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SHOWBIZ Jennifer Lopez, 'Toy Story 4,' Rosie, Darren Criss, John Waters
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-07-16

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Jennifer Lopez had a surprise for a gay teen who was barred from giving the valedictorian speech, PinkNews noted. The superstar surprised Nat Werth backstage at her show in Milwaukee on July 3. The teen was barred from addressing the crowd at the religious Sheboygan Lutheran High School on May 24, after administrators saw a draft of his speech in which he referenced his sexuality.

Although it's been several weeks since the release of the blockbuster Toy Story 4, the conservative group One Million Moms has now come out to complain about a "subtle" moment in the movie, Cinema Blend noted. The online group seems to be upset that Toy Story 4 has a minor scene featuring the inclusion of LGBTQ characters. The film has made almost $700 million globally—with more than half of that coming from foreign markets that are sometimes less LGBTQ-friendly.

Rosie O'Donnell discussed her appearance on ABC's The View in 2015, when co-host Whoopi Goldberg said she didn't believe this is a racist country, NewsOne.com reported. On SiriusXM Urban View's The Clay Cane Show, O'Donnell said, "I always looked up to Whoopi Goldberg. She was somebody I admired and had tremendous respect for. … I was very surprised at what went down when she and I were on the show together. ... I couldn't believe that came out of her mouth. So I was kind of shocked on a daily basis and it seemed as though whatever I said, she wanted to say the opposite. It didn't matter what it was."

Darren Criss is the latest in the long list of acts to set a series at shortform streaming platform Quibi, Billboard.com noted. The Assassination of Gianni Versace Emmy winner will star in, executive-produce and write songs for Royalties, a musical comedy series centered on a pair of songwriters. The series will also feature real-life music personalities playing fictional pop stars who work with the two lead characters, as well as original songs written by Criss.

In an interview with Vulture, director John Waters ( Polyester; Pink Flamingos ) said the era of the gross-out comedy is over, according to IndieWire. When asked about mainstream attempts to shock audiences, he said, "The easy way doesn't work anymore. Just sex and violence. Hollywood does that and does it badly. ... And it does involve political correctness of all the things you can and cannot do in comedy today. But I think that makes it even more of a challenge to pull it off and startle people today."

Lady Gaga is launching her beauty line, Haus Laboratories, this September, according to Vogue.com . In an exclusive interview with Business of Fashion, the singer revealed that the collection will include makeup kits that combine lip gloss, lip liner and all-over color. "Color is completely transformative," she said. "It's powerful, it's beautiful, and it's how I found my voice—with makeup."

A handwritten apology letter that Tupac Shakur wrote Madonna a year before his death is going to auction, RollingStone.com noted. Two years ago, Madonna attempted to stop its sale when she told a judge that her celebrity "does not obviate my right to maintain my privacy—but an appeals court overturned that injunction last month. The three-page letter is headed to the auction block on July 17 ( with auctioneer Gotta Have Rock and Roll ), with bids starting at $100,000. The artists dated briefly in the '90s, although they kept it secret; in 2015, Madonna said that Shakur had riled her up before a shocking 1994 appearance on David Letterman so she was "feeling very gangster" when she said the word "fuck" 13 times on air.

Damien Navarro, a content development and digital media executive, has been selected as the new executive director of Outfest, Deadline noted. The move comes after an eight-month search to replace Christopher Racster, who is exiting the role at the conclusion of the nonprofit organization's flagship event—the Los Angeles-based Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival, which runs July 18-28.

Oscar Hammerstein III—the grandson of Oscar Hammerstein II—said legendary theater duo Rodgers and Hammerstein would be "rolling in their graves" over the new Tony-winning revival of their classic Oklahoma!, Page Six revealed. Critics have called the edgy re-imagining "dark and dangerous" and "scorching." A rep for the show countered when reached for comment: "Not one word of Oscar Hammerstein's script or song lyrics was changed for this production of Oklahoma!" Hammerstein III debuted his own show—"Oscar on Oscar!," about his grandfather's political activism—July 13 at the Green Room 42.

Scarlett Johansson clarified comments she made about politically correct casting saying that she should be allowed to "play any person, or any tree, or any animal," The Washington Blade noted. In an interview with As If magazine, Johansson said she should be allowed to play anyone or anything—but later said the interview was "edited for clickbait." In a statement to Variety, she said, "I personally feel that, in an ideal world, any actor should be able to play anybody and Art, in all forms, should be immune to political correctness. That is the point I was making, albeit [it] didn't come across that way."

Oscar winners Lady Gaga, Annie Lennox and Adele are among the 28 composers, songwriters and music editors invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences this year, Variety noted. The three multiplatinum pop stars are probably the best-known of this year's crop. Three other Oscar winners are on this year's list: Black Panther composer Ludwig Goransson as well as Gaga's "Shallow" co-writers, Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt.

Twenty years into their career, Tegan and Sara have recorded a new album that is based on the first songs they ever wrote, a press release noted. Hey, I'm Just Like You—their ninth studio album overall and first since 2016's Love You to Death—will be released Sept. 27 on Sire. The album was inspired by a find Tegan and Sara made while they were writing their first memoir, High School, which will be published by MCD X FSG ( USA ) on Sept. 24—three days before the album arrives.

Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy and boyfriend Matthew Wilkas have hit a rocky patch and split, according to Page Six. The couple, who kissed on live TV during the 2018 Winter Olympics, reportedly broke up right before the Fourth of July. People magazine was told "Gus and Matt are taking time apart. They love and support each other and remain close friends."

Halsey called a social-media user a "whiny baby" after the person claimed the singer used a rainbow flag at her show for a "marketing strategy," The Washington Blade noted. The bisexual singer posted photos from her concert in Sao Paulo, Brazil, that showed her holding a rainbow flag. "There's been a flag in my show for 5 years. You're just not paying attention you whiny little baby," Halsey said.

Whitney Houston will tour next year—as a hologram, USA Today noted. The performance comes courtesy of BASE Hologram. In 2018, the company began touring two shows: "Callas in Concert," which put opera singer Maria Callas in front of audiences for the first time since her 1977 death; and "In Dreams," featuring Roy Orbison, gone since 1988.

Warner Bros.' upcoming Birds of Prey is already making history before it even hits theaters—as the expected blockbuster is going to be the first major superhero film to feature a prominent gay character, according to WeGotThisCovered.com . Black Mask, the movie's main antagonist, will reportedly be portrayed as gay. Multiple sources have said that the sexual tension between him and fellow villain Victor Zsasz will be palpable.

The 1993 Derek Jarman film Blue will be issued Aug. 27 on Blu-ray as a new 4K master overseen by producer James Mackay, a press release noted. Jarman the romantic meets Jarman the iconoclast in a soundscape pulsing against a purely blue screen. He lays bare his physical and spiritual state in a narration about his life, his struggle with AIDS and his encroaching blindness in a movie that stars Jarman, Tilda Swinton and John Quentin.

The concert film The Pretenders—With Friends is now out in a special Blu-Ray version ( with DVD and CD ), a press release noted. The Grammy-winning, multi-platinum band The Pretenders, featuring Chrissie Hynde, performs with special guests including Iggy Pop, Garbage's Shirley Manson, Kings of Leon and Incubus—recorded live at the Decades Rock Arena in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Out singer Billy Winn has released the EP Dreamland II ( with the lead single "Another Broken Heart" ), a press release noted. Both EPs tell stories from the perspective of a queer kid of color who has had his heart broken. Last year, Billy Winn released Dreamland I, an album that explored life as a perception of fantasy and guilty pleasures.

Angelica Ross is the rare trans actress who's been a regular on two different series. Ross, fresh from a powerful departure from Pose, will join the cast of Ryan Murphy's horror series American Horror Story: 1984, Queerty noted. ( Laverne Cox has been in Orange Is the New Black and Doubt, to note another actress. ) "Though she will always be our Candy, and our show suffers this incredible loss, I am elated that the world will get much more Angelica," said Pose and AHS creator Murphy via Twitter.

Hip-hop trio Salt-N-Pepa are pulling apart in a bitter legal battle, The New York Daily News noted. The Grammy-winning group behind the hits "Push It" and "Shoop" is now embroiled in a breach of contract lawsuit filed by DJ Spinderella in federal court in Texas. Spinderella, whose real name is Deidra Roper, is suing former bandmates Sandra "Pepa" Denton and Cheryl "Salt" James with claims they stiffed her out of payments and then fired her ahead of a national reunion tour with New Kids On The Block this year.

Halloween 2 is apparently happening—with much of the same team that made last year's movie a success expected to return, including Jamie Lee Curtis, Movieweb noted. However, there's now a new rumor that Blumhouse Productions may be looking to shoot two sequels back to back and release them very close to one another. Halloween—a direct sequel to John Carpenter's original classic—grossed $255 million worldwide, working from a reported production budget of just $10 million.

The permit required to stage the troubled Woodstock 50 festival at its most recent proposed site—Vernon Downs, in the town of Vernon ( near Utica ) in upstate New York—has been denied, Variety reported. The promoters have appealed the decision. However, Oneida County Administrator Anthony Picente Jr. said "what they have submitted to date has not met many of the requirements" to stage the festival and the chances of it taking place in Oneida Country seem "highly unlikely."

Jessica Simpson is ready to tell all in a memoir slated to be released in 2020, Page Six noted. The untitled book will profile her life as a pop star, reality star, entrepreneur and mother—and will also detail her marriage to singer Nick Lachey; they were married 2002-06.

Unite for Strength, the ruling party of SAG-AFTRA, announced its slate of candidates in the union's upcoming elections, Deadline reported. Michelle Hurd, currently serving on the national board, will be running for president of the Los Angeles local; Clyde Kusatsu and Ellen Crawford will be running for vice president slots. Camryn Manheim will be running for national secretary-treasurer, as president Gabrielle Carteris' running mate.

TLC announced the TLC all-stars and special guests who are joining Say Yes to the Dress: America, a press release state. Bridal expert Randy Fenoli, bridal designer Hayley Paige, Cake Boss' Buddy Valastro, Emmy-winning host and style expert Lilliana Vazquez, and fashion industry veteran Joe Zee will lend their talents to help 52 couples—one from every state, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico—tie the knot this summer in a group wedding at New York City's Central Park. Ten brides will be prominently featured throughout the 10-part series that is slated to premiere in January 2020, culminating in a two-hour wedding special.

Sex and the City writer Candace Bushnell says she was banned from promoting her new book on Instagram—for discussing too much sex, Page Six noted. The author, whose new book, Is There Still Sex in the City? is out next month, posted a video in which she discussed the trend of "cubs"—cute young men who date middle-aged women.

Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman's short-form video platform Quibi has put in development Varsity Blues, a modern take on the 1999 movie, Deadline noted. James Van Der Beek, Jon Voight, Paul Walker, Ron Lester and Scott Caan starred in the film that follows a small-town 3A high school football team and their overbearing coach through a tumultuous season.


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