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SHOWBIZ Deborah Cox, awards events, gay singer killed, 'Family Guy'
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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The Sin City Classic Sports Festival presented by Toyota—the world's largest annual LGBTQ sporting event—announced that Grammy-nominated, multi award-winning singer and LGBTQ advocate Deborah Cox will perform during the Festival's Toyota Sin City Classic Closing Party, a press release noted. The 2019 Sin City Classic, hosted by The Greater Los Angeles Softball Association ( GLASA ), will take place Jan.y 17-20 in Las Vegas. Cox will make a special appearance for the festival's closing night on Jan. 20 at the Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas.

The list of nominations for the Costume Designers Guild's 21st annual CDGA has been unveiled, Deadline noted. The top film and TV noms each are split into three categories—contemporary, period and sci-fi/fantasy—and a few of the nominees include designers connected with A Star Is Born, American Horror Story: Apocalypse, Crazy Rich Asians, Black Panther, The Alienist, GLOW, Aquaman, The Handmaid's Tale and RuPaul's Drag Race. The awards will be handed out Feb. 19 during the ceremony at the Beverly Hilton.

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists announced the winners of the 2018 AWFJ EDA Awards, a press release noted. This year, AWFJ presents EDA Awards in 25 categories, divided into three sections: the standard "Best Of" section, the Female Focus awards and the irreverent EDA Special Mention awards—including Actress Most in Need of a New Agent ( Jennifer Lawrence, for Red Sparrow ) and the AWFJ Hall of Shame Award ( all alleged abusers ). Roma won five EDA Awards, including Best Film, Best Non-English Language Film, Best Cinematography, Best Editing and Best Director ( for Alfonso Cuaron ). Some of the other winners included Viola Davis ( The Actress Defying Age and Ageism Award ), The Favourite and Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Singer/rapper Kevin Fret—who dubbed himself the first openly gay Latin trap artist, according to Billboard—was fatally shot and killed in Santurce, San Juan, Puerto Rico, noted. The "Soy Asi" singer, 24, was riding his motorcycle when he was attacked; he later died at a medical center, El Nuevo Dia reported. Fret's manager, Eduardo Rodriguez, has since spoken out about the musician's tragic death telling website Remezcla, "Kevin was an artistic soul, a dreamer with a big heart."

The executive producers of the Fox animated comedy Family Guy say they are phasing out jokes about gay people, according to Page Six. Rich Appel and Alec Sulkin told TV Line that the long-running show is evolving, although it's still decidedly politically incorrect. "If you look at a show from 2005 or 2006 and put it side by side with a show from 2018 or 2019, they're going to have a few differences," Sulkin said. "Some of the things we felt comfortable saying and joking about back then, we now understand is not acceptable."

Two familiar faces are joining the ABC's pilot NYPD Blue, a new iteration of the iconic cop drama from 20th tV and ABC Studios, Deadline noted. Kim Delaney will reprise her Emmy-winning role as Det. Diane Russell from the original series, while Bill Brochtrup will reprise his role as PPA John Irvin. Brochtrup, who came out as gay in 1997, portrayed Irvin, a gay character, noted.

Anderson Cooper was recently honored at actor Sean Penn's ninth annual benefit for the J/P Haitian Relief Organization, noted. The fundraiser raised $3.5 million at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles. Julia Roberts paid homage to Cooper before presenting him with the award, saying he showed bravery as a journalist in matters of crisis.

Fitness expert Jillian Michaels has criticized the ketogenic diet, which has increased in popularity in recent months, Page Six noted. Michaels opened up about the trendy high-fat, low-carb diet in a video for Women's Health, saying it shouldn't be followed. "Your cells, your macromolecules, are literally made up of protein, fat, carbohydrates, nucleic acids," the former The Biggest Loser trainer explained. "When you do not eat one of the three macronutrients—those three things I just mentioned—you're starving yourselves." However, reported that Today Show weatherman Al Roker has now slammed Michaels, with him tweeting, "So @JillianMichaels says #Keto is a bad idea. This from a woman who promoted on camera bullying, deprivation, manipulation and more weekly in the name of weight loss. Now those sound like bad ideas."

Jordan Peele's next social-genre thriller, Us, is making its world premiere at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, on Friday, March 8, as the fest's opening-night movie, Deadline noted. Last year, Paramount launched A Quiet Place at SXSW. Us, which Peele also wrote, will be released by Universal Pictures on Friday, March 15.

Singer Alicia Keys will be hosting the 2019 Grammy Awards on Feb. 10, Page Six noted. Keys, who has won 15 Grammy Awards, was honored at Variety's Power of Women event in New York last April for co-launching Keep a Child Alive, a nonprofit aimed at combating the physical, social and economic impacts of HIV.

A Star Is Born star/director Bradley Cooper, Black Panther's Michael B. Jordan, and Texas Senate candidate and potential presidential canddiate Beto O'Rourke will join Oprah Winfrey live one-on-one in NYC on Feb. 5, Deadline revealed. Melinda Gates and Time's Up President and CEO Lisa Borders will also be part of the event at the Playstation Theater with more guests likely to be announced, too. The event will be broadcast on OWN later this year and on Oprah's SuperSoul Conversations podcast as well.

Former White House communications figure Anthony Scaramucci, openly gay actor Jonathan Bennett ( Mean Girls ), reality-show personalities/singers Tamar Braxton and Kandi Burruss, swimmer Ryan Lochte, actor Joey Lawrence and infamous houseguest Kato Kaelin are among the cast for the second season of Big Brother: Celebrity Edition on CBS, noted. The show will have a two-night premiere starting Jan. 21 and run for three weeks, with the two-hour finale slated for Feb. 13. Julie Chen will return as host of the show after having departed the network's The Talk after husband Les Moonves exited as the network's corporate boss under a cloud of sexual-harassment allegations.

NBC has renewed the multi-Emmy-winning daytime soap Days of Our Lives for a record 55th season, Deadline reported. Days of Our Lives—which aired its 13,500th episode last year—first premiered as a half-hour drama in 1965 and expanded to an hour 10 years later. The show has garnered 57 Emmys, including 2015 and 2018's honors for Outstanding Daytime Drama.

One of the longest-running scripted series currently on television, CBS' Criminal Minds, is coming to an end with a 10-episode 15th season, noted. The series, which is currently filming the finale of its 15-episode 14th season, will remain in continuous production, shooting the 10 additional episodes right after to air during the 2019-20 broadcast season. The show will have run 325 episodes.

Regina King is receiving lots of support following her Golden Globes speech in which she vowed to employ at least 50 percent women on projects she produces, Page Six noted. "[Producer] Bert Salke has [reached out]; Tyler Perry, immediately—and those are men," King told Entertainment Tonight. "Those are just a couple of the men. I haven't even finished going through all my congratulations emails, so I'm sure there's a couple of others."

Sina Grace, the out writer behind the Iceman comic series, and artist Nathan Stockman have created Shade—the new drag queen superhero that appeared onto comic store shelves in last month's Iceman #4, and returns in the new issue of Iceman, noted. Shade's mutant power is being able to create "pocket voids" that allow her to teleport. Grace told NewNowNext that his inspirations for Shade came from RuPaul's Drag Race queens like Shea Coulee, Monet X Change, The Vixen and Dax ExclamationPoint.

Lady Gaga apologized for her past collaboration with embattled R&B singer R. Kelly and said that she would pull ""Do What U Want ( With My Body )"—their 2013 song together—from streaming services like iTunes, noted. "I stand behind these women 1000 percent, believe them, know they are suffering and in pain, and feel strongly that their voices should be heard and taken seriously," Gaga tweeted.

Swedish House Mafia has enlisted veteran music manager Ron Lafitte to shepherd what is shaping up to be a major comeback in 2019, reported. Lafitte—whose Patriot Management roster includes Pharrell Williams, Ryan Tedder and OneRepublic, Soundgarden and Backstreet Boys—recently began representing the trio in an official capacity. The group had been on hiatus since March 2013, after wrapped what was then billed as a farewell tour.

A documentary film about two boys who accused Michael Jackson of sexual abuse is set to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, noted. The Sundance Institute announced the addition of Leaving Neverland as well as The Brink, a documentary about Steve Bannon, to its 2019 lineup. A description of Leaving Neverland says it will tell the story of two men who are now in their 30s and began long-running relationships with Jackson at ages 7 and 10 when Jackson was at the height of his fame. The festival will run Jna. 24-Feb. 3.

Essence has named four actresses as its annual "Black Women in Hollywood" honorees, Page Six noted. They are Regina Hall and Amandla Stenberg, who both starred in The Hate U Give, Kiki Layne of If Beale Street Could Talk and Jenifer Lewis of Black-ish. The awards luncheon will be held Feb. 21 in Beverly Hills.

Dallas Austin, Missy Elliott, Tom T. Hall, John Prine, Jack Tempchin and Cat Stevens ( a.k.a. Yusuf ) will become the latest inductees of the Songwriters Hall of Fame ( SHOF ) at the organization's 5 th annual Induction and Awards Dinner, taking place June 13 in New York City, noted. Regarding this year's inductees, SHOF chairman ( and hit songwriter/producer and Chic cofounder ) Nile Rodgers said, "The first thing you need to know is it's about the song, the second thing you need to know is it's about the song, the third thing you need to know is it's about the song."

HBO announced that the eighth and final season of the blockbuster Game of Thrones will premiere April 14, reported. The season will have six supersized episodes; HBO previously revealed that the final episode of the epic series was shot over 55 nights in three locations.

The CW has announced the remainder of its midseason premiere dates, including spring debuts for the final seasons of Jane the Virgin and iZombie, reported. Jane the Virgin will return for its fifth season on Wed., March 2, after Riverdale, a week after the sports drama All-American wraps its freshman run on March 20. The fifth and final season of iZombie, meanwhile, will debut Thursday, May 2.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer alumna Sarah Michelle Gellar is set to star in and executive produce Sometimes I Lie, noted. The series is being developed by Ellen DeGeneres' A Very Good Production and Warner Bros TV. In Sometimes I Lie, Gellar stars as Amber Reynolds, a woman who wakes up in a hospital, paralyzed; however, unbeknownst to those around her, she can hear everyone around her.

NBC has officially parted ways with Megyn Kelly, noted. "The parties have resolved their differences, and Megyn Kelly is no longer an employee of NBC," a network representative said. The remainder of her three-year contract is believed to be between $25 million and $30 million.

Green Book writer-producer Nick Vallelonga has apologized for a 2015 anti-Muslim tweet that resurfaced after his Jan. 6 Golden Globe win, vowing to "do better," noted. In part, he said, "I especially deeply apologize to the brilliant and kind Mahershala Ali [who starred in Green Book], and all members of the Muslim faith, for the hurt I have caused." In 2015, Vallelonga agreed with then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, "100% correct. Muslims in Jersey City cheering when towers went down. I saw it, as you did, possibly on local CBS news." ( Trump's version of events was challenged by major news outlets. ) Also recently, Green Book director Peter Farrelly apologized for repeatedly flashing his penis two decades ago in an attempt to be funny.

Despite calls for an artist boycott and several acts reportedly shying away, Super Bowl LIII has finally nailed down performers for its halftime show, Deadline noted. The band Maroon 5 will be joined by rapper Travis Scott and performer/producer Big Boi as the entertainment for the big game, set for Sunday, Feb. 3, in Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium. CBS will televise the game and halftime

Author Alice Walker ( The Color Purple ) recently praised writer David Icke for for And the Truth Will Set You Free—a book with anti-Jewish overtones, The New York Times reported. Jewish groups and many others condemned Walker for supporting the book and The Times for publishing the interview. Walker did not back down in her statement, saying that the book was not anti-Semitic.

The award-winning show Marvelous Mrs. Maisel's production company, Picrow Streaming, has been accused by IATSE Local 52 in New York of making "coercive statements" and "changes in terms of conditions of employment" in violation of federal labor law that prohibits discriminating against employees because of their union activities, according to Deadline. Amazon Studios flatly denied the charge in a statement to Deadline, saying, "Amazon Studios fully supports the entire team behind The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel."

Diners have been asking staff at a branch of The Palm restaurants if there are plans to replace it with a portrait of Caitlyn Jenner instead after the star transitioned, Page Six reported. Apparently, the eatery's answer is that because stars have to have visited the restaurant in person to have the honor of being included on the walls, managers will add her image if Caitlyn ever shows up at the Second Avenue spot.

The life of Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee will be celebrated at a public memorial being held on Wed., Jan. 30, noted. The event, officially titled "Excelsior! A Celebration of the Amazing, Fantastic, Incredible & Uncanny Life of Stan Lee," will be hosted by Kevin Smith, a huge fan of Lee's and a friend of his. The event ( which will feature a wide array of special guests ) will take place at the legendary TLC Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California.

Roseanne Barr accused her former employers at ABC of "anti-Semitism," contending in a recent interview with The Jerusalem Post that her outspoken support of Israel played a role in her firing last year, reported. In part, she said, "In haste they did something unprecedented that they've never done to any other artist. And at the base of that I think it's because I am the most vocal person about Israel and BDS." Barr—the star and executive producer of ABC's high-profile Roseanne reboot last season—was ousted by the network after she posted a tweet comparing a Valerie Jarrett ( a former Obama administration official who is African-American ) to "Planet of the Apes."

Controversial YouTube figure Logan Paul is being criticized for saying he and Impaulsive podcast co-host Mike Majlak are "going to attempt to go gay for just one month," Page Six noted. This comes a year after the YouTube personality faced a wave of criticism for posting a video that showed the body of an apparent suicide victim in Japan's Aokigahara forest. Paul's latest comment did not sit well with fans and GLAAD, who slammed him for insulting the LGBTQ+ community. In response, Paul said it was his "fault" and that it was a "very poor choice of words."

Tyler The Creator's GOLF and GOLF le FLEUR* brands are releasing a handful of new items from the HIVER 2018/2019 collection, a press release noted. The collection showcases a range of high-end cold weather clothing pieces and reflective GOLF le FLEUR* shoes and metallic bomber jacket.

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