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SHOWBIZ Elton John, RuPaul, Marilyn Monroe, Lena Waithe
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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While performing his hit "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" during his Million Dollar Piano concert residency at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Elton John regularly invites a group of fans to gather around his grand piano—but he recently stormed off a fan got too overzealous, reported. The legendary singer-songwriter eventually returned to finish his set. "No more coming on stage on 'Saturday Night,'" he told the crowd. "You fucked it up." John later posted about the fan, "a fan put his hands on the piano keys while I was playing and continued to do so even after I asked him to stop. He then proceeded to reach over the piano and try to take pictures, completely disrupting the performance."

Six-time Grammy-winning singer Christina Aguilera joins host RuPaul to kick off the season-10 premiere of RuPaul's Drag Race on Thursday, March 22, according to a press release. The season will feature all 90-minute episodes and will be followed by RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked. On "Drag Race," the 14 contestants will vie for the ultimate title of "America's Next Drag Superstar" and a grand prize of $100,000.

Drag Race star RuPaul has apologized after he faced a backlash for his comments about transgender drag artists, reported. RuPaul was condemned when he was asked if he would accept contestants who had transitioned, telling The Guardian, "Probably not. You can identify as a woman and say you're transitioning, but it changes once you start changing your body." In apologizing, RuPaul said, "I understand and regret the hurt I have caused. The trans community are heroes of our shared LGBTQ movement. You are my teachers."

Online trolls made their thoughts known after, on RuPaul's Drag Race, Bebe Zahara Benet, who is Black, won and had to choose between fellow contestants Shangela and Aja, sending Aja home, according to LGBTQ Nation. Some fans left racist messages on Bebe's Instagram, like "hope you die n***a ass bitch" and "Suck my vagina dirty n****r." Other people left monkey emojis. The messages have already been deleted. Aja, the queen who Bebe sent home, called out the racists on Twitter. Nina Bonina Brown, Jasmine Masters, Tyra Sanchez and Kennedy Davenport have also received racist treatment from fans.

GWS Auctions will present items once owned by Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Lady Gaga, Brad Pitt, Elizabeth Taylor and many others in the "Legends of Hollywood & Music Auction: Collectibles from the Megastars of Entertainment" on Saturday, March 24, at 12 noon CT at, according to a press release. For example, the Monroe assortment will feature a brush, comb and mirror set that still has her blond locks in its bristles; a brick from her now torn-down childhood home; a pair of her sunglasses; a clapboard from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes; and a phone message from Joe DiMaggio found tucked inside one of her books.

Lena Waithe has given a speech urging LGBT people to "come out, come out wherever you are—please don't be afraid," according to PinkNews. Speaking at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards after receiving the Ford Vanguard Award, the out lesbian actress/producer/writer paid tribute to her fiance, Alana Mayo, who she called "the love of my life." To loud applause, she said, "Being born gay, black and female is not a revolutionary act. Being proud to be a gay, black female is.

While in Los Angeles on her "Tell Me You Love Me" tour, singer Demi Lovato helped a filmmaker propose to his boyfriend, LGBTQ Nation noted. She invited former American Idol finalist Rayvon Owen onstage—and surprised him when his boyfriend—activist/filmmaker Shane Bitney Crone—appeared through a trapdoor and proposed to Owen, who said "yes." Years ago, Crone lost his partner, Tom Bridegroom ( who hosted MTV's The X Effect ) to an accidental fall; Bridegroom's family kept Crone from attending his funeral. The video he made about his experience went viral, which led to the feature-length documentary Bridegroom.

Actor Lee Pace has opened up about his sexuality, saying he has dated both men and women—but stopping short of labeling himself as gay or straight, according to . Pace told W Magazine was important for gay actors to play gay roles, prompting the interviewer to ask if he identified as gay. "I've dated men. I've dated women," Pace said, declining to put a label on his sexuality. The actor—best known for TV series such as Halt and Catch Fire as well as movies like Guardians of the Galaxy and The Hobbit—is gearing up for his part in the Broadway revival of Tony Kushner's Angels in America.

Out figure skater Adam Rippon appeared on Ellen DeGeneres' show for the first time—and took aim at Vice President Mike Pence, noted. Rippon, who competed in the 2018 Winter Olympics, had refused a phone call with Pence based on the vice president's views on conversion therapy and anti-LGBT legislation he's pushed as a congressman, as governor of Indiana and in the White House. Although the Olympics are over, Rippon is still not interested in speaking with Pence, he told DeGeneres; he did say, though, that because he was afforded a voice to represent marginalized people, he would possibly take a call on behalf of the people Pence has harmed through anti-LGBT legislation.

A group of male Hollywood actors, writers, producers and activists have joined forces in an open letter to support survivors of sexual harassment, help prevent abuse and demand accountability from men everywhere, according to a Page Six item. "With the goal of challenging more men to use their privilege and platforms for good, the group launched the #AskMoreOfHim campaign today in advance of the Oscars," the group said in a statement. Among those who signed the letter were David Arquette, Justin Baldoni, Kirby Dick, David Schwimmer and the group Futures Without Violence.

Reality-TV star and make-up artist Jonathan Fernandez has opened up about the conversion therapy camp he was sent to when he was 10, LGBTQ Nation noted. Fernandez, 33—who is currently appearing on season eight of VH1's Love & Hip Hop and was on three seasons of K. Michelle on the same channel—said in a video that his family loved him but didn't really understand him. Among other things, Fernandez said he was subjected to electric shocks ( connected with lie-detector tests ) and testosterone injections.

Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington are joining forces on Little Fires Everywhere, Variety reported. The power duo are shopping a limited series based on Celeste Ng's 2017 best-seller of the same name. The project—which hails from Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine, Washington's Simpson Street and ABC Signature Studios—is sparking a bidding war among major players across premium cable and streaming. Witherspoon and Washington will both star in and executive-produce the project.

David Ogden Stiers—best known for his role as Major Charles Emerson Winchester III on the hit TV comedy series MASH—has died at age 75 of bladder cancer, noted, citing Variety. Stiers—who came out as gay in 2009—later found success voicing characters in animated movies, most notably Cogsworth in Disney's Beauty and the Beast, which he also narrates.

Out The Walking Dead actor Daniel Newman spoke out against an LGBT adoption ban passed by the Georgia Senate—part of a growing chorus of critics from the film and television industries that generated $9.5 billion in economic impact in the state last year, Project Q reported. Newman, an Atlanta-based actor who came out last year, said he'd take part in a rally March 1 near the State Capitol to protest the legislation. The "Keep Faith in Adoption & Foster Care Act" would allow faith-based agencies receiving taxpayer funds to ban LGBT people from adopting children and providing foster care. Variety added that studios are declining to comment, but actors, producers and showrunners are slamming the legislation and urging companies to pull productions from Georgia if the bill passes the Georgia House and gets signed into law.

The Kevin Spacey Foundation, which worked to encourage young people in the performing arts, will cease operating in the United Kingdom, Variety reported. The foundation's social-media activity had already been wound down and its website scaled back in the wake of the sexual harassment and assault allegations against Spacey that emerged last fall. The Kevin Spacey Foundation was officially registered in Britain in 2008, during the two-time Oscar-winning actor's tenure as artistic director of The Old Vic theater in London from 2004 to 2015.

GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics has updated its policy on sexual harassment, bullying and hate speech. In part, the policy reads, "GALECA opposes and requires that members not engage in or have a history of any form of abuse, harassment, sexual harassment or bullying, or discrimination on the basis of gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, race, ethnicity, color, national origin, disability, age, religion, or other personal characteristics recognized as protected categories by law."

James Corden explained how he would tell his kids about gay people, if they would ever ask, according to LGBTQ Nation. The host of The Late Late Show and father of three told Attitude, "I would know what those answers were, which is that these are simply two men that really love each other in the same way I love Mummy and Grandma loves Grandad—and that's it." Corden also discussed the well-received sketch he performed on his show in response to President Trump's attempts to ban transgender people from the military.

Frances McDormand and her new best actress Oscar are back together again after a scary post-show celebration separation, USA Today noted. McDormand was celebrating her best actress victory for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri at the Governors Ball when she was separated from her golden trophy. According to TheWrap, a thief was arrested and charged with grand larceny.

Filmmaker John Ridley—who won an Oscar for his adapted screenplay 12 Years a Slave—is taking over a building in what is known as the Pabst Brewery Complex in Milwaukee to create a creative hub for artists in his hometown, Deadline reported. No Studios, a 40,000-square-foot building, was purchased by Ridley and business partner Chris Abele to become a home to artists who want to create or curate and present their art. It will also contain a 50-seat screening room. No Studios will open in September.

Janelle Monae's organization Fem the Future, in partnership with Belvedere Vodka, brought together female directors, actors, producers, musicians and activists to discuss personal hurdles, major victories, Hollywood's current climate and gender equality at a brunch in West Hollywood, according to the L.A. Times. The guest list included Ava DuVernay, Dee Rees, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Geena Davis, Rosario Dawson, Yvonne Orji, Jay Ellis and Tessa Thompson. Fem the Future, a grassroots group led by progressive millennials, seeks to create opportunities in the arts and offer mentorship and education for women and those who identify as women.

Oscar winners Viola Davis and Lupita Nyong'o will play a mother and daughter in The Woman King for TriStar Pictures, The Hollywood Reporter noted. Inspired by true events that took place in The Kingdom of Dahomey, one of the most powerful states of Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries, The Woman King tells the story of Nanisca ( Davis ), general of the all-female military unit known as the Amazons, and daughter Nawi ( Nyong'o ).

A fan favorite Law & Order: SVU character is making her comeback, noted. Stephanie March will return to the long-running NBC drama as former Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot, a character she originated in season two of SVU, in April. In "Sunk Cost Fallacy," the search for an abducted woman and her daughter leads Benson ( Mariska Hargitay ) to cross paths with Cabot. This is March's first appearance as Cabot since season 13 of Law & Order: SVU.

Emmy winner Dan Bucatinsky ( Scandal ) has been tapped for a series regular role opposite Sasheer Zamata and Sean Kleier in NBC comedy pilot So Close, Deadline noted. So Close centers on hopeless romantics Riley ( Zamata ) and Kyle ( Kleier ), with Bucatinsky playing Christopher, a lawyer and Riley's ( closest friend.

Bridesmaids star and former SNL cast member Kristen Wiig is in talks to take on the villain role in Wonder Woman 2, noted, citing Variety. Wiig is the top choice to play the villainous role of Cheetah in the highly-anticipated sequel to WB's superhero hit, which will reportedly pick up with Gal Gadot's Diana Prince in the 1980s during the Cold War.

Rhino and Warner Bros. Records will celebrate The Flaming Lips with a reissue program, kicking off with two releases the band recorded for Restless Records before signing with Warner Bros. in 1991, according to a press release. Scratching the Door: The First Recordings of The Flaming Lips—a single-disc compilation that features music recorded by the band's original lineup—will be available on April 20 for $14.98; Seeing the Unseeable: The Complete Studio Recordings of The Flaming Lips 1986-1990—a six-CD boxed set that includes the act's four Restless Records studio albums and two discs of rarities—will be available May 25 for $34.98.

Stoli Vodka kicked off the fifth annual Key West Cocktail Classic ( called the world's largest annual LGBT bartender competition ) on Feb. 27, hosting the first of 14 stops in Dallas, Business Wire noted. Fourteen cities across the United States and Canada will host regional competitions with the theme "Raising the Bar," culminating in New York City on May 16. Finalists will win a seven-day, all-inclusive trip to represent their ciies at the finale, which will be held June 5-11 in Key West and is scheduled to include actor/musician Jai Rodriguez, writer and Emmy Award-winner Bruce Vilanch, American Idol's Latoya London, dance diva Debby Holiday and Real Housewives of Dallas star LeeAnne Locken. See

Barry Diller was forced to cancel his mogul-heavy annual Oscar picnic because of the drenching rain threatening to turn Academy Awards weekend into a washout, Page Six noted. Diller and Diane von Furstenberg host their picnic every Saturday before the Oscars on the lawn of their Beverly Hills mansion.

Bobby Brown doesn't feel justice has been served in the death of his daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, Page Six noted. Bobbi Kristina's on-again, off-again boyfriend, Nick Gordon, is on the hook for $36 million in a wrongful-death case from November 2016. When Rolling Stone asked Bobby why he feels there's been no justice he said, "Because he's still walking around free. "If he was locked up somewhere where somebody can rape him. That's just how I feel. He raped me by taking my daughter away."

A trial date has been set for Chris Soules, the Iowa farmer-turned-Bachelor contestant who is charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident, Page Six noted. Soules appeared on The Bachelor and Dancing with the Stars in 2015 and became a television celebrity. However, after returning home to his family's northern Iowa farm, he struck a tractor driven by a neighbor on April 24 last year. The trial is slated for Nov. 7 in Buchanan County District Court in Independence, Iowa, added.

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