew has been on for seven seasons —but has also endured the ire of bitter soap opera fans; All My Children and One Life to Live were axed in favor of The Chew and since-canceled talker The Revolution. Also, the program was hit by negative headlines late last year when executives parted ways with chef Mario Batali in the wake of harassment allegations at his New York restaurants.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus is this year's recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, E! Online noted. In a statement, the star of Seinfeld and Veep joked, "Merely to join the list of distinguished recipients of this award would be honor enough, but, as a student of both American history and literature, the fact that Mr. Twain himself will be presenting the award to me in person is particularly gratifying."

Kanye West is in another controversial situation, People.com noted. The rapper revealed the new cover art for Pusha T's upcoming album DAYTONA, which West produced—and it features a contentious photograph of Whitney Houston's bathroom taken secretly by a family member in 2006 as the late singer struggled with drug addiction. West, according to Pusha T, paid $85,000 to procure the photograph.

Also, Chicago's Donda's House ( named after Kanye West's mother ) is changing its name, but says its mission is the same, ABC7Chicago.com noted. The organization clashed with Kim Kardashian West on social media, with her threatening, at one point, saying, "You better believe I will make it my mission to take Donda's House from you and let my children run it the way it should be run! @RHYMEFEST." Rhymefest posted a statement on Twitter in response to Kardashian-West saying in part, "How can you criticize an organization you've never been to OR that you've never even talked to the Executive Director or any of the team." Donda's House aims to support young people in the city through education and the arts.

Richard Gere is officially confirmed for his first major TV role in MotherFatherSon, The Hollywood Reporter noted. The eight-part original drama is being made by BBC Studios Drama London for BBC Two. MotherFatherSon will see Gere play Max, a charismatic self-made American businessman with media outlets in London and around the world.

Visa said it is suspending its marketing with actor Morgan Freeman following sexual-assault accusations, TheWrap noted. "We are aware of the allegations that have been made against Mr. Freeman," the company said. "At this point, Visa will be suspending our marketing in which the actor is featured." Vancouver public-transportation system TransLink also said it paused the use of Freeman's voice for transit announcements. The city's transit authority had teamed with Visa for an ad campaign using Freeman's voice. Freeman has apologized for any offensive behavior.

Disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein turned himself in to authorities in New York City on May 25, TheWrap reported. The former titan emerged from an SUV flanked by NYPD officers and surrendered to authorities in lower Manhattan's first police precinct. The scene drew a frenzy of media attention and hangers-on eager to catch a glimpse of Weinstein, who largely retreated from public view after his downfall. At least 80 women have accused Weinstein of assault, harassment and inappropriate conduct. Manhattan prosecutors will charge Weinstein with first- and third-degree rape in one case and a first-degree sex act in a second case, CNN noted.

RuPaul's Drag Race star Mimi Imfurst has issued a public apology after two fellow drag queens accused the performer of sexual harassment, PinkNews noted. Kyle Ayotte, 25, and Ethan Hunter Raysor, 24, both told Philadelphia magazine that the performer had made "unwanted and repeated sexual advances" toward them over instant messaging. The pair allege that they know of others who have had similar experiences, but that people are afraid to come forward due to Imfurst's ( real name: Braden Chapman ) strong presence in the local gay community, running the Philadelphia "Drag Wars" contest.

The family of Tim Bergling—the Swedish dance music star known as Avicii, who died of an apparent suicide on April 20 at age 28—have released a statement regarding their funeral plans, which they wish to be private, Variety noted. The statement reads, "The Bergling family has now confirmed that the funeral will be private, in the presence of the people who were closest to Tim. They kindly ask media to respect this. There is no additional information forthcoming." Bergling was found dead in his hotel room in Oman, the Middle Eastern country bordering Saudi Arabia.

Florence + the Machine confirmed a 23-city North American fall headline tour, kicking off Aug. 5 in Montreal, and including stops at Los Angeles' Hollywood Bowl and New York's Barclays Center, a press release noted. Further dates include Seattle, Portland, Nashville, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago and more. Florence + the Machine's fourth studio album, High As Hope, is due June 29 on Republic Records.

Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle will direct the next James Bond movie, CNET.com noted. The as-yet-untitled 25th installment in the Bond series will star Daniel Craig in his fifth and probably final outing as 007. The Oscar-winning Boyle has directed Bond before—sort of—when he oversaw the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony featuring Craig in character in a skit with Queen Elizabeth.

Game of Thrones' Natalie Dormer is gearing up to play Vivien Leigh ( the iconic actress from the film classic Gone with the Wind ) on the small screen, Deadline noted. The former Margaery Tyrell will be teaming up with FremantleMedia and UK production company Mainstreet Pictures to develop and produce a series which will focus on the two-time Oscar winner's personal and professional successes and struggles.

Film and television tycoon Tyler Perry has sold a 17,000-square-foot white stucco and green-glass mansion in the mountains between Beverly Hills and Sherman Oaks, California, for $15.6 million—and word on the celebrity real-estate street is the new owner is musician Pharrell, Variety noted. Perry purchased the property as an investment in August 2017 for $14.5 million and, with few if any significant improvements, flipped it back on the market five months later for a sliver under $17 million.

Scandal-plagued Guess co-founder Paul Marciano could walk away from the company $22.5 million richer, Page Six noted. Marciano was accused in February by model Kate Upton, 25, of "forcibly" groping her breasts during a 2010 photo shoot. The executive, who stepped away from his day-to-day duties following the accusations, called the claims "absolutely false."


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