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SHOWBIZ Janet Mock, 'Pose,' Joan Jett, Sam Smith, 'Digging Up Dorothy'
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2020-08-04

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Transgender writer/director/author Janet Mock is teaming with actor Jeremy Pope ( who has received an Emmy nod for his role in the Ryan murphy miniseries Hollywood ) on a new drama called Scandalous!, Out.com noted, citing Deadline. Pope will play Sammy Davis Jr. in the project, which will tell the interracial love story between Davis and actress Kim Novak. In 2019, Pope became the sixth person in Tony history to be nominated for performance twice in the same year ( and in his debut season ); that same year, Mock signed a history-making overall deal with Netflix and is working on a film about journalist Janet Cooke for that.

The sister of Pose star Ryan Jamaal Swain was fatally shot in Birmingham, Alabama, Out.com reported. Raven Lynette Swain, 24, was found seated in the driver's seat of a parked car suffering from multiple gunshot wounds and pronounced dead at the scene. Ryan plays Damon Richards-Evangelista on the FX show Pose, which revolves around queer and trans folks in New York City during the 1980s and '90s.

Indya Moore and Angelica Ross criticized the Emmy Awards for overlooking the Black trans cast and creators of Pose in its list of nominees once again, PinkNews noted. Despite receiving widespread acclaim from viewers and critics alike, Pose's trans stars have been shut out of almost all major acting, directing and writing categories. The only nomination was for cis gay actor Billy Porter in his role as Pray Tell; the nod happened a year after he became the first out gay Black man to win in his category in Emmy history.

Joan Jett has released her cover of T. Rex's 1971 classic "Jeepster," the latest track from the forthcoming tribute album "ngelheaded Hipster: The Songs of Marc Bolan and T. Rex, Variety reported. The album will arrive Friday, Sept. 4, on BMG and was helmed by legendary producer Hal Willner, who died of coronavirus complications in April. The 26-track album, also features a tag team between U2 and Elton John on T. Rex's biggest hit, "Bang a Gong ( Get It On )," as well as contributions from Nick Cave, Father John Misty, Todd Rundgen, Beth Orton, Perry Farrell, Soft Cell singer Marc Almond, Kesha, John Cameron Mitchell and others.

Sam Smith and Burna Boy joined forces on Smith's new track "My Oasis," out now via Capitol Records, a press release noted. "This track has been a beautiful release of emotions for me during this time," said Smith, who wrote the track with Jimmy Napes and Burna Boy. "I've been a fan of Burna Boy for years now and am so happy to have a tune with him."

Digging Up Dorothy is now available on Amazon Prime, a press statement noted. The short film follows a drag queen who stages a protest in a cemetery when she discovers the remains of Hollywood legend Judy Garland are going to be moved. Based on true events, screenwriter/actor Darren Stewart-Jones ( who plays drag queen Ruby LaRue ) penned the script after reading an article on Liza Minnelli's plans to exhume her mother's remains. The trailer is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w__FZ0MwYRA.

Tegan and Sara unveiled a new video for "I Know I'm Not The Only One" as part of a 25-minute special on their YouTube channel, a press release announced. The duo also announced the release of their Hey, We're Just Like You ( The Remixes ) EP, out on Sire Records on Friday, Aug. 7. The EP will feature 5 reworked tracks from their 2019 ninth studio album—Hey, We're Just Like You—by Matthew Dear, Shura, Tracy Young, Tim Mislock and Mija.

Snowflake—a fictional film that dramatizes modern-day political divides in the LGBTQ+ community—began streaming on Vimeo on Aug. 4 ( the 10-year anniversary of the historic overturn of California's ban on same-sex marriage ), a press release noted. Snowflake is a fictional story that depicts the fear of a nation when a dictatorial politician is suddenly thrust into the White House.

Smothered made its July debut on Amazon Prime, a press release noted. It tells the story of Randy ( Mitch Hara ) and Ralph ( Jason Stuart ) —who also wrote and produced the series—a gay couple navigating their way through couples therapy. See SMOTHEREDTV.com .

Musician Frank Ocean's little brother, Ryan Breaux, has died, Out.com noted. The 18-year-old reportedly passed away because of a car accident. When Ocean released his album Blonde, Breaux tweeted that he was "glad" that the project was out as when the singer and songwriter is working "he gets focused and forgets to feed me and bring me home," when the pair are in the studio. Breaux even graced the album himself, with an interview from his pre-teen years appearing on "Futura Free." Also, "Orion," a song from Ocean's Lonny Breaux mixtape, was about Breaux.

Lifetime has extended its partnership with journalist Robin Roberts for four new movies, including Robin Roberts Presents: The Mahalia Jackson Story, Deadline reported. The movie will star Tony Award nominee, SAG and Grammy Award-winning actress Danielle Brooks ( Orange Is the New Black; Broadway's The Color Purple ) as the iconic gospel legend and civil rights activist while Tony winner Kenny Leon ( Broadway's A Raisin in the Sun and Fences; Lifetime's Steel Magnolias ) will direct.

Everybody Loves Raymond co-star Brad Garrett said it was "common knowledge" that people were mistreated on the set of Ellen DeGeneres' daytime talk show following her apology, USA Today noted. However, the actor faulted her as much as the producers who were the targets of the allegations. Despite DeGeneres' insistence of "ensuring this does not happen again," Garrett, who has appeared on her show numerous times, called on the TV personality to bear more responsibility for her producers' actions.

Terry Crews apologized to his former America's Got Talent co-star Gabrielle Union after she called him out for not showing support amid her accusations of a toxic, racist environment on the show's set, USA Today noted. Speaking on an episode of the "Jemele Hill Is Unbothered" podcast, Union admitted disappointment over Crews showing support for the show and its network, NBC. Without addressing any specifics, Crews apologized to Union two days later, promising "reconciliation between the world and ... the culture I grew up in."

Madonna's controversial version of the Don McLean classic song "American Pie" marked its 20th anniversary, a press release noted. At the behest of her co-star Rupert Everett, Madonna recorded her version for the soundtrack to their film The Next Best Thing—a romantic dramedy from Midnight Cowboy director John Schlesinger that starred Madonna, Everett, Benjamin Bratt and Neil Patrick Harris. Don McLean, when interviewed in 2015, said this about Madonna covering his song: "I loved it. I thought it was outstanding. I thought Madonna did a great job with it. To me, she's an artist for the 20th and the 21st century. She's magnificent." In addition, McLean announced plans for a feature documentary, The Day The Music Died: The Story Behind Don McLean's American Pie, set for release at the end of 2021.

Speaking of Madonna, Instagram flagged her account after the artist sought to spread misinformation, USA Today noted. Madonna shared a video and caption about unproven coronavirus conspiracy theories. The video, about a fake cure, echoed the same misinformation as a clip that was taken down from Twitter after President Donald Trump shared it. On Madonna's post, fact-checkers note that there is not yet a cure for COVID-19 and that hydroxychloroquine is not a cure.

Elton John, the Rolling Stones, R.E.M., Blondie, Lionel Richie, Courtney Love, Panic! at the Disco, Pearl Jam, Sia, Aerosmith, Lorde, Linkin Park and dozens of other artists want an end to authorized political usage of their music, Yahoo! Entertainment noted. They signed an open letter from the Artist Rights Alliance, addressed to to the Democratic and Republican national, congressional and senatorial committees, asking all parties to put an end to appropriating popular songs for political purposes without authorization.

Taylor Swift's run continued this week as her new album, folklore, debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, while her single "cardigan" landed at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, a press release noted. This achievement makes her the only artist in history to simultaneously debut at the top on the Billboard 200 and the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Moreover, with all 16 songs from folklore charting on Billboard Hot 100, Taylor Swift became the female artist with the most simultaneous debut entries.

SAG-AFTRA applauded the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision affirming actress Ashley Judd's right to pursue her lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein for the sexual harassment and abuse he is alleged to have perpetrated against her, a press release noted. The association said, "The California Legislature took action to make sure that individuals like Ashley Judd—who may not be traditional employees—would have remedies against abusers, and that those abusers couldn't escape responsibility based on technicalities related to employee status."

The film #Unfit: The Psychology of Donald Trump will be released Tuesday, Sept. 1, on all digital/streaming and cable VOD platforms, a 2050 Group press release noted. #Unfit analyzes the behavior, psyche, condition and stability of Donald Trump. It takes a sociological look at the electorate that chose him, and the collective effect he is having on the country's culture and institutions. Dan Partland—a multi-Emmy winner of documentary and non-fiction TV, whose work includes series such as A&E's Intervention; The Sixties, on CNN; and American Race with Charles Barkley, for TNT—is the director and co-producer ( with Art Horan ).

STXfilms has won the U.S. rights to director Kevin Macdonald's untitled legal thriller formerly known as Prisoner 760, Deadline noted. The project stars Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA winner Jodie Foster; BAFTA nominee Tahar Rahim; Golden Globe and Emmy nominee Shailene Woodley; Oscar nominee Benedict Cumberbatch; and Shazam! and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel star Zachary Levi. The feature tells the story of Mohamedou Ould Slahi ( Rahim ), who is captured by the U.S. government and languishes in prison for years without charge or trial.

St. Martin's Press announced that Randy Rainbow's memoir Playing With Myself is scheduled for release late in 2021, USA Today noted. The Emmy-nominated satirist, entertainer and host of the YouTube series The Randy Rainbow Show plans to "set the record straight." According to his publisher, Rainbow will take readers "through his life: from his childhood as the over- imaginative, often misunderstood son of a Donald Trump clone and the only boy in second grade carrying a purse, to his first job on Broadway ... at Hooters ( don't ask ), to the creation of his trademark comedy style which skewers the politicos of the day."

A collaboration between Janet Jackson and Jermaine Dupri will likely not happen again, according to Page Six. "The only reason I say that is because I feel cheated in a way from the 20 Y.O. album that I did. … A lot of people discredit me for that album. It has nothing to do with me and her," Dupri said. Dupri and Jackson were dating when he produced 20 Y.O. in 2006 to commemorate her 1986 breakout album Control.

Popular electronic band The Chainsmokers faced widespread criticism online after footage from a concert in Southampton, New York, went viral, Today noted. Various clips of the performance, shared by multiple Twitter users, including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, show crowds of people standing shoulder to shoulder, where some members wore masks but not all. The concert prompted New York state's health commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, to send a letter to the supervisor of the town of Southampton, Jay Schneiderman.

In a poetic public journal entry, iconic Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks urges everyone to wear a mask and "become spiritual warriors" in order to defeat the raging coronavirus, Consequence of Sound noted. Dated July 17 but posted on her social media accounts on July 29, Nicks writes about listening to The Rolling Stones and Crosby, Stills & Nash in "a magical place" that she's found in the early mornings. She promises that others can achieve this same serenity if they just put in the minimal effort required to combat this deadly pandemic.

The National Women's Soccer League announced that Los Angeles has been granted expansion rights, giving the NWSL its first California team, Yahoo! Sports reported. The ownership group is led by entrepreneur Julie Uhrman, venture capitalists Kara Nortman and Alexis Ohanian ( Reddit founder and husband of Serena Williams ), plus actress and activist Natalie Portman. Other owners include Williams and their 2-year-old daughter, Olympia ( who is now the youngest owner in professional sports ), as well as talk-show host Lily Singh and actresses Jennifer Garner, Uzo Aduba, Jessica Chastain, America Ferrera and Eva Longoria. Also, 14 former U.S. women's national team players are also part of the Angel City ownership group.

Kathie Lee Gifford last saw Regis Philbin two weeks before his passing, and talked about that get-together on the Today show, Page Six noted. Gifford, who like the Philbins also has a home in Connecticut, said, "We just had the best time." But after the Philbins left, "I just thought to myself, 'Lord, is that the last time I'm going to see my friend?' Cause he was failing—I could tell. Gifford worked alongside Philbin from 1985 to 2000 on Live! With Regis and Kathie Lee.

Oprah Winfrey's magazine will cease its monthly print publication following the December 2020 issue and go entirely digital next year—ending a 20-year run, The New York Post noted. Hearst said in a statement ( confirming a Business of Fashion report from July 24 ), "This is a natural next step for the brand, which has grown to an online audience of 8 million, extending its voice and vision with video and social content. We will continue to invest in this platform as the brand grows and evolves into one that is more digitally-centric." By the end of 2019, the magazine's monthly circulation was 2.3 million, which is still strong circulation; however, the highly profitable single-copy sales portion of that total had fallen to just 228,989 copies per month, according to the Alliance for Audited Media.

Billie Eilish has returned with her latest single and music video, "my future," a press release noted. Written and recorded in Los Angeles during lockdown, and produced by her brother Finneas, "my future" follows the 18-year-old's 2019 Grammy-winning debut album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?', and the 2020 release of her official James Bond song "No Time To Die." The animated official music video accompanying this release was created by Australian artist Andrew Onorato.

The band Mastodon will unleash a rarities collection, Medium Rarities, on Friday, Sept. 11, on CD and digital via Reprise Records, a press release noted. A pink vinyl edition will follow on Friday, Oct. 16. Among the many rare highlights included here is a new track "Fallen Torches," recorded in 2019.

Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey will have a book out Tuesday, Oct. 20, according to USA Today. "This is not a traditional memoir, or an advice book, but rather a playbook based on adventures in my life," McConaughey said in a statement about Greenlights. According to Crown, the actor known for films Dallas Buyers Club and Magic Mike will draw upon a diary he has kept for 35 years.

ABC's Shark Tank is heading back to production after a coronavirus-related shutdown, Deadline noted. The popular family-friendly unscripted show, which traditionally shoots on the Sony lot in Culver City, will film its upcoming 12th season in Las Vegas. Reportedly, the show—already in pre-production at an undisclosed location in Vegas—is employing a quarantine bubble, keeping the stars and crew within a single facility with COVID-19 safety protocols, including testing, in place.

Season one of The Great arrives on DVD on Tuesday, Oct. 20, from Paramount Home Entertainment, a press release announced. ( Season one is now available for purchase on digital platforms. ) Created and executive produced by Academy Award and Golden Globe nominee Tony McNamara ( The Favourite ), The Great is a satirical, comedic drama—and occasionally true story—about the rise of Catherine the Great ( Elle Fanning ) from outsider to the longest reigning female ruler in Russia's history, including her arranged marriage to the mercurial Emperor Peter ( Nicholas Hoult ).

Jo Frost is back on Lifetime on Tuesday nights, starting with two new Supernanny episodes premiering back to back on Sept. 1, a press release noted. Using 30 years of experience and strategies, Frost helps parents tackle social and behavioral challenges and everything else that is thrown their way.

Bobby Brown remembered late daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown on the fifth anniversary of her death, People.com noted. Posting to Instagram, Brown, 51, shared a throwback shot of his daughter, who died at age 22, honoring her memory by writing, "There's no way to explain how I feel I miss you so much little girl. You stay in my heart on my mind every day daddy loves you." Bobbi Kristina was buried in New Jersey next to her late mother, superstar Whitney Houston, who died in February 2012.

Two of this country's longest-running game shows, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! are heading back to the studio, Deadline noted. There will, however, be a few adjustments. For example, on Jeopardy!, the stage has been slightly redesigned to allow for more space between the three contestant podiums. The contestants will also be at a safe distance from host Alex Trebek at his lectern.

Controversial YouTuber and beauty mogul Jeffree Star has listed his 6,785-square-foot home in Calabasas, California, which he purchased four years ago, for $3.595 million, according to a People.com item that cites Variety. The six-bedroom, seven-bathroom pink mansion is currently listed with Marc and Sara Shevin of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.


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