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SHOWBIZ Global concert, TV doctors, Sean Hayes, GLAAD event, 'Circus'
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2020-04-20

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Some of the world's top stars helped to raise nearly $128 million for the World Health Organization during the coronavirus pandemic by performing in a concert broadcast globally, CNN.com noted. Dozens of celebrities and musicians—including Lady Gaga, Stevie Wonder, Taylor Swift, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Jennifer Lopez and the Rolling Stones—took part in the eight-hour show called "One World: Together At Home." The concert was divided into two parts, a 6-hour "pre-show" and a main 2-hour show hosted by Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert.

Various TV doctors said thank you to the real doctors who are fighting the coronavirus pandemic, Deadline noted. Olivia Wilde, who played Dr. Remy "Thirteen" Hadley on House, posted a thank-you video on Instagram. Joining her in the video were Patrick Dempsey, who played Dr. Derek Shepherd on Grey's Anatomy; Neil Patrick Harris, who starred as the titular character on Doogie Howser, M.D.; and Jennifer Garner, who portrayed a doctor treating AIDS patients in the Oscar-winning film Dallas Buyers Club, among others.

Actor Sean Hayes recently told Instinct Magazine that being gay "saved" him. During an interview, he said, in part, "I think [being gay] makes you a survivor and it forces you to create coping mechanisms that otherwise you wouldn't be able or forced to create." The series finale of Will & Grace will air Thursday, April 23; the show was rebooted in the fall of 2017 after its first incarnation ended in 2006.

GLAAD announced that it will host "Together in Pride: You are Not Alone," a livestream event on Sunday, April 26, at 8 p.m. ET on GLAAD's YouTube channel and Facebook Live, a press release noted. The event will highlight the LGBTQ response to COVID-19, and amplify messages of acceptance and affirmation to the LGBTQ community and people living with HIV during this time. Kesha and Melissa Etheridge will perform during the event, with special guests including Billy Eichner, Matt Bomer, Lilly Singh, Adam Lambert, Bebe Rexha, Dan Levy, Mj Rodriguez, Wilson Cruz, Kathy Griffin, Gigi Gorgeous, Nats Getty, Michelle Visage, Javier Munoz, Sean Hayes, Sharon Stone and Tatiana Maslany.

Executive-produced by Ryan Murphy for Netflix, Circus of Books is now a new documentary set to debut Wed., April 22, Instinct Magazine noted. The movie is about the legendary L.A. bookstore Circus of Books—a straight-owned place that was a gay-porn emporium for 35 years. In a new trailer, which alternates between interview soundbites and clips from vintage gay porn, one of the children of the couple who owned it ( Barry and Karen Mason ) said, "We were just kept completely in the dark." According to press materials, the Masons didn't set out to be gay activists, but just "everyday entrepreneurs."

The cast and crew of the hit daytime talk show The Ellen Degeneres Show are speaking out about the talk-show host's treatment during the show's shutdown thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, LGBTQ Nation noted. They say both DeGeneres and producers were non-communicative for weeks, slashed their pay when they did get in touch, and hired non-union outside workers to build a set for the show in DeGeneres' home so she could continue taping without them. DeGeneres earns $50 million a year hosting the show, making her one of the highest-paid television stars in history.

The 2020 Essence Festival of Culture has been officially cancelled because of COVID-19-related concerns, Essense noted on its website. In the meantime, the publication announced that our new ESSENCE Studios streaming platform will host the first-ever ESSENCE Festival of Culture: The Virtual Edition over the Fourth of July weekend as a multiday experience and benefit celebration. In addition, the virtual festival will be a benefit celebration in honor and support of the City of New Orleans.

Drag personality and RuPaul's Drag Race alum BenDeLaCreme rescheduled her biggest solo tour yet—"BenDeLaCreme is... Ready to Be Committed"—for the spring of 2021 ( postponed from spring of 2020 due to COVID-19 ), a press release noted. Some of the U.S. cities on the tour include Chicago, Detroit, Dallas and Portland, Maine. Written, directed, and produced by BenDeLaCreme, "BenDeLaCreme is... Ready to Be Committed" played to sold-out crowds in New York City and Provincetown in 2019.

Taylor Swift canceled her 2020 tour dates—including her Lover Fests—due to the coronavirus pandemic, Page Six noted. Her planned U.S. shows will instead take place next year. "I'm so sad I won't be able to see you guys in concert this year, but I know this is the right decision," Swift tweeted. "Please, please stay healthy and safe. I'll see you on stage as soon as I can but right now what's important is committing to this quarantine, for the sake of all of us." Swift's headlining set at Glastonbury— one of 10 European festival gigs the singer booked for this summer—was similarly called off when that U.K. festival was postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus.

Kelly Clarkson unveiled her brand new single "I Dare You," available now via Atlantic Records, a press release noted. "I Dare You" arrives alongside a five-track collection of multi-language duet versions, sung with a canon of internationally acclaimed vocalists in their native tongue. Clarkson is due to host the Billboard Music Awards for a third consecutive year in 2020, in addition to kicking off her recently announced Las Vegas residency, "Kelly Clarkson: Invincible," on July 29 at Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino.

This week's 18th episode of Empire's sixth season, airing April 21, will be the hip-hop family drama's finale for the foreseeable feature—and quite possibly a series finale, Deadline noted. In separate statements, Empire creators/executive producers Lee Daniels and Danny Strong addressed the abrupt ending of their show due to the coronavirus pandemic while holding out home that they could film a proper finale one day. A promo at the end of Episode 15, "Love Me Still," three weeks ago announced that the 18th episode of Taraji P. Henson and Terrance Howard-led drama's final season will be the finale.

Brian Dennehy—the Tony- and Golden Globe-winning actor whose career in movies, TV and the stage spanned nearly half a century—died of natural causes at 81, Deadline reported. Dennehy won Golden Globe and SAG awards and scored an Emmy nom for his lead role as Willy Loman in the 2000 miniseries Death of a Salesman, reprising his role from the 1999 revival of Arthur Miller's classic play. He was also in films such as First Blood, Romeo + Juliet, Cocoon and Ratatouille.

San Diego Comic-Con has been canceled for the first time in its 50-year history, WGNTV.com noted. The event will return to the San Diego Convention Center July 22-25, 2021. "Recognizing that countless attendees save and plan for conventions each year, and how many exhibitors and stakeholders rely upon its events for a major portion of their livelihood, ( we ) had hoped to delay this decision in anticipation that COVID-19 concerns might lessen by summer," the organization wrote in a news release. "Continuous monitoring of health advisories and recent statements by the Governor of California have made it clear that it would not be safe to move forward with plans for this year."

Simon & Schuster announced that Alex Trebek's new book, The Answer Is...: Reflections on My Life, will be released July 21—the day before his 80th birthday, CNN.com noted. According to the description on the publisher's site, "The book combines illuminating personal anecdotes with Trebek's thoughts on a range of topics, including marriage, parenthood, education, success, spirituality, and philanthropy."

Primetime Emmy-winning The Handmaid Tale's director Reed Morano is in talks to helm the Jennifer Lopez feature The Godmother, Deadline reported. Oscar-winning The Departed screenwriter William Monahan is also in talks to do a rewrite of the first draft that was penned by Terry Winter and Regina Corrado. In the movie, Lopez plays real-life notorious Colombian drug lord Griselda Blanco, aka "The Godmother."

Bill Cosby will not be released early over the coronavirus crisis, Deadline reported. "Mr. Cosby is not eligible for release under Gov. Wolf's order since he was convicted of a violent offense ( aggravated indecent assault ) and was deemed a Sexually Violent Predator," said Montgomery County District Attorney's Office spokesperson Kate Delano as Pennsylvania began letting convicts out to reduce further spread of COVID-19 in state prisons. Found guilty in an April 2018 retrial and sentenced to up to 10 years incarceration in September of that year, the widely accused Cosby has unsuccessfully tried repeatedly to get his case tossed, appealed or the judgement reversed for his sexual assault of Andrea Constand, the ex-Temple University employee.

Imprisoned Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland reportedly requested an early release from prison, citing fears of the novel coronavirus COVID-19—less than two weeks after telling the New York Post exclusively he "wasn't worried" about catching the disease, Page Six noted. According to The Wrap, McFarland's lawyers petitioned New York Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald, claiming that McFarland, 28, suffers pre-existing medical conditions.

The body of a man believed to be famed photographer Peter Beard, 82, has been found on Long Island, Page Six noted. Beard—a onetime fixture at Studio 54 and pal of Andy Warhol—suffered from dementia and had been missing from his Montauk home since March 31.

Michael Buble's wife, Luisana Lopilato, slammed claims the singer acted aggressively toward her in a recent Instagram Live session, Page Six noted. Speaking in Spanish, Lopilato—with Buble by her side—addressed followers in a separate Instagram Live. "Thank you for worrying about me," she noted. "It's very important that we pay attention to the concerns that were mentioned. Fortunately, I am not suffering." The actress then encouraged her followers to keep a watchful eye on potential victims of domestic abuse.

Pitbull released a new song called "I Believe That We Will Win" to raise money for charities fighting the coronavirus, ExtraTV.com noted. Pitbull said he is coping by "learning every day, learning every day something new, trying to stay sane, motivated, positive," adding he encourages everyone to "keep yourself educated with everything that is going on right now."


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