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SHOWBIZ Jamie Lee Curtis, Taylor Swift, trans model/activist, Lil Nas X
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-12-02

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Actress Jamie Lee Curtis told interviewer Chris Azzopardi she supports the outing of closeted lawmakers who advocate for anti-LGBTQ causes, The Washington Blade noted. During an interview in support of her knew film, Knives Out, the longtime LGBTQ ally said she normally views sexuality as a private matter, saying, "I don't think it's anybody's business what people's sexuality is, to be perfectly honest." However, she then added that although sexuality is normally "nobody's business" and "doesn't matter," there was an exception if "you legislate anti-gay legislation but are gay."

Singer Taylor Swift tweeted her support of a fan who came out to her music, according to The Washington Blade. Reid Arthur used Swift's music to publicly come out at George Fox University during a lip-sync battle as he and some friends performed a mash-up of the songs "You Need To Calm Down" and "…Ready For It." Swift posted that she saw the video, adding, "This just made me SO emotional. @reidoburrito95 I can't tell you how honored I am that my song has been even a small part in your journey. You did the brave thing and stood up for your truth."

Jari Jones—a trans activist, actress and model who made a big splash at Cannes this year with a film she co-produced with Martin Scorsese—has released a new music video, a press release noted. Featuring a cast of queer performers from New York City's underground POC-led ballroom scene, the film made Jones the first Black trans women to produce a film at the festival, and it also featured the festival's first-ever trans star. The new video—for "If I Could," by Sophie Auster—follows Jones as she meets a mysterious stranger on the subway played by Basit Shittu, a non-binary person who was featured on MTV's first-ever show about sexual fluidity.

Smithsonian magazine announced that Lil Nas X—the rapper-singer-songwriter who rose to stardom with his genre-bending, record-breaking single "Old Town Road"—is the winner of the American Ingenuity Award for Youth, a press release noted. The awards, which celebrate those individuals who are spearheading revolutionary change in society, honor individuals across seven wide-ranging categories: Youth, Visual Arts, Social Progress, Technology, Life Sciences, Physical Sciences and Performing Arts. Some of the other winners include restauranteur/World Central Kitchen founder Jose Andres; Amy Sherald, painter known for her portrait of former First Lady Michelle Obama; and Alex Kipman, Brazilian-born inventor and visionary behind many of Microsoft's most pioneering products.

ABC and dick clark productions announced that actress Lucy Hale ( Pretty Little Liars; Katy Keane ) will join Ryan Seacrest in Times Square as new co-host in New York for Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2020, an ABC press release noted. Also, Emmy-, Tony- and Grammy-winning actor, singer, director, composer and playwright Billy Porter ( Pose ) will join the show, debuting as host of the New Orleans countdown. Returning to the show for her third year, singer Ciara will once again oversee the Los Angeles festivities.

Andrew Levitt—better known as RuPaul's Drag Race alumna Nina West—was named National Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year on Nov. 26 at a ceremony in Columbus, Ohio, a press release noted. To celebrate this occasion, "The West Christmas Ever—25 days of Christmas" was launched in conjunction with The Nina West Foundation. In its biggest campaign ever, the founderion is awarding daily grants of $1.000 through Dec. 25 to LGBTQ+ organizations across the country. See NinaWest.com/foundation.

Singer Ari Gold is battling cancer—but has not let that halt his creative output, NewNowNext.com noted. Driven by a need to make art even during his darkest days of chemotherapy, treatment, and recovery ( he had his bone marrow surgery Oct. 16 ), Gold started shining a light on his hospital stays by recording his conversations with visiting friends—including Laverne Cox and Kevin Aviance—and chosen family. However, Gold recently posted on Facebook that his doctors informed him that he is in full remission.

Athlete and father of four Dwyane Wade took to Twitter to defend his son from online trolls, Yahoo! Entertainment noted. A photo of the Wade family ( which includes wife Gabrielle Union ) gathered for Thanksgiving sparked some drama for the celebrity couple, thanks to trolls mocking Wade's 12-year-old son Zion for rocking dramatic fake nails and a crop top in the photo. One Wade tweet called out the "hate" his family had received, adding that "stupidity is a part of this world we live in."

Actress Annette Bening proudly talked about her transgender oldest son, Stephen Ira, People.com reported. Bening, 61, said in a recent interview that Stephen managed his transition with "style" and "intelligence" after identifying as trans at age 14. Bening's husband, Warren Beatty, has called Stephen, who is now 27, his "hero."

Academic LGBTQ publisher Harrington Park Press has made available a free and public database of more than 180 films and television shows celebrating the diversity and richness of transgender lives, a press release noted. The sortable "Films and Television Featuring Transgender People or Themes" was compiled from the "Films and Television of Interest" lists found at the end of each chapter of the book Introduction to Transgender Studies. An introductory list of 13 films is at https://popularpublicity.com/13-transgender-films/.

Shelley Morrison—best known as the feisty maid Rosario Salazar on Will & Grace—has died at age 83, CNN.com reported. Rosario was the no-nonsense Salvadoran maid to socialite Karen Walker, played by Megan Mullally, in the original run of Will & Grace on NBC from 1999 to 2006. "Rosario is one of my all-time favorite characters," Morrison said in a biography her agent released. "She reminds me a lot of my own mother, who loved animals and children, but she would not suffer fools."

In a feature profile for Esquire, actor Billy Dee Williams—the 82-year-old man known for playing Lando Calrissian in the Star Wars franchise, in a role he's reprising this winter for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker—talks about how he freely identifies with both he/him/himself and she/her/herself pronouns, LGBTQ Nation noted. "I never tried to be anything except myself," Williams said. "I think of myself as a relatively colorful character who doesn't take himself or herself too seriously." Solo: A Star Wars Story co-screenwriter Jonathan Kasdan ( son of Lawrence Kasdan, screenwriter of several Star Wars films ) confirmed in early 2018 that "There's a fluidity to Donald [Glover's] and Billy Dee's sexuality" in their portrayals of Calrissian.

People Magazine included out country singer Ty Herndon in its "Sexy At Every Age" feature story, a press release noted. Herndon has also announced the upcoming release of his new recording of the Christmas traditional "O Holy Night," performed as a duet alongside acclaimed singer Crystal Lewis; the single will be released Dec. 6. John Legend was selected as the magazine's Sexiest Man Alive.

Celebrities took to Twitter to support actress Gabrielle Union and slam NBC after the network dropped her as a judge on America's Got Talent—reportedly after she raised concerns about racist incidents on set and after she was subjected to constant critiques about her appearance, including that her hairstyles were "too Black" for the audience, Yahoo! News noted. Stars from Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda to newscaster Jemele Hill, singer Ariana Grande, and 2020 presidential hopeful Julian Castro tweeted their support for the actress, who was labeled as "difficult" by fellow judge Simon Cowell after she complained about his indoor smoking habit, according to reports. NBC issued a statement saying, "We are working with Ms. Union through her representatives to hear more about her concerns, following which we will take whatever next steps may be appropriate," Deadline noted.

Rapper CupcakKe has some words for her followers: If you're thinking of comparing her work to Lizzo, don't, Teen Vogue noted. "Can y'all stop comparing me to lizzo," she tweeted. "I don't look like her or sound like her so lets cut the bullsh*t at this point , let her do her thing & let me do mine ... but y'all really gotta stop playing with me at this point." The tweet even earned the support of Lizzo, who later retweeted the comment with "PSA."

Scarlett Johansson responded to the backlash she received this summer after saying she believes any actor should be able to play "any person, or any tree, or any animal," Page Six reported. The statement came after the star dropped out of a film based on the life of a transgender man due to criticism from the trans community. "In hindsight, I mishandled that situation," Johansson told Vanity Fair of her previous comments. "I was not sensitive, my initial reaction to it."

The Anita Hill-led Hollywood Commission on Eliminating Sexual Harassment has launched its long-anticipated survey of industry workers to gauge the extent of harassment and abuse in the workplace, Deadline noted. The commission says its goal in conducting this first-of-its-kind survey, which is completely anonymous and untraceable, is to gather data that will be used to develop policies that encourage diversity and inclusion while preventing bias and harassment.

Key West Film Festival announced the winners of the eighth edition of the festival that ran Nov. 20-24, a press release noted. Waves won the Audience Award, while After Parkland won Best Documentary Feature, A Name Without a Place won Best Florida Feature, and Portrait of a Lady on Fire won Best LGBT Feature; also, Bacurau won Best Foreign Feature and Atlantics won the Critics Award. In adition, Boys Don't Cry director Kimberly Peirce and actor Tom Skerritt ( Alien ) received prestigious Golden Key Awards.

Singer and rapper Azealia Banks posted an apology for a rant she posted recently against people who use PrEP ( pre-exposure prophylaxis ), Queerty noted. On Instagram, she posted, "Hey guys, so…. a few weeks ago I went on a rant about Pre exposure prophylaxis meds and I am just doubling back to say I'm sorry." In late October, Banks took to her Instagram stories to criticize Frank Ocean for launching an NYC club night called PrEP+.

The Princess Grace Foundation-USA ( PGF-USA ) celebrated the 2019 Princess Grace Awards Gala at The Plaza Hotel in New York City, Broadway World noted. Held in the presence of His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco, the gala honored three-time Tony recipient and Golden Globe Award-winning actress Bernadette Peters; and film director Chinonye Chukwu, winner of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize Award for her film Clemency. Leslie Odom Jr. emceed the event.

Versace is suing fashion retailer Fashion Nova over a copycat version of the iconic green jungle-print Versace gown Jennifer Lopez wore to the 2000 Grammys, along with several other looks based on the luxury label's designs, Page Six noted. Fashion Nova's version of Lopez's unforgettable plunging dress, which it dubbed the "Love Don't Cost a Thing" outfit, was released as part of the retailer's Halloween collection. Priced at $69.99, it's currently sold out in all sizes.

Talking with GQ ( who named him Man of the Year ), Tyler, the Creator discussed his sexuality, among other things, TheSource.com noted. He detailed that he loves women, but then he sees their brothers and opts for them instead. Teetering the line of speaking candidly and possibly joking about his life, Tyler said: "I like girls—I just end up fucking their brother every time."

To celebrate the vinyl release of the Grammy-nominated Moulin Rouge! The Musical cast recording, members of the Broadway cast will appear at Sony Square NYC Dec. 13, Playbill reported. Cast members Karen Olivo, Aaron Tveit, Sahr Ngaujah, Tam Mutu, Ricky Rojas, and Robyn Hurder are scheduled to take part in the signing of the vinyl and/or CD. The cast recording, produced by Baz Luhrmann, Justin Levine, Matt Stine and Alex Timbers, is available from Luhrmann's label, House of Iona and RCA Records. The recording debuted at the top of Billboard's Cast Album chart.

In a lengthy video on IGTV titled "Life Isn't Always What It Seems," Supergirl actress Melissa Benoist spoke out for the first time about her experience with domestic abuse, which she said occurred over several months with a man she was in a relationship with, EW.com noted. Benoist didn't name the alleged perpetrator, saying only that he was younger than her. In a statement on her Instagram, she thanked anyone who watched the video and said that she was encouraged to share her story because she wanted to raise awareness—adding that those affected can call 800-799-SAFE or visit FuturesWithoutViolence.org .

In the world of comic books, the new Muse series features Zak Raven—the first mainstream comic book character living with HIV, a press release noted. The new "10th Muse" series also tells the story of one of the supporting characters coming out of the closet. A special new hardcover edition of the original 10th Muse comic book that was first published by Image Comics in 2000 will be available as well. The comic book will be on Amazon worldwide in print, and available on e-readers from iTunes, Kindle, Nook, ComiXology, DriveThruComics, Google Play and more.

Read Only Memories' cyberpunk world—popularized by the narrative adventure 2064: Read Only Memories, which has been downloaded by more than 1 million gamers—expands to print Dec. 16, a press release noted. The series features writing from industry veteran Sina Grace, known for his work depicting LGBT+ characters in comics including Marvel's Iceman as well as for calling for better queer representation in the medium.

Str8UpGayPorn announced that Kathy Griffin will headline the much-anticipated Str8UpGay Summit and Str8UpGayPorn Awards in Hollywood this January, a press release noted. Griffin will also give the conference's keynote address, on Jan. 11. She recently released the award-winning docu-comedy Kathy Griffin: A Hell of Story.

Dancing with the Stars: Live Tour 2020 will feature celebrity guests from the 2019 season of Dancing with the Stars. The cast of celebrities includes newly crowned Mirrorball champion Hannah Brown, from The Bachelorette; pop star Ally Brooke; country artist Lauren Alaina; comedian and actor Kel Mitchell; The Office actress Kate Flannery; and model Sailor Brinkley-Cook. The longest tour to date will be kicking off Jan. 9 in Richmond, Virginia.

Casey Spooner—half of the recently disbanded electroclash duo Fischerspooner—has claimed credit on Madonna's single "God Control;" however, he said he co-wrote on an early version of the Madame X track with French producer Mirwais, but isn't getting any cut of profits, Billboard noted. In Spooner's Instagram Stories he offered further details, saying he was originally hired by Mirwais to do work on a song for the French producer's solo album. That project was later shelved and Spooner said he was shocked to hear the work he had done on the track pop up in "God Control."

The 20th anniversary of the cult film Jawbreaker is out on Blu-ray via Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, a press release noted. Cast members include Rose McGowan, Rebecca Gayheart, Julie Benz, Judy Greer, Chad Christ, Ethan Erickson, Carol Kane and Pam Grier—and there will be a retrospective commentary featuring director Darren Stein, Gayheart, Benz and Greer.

Electro-pop artist La Roux ( best known for the 2009 single "Bulletproof" ) unveiled her first new song in five years, "International Woman of Leisure," along with a glitzy video that recalls '60s spy movies, Rolling Stone noted. The track will appear on La Roux's upcoming album, Supervision, out Feb. 7. Her tour will include a March 13 stop at Chicago's Park West.

Kino Lorber Studio Classics has revealed its list of movies it will release this month, a press release noted. Among the cult classics are the 1984 sci-fi movie She ( with Sandahl Bergman ), the 1992 film A Stranger Among Us ( with Melanie Griffith investigating a murder in the Hasidic community ), the 1996 Ridley Scott-directed item White Squall ( with Ryan Phillippe and Scott Wolf among the prep-school students ) and the 1993 ripped-from-the-headlines movie The Amy Fisher Story ( with Drew Barrymore as the titular lead ). See KinoLorber.com .

Promoting the movie Ford v. Ferrari, actor Christian Bale revealed that one of his in-laws' very first experiences with his movies was watching one of his most complicated, violent and semi-naked performances, People.com noted. Bale revealed that wife Sibi's mother initially saw him in American Psycho. "Sibi's mom hadn't realized quite how many inappropriate moments there might be," Bale remembered with a smile. "[Sibi and her mother] got through it in 15 minutes."

Broadway has found its Michael Jackson: Tony-nominated Ain't Too Proud star Ephraim Sykes will take the title role in the upcoming estate-approved MJ The Musical, Deadline noted. The musical, loaded with classic hits by the later King of Pop, will begin preview performances on Monday, July 6, 2020, at the Neil Simon Theatre, with an opening night set for Thursday, Aug. 13.

Showtime Documentary Films announced a new limited docuseries, Gossip Starring Cindy Adams ( working title ), profiling the longtime columnist whose work at the New York Post made her the reigning queen of gossip, a press release noted. Imagine's Brian Grazer and Ron Howard are the executive producers. Gossip, slated to premiere in 2021, will chronicle the history and rise of Adams and her gossip columns in Rupert Murdoch's New York Post.

Vanderpump Rules star Jax Taylor—who recently said he can't be anti-gay because he used to live in West Hollywood and 50 percent of his friends are gay—got involved in a Twitter feud with Perez Hilton, Queerty related. It started when Taylor tweeted a screenshot of Hilton along with the caption, "All this dude does is make fun of peoples looks… Seriously." Hilton then responded with a lengthy item that included a biphobic jab: "Maybe the rumors of @MrJaxTaylor being bisexual are true! Sorry, boo. You can't have a piece of me. I don't want your STDS!"

In a Nov. 26 order, the New York Supreme Court's Judge James Burke decided that Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra will be allowed to testify in the rape trial of Harvey Weinstein that starts Jan. 6, Deadline reported. Months after Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr's office first indicted the Oscar winning producer on multiple sex assault charges and arrested him, a new claim was added to the case involving the mid-1990s rape of Sciorra by Weinstein.

Former Survivor: Africa contestant Silas Gaither was arrested in Tennessee on rape and aggravated assault charges, EW.com noted, citing People Magazine. Gaither, 41, was arrested Nov. 25 and charged with felony counts of rape and aggravated assault. According to the Shelby County Sheriff's office, he posted $50,000 bond the following day.


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