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  WINDY CITY TIMES

SHOWBIZ Gay wrestler, Black filmmakers, music festivals, Britney Spears
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-01-08

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Wrestler Anthony Bowens started the new year by coming out on Instagram as gay after previously identifying himself as bisexual. In part, he posted, "As people move on in their lives, the way they view the world and themselves tends to change and I'm no different. Which is why if you are to label me, I prefer to identify as gay." Bowens explains more on the Michael & Anthony YouTube channel. Bowens has been dating Michael Pavano.

Black filmmakers like Ryan Coogler ( Black Panther ), Spike Lee ( BlackKklansman ) and Antoine Fuqua ( Equalizer 2 ) directed 16 of the top 100 movies at the box office in 2018—nearly three times as many as 2017 and double what they achieved a decade ago, according to a new USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism study, TheWrap.com reported. TheWrap recently reported that Black filmmakers had a record year at the box office in 2018, earning $1.5 billion at the domestic box office from 16 films, which was double of what was earned in 2017. However, the study also concluded that female directors accounted for only four of the 100 most popular movies in 2018, and Asian directors represented only 3.6 percent of 2018's top 100 film directors.

There's a decidedly LGBT angle to the music festival Coachella this year, OUT.com noted. LGBT fave Ariana Grande is headlining the event, with other scheduled acts including out musician Janelle Monae, country-pop goddess Kacey Musgraves, Jaden Smith, OUT100 Artist of the Year SOPHIE and Dev Hynes' Blood Orange. A few of the other people taking part include Childish Gambino, Solange, Aphex Twin, H.E.R., Tame Impala—and Idris Elba. The festival will take place April 12-14 and 19-21 in Indio, California.

However, while the line-up may bend toward LGBTs, the event's owner has anti-LGBT ties. Multibillionaire Philip Anschutz personally donated $134,400 to Republican candidates, party groups, and political action committees in 2018, Spin.com noted. Anschutz has received criticism for past donations by his family's nonprofit to anti-LGBTQ groups. In 2017, Anschutz called reports that he opposes LGBTQ rights "fake news."

Cardi B, Childish Gambino, Brandi Carlile, Hozier, Solange, Phish and Post Malone are among the slated performers for the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, taking place June 13-16 in Manchester, Tennessee, a press release noted. In 2018, Bonnaroo made significant upgrades to the site's communal areas, known as plazas. This year's event features a "Sanctuary of Self-Love" campground experience curated by Hayley Williams of Paramore. Also, "The Yes Barn" presented by House of Yes and Little Cinema will feature circus acts, cinema shows, theme parties—and Bonnaroo's first-ever Pride parade. See Bonnaroo.com .

BottleRock has revealed the lineup for 2019, announcing that "Natural" and "Thunder" rockers Imagine Dragons are headlining the first night of the May 24-26 festival at the Napa Valley Expo, Billboard.com noted. BottleRock will be headlined May 25 by Pharrell Williams and Neil Young and his frequent collaborators Promise of the Real, backed by Lukas Nelson, son of country star Willie Nelson. The last night will close with English folk rockers Mumford and Sons.

Mariah Carey has settled a lawsuit with former manager Stella Stolper, who had accused the diva of strutting around in her birthday suit, Page Six noted. "The parties [have] reached a mutually agreed resolution to this matter," wrote an attorney for Stolper, who managed Carey for three years through November 2017. Stolper claimed the five-time Grammy Award-winner was often naked in her presence and it made her uncomfortable.

Britney Spears is putting her career on hold to support her family, according to a Spin.com item. Her upcoming Britney: Domination residency in Las Vegas—a run of 32 shows at the Park Theater—is being postponed indefinitely. Britney's father, Jamie, encountered some health troubles recently, when he was admitted to the hospital with a ruptured colon.

A new limited series about the legendary fashion designer Halston, born Roy Halston Frowick, is officially in the works—and will star Ewan McGregor, HarpersBazaar.com noted. Simply Halston will chronicle the rise and fall of the designer who helped define the 1970s and 1980s fashion scene, and who became a celebrity himself. Legendary Television is prepping the series, which will be written by The Affair's Sharr White and directed by Daniel Minahan ( American Crime Story ).

In a Jan. 7 arraignment at Nantucket District Court in Massachusetts, actor and producer Kevin Spacey pled not guilty to a charge of groping an 18-year-old man in July 2016, Deadline noted. Spacey appeared next to his attorney, Alan Jackson, in the tiny courtroom, occasionally smiling as the two talked before the gavel sounded. Nantucket District Court Judge Thomas Barrett set March 4 for a pre-trial hearing and said Spacey would not be required to attend in person.

Lance Bass said he's ready to be a father, Page Six noted. Bass added that it hasn't been as easy for him and husband Michael Turchin, to find a donor, saying: "You would think I would get so many offers for eggs, but not many people have come to me with their eggs! I think I'm going to have to tweet it out right now!" The couple, who tied the knot in 2014, announced they were on the road to fatherhood in April 2018 and revealed that they had picked a surrogate in June.

Following her debut in the network's "Elseworlds" crossover involving the shows Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl, The CW had ordered a pilot for its Batwoman standalone series starring Ruby Rose, TheWrap.com noted. The plot: Armed with a passion for social justice and a flair for speaking her mind, Kate Kane ( Rose ) soars onto the streets of Gotham as Batwoman, an out lesbian and highly trained street fighter primed to snuff out the failing city's criminal resurgence.

Jamie Lee Curtis is set to make a film about an Oklahoma woman who stands in for absent motherss at same-sex weddings, PinkNews reported. Curtis has bought the rights to Sara Cunningham's 2014 memoir, How We Sleep at Night, which tells the story of how she came to terms with her son's sexuality. Cunningham became famous last summer after she announced on Facebook that she would stand in for mothers who refused to attend their sons' or daughters' weddings because of their sexual orientation.

Derek Keeling—who starred as Danny Zuko on Broadway in both the revival and national tour of Grease—has died, Broadway World reported. Among the many other productions he took part in were Ring of Fire, Life Could Be a Dream and Happy Days: The Musical. The family will host a party, a Celebration of Life, on Sunday, Jan. 20, at the Valley Park Conference Center in Hurricane, West Virginia.

Nicholas Sparks' The Notebook is headed to Broadway as a musical—with playwright and This Is Us supervising producer Bekah Brunstetter writing the book and "Girls Chase Boys" hitmaker Ingrid Michaelson handling music and lyrics, Deadline.com noted. The announcement was made today by Kevin McCollum and Kurt Deutsch, who will produce in association with Sparks. Sparks' 1996 book was turned into a 2004 film starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams.

The Producers Guild has unveiled nominations for its 30th annual PGA Awards, listing nominees in motion picture, TV and documentary categories, Deadline noted. Projects receiving nods include Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody, A Star Is Born, Vice, RBG, Three Identical Strangers, GLOW, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, among others. The awards will be presented Jan. 19 at the Beverly Hilton.

Queer Eye figure Jonathan Van Ness recently tweeted support for Republican U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney, OUT.com noted. Van Ness posted, "Mitt's op-ed is like for sure primary challenger coming, " following it with a blue heart and rainbow-flag emoji. However, Van Ness got some blowback. "We love you JVN, but there's nothing about Mitt that warrants a heart or, especially, a rainbow flag beside his name," wrote tweeted someone else in response. "Jonathan Van Ness kinda endorses Mitt Romney's presidential bid" is a pretty bleak way to start the new year," wrote another.

Sam Smith and Normani's joint single "Dancing With A Stranger" will be released worldwide via Capitol Records on Friday, Jan. 11, a press release noted. The collaboration between the two came about through a chance encounter at the studio in Los Angeles as Smith was writing the single with Stargate and Jimmy Napes; Normani was in the studio next door.

According to Ellen DeGeneres, the Academy would be happy to have Kevin Hart host the 2019 Oscars despite his having quit a month ago following outrage over homophobic old tweets—and in a new interview with DeGeneres that aired Jan. 4, Hart suggested he might take the gig back, TheWrap.com reported. The Academy has yet to find a replacement host—but Deadline noted that social-media users backlash to DeGenerres' deal-making puts Hollywood in a tricky spot. However, the latest news seems to have Hart confirming ( a second time ) that he will not host, with him saying he doesn't want to be a distraction.

Speaking with Attitude magazine, Alex Landi explained that he loved playing Grey's Anatomy's Dr. Nico Kim because the role combines a racial and sexual minority, according to PinkNews. [Producers] wanted a very masculine 'bro' type, and they wanted him to be openly gay. That was disclosed to me before the audition," he said. "I just love how diverse 'Grey's' is. Less than three percent of Asians are represented on TV, and less than 1 per cent are LGBT+, so for them to combine both of those minorities in one role is great." The straight actor also said, "I just want to do this role proud for the LGBT+ and the Asian communities," JustJared.com noted.

Celebrated fashion photographer Bruce Weber has been under attack for the past year fighting a slew of sexual-misconduct accusations by more than 20 male models—but Weber is fighting back by disclosing provocative texts from model Jason Boyce, one of the litigants, Instinct Magazine noted. Weber and lawyer Jayne Weintraub are now asking that Boyce's lawsuit be dismissed, and have submitted with their filing several x-rated pics and text messages sent by Boyce to Weber before and after a 2014 photo shoot in question. As a result of the allegations, Weber has been reportedly dropped by several of his larger clients, like Conde Nast.

Demi Lovato called out Instagram for allowing a game to promote fat-shaming in an ad, iHeart.com noted. "Why is this fat shaming bulls**t on my feed? So many things wrong this ad," she wrote. She also pointed out that eating disorders are all about "control," so this particular ad is especially triggering for those suffering from similar disorders. A rep for Instagram spoke with TMZ about the ad and said the ad had been removed.

Actress Shay Mitchell ( who portrayed Emily on the TV series Pretty Little Liars ) revealed no social media that she suffered a miscarriage in 2018, losing "the child of my hopes and dreams," People.com noted. However, she also said that the support she gets from her more than 20 million followers on Instagram is "hugely uplifting."

At the iconic LGBT nightspot The Stonewall Inn, Madonna gave a speech and then performed two songs on New Year's Eve while accompanied by David Banda ( her adopted 13-year-old son ) on acoustic guitar, Variety.com noted. Wearing black jeans, a black shirt, a black leather jacket with glittering chains and a shiny bow in her hair, Madonna took the tiny stage saying, "I just wanna say I've never performed on a stage this small!" Reading from hand-held cards, she said, in part, "I stand here proudly at the place where pride began—the legendary Stonewall Inn—on the birth of a new year. We come together tonight to celebrate 50 years of revolution."

John Legend, who appears in Lifetime's Surviving R. Kelly docuseries, blasted R. Kelly during his interview in the final episode, which aired Jan. 5, RollingStone.com noted. "R. Kelly has brought so much pain to so many people," Legend said. "#TimesUp for R. Kelly." After the airing of the first two episodes, Legend tweeted, "To everyone telling me how courageous I am for appearing in the doc, it didn't feel risky at all. I believe these women and don't give a [f—k] about protecting a serial child rapist. Easy decision." Legend was the only major artist to appear in the series.

The 2018 edition of Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve turned into a rain-soaked spectacle for performers Christina Aguilera, New Kids on the Block ( NKOTB ), Dan + Shay and Bastille, Variety.com noted. Aguilera performed a long medley of her hits "Genie in a Bottle," "Come on Over, "'Aint No Other Man, "Can't Hold Us Down" and "Fighter," while NKOTB mixing hits like "Step By Step," "The Right Stuff," "Please Don't Go Girl" and "Hanging Tough" with newer songs like "Block Party." The group began singing on the iconic red steps in the middle of Times Square—only the second time the city has allowed such a performance.

Out fighter Amanda Nunes is the first woman to hold two UFC championship belts after defeating Cris Cyborg to win the featherweight title, NewNowNext.com noted. Nunes turned in a commanding performance, knocking out Cyborg 51 seconds into their fight in Los Angeles. The win comes after beating Ronda Rousey at the end of 2016, whom she also knocked out in less than a minute, successfully defending her bantamweight belt.

Broadway conductor, music director and arranger Liza Redfield died at 94 at Amsterdam Nursing Home in New York City, Playbill noted. Redfield was the first female conductor to lead a Broadway show full-time, taking over the pit of The Music Man from original conductor Herbert Greene on July 4, 1960. As it was reported at the time, Redfield led an orchestra of 28 men and one woman playing the most popular score on Broadway.

On a recent episode of Race Chaser—a RuPaul's Drag Race recap podcast hosted by series alums Willam and Alaska—recently eliminated Gia Gunn expressed a desire to quit the competition after a heated exchange with RuPaul, Out.com noted. Gunn said she had an unaired confrontation with RuPaul over a controversial March 2018 interview with The Guardian in which the host stated she would "probably not" accept a transgender queen who had undergone gender-confirmation surgery. ( RuPaul later apologized for that comment. ) Gunn continued, expressing that the unaired exchange led to a breakdown in the lead-up to the Snatch Game challenge: "I felt completely disregarded."

Big Freedia filed a lawsuit against her former choreographer, Wilbert Dejarnetti, accodring to a Vibe.com item that cited The Washington Post. The lawsuit is said to counter a lawsuit originally filed by Dejarnetti, who claims that the bounce musician owes $500/month for continuing to use his choreography. Dejarnetti also claims that he's helped Freedia write several songs and demands to be credited as a co-author.

Jimmy Osmond, the youngest sibling in the celebrity Osmond family, is recovering from a stroke, USA Today noted. Osmond, 55, somehow soldiered through an evening show as Captain Hook in a performance of Peter Pan in Birmingham, England, BBC News reported. He was driven to the hospital immediately after the show, where he was diagnosed with a stroke.

Daryl Dragon—the "captain" half of the musical duo Captain & Tennille—died at 76 in Prescott, Arizona, of kidney failure, NPR.org noted. The duo's hits included "Love Will Keep Us Together," "Muskrat Love" and "Do That To Me One More Time." Dragon and Toni Tennille were married for 39 years before they divorced in 2014.

Ed Sheeran's "Divide" Tour is the most money-making jaunt in any single year of Pollstar's 30-year history, RollingStone.com noted. Sheeran, who performed mostly solo onstage but had Elton John come on as a guest vocalist at select events, sold almost 4.9 million tickets across 53 cities and 94 shows, for an all-time record gross of $432 million. That amount is well ahead of the money made in 2018 by Taylor Swift's "Reputation" tour ( $345.1 million ) and Jay-Z and Beyoncé's "On the Run II" tour ( $254.1 million ).

"It's official!" CBS announced as The Talk returned to air with an original episode and Carrie Ann Inaba as new host, replacing Julie Chen, Deadline noted. About a month after word got out that Inaba had won the derby to replace the wife of ousted CBS CEO Les Moonves' on the daily talk show, Inaba made her "official" debut today, joining Eve, Sara Gilbert, Sharon Osbourne and Sheryl Underwood.

Actress/comedian Tiffany Haddish was hired to do stand-up at Miami's James L. Knight Center for New Year's Eve—but the performance didn't go so well, according to a Huffington Post item that cites The Root. Her routine included jokes about her mom getting out of a mental institution and gripes about her family asking her for money—but witnesses said Haddish forgot some of her jokes and the ones she did remember weren't getting the laughs she expected, TMZ noted. She then opened a bottle of Ciroc and started drinking with the audience, and was brutally honest about her performance on New Year's Day on Twitter.

Ripley's Believe It or Not! is making yet another return, 100 years after Robert L. Ripley launched the brand, Deadline.com noted. Travel Channel is rebooting the iconic series, with Bruce Campbell ( Evil Dead; TV's Burn Notice ) as host and executive producer.


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