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SHOWBIZ Elton John, TV actor comes out, Adam Lambert, 'Queer as Folk'
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2020-04-28

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Sir Elton John postponed the remaining North American dates on his Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour due to the coronavirus, Rolling Stone noted. John's farewell trek previously postponed its tour dates from March 26 through May 2, and the latest postponement delays the concerts set from May 22 to July 8—a total of 25 shows. The postponed dates will be rescheduled for 2021. As of now, John—who launched a $1 million coronavirus relief fund— is still scheduled to continue his Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour with a European leg in September.

Actor J. August Richards came out during an Instagram Live interview about his new show, LGBTQ Nation reported. Richards, who played the recurring character Charles Gunn in the Buffy spinoff Angel, has a starring role as Dr. Oliver Post in the new NBC drama Council of Dads, where he plays a married gay dad. Richards ( who has also been on shows such as Angel and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ) said he couldn't portray the character "honestly" without being public about his sexual orientation.

While in quarantine, Adam Lambert and Queen delivered a fitting, new take on the iconic song "We Are the Champions," Billboard noted. In a split-screen clip guitarist Brian May shared to Instagram on April 20 ), he, Lambert and drummer Roger Taylor perform the tune from their own homes. Lambert belts the powerful chorus as usual, before repeating it once more, changing the "we" to "you" as a subtle, yet heartfelt message of love and support. "#youarethechampions," May captioned the post. "this version is for those of you who like things to be the right way up!"

Cast members from Queer as Folk cast are reuniting ( online ) to help support LGBTQ community centers during the coronavirus pandemic, The Hollywood Reporter noted. On May 1 at 1 p.m. CT on YouTube, Scott Lowell, who played Ted, will host the event that will feature actors Sharon Gless, Peter Paige, Michelle Clunie, Hal Sparks, Randy Harrison and Robert Gant alongside creators Ron Cowen and Dan Lipman. In addition to chats and special conversations with the cast about the ground-breaking Showtime show, fans who tune in will have the opportunity to bid on Queer as Folk memorabilia and donate funds to support CenterLink and its network of more than 250 LGBTQ community centers. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRUfEudtSmQ&feature=youtu.be.

A documentary feature about Michelle Obama—the existence of which has been kept top-secret for months—will be made available worldwide May 6 on Netflix, The Hollywood Reporter noted. Becoming marks the feature directorial debut of cinematographer Nadia Hallgren ( Trouble the Water ), and shares the name of Obama's best-selling 2018 memoir and recounts some of the same history of her life. However, it also picks up where that story left off by following her on the 34-city tour that she undertook while promoting her book.

The May 4 episode of the ABC show The Baker and the Beauty will have an LGBT twist, according to a press release. The episode, "I Think She's Coming Out," will revolve around the character of Natalie Garcia ( played by newcomer Belissa Escobedo ), the high school-aged younger sister of main character Daniel ( played by Victor Rasuk ).

The newest character on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit casually came out as bisexual, according to LGBTQ Nation. Officer Katriona Tamin, played by Jamie Gray Hyder, is talking with another character about her plans for the evening. She pulls out her phone, opens a dating app, and says, "What do you think—Gene or Gina?" "I think that kind of bringing it up in this very casual way is important because it doesn't need to stand out," Hyder told E! News, adding that writers worked for months to come up with ways to make her character bisexual without playing into stereotypes.

VH1 announced its new series To Catch a Beautician, hosted by Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Tamar Braxton, will premiere Monday, May 25, with back-to-back episodes, a press release noted. First Lady Michelle Obama's former hair stylist, Johnny Wright, will also appear on the show. In the 20-episode series, Braxton and Wright come to the rescue of clients whose hair has been botched by beauticians from their pasts.

Bravo host Andy Cohen recently said on his show, Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, that he was unable to donate his plasma to help fight against COVID-19 due to his sexual orientation, Page Six noted. "After recovering from coronavirus, I wanted to see if there was something that I could do to help people who were infected," he began. "I signed up for a program for COVID-19 survivors where you could donate plasma, which is rich in antibodies, to those still battling the virus. I was told that due to antiquated and discriminatory guidelines by the FDA to prevent HIV, I am ineligible to donate blood because I'm a gay man." He continued, "Even the new, relaxed rules require gay men to abstain from sex for three months, whether they're in a monogamous relationship or not, before giving blood, though no such blanket restrictions exist for people of other sexual orientations."

Meryl Streep, Bernadette Peters, Patti LuPone and Audra McDonald joined an all-star line-up in a special virtual concert to celebrate Stephen Sondheim's 90th birthday, Deadline noted. Raul Esparza hosted "Take Me To The World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration." Some of the other performers taking part included Mandy Patinkin, Christine Baranski, Donna Murphy, Kristin Chenoweth, Sutton Foster, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Kelli O'Hara.

Orange Is the New Black creator Jenji Kohan is working up Social Distance, a quarantine anthology series for Netflix, Deadline reported. Weisman Graham, who worked on the Netflix prison drama with Kohan, as well as Showtime's Kidding and Fox's Bones, is showrunner and writer.

Sexually fluid Queer Eye co-star Antoni Porowski will venture into uncharted career territory, creating a romantic comedy movie based on his own dating life, Queerty noted. Girls & Boys will follow the dating misadventures of a man who dates both women and other men. The main character will take loose inspiration from Porowski's life.

Francois Clemmons—the actor who played Officer Clemmons on the long-running children's show Mister Rogers' Neighborhood—says in a new book that he was forced into the closet if he wanted to keep his job, LGBTQ Nation reported. Fred Rogers, the beloved actor and minister behind the show, was known for his gentle kindness—but when he discovered Clemmons is gay, Rogers allegedly chose his career over his friend. Rogers reportedly told him, "Now, I want you to know, Franc, that if you're gay, it doesn't matter to me at all. Whatever you say and do is fine with me, but if you're going to be on the show as an important member of the Neighborhood, you can't be out as gay."

Clive Davis and Pat Houston, on behalf of Whitney Houston's estate, are on board to produce a film currently titled I Wanna Dance with Somebody—the story of singer Whitney Houston, CNN.com reported. The film, which will track her story from her musical beginnings through her tragic death, will be a "joyous, emotional and heart-breaking celebration of the life and music of the greatest female R&B pop vocalist of all time," according to a press release for the project. Whitney Houston sold more than 200 million records worldwide and won six Grammy Awards during her 25-year career; she died in 2012.

An April 27 launch took place of the Prime Video presents the SXSW 2020 Film Festival Collection from Amazon Prime Video and South by Southwest ( SXSW )—with 39 films, composed of narrative and documentary features, short films and episodic titles, the SXSW website announced. Filmmakers in the official 2020 SXSW Film Festival lineup were invited to opt in to take part in this online film festival, which will play exclusively on Prime Video in the United States on April 27-May 6. The one-time event will be available in front of the Prime Video paywall, free to all U.S. audiences with or without an Amazon Prime membership; all that is needed is a free Amazon account. Among the films is the LGBT documentary I'm Gonna Make You Love Me.

Grammy- and Tony-winning actor/singer Billy Porter ( Pose ) released a cover of Stephen Stills' "For What It's Worth," as performed by Buffalo Springfield, a press release noted. Porter said. "I've always been a political person. I come from the generation where the music reflected what was going on in the world, in the day. The song was written and performed sort of during the Civil Rights Era, the Vietnam War, it was protest music and I wanted to have a hand in bringing that back and speaking truth directly to power." Stills praised Porter's cover.

Showtime released the series premiere of its new 10-episode drama Penny Dreadful: City of Angels early for free online sampling, on streaming platforms and on demand, a press release noted. The series stars Tony and Emmy winner Nathan Lane, Natalie Dormer, Daniel Zovatto, Kerry Bishe and Rory Kinnear, among others. The premiere episode is available for free now on YouTube and SHO.com . Also, Showtime is supporting the Farmworkers COVID-19 Pandemic Relief Fund to help raise funds for farmworkers and their families.

Canadian singer/songwriter/pianist Theo Tams released the new video for "The Last Song," a press release noted. He has come out to his parents; won what would ultimately be the final season of Canadian Idol; and released the album Give It All Away and the follow-up EP Back Pocket. "The Las Song" is the last song on Tams' third and most recent album release, 2018's Call The Doctor.

Out Grammy-nominated singer Rufus Wainwright unveiled the latest single from his anticipated new pop album, Unfollow the Rules, a press release stated. "Alone Time" is available now at all DSPs and streaming services; an official companion video, created by award-winning animator Josh Shaffner and featuring illustrations by Wainwright and Shaffner, is out as well. Wainwright also has his ongoing #Quarantunes series of #MusicalEverydays and #RobeRecitals, presented each day via his official Instagram and Facebook accounts.

Lady Gaga revealed the track listing for her upcoming album, Chromatica, iHeart.com noted. The songs will include collaborations with pop princess Ariana Grande ( "Rain on Me" ), K-pop stars Blackpink ( "Sour Candy" ) and Sir Elton John ( "Sine From Above" ). The reveal came hours after Chromatica's alleged track list had appeared to leak on Target's website earlier in the day before Gaga confirmed the list herself.

The conservative Christian organization One Million Moms is calling for a boycott of Disney because the animated show DuckTales has a character with gay dads, LGBTQ Nation noted. In the season-three premiere of the show's rebootk, Huey, Dewey and Louie's friend Violet introduces her dads to the world, who are each wearing "I'm with Dad" T-shirts; also, Violet says her adopted sister is "my sister from a couple of misters." Last year, the organization ( which actually only consists of one American Family Association employee ) was behind the Hallmark lesbian-ad backlash.

Oscar-nominated actor Edward James Olmos, founder of the Latino Film Institute, announced that the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival ( LALIFF ) is hosting a virtual retrospective program of its 2019 edition through May 4 ( with short films such as Suicidrag and Simon Cries ) in anticipation of its 2020 virtual edition, LALIFF Connect, being held May 5-31, a press release noted. LALIFF Connect 2020 and 2019 Retrospective will include feature films, short films, episodics, master classes and musical performances; all will be available through LALIFF's website ( LatinoFilm.org ) for free, with additional titles to be announced.

Jeff Goldblum was criticized by some fans for being "anti-Muslim" after his appearance on RuPaul's Drag Race ( although others defended the actor ), The Daily Mail noted. The actor, 67, was a guest judge recently, and asked drag queen Jackie Cox about her Stars And Stripes runway look in which she wore a star-spangled hijab in reference to her Muslim background. First asking if Jackie was "religious," Goldblum went on to comment on Islam and how the religion treats LGBTQ+ people like the Iranian-Canadian star. Of her ensemble, Cox said, "This outfit really represents the importance that visibility for people of religious minorities need to have in this country." Also, Cox became teary-eyed as she said it was "a complex issue" and had her "own misgivings about the way LGBT people are treated in the Middle East."

Perez Hilton has been talking about something he's uncovered on social media—25-year-old British diver Tom Daley kissing a 16-year-old TikTok star on the lips, Queerty noted. The age of consent in the UK is 16.; the TikTok-er, howerver, is an American, where the age of consent ranges from 16-18 depending on the state. The gossip blogger says he's contacted lawyers about what to do with the video, hoping to spark an investigation.

Warner Bros. shifted a slew of theatrical release dates because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Deadline noted. For example, Matt Reeves' The Batman, which is currently stalled in London, will no longer open June 25, 2021, but in the first weekend of October next year. DC's movie version of The Flash will go a month earlier in 2022, debuting June 3; and Shazam 2!, which was dated on April 1, 2022, now goes on Nov. 4 of that year. Also, The Sopranos feature prequel—The Many Saints of Newark—was originally dated for Sept. 25 of this year, but will head to March 12, 2021.

Saturday Night Live's Bowen Yang is set for a lead role opposite Joel Kim Booster in Trip, Quibi's romantic comedy series set on New York's Fire Island, Deadline noted. Written by Booster, Trip, set on Fire Island, is a modern day rom-com inspired by Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. The story centers around two best friends who set out to have a legendary week-long summer vacation with the help of cheap wine and eclectic friends. Yang will play Bowen, Boosters wise and witty best friend.

In an attempt to protect prison inmates and staff—who cannot socially distance because of the conditions in correctional facilities—Madonna has partnered with the Reform Alliance, The Jasmine Brand noted. In addition to Jay-Z and Meek Mill, the founding partners include Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin, Kraft Group CEO and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Brooklyn Nets co-owner Clara Wu Tsai. Madonna's Ray Of Light Foundation will be providing 100,000 masks to distribute to those in need. Her involvement with the Reform Alliance comes after her controversial COVID-19 comments. The 'Material Girl' singer recently called the deadly virus a "great equalizer."

Madison House and Insomniac's 10th-anniversary edition of Electric Forest has been cancelled, Billboard noted. A statement read, "The beloved music and camping festival, which sold out within one hour of its public on sale last December, was scheduled to celebrate its 10th anniversary June 25-28, 2020 in Rothbury, Michigan." Major Lazer, The String Cheese Incident and Diplo were among the acts slated to perform.

Actor John Krasinski hosted an online prom that he highlighted in his "Some Good News" YouTube show, HuffPost noted. Krasinski—who co-starred on the U.S. version of the TV show The Office, and starred in the horror movie A Quiet Place ( with real-life wife Emily Blunt )—shouted out to seniors missing their real proms amid the coronavirus pandemic. Also, he got the Jonas Brothers to synch up on a split-screen video app to perform "Sucker" and got Billie Eilish to sing "Bad Guy" with her brother, Finneas O'Connell. In addition, Brad Pitt, Chance the Rapper and The Office co-star Rainn Wilson appeared.

Three more residents at the Actors Fund Home in New Jersey have died from coronavirus, which has now taken the lives of at least 10 residents at the entertainment retirement home since April 10, Deadline reported. With 113 residents, the retirement home in Englewood, New Jersey, sits in one of the nation's hotspots for the coronavirus. Ten other residents there have tested positive for the virus; 13 have tested negative, and five others are awaiting their test results.

Actor Ansel Elgort ( The Fault in Our Stars; Baby Driver ) took fundraising to new heights using a full-frontal nude picture of himself to aid COVID-19 hospital workers, Perth Now noted. The steamy shower picture, taken by his dad, shows the Fault in Our Stars actor posing with just his hand covering himself. Elgort, 26, posted the picture on Instragram with links to a GoFundMe page for the Brooklyn for Life charity raising money to deliver meals to hospital workers ( with the funder raising $200,000 ). Elgort later said in an Instagram video that the platform had forced him to delete the picture.

Taylor Swift took to social media to say that she did not support the release of a new album featuring some of her live performances from 2008, CNN.com noted. She went on to call out Scooter Braun, the manager of artists like Justin Bieber and Demi Lovato. Braun bought a majority stake in the label last year. At the time of Braun's acquisition, Swift said it was her "worst case scenario" that he now gained control of her first six albums.

Joe Biden's presidential campaign returned a $2,800 donation from Louis C.K.—the comedian who has become persona non grata in much of Hollywood after he was accused of sexual misconduct at the height of the #MeToo movement, The Wrap reported. The comedian made the donation on March 4, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Pop TV's One Day at a Time will have an animated episode that will air this spring, Deadline noted. Like all other live-action Hollywood production, filming on the current fourth season was suspended in mid-March amid a growing coronavirus pandemic. Shortly after that, show executive producer/co-showrunner Gloria CalderÃ"n Kellett, whose husband is a cartoonist, brought the idea of an animated episode with fellow executive producer/co-showrunner Mike Royce to producing studio Sony Pictures TV.

The final four episodes of the second season of the Showtime comedy series Black Monday will premiere Sunday, June 28, concluding with the season finale airing Sunday, July 19, a press release announced. The series—which began its 10-episode run in March—aired six episodes of its second season before pausing due to post-production issues related to COVID-19. Viewers can catch up on the first six episodes Sundays, starting May 17, or watch On Demand or streaming.

Chef Anne Burrell—who once identified as a lesbian—is now engaged to boyfriend Stuart Claxton, Extra noted. Claxton, who works at Univision in the ad sales marketing department, popped the question after two years of dating. The couple met on the dating app Bumble.

Noted siblings and Christian fundamentalists Kirk Cameron and Candice Cameron-Bure helped raise money for an anti-LGBTQ organization during the COVID-19 crisis, Queerty noted. They emceed a Facebook Live fundraiser titled "Hope Rising," the proceeds of which go to fund Samaritan's Purse—founded by anti-LGBTQ preacher Franklin Graham. Mercy Me, Casting Crowns, Newsboys, American Idol alum Danny Gokey and Gloria Gaynor also took part—although Gaynor, a gay icon, contends that her personal beliefs welcome and accept queer people.

Churchill Downs announced plans to celebrate the first Saturday in May, the traditional date of the annual Kentucky Derby, by hosting a day-long at-home Kentucky Derby party to raise $2 million for COVID-19 emergency relief efforts, according to KentuckyDerby.com . Although the 146th Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve was postponed until Sept. 5 due to public-health concerns related to the spread of COVID-19, Churchill Downs invites fans to honor the annual tradition while staying "Healthy at Home." Fans can tune in to a special broadcast on NBC on May 2, 2-5 p.m. CT, which will feature the 2015 Kentucky Derby; the station will also show Churchill Downs' first-ever virtual horse race—The Kentucky Derby: Triple Crown Showdown, a computer-simulated version of the race.

Goldie Hawn, her daughter Kate Hudson and Kate's 1-year-old daughter Rani are the first multigenerational cover stars of People's annual "Beautiful" issue, CNN.com noted. The publication is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its special issue and selected the two actresses and the toddler to accompany the headline "Love, Family & True Beauty." Hawn shared the cover photo on social media, writing in the caption, "Thank you @people for bringing us together for this issue!"

Stranger Things star Joe Keery's Twitter account was hacked and then filled with racist and inflammatory comments, Page Six noted. Fans of the 27-year-old became concerned when the N-word and claims he was "molested" on his Netflix show were posted to Keery's account. The actor's Twitter account was deactivated soon after Page Six reached out to Twitter and his publicists. Keery said he was "deeply" upset after hateful messages were sent out on his hacked Twitter account.


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