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SHOWBIZ Frank Ocean, Amandla Stenberg, Kylie Minogue, anti-hate PSA
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-06-26

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Univ. of California-Berkeley students will be able to take a class about openly LGBT R&B singer Frank Ocean this fall, according to NewNowNext.com . The class is called "Brain Like Berkeley," which is also a lyric from Ocean's song "Novacane." The course will cover the musician's "artistic history, upbringing, background, musical influences, artist identity, and the way he challenges dominant social concepts such as toxic masculinity and gender politics," students Preya Gill and Deborah Chang told The Fader.

Actress Amandla Stenberg has come out as lesbian, Page Six noted. "My sexuality is not a byproduct of my past experiences with men, who I have loved, but rather a part of myself I was born with and love deeply," the Hunger Games actress told Wonderland magazine in an interview with the singer King Princess. Stenberg, who revealed that Mila Kunis was her first female crush, also said that coming out lifted a huge weight off her shoulders.

Singer Kylie Minogue was recently asked about being a gay icon, The New York Post noted. "I'm asked about it a lot, and don't really have the answer," Minogue said. "I could say it feels great, which it does, but more importantly to me it feels natural," she continued, adding that gay rights have simply "always been acceptable to me. We are who we are." She has appeared at numerous LGBTQ events over the years, including Sydney Mardi Gras in 2012 and, in April 2018, the White Party Palm Springs in California.

Tectonic Theater Project released a PSA in collaboration with the Matthew Shepard Foundation in honor of the 20th anniversary of Matthew Shepard's death, promoting the company's message to erase hate around the world, a press release noted. The ERASE HATE PSA, directed and conceived by Sue Kramer ( Gray Matters, YouVote video ) was released June 22 in honor of LGBTQ+ Pride month, and will be followed by additional videos highlighting the importance of theater and activism, leading up to the LARAMIE: A LEGACY benefit on Sept. 24 at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College in New York City. Tickets for LARAMIE: A LEGACY are on sale now at laramiealegacy.org .

Talking with the L.A. Times, Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds talked about witnessing the struggle of his gay friends to live openly within the Mormon community. "It was hard to watch them have to hide, and go to dances with girls and not live their truths," said Reynolds, who was raised within a conservative Mormon family in Las Vegas and remains a member of the church. "It was the first time I felt that religion was doing harm." His awakening is now at the center of Believer, an HBO documentary that follows the singer's evolution from uncertain observer to determined activist.

For the first time since ESPN Magazine released its first Body Issue in 2009, the magazine will feature a same-sex couple on the cover, The Seattle Times noted. Power couple Sue Bird, of the the WNBA's Seattle Storm, and Megan Rapinoe, of the soccer team the Seattle Reign, will be featured on the cover of the 10th-anniversary edition of ESPN's Body Issue, that hits newsstands June 29. In an interview last month, Bird, 37, and Rapinoe, 32, told The Seattle Times that they recently moved in together. They have been dating since fall 2016, and went public with their relationship last summer.

RuPaul's Drag Race winner Violet Chachki says closing a Jeremy Scott Moschino show was "a dream come true," Page Six noted. She told Galore magazine of wearing a "dual tuxedo" with tails linked to those of another model's, adding, "I'm not going to say the collection was inspired by me, but it is very much up my alley and totally my thing. The collection is gender non-conforming and gender fluid. It's a glam-meets-fetish aesthetic."

Director Dempsey Rice ( HBO's Daughter of Suicide ) has launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for her feature documentary The Animated Mind of Oliver Sacks, a press release noted. Rice spent more than a decade interviewing the British author/neurologist Oliver Sacks, M.D. Sacks ( an Englishman who passed away in 2015 ) was a weightlifter, biker and a doctor who was successful with patient care who chose to practice medicine in challenging, long-term care hospitals in the Bronx. Sacks who didn't find romantic love until he was in his 70s and didn't come out publicly until the last year of his life. In addition, he influenced artists from Bjork to Harold Pinter and thinkers from Atul Gawande to W.H. Auden. The Kickstarter link is at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/167681950/294078820?ref=498319&token=2d63464e.

The dilapidated wooden North Carolina cottage that was the birthplace of singer and civil-rights activist Nina Simone now has the protection of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Page Six noted. The trust said in a news release Tuesday that it will develop and find a new use for the house in Tryon where Simone was born in 1933. Last year, four African-American artists purchased the three-room, 660-square-foot home.

The feature-length comedy event OUT on Stage will be screened in cinemas across the country for a one-night event on Tuesday, July 24, a press release noted. Hosted by comedian Zach Noe Towers, the event contains 90 minutes of comedic content from gay and lesbian stand-up comedians such as Brendan Scannel, A.B. Cassidy and Janine Brito. Tickets for OUT on Stage can be purchased at FathomEvents.com and at participating theater box offices nationwide.

Out singer Steve Grand's newest CD, not the end of me, will drop July 6, according to a press release. The preorder for the album went live June 14, with two instant gratification tracks available for download including "don't let the light in" and the title track. The album includes 12 new tracks, all written and composed by Grand. ( It also features alternate versions of three of the songs. ) Grand said of the tracks, "This album is autobiographical; very personal, somber and reflective."

Following a string of sold-out tour dates across Europe and her native United Kingdom earlier this spring, million-selling artist Lisa Stansfield will make her return to North American shores this Fall for a 14-city-tour in support of her latest album, Deeper, a press release noted. Kicking off Oct. 9 in Toronto, the tour will swing through Montreal, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago Los Angeles and more cities before concluding in San Francisco on Oct. 26. Stansfield has also been announced as a headliner at South Carolina Pride on Oct. 19.

The TV Critics Association Awards is adding a new category—Outstanding Achievement In Sketch/Variety Shows—to its Aug. 4 awards ceremony, Page Six noted. ( Nominees include Samantha Bee, Jimmy Kimmel, John Oliver, Seth Meyers, Stephen Colbert and the cast of Saturday Night Live. ) Also, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown is competing for best informational series against CBS' 60 Minutes, BBC America's Blue Planet 2, MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, PBS' The Vietnam War and Netflix's Wild Wild Country. A few of the other nominees include Darren Criss, Elisabeth Moss, Donald Glover, Sesame Street, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

There has been speculation that singer John Mayer and Bravo exec Andy Cohen are dating—which Cohen recently addressed, NewNowNext.com noted. "Listen: We have a very sweet friendship, and we are together all the time," Cohen said. "I think that I was not surprised because we also have a great love for each other. So, it just seems like the obvious assumption." Cohen is single, confirming back in March that he and former boyfriend Clifton Dassuncao had split.

Garbage has released the 20th-anniversary edition of its second album, Version 2.0, via Almo Sounds/UMe, a press release noted. The package features the whole original album, as well as 10 B-sides from the era. This fall, Garbage will celebrate the anniversary of Version 2.0 with a U.S. tour that will see the band perform the classic album in full as well as a number of B-sides from the reissue.

Electronic-dance pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre celebrates his 50-year career with an extensive double album, Planet Jarre, that will be out Sept. 14, on Sony, a press release noted. Planet Jarre will contain 41 works ( divided into "Soundscapes," "Themes," "Sequences" and "Explorations & Early Works" ) from his extensive music catalog, hand-picked by Jarre himself and completely remastered.

Gloria Estefan is joining the One Day at a Time family for a guest-starring role in season three, TV Guide noted. The legendary singer, who also performs the Netflix reboot's theme song, will appear in one episode as Mirtha—Lydia's ( Rita Moreno ) much-discussed, but previously never seen younger sister and archnemesis. Estefan revealed the news on Instagram, singing the announcement to the tune of the theme song. "I've been waiting three seasons for this, people," Estefan added. "Oh my gosh, get ready. It's hilarious."

Sting made his thoughts known about the refugee crisis while speaking at an Amnesty International Event in Athens, Page Six noted. He called world leaders "a sad parade of half-men and cowards" for their failure to solve the refugee crisis. The former frontman for The Police also called President Donald Trump's "zero tolerance" immigration policy "brutal" and "barbaric." His comments come a day before European Union leaders were expected to meet on the European Union's own migration crisis.

MTV is ramping up production operations and getting into producing programming for other buyers with the launch of MTV Studios, Deadline noted. MTV Studios' initial slate includes animated comedy Daria & Jodie, a reimagining of MTV's 1990s feminist series Daria; an update of the Emmy-winning coming-of-age unscripted series Made; and a reported live-action remake of MTV's animated sci-fi series Aeon Flux.

Sony is developing Silk, a Spider-Man spin-off about Korean-American heroine Cindy Moon, TheWrap revealed. Amy Pascal is producing. Silk first appeared in April 2014's The Amazing Spider-Man, Vol. 3, #1" and was created by Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos.

Speaking of Spider-Man, actor Tom Holland has revealed the name of the next film in the franchise, TheWrap reported. The star of "Spider-Man: Homecoming" on Saturday posted an Instagram selfie video from ACE Comic Con in Denver apologizing "for no announcements"—and then promptly held up a tablet revealing the title, which is Spider-Man: Far From Home. Far From Home is due in theaters July 5, 2019, and features Holland back as the teenage web-slinger. ( Jake Gyllenhaal will be the villainous Mysterio. )

Russell Crowe will play Fox News founder/chairman Roger Ailes in a Showtime miniseries that aims to give a behind-the-scenes look at the most widely watched cable-news network, Fortune noted. According to Deadline, the eight episode series will be told through multiple points of view and focus on the last decade of life of Ailes ( who died in 2017 ) while flashing back on formative events in his life.

A judge officially signed off on Mary J. Blige and Martin "Kendu" Isaacs' divorce, according to a Page Six item that cites TMZ. In June 2017, a judge ordered the R&B star to pay Isaacs $30,000 a month in spousal support. In February 2018, it was reported that the "Give Me You" singer owed the IRS millions.

Actress Heather Locklear was arrested June 24 on suspicion of misdemeanor battery on a police officer and emergency personnel charges, according to Ventura County Sheriff's Office records, TheWrap reported. She was being held on $20,000 bail at the Ventura County Main Jail, but was also listed as eligible for release. The previous weekend, the Melrose Place actress was "violent" and "suicidal" before she was transported to a hospital.

In an emotional interview with friend Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Roseanne Barr said she definitely feels remorse for the racist tweet that prompted ABC to cancel the revival of Roseanne, Page Six noted. During the podcast, Barr claims she "never would have wittingly called any Black person a monkey." She also lamented that some people don't accept her explanation blaming the sleep drug Ambien for a tweet that likened former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett to a person created by the Muslim Brotherhood and Planet of the Apes. A Roseanne spinoff ( without Barr, and tentatively called The Conners ) is slated to air on ABC.

Netflix's chief communications officer, Jonathan Friedland, tweeted that he is leaving the company after seven years—having been fired for using the N-word several times, TheWrap noted. Friedland said that he "fell short" of the example a leader should set when he "was insensitive in speaking to my team about words that offend in comedy." Netflix CEO Reed Hastings sent a memo to employees Friday that said Friedland's "descriptive use of the N-word on at least two occasions at work showed unacceptably low racial awareness and sensitivity, and is not in line with our values as a company."

Dukes of Hazzard star John Schneider was free hours after he was jailed for an alimony dispute, an WPXI.com item noted. Schneider, 58, was released from the Los Angeles County Jail when his three-day sentence was cut short because of overcrowding. The Smallville star told Fox News he cannot afford the payments to his estranged wife Elvira "Elly" Schneider; she filed for divorce in 2014 after 21 years of marriage, and they have three adult children.

Actor Peter Fonda apologized for a late-night Twitter rant in which he suggested 12-year-old Barron Trump ( the son of President Donald and First Lady Melania Trump ) should be ripped from "his mother's arms and put in a cage with pedophiles," Page Six noted. The two-time Oscar nominee, brother of Jane Fonda and son of Hollywood legend Henry Fonda said in a subsequent statement that he was upset over children separated from their parents on the United States-Mexico border.

Designer Karl Lagerfeld is teaming with upscale French brand Christofle on a limited-edition cutlery set as part of its Mood collection, WWD.com noted. Launching in the fall, the flatware will be available in two egg-shaped storage capsules dressed in a play on shadow and light, inspired by the Art Deco movement.


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