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SHOWBIZ Lady Gaga, 'The L Word,' Bradley Cooper, 'Porndemic,' Tim Gunn
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2020-02-05

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Lady Gaga's mother, Cynthia Germanotta, recently shared her side of the bullying and subsequent depression that her daughter experienced in middle school, iHeart.com noted. "In middle school, because she was unique, she started experiencing a lot of struggles," she told Today. "You know, feeling isolated from events. Humiliated. Taunted. And she would start to question herself and become doubtful of her own abilities. And that's when she developed depression." In 2012, Cynthia and Gaga launched the Born This Way Foundation to offer mental health support for young people, so that they could be "better equipped to deal with her struggles than she was," per Cynthia.

Speaking of Gaga—who headlined the Super Bowl halftime show in 2017—she made her expectations clear for the Feb. 2 performers, Shakira and Jennifer Lopez, before they performed, the New York Daily News noted. "I better hear no lip-syncing tomorrow!" Gaga said at a concert in Miami. She later said she loves Shakira and J. Lo, and sent her best their way ahead of the game at Miami's Hard Rock Stadium between the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs.

ClexaCon—the largest multi-fandom event for LGBTQ+ women, gender nonconforming individuals and allies—is returning to Las Vegas for its fourth consecutive year on April 16-19, a press release noted. Panels will focus on such issues as LGBTQ+ actors playing LGBTQ+ roles, queer people of color representation, and LGBTQ+ content creators telling the community's stories, among others. Guests will include original The L Word cast members Kate Moennig, Leisha Hailey and Sarah Shahi; Amber Benson ( Buffy The Vampire Slayer ); Jes Macallan ( Legends of Tomorrow ); and others.

Netflix has acquired all rights to the untitled Leonard Bernstein film that Bradley Cooper will direct, star in and produce from the script he co-wrote with Oscar-winning Spotlight scribe Josh Singer, Deadline noted. Amblin remains firmly part of the drama that spans over 30 years in telling the story of the marriage between Bernstein and his wife, Felicia Montealegre. There was a rival Bernstein project, The American, that was set to star Jake Gyllenhaal and be directed by Cary Fukunaga from Bron Studios, but Cooper's pic secured the life rights from the estate, The Hollywood Reporter noted. [Editor's note: It is not known if the film will deal with the various aspects of Bernstein's sexuality; for more, visit http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Leonard-Bernsteins-son-discusses-fathers-legacy/63907.html.]

Freestyle Digital Media, the digital film distribution division of Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios, acquired North American rights to the adult-film documentary Porndemic. The movie was made available to rent and own on North American digital HD internet and satellite platforms through Freestyle Digital Media on Jan. 31, and is the inside story of the 1998 HIV outbreak that tore through the Hollywood adult film industry told by the people who experienced it. Directed by Brendan "Spookie" Daly, Porndemic features interviews and insights from adult industry veteran performers and insiders, including Ron Jeremy, Ginger Lynn, Tricia Devereaux, Marc Wallice, Bill Margold, Sharon Mitchell and more. The trailer is at YouTube.com/watch?v=fw1pTiDX9QU.

Fashion-industry figures Tim Gunn and Isaac Mizrahi endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg for president, touting his long-standing commitment to the LGBTQ+ community and his plan to advance equality, a press release noted. Gunn and Mizrahi have joined the Bloomberg campaign's National LGBTQ+ Leadership Council ( "Leadership Council" ), a group of national leaders who will provide strategic counsel in reaching all parts of the LGBTQ+ community.

Dan Levy—the co-creator and star of Schitt's Creek—is being honored with the Human Rights Campaign's HRC Visibility Award, EW.com noted. The Emmy-nominated showrunner, writer, actor, director and producer will receive the honor at the 2020 HRC Los Angeles Dinner on March 28. "I have been a longtime admirer and supporter of the HRC," Levy said in a statement. "To be recognized by this organization means the world to me and I am incredibly touched by the honor."

Hedwig and the Angry Inch—the 1998 rock musical by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask—has been revealed as Riverdale's big season-four musical episode, NewNowNext.com noted. The variety show sign-up sheet posted to the Riverdale Twitter account reveals that the main cast—including Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Kevin—will all be donning the "Wig in a Box," as they all signed up to perform as Hedwig. The Hedwig-centric episode of Riverdale will air April 8.

Grammy-winning Darkroom/Interscope Records artist Billie Eilish confirmed she will be performing at the 92nd Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 9, a press release noted. At the 2020 Grammys, Eilish made history as the youngest artist to win in all four major categories. The 18-year-old took away five wins in total, for Best New Artist, Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album.

Veteran Atlanta rapper Pastor Troy used social media to criticize "Old Town Road" star Lil Nas X for his hot pink cowboy attire at the Grammy Awards, AJC.com reported. "Welp, Guess I won't be winning a GRAMMY...If this what I gotta wear. They love to push this s*** on Our Kids!!," Troy wrote on Instagram. Lil Nas X simply responded on Twitter with "damn i look good in that pic on god." Actor Billy Porter was asked about Troy's comments, and said he doesn't seem surprised, saying there's still lots of homophobic vibes in hip-hop, TMZ noted.

Jaden Smith—who claims to be the rapper Tyler, the Creator's "boyfriend"—congratulated the musician on his Grammy win, Newsweek noted. Tyler won the Best Rap Album award for his 2019 hit Igor, beating out nominated albums from rappers such as J. Cole, Meek Mill, YBN Cordae and 21 Savage. "My Boyfriend Just Won A Grammy," Smith tweeted. Smith doubled down on the claim during an interview with Beats 1 Radio in November, saying, "I recently said that Tyler, the Creator is my boyfriend, and that's true—so, just so you know."

Grammy winner Raphael Saadiq has been tapped to oversee the music for an upcoming Aretha Franklin anthology series on National Geographic that is premiering May 25, the New York Daily News noted. The former Tony! Toni! Tone! and Lucy Pearl frontman will officially serve as executive music producer for Genius: Aretha, which stars double-Academy Award nominee Cynthia Erivo as the late Queen of Soul. Grammy-winning jazz musician Terence Blanchard—who has composed songs for many of Spike Lee's movies, including BlacKkKlansman—will create original music for the 10-part series.

Disney is bringing a film of Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical sensation Hamilton with the original Broadway cast to cinemas in North America on Oct. 15, 2021, Variety reported. The movie version isn't an adaptation in the vein of Miranda's upcoming In the Heights, but will be a "live capture" of a stage performance. It was shot at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in Manhattan before founding members began to depart the production.

Sarah Shahi ( Person of Interest; The L Word ) has been cast as the lead of Netflix's eight-episode dramedy series Sex/Life, Deadline noted. Sex/Life is the story of a love triangle between a woman, Billie Connelly ( Shahi ), her husband and her past that takes a steamy new look at female identity and desire.

Terry Crews apologized to former America's Got Talent co-worker Gabrielle Union after he was accused of dismissing her experiences on the NBC series, Page Six noted. "I want you to know it was never my intention to invalidate your experience—but that is what I did," Crews tweeted. Talking with Today, Crews recently defended NBC and "Talent" following Union's departure amid reports of a "toxic culture" on the set, saying "it was the most diverse place I have ever been in my 20 years of entertainment."

R&B singer/songwriter K. Michelle released her newest album, All Monsters Are Human, via Entertainment One, a press release noted. This album is the first under this partnership and is K's first project as an indie artist. In addition, K. Michelle celebrated the release of the album with a "Monsters Ball" hosted by bounce queen Big Freedia; fans, music-industry insiders and more showed up for the celebration as Team Rebellion faced off against Team Bounce with the who's who of ballroom culture. Also, the video for the song "Just Like Jay," from the album, is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xndMjYJ22H8.

Love Regenerator is the new project from Grammy-winning and multi-platinum selling recording artist and producer Calvin Harris, a press release noted. His new EP Love Regenerator 1 featuring "Hypnagogic ( I Can't Wait )," and "CP-1"—is out now. People can purchase the EP at http://clvnhrr.is/LoveRegenerator1.

During Adam Driver's recent hosting gig on SNL, he indicated that a possibly transphobic skit might have been slated to close out the show, Queerty noted. "I'm just trying to drag this out because, honestly, at the end of the show, there's a sketch I really don't like, so I'm hoping this goes long and it'll get cut," he said, adding, "I play a woman in it, and I can't tell if it's transphobic or just really dated."

On Bravo's Watch What Happens Live, Meghan McCain gave her side of the story on what happened with former The View co-host Abby Huntsman, confirming for the first time that rumors of a feud were not wrong, Yahoo! noted. McCain said, "We did get in a fight, which is a very small fight and a friend fight, and all friendships have ups and downs." McCain added she would only leave if co-host Whoopi Goldberg decided her time was up.

The Crown—Netflix's hit drama series about the British royal family—will end with season five, creator and showrunner Peter Morgan has revealed, with Imelda Staunton confirmed as taking the golden baton from Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth for the final season, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Season three, which arrived on Netflix in December, has already won Olivia Colman ( who took over from Foy as Queen Elizabeth ) a Golden Globe, while the show itself was awarded the SAG award for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a drama series.

Singer Kelis told The Guardian that The Neptunes 'blatantly lied and tricked' her over writing credits, Page Six noted. "I thought it was a beautiful and pure, creative safe space," Kelis said of working with Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo on her debut, Kaleidoscope. "But it ended up not being that at all." While Kelis no longer works with Williams, she said there's "mutual respect" between them.

The WGA Awards boosted a pair of movie screenplays into Oscar frontrunner status, handing its marquee Original Screenplay award to Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won for Neon's Parasite, and its Adapted Screenplay award to Taika Wiatiti for Searchlight's Jojo Rabbit, Deadline noted. Both of the winning scripts are nominated for Oscars on Feb. 9.

British-born actress Jodie Turner-Smith and her husband, actor Joshua Jackson ( The Affair; Dawson's Creek ), are contemplating raising their future children outside of the U.S. because of race relations in this country, Page Six noted. "The racial dynamics over here are fraught," Queen & Slim actress Turner-Smith told The Times ( via People ). "White supremacy is overt. It's the reason I don't want to raise my kids here. I don't want my kids to grow up doing active shooter drills at school." She is expecting her first child with Jackson, and she said has felt backlash over being in an interracial couple.

Music insiders claimed the real reason Taylor Swift didn't go to the Grammys is they wouldn't guarantee she'd win Song of the Year, according to Page Six. Multiple sources have confirmed to Page Six that Swift's team talked to show bigwigs a few days before the live event and said that Swift would only attend and perform if she was to win a big Grammy. Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich—who held a spot in the show for Swift in case she did decide to go—told Variety there had been conversations with Swift's team. She lost the coveted Song of the Year award to Billie Eilish.

Disturbed's multiplatinum-selling debut album The Sickness turns 20 this year; to celebrate the landmark, the band announced a 20th-anniversary summer tour at amphitheaters around North America, LoudWire noted. The Sickness—released March 7, 2000—launched Disturbed into success with anthemic tracks such as "Down With the Sickness" and "Stupify."

NBC renewed its long-running daytime drama series Days of Our Lives for a record 56th season, Deadline noted. Renewal negotiations had been going on for months. The delay in reaching a deal was reportedly related to distributor Sony Pictures TV finding ways to adjust the show's business model, including international sales, so they can continue to make the series without going in the red.

After performing a sold-out show at the landmark Shrine Expo Hall in Los Angeles on Dec. 20, 2019, My Chemical Romance announced a full U.S. tour beginning Sept. 9, 2020, in Detroit and finishing Oct. 11 in Las Vegas, a press release noted. It will be the band's first U.S. tour in nine years, and will include a Sept. 12 stop at Chicago's Riot Fest. See MyChemicalRomance.com/tour.

On March 24, Kino Lorber will release the 1981 movie Downtown 81, a Metrograph Pictures film that focuses on the late artist Jean Michel Basquiat, a press release noted. According to the release, "Left incomplete due to money problems and assembled for release in 2000, Downtown 81—which follows Basquiat trying to move a painting while hustling for a place to sleep—became a window on a lost world of life on the margins and crazy creative ferment." The movie features John Lurie, Fab Five Freddy and Debbie Harry, with musical performances by DNA, James White and the Blacks, and Kid Creole and the Coconuts.

Adult entertainer Armond Rizzo claimed that the studio Blacks on Boys pays bottoms "way less" than tops under the rationale that the site is "more top-dominant," Queerty noted. Rizzo, who won the 2020 GayVN Award for Social Media Star, said, in part, "They pay bottoms way less than tops [and their] excuse [is] the site is more top dominant. I don't give a f*ck, who are you to say that a bottom is worth less?"

HBO Max acquired U.S. rights to Impact Partners' and Jane Doe Films' documentary On the Record, about the women who've accused music mogul Russell Simmons of rape, Deadline reported. The movie stirred up a lot of controversy heading into its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, with Oprah Winfrey removing herself from as executive producer, and thus pulling On the Record's distribution from Apple TV+.

Twelve days after tying the knot in a marriage ceremony in Malibu, Pamela Anderson and Jon Peters have decided to uncouple, The Hollywood Reporter noted. The pair reportedly hadn't yet filed the legal paperwork for a marriage certificate following their Jan. 20 wedding ceremony that was attended by Anderson's two sons and Peters' three daughters as well as ex-wife Christine Forsyth-Peters. Anderson and Peters had dated one another more than 30 years ago and had reunited in recent months, keeping the relationship under wraps.

Flipping Out star Jeff Lewis shared his reaction to ex Gage Edward's recent Instagram post, People.com noted. Lewis explained on his SiriusXM radio show, Jeff Lewis Live, how he attempted to understand the social media post from Edward in which he appears to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the couple's split after 10 years together in 2019. The radio host said his first reaction was anger, but that this emotion came from his inner child, Jeffrey, who he has identified with his therapist over the last several months.

Jelani Maraj, the older brother of rapper Nicki Minaj, was sentenced to 25 years to life for predatory sexual assault, USA Today noted. In November 2017, Jelani was found guilty of predatory sexual assault after being charged with repeatedly raping an 11-year-old girl at his Long Island, New York, home. His lawyers claimed during the trial that the rape allegations were concocted by the girl's mother as part of a scheme to get his famous sister to pay $25 million in hush money.


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