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SHOWBIZ 'Homecoming' series, virtual concerts, Janet Jackson, Jeffree Star
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2020-05-04

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The critically acclaimed series Homecoming returns for its second season Friday, May 22, on Amazon Prime Video with a new mystery and a new star: Janelle Monae, a press release noted. Her character wakes in a rowboat adrift in a lake, with no memory of how she got there—or even who she is. Her ensuing search for identity will lead her into the heart of the Geist Group, the unconventional wellness company behind the Homecoming Initiative.

Inspired by the response to their March 19 livestream—around 80,000 viewers—Indigo Girls confirmed a concert and Q&A series livestreaming every Thursday in May ( 7, 14, 21 ) at 6 p.m. CT on Facebook Live and Instagram Live, a press release noted. The May 14 concert will include an optional donation with all proceeds to charity. Indigo Girls are also sharing the song "Country Radio," from their upcoming album, Look Long ( out May 22 via Rounder ).

A whopping 275 cast members from 15 companies of the Tony-winning hit musical Jersey Boys came together ( remotely, of course ) to honor COVID-19 relief efforts and perform the finale number "Who Loves You," Broadway.com noted. The video features cast members from La Jolla ( where the musical premiered in 2005 ), Broadway, the first and second North American tours, SETA National tour, Chicago, Toronto, London, the UK tour, Australia, the Netherlands and more.

Also, Brooklyn College student and accomplished pianist Harrison Sheckler brought together a mix of 300 musicians from 15 different countries for a virtual video performance of Rodgers and Hammerstein's classic, "You'll Never Walk Alone," Broadway World noted. The video of the song from the musical Carousel was released May 1 on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. Soliciting help online for the project through a network of musical connections, Sheckler received tracks from countries all over the world, including the United Kingdom, Mexico, Canada, Germany, Spain, France, Vietnam, Israel, Australia, South Africa and others.

Many stars will be on hand Monday, May 11, for Rise Up New York!, a citywide virtual telethon to raise awareness and funds to help New Yorkers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Billboard noted. Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, Mariah Carey and Sting will perform at the one-hour event, along with other artists to be announced soon. Among those on tap to appear on the Tina Fey-hosted broadcast are: N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Angie Mar, Barbra Streisand, Ben Platt, Bette Midler, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Chris Rock, Idina Menzel, Robert De Niro, Spike Lee, Sutton Foster, Trevor Noah and others.

Luke Evans' boyfriend, Rafa Olarra, was roped in to help the actor reprise his role of Gaston for Disney Family Singalong, PinkNews noted. Disney Family Singalong brought together stars from across the Atlantic—including Beyonce, Ariana Grande and the cast of High School Musical—to re-create iconic musical moments from the studio's history. Evans was joined by Josh Gad, who he starred alongside in the 2017 live action Beauty and the Beast, for a version of their duet "Gaston."

It's looking like Janet Jackson could be the next musician to get her own biopic, as a new movie about the legendary singer is reportedly in the works, MovieWeb noted, citing theJasmineBRAND. Planning has begun for a biopic about the life and career of Jackson, and although "details are scarce," the project is said to be getting finalized and auditions have already begun.

During an episode of the Mom's Basement podcast, YouTuber/makeup artist Jeffree Star spilled more tea on his feud with James Charles and Tati Westbook, E! News noted. Star said he heard of people who were supposedly victimized by Charles but added, "At the end of the day, I'm not going to out a victim of James Charles—if it's real because I don't know if it's real." The internet feud all began when Westbrook released a 40-minute video cutting all ties with Charles after he posted an Instagram Story promoting Sugarbear Sleep Vitamins, the direct competitor of Westbrook's brand.

Fashion expert Joe Zee and his husband are now fathers, Out.com noted. The former editor who previously served as the creative director of Elle and the editor-in-chief of Yahoo! Style, announced the news on Twitter—and followed it with a strong rebuke of Vice President Mike Pence. Daughter Vivian was born via surrogacy at the Mayo Clinic. At one point, Zee wrote, "To insinuate that [Pence] did not know he had to wear [a mask] is discrediting all these hard-working nurses and doctors and support staff." In a visit to Mayo, Pence turned up with no mask—in direct defiance of the establishment's guidelines.

Madonna appeared to flout social-distancing rules at a birthday party—just two days after announcing she tested positive for coronavirus antibodies, which would suggest she's been exposed to the contagion, Page Six noted. She joked that her birthday-boy pal, photographer Steven Klein, was being honored with a "COVID cake" during the live-streamed private gig. Recently, Madonna posted a video to Instagram saying she had tested positive for coronavirus antibodies and was now ready to "breathe the COVID-19 air."

Roy Horn, of famed performance duo Siegfried and Roy, has tested positive for the coronavirus, Page Six noted. Horn, 75, was "currently responding well to treatment," his publicist said in a statement to ABC News. In 2003, Horn suffered a career-ending injury when Mantacore, a 400-pound Siberian tiger, attacked him during a live performance at the Mirage hotel-casino.

Planet of the Humans—a new documentary by first-time filmmaker Jeff Gibbs, and released by Oscar winner Michael Moore—posted 3.5 million views on Moore's Rumble channel on YouTube in the movie's first week, a press release noted. The documentary suggests that the saving of Earth cannot happen by colluding with wealthy interests and by focusing on climate change alone. The full movie is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zk11vI-7czE&feature=youtu.be.

Freeform has launched its first-ever virtual talent search to seek out new and up-and-coming talent, a press release noted. The search, running through May 8, calls for talent from across the United States who play ages 18-25 to self-record one of four Freeform series monologues and submit their video for consideration. Talent submissions can be considered for future projects at the network. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and must be at least 18 years old to submit. For additional information, visit www.castittalent.com/Freeform_Search.

Noah Cyrus revealed the title and release date for her upcoming EP, a press release noted. The End Of Everything will be released on May 15 via RECORDS/Columbia Records and will feature eight tracks, including "I Got So High That I Saw Jesus," "Lonely" and "July." ( "July" is now officially certified as RIAA Platinum in North America. )

Kesha's 2020 High Road tour with Big Freedia will not be happening this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Billboard noted. On Instagram, Kesha said, in part, "Because of the current situation, doing this tour in 2020 is no longer feasible. But that doesn't mean we can't celebrate and express ourselves together in spirit and online."

X-Men: Apocalypse co-star Olivia Munn claimed that director Bryan Singer used to repeatedly "check out" of filming to go seek treatment for a medical condition, Digital Spy noted. While discussing the differences between working with male and female filmmakers ahead of the release of her new film Violet, the actor—who played Marvel mutant Psylocke in the 2016 superhero movie—said she remembers Singer being absent from set for around 10 days in total and that he would message the actors instructions from afar. Singer has previously been accused of multiple instances of sexual misconduct but has strongly denied all allegations.

People were invited to join Vogue in a celebration of Met galas past May 4, the magazine noted. Throughout the day, Vogue looked back at highlights from previous years, from breathtaking red-carpet ensembles to memorable moments. The day ended with "A Moment with the Met"—an intimate celebration, available via livestream exclusively on YouTube.

The cause of singer Bill Withers' death has been revealed, Extra noted. According to his death certificate, obtained by TMZ, the "Lean on Me" singer died at the age of 81 from cardiac arrest; the contributing factors were chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and bradyarrhythmia. Withers, who died at Providence Tarzana Regional Medical Center, was laid to rest at famed cemetery Forest Lawn Memorial Park, where such celebrities as Michael Jackson, Nipsey Hussle, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds are buried.

Jay-Z's company Roc Nation have filed takedown notices against "deepfake" videos that use artificial intelligence to make him rap Billy Joel's We Didn't Start the Fire and Hamlet's "To be or not to be" soliloquy, The Guardian noted. The anonymous creator of the YouTube-hosted videos, known as Vocal Synthesis, has said that copyright notices were filed by Roc Nation, stating: "This content unlawfully uses an AI to impersonate our client's voice." The two aforementioned videos have been removed, though others remain, including one of the rapper taking on the Book of Genesis.

Singer/songwriter Edie Brickell pays tribute to her friend, legendary musician and activist Willie Nelson, with the new duet "Sing To Me, Willie," which debuted April 29 in celebration of Nelson's 87th birthday, a press release noted. All proceeds from the song will benefit MusiCares' COVID-19 Relief Fund. In support of this initiative, Play MPE will be servicing the song free of charge. Visit https://orcd.co/singtomewillie.

HBO renewed the Issa Rae comedy series Insecure for a fifth season, a press release announced. The show's 10-episode fourth season debuted April 12 on the network. Season four series regulars include Rae, Yvonne Orji, Jay Ellis, Natasha Rothwell, Amanda Seales and Alexander Hodge.

Grammy-nominated songwriter/pianist Jim Brickman is bringing The Magic of Christmas tour to more than 20 cities, a press release noted. Brickman has charted 34 Billboard Adult Contemporary singles, and has earned four gold albums and one platinum disc. Dates for the U.S. tour are Nov. 27-Jan. 1, 2021.

Britney Spears opened up to her 24 million Instagram followers about a mishap, Yahoo! Life noted. "Hi guys, I'm in my gym right now. I haven't been in here for, like, six months because I burned my gym down, unfortunately,"she said in the video. "I had two candles and, yeah … one thing led to another and I burned it down." Spears revealed that she only has two pieces of gym equipment left but said she wanted to share a video to show off her new workout "during this time."

Eminem confronted a home intruder in his living room after the suspect slipped past his sleeping security guards, Page Six noted. Matthew David Hughes, 26, smashed a kitchen window with a paving stone and climbed into the rapper's home in a gated community in the Detroit area because, apparently, he just wanted some face time with the rapper. Hughes faces a pair of felonies, home invasion and malicious destruction of a building, and was held on $50,000 bond.

Katie Couric said she was "shaken" by an "uncomfortable" 2004 interview with Denzel Washington, Page Six noted. While on the "Everything Iconic with Danny Pellegrino" podcast, Couric recalled the awkward Dateline interview—which involved Washington, as well Meryl Streep, during a promotional run for their film The Manchurian Candidate—after Pellegrino brought up the art of celebrity and political interviews.

Rapper Machine Gun Kelly extended neighbor Jeff Lewis a peace offering after their week-long feud, as the Bravo star called out Kelly and his houseguests for obnoxious behavior on his Sirius XM radio show, Page Six noted. Lewis' complaints began on the musician's 30th birthday, when the interior designer claims MGK and his guests refused to abide by social distancing protocols. MGK then sent a bottle of Dom Pérignon over to Lewis—via skateboard—which the reality star later posted to his own Instagram account.


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