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  WINDY CITY TIMES

SHOWBIZ Lena Waithe, Adam Rippon, Tim Cook, Lady Gaga, 'Bears'
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-08-08

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Out Master of None co-writer/actress Lena Waithe is gearing up to expand her entertainment empire by collaborating with comedian Kid Fury on a new ( and inclusive ) HBO series, The Huffington Post noted. The pair will join forces on an as-yet-untitled project that's being billed as a "surreal dark comedy," Variety reported. The series will follow a "20-something sarcastic gay Black man" named Greg as he navigates "adulthood and responsibility" in New York while struggling with clinical depression.

Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon will be a judge on the junior edition of Dancing with the Stars, The Washington Blade noted. Rippon won season 26 of "Dancing" in a shortened athlete edition of the dance-competition show. "Dancing" pro alum Valentin Chmerkovskiy and professional choreographer Mandy Moore—known for her work on La La Land and So You Think You Can Dance—will complete the judging panel. Dancing with the Stars: Juniors will air Sunday, Oct. 7, on ABC.

Apple CEO Tim Cook hinted at a forthcoming entertainment offering—but stopped short of saying exactly what the technology giant, with nearly $250 billion in cash on its balance sheets, has planned, Deadline noted. Cook lauded Apple's recently announced partnership with Oprah Winfrey. The two reached a multi-year deal to produce original programming.

Lady Gaga is clarifying her condolences after the sudden death of Rick "Zombie Boy" Genest at age 32, People.com noted. The Grammy winner, 32—who collaborated with Genest on the 2011 music video for "Born This Way"—wrote on Twitter on Aug. 4, "Out of respect for Rick's family, Rick & his legacy I apologize if I spoke too soon as there was no witnesses or evidence to support any conclusion for the cause of his death." Genest was found dead in his home in Montreal. Both the Canadian authorities and Gaga have stated that the death was a suicide; however, Karim Leduc, Genest's manager, told People magazine that his family and friends think it was an accident.

The successful gay comedy/mystery web series Where the Bears Are will debut its final season Monday, Sept. 10, at: wherethebearsare.tv, a press release noted. The series has won numerous awards and has more than 35 million views, 71,208 YouTube subscribers and 107,000 Facebook followers, and has raised more than $820,000 on Kickstarter. Season seven features guest star Peter Paige ( Queer as Folk ), and the mystery centers around "The Mr. Bear America Pageant" in Palm Springs, California.

SPOILER ALERT: Taylor Schilling ( who plays Piper ) is out as a series regular at the end of season six of Orange Is the New Black, LGBTQ Nation noted. Orange Is the New Black had been tying up Piper's loose ends for the last few seasons, instead focusing on the Daya/Taystee plot. Jaws dropped when Piper was released from prison and Schilling walked off the set, but not before marrying her on-screen love interest Alex Vause ( played by Scientologist Laura Prepon ); Alex isn't getting released anytime soon, which does open the door for a return visit by Piper.

Orange Is the New Black co-stars Vicci Martinez and Emily Tarver are involved in a real life, off-screen romance, a Washington Blade item noted. Martinez portrays Daddy on the Netflix series; before joining the show, she came in third on the debut season of The Voice. Tarver has played correction officer Artesian McCullough since season four.

Rapper Travis Scott has responded to accusations of transphobia after apparently removing transgender model Amanda Lepore from the cover of his new album, PinkNews noted. The musician, who released Astroworld recently, said he was sorry for the "misunderstanding" in an Instagram post. In part, he wrote, "Astroworld is about love and expression not hate! This is very important for me to speak up about: Growing up I've been taught to accept everyone, not to cast people away but bring them into your home! I have nothing but respect for the LGBTQ community. ... Yo Amanda you did upstage everyone even me."

Jennifer Lopez is set to receive this year's Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award during the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards, according to TheWrap.com . Lopez is also scheduled to perform live at this year's show in August—her first VMAs performance since 2001—and is nominated for two VMA awards for her latest single, "Dinero." Past Vanguard recipients include Michael Jackson, Madonna, Guns N' Roses, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Kanye West, Rihanna and P!nk. The VMAs will air Aug. 20.

Lance Bass thought he had bought the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch—but in an Instagram post titled "'Here's the story of a shady Brady," the 'N Sync singer wrote that the deal fell through at the last minute, USA Today noted. Bass wrote he was "heartbroken" to learn a corporate buyer wants the house "at any cost." The two-bedroom, three-bathroom split-level home in the Studio City neighborhood of Los Angeles was purchased in 1973 for $61,000; the 2018 listing price was almost $1.9 million.

Multiple Grammy winner Chaka Khan—who recently performed at Chicago's Pitchfork Festival—has teamed with Major Lazer founder and Grammy-nominated producer Switch ( M.I.A., Beyonce, Rihanna ) to drop the brand-new track "Like Sugar," a press release noted. The accompanying video was helmed by Kim Gehrig ( Calvin Harris, Basement Jaxx ). It's a rare return to the music-video world for Gehrig after focusing on award-winning commercial work for clients such as Sport England, John Lewis and Honda.

Two-time Academy Award-winner Jodie Foster has signed with CAA in all areas, TheWrap.com noted. n the past, Foster was represented for acting by ICM's Joe Funicello up until his retirement, and by UTA for directing since 2012. Foster has appeared in more than 40 films, including Inside Man, The Silence of the Lambs and The Accused; most recently, she starred in Hotel Artemis.

Pose star Mj Rodriguez, along with her bestie, Mila Jam, are featured in the new documentary short One Stride: Chosen Family, a press release noted. The film, directed by Stephen Winter and presented by Barefoot, also features the late LGBTQ activist Richard Leitsch and his best friend, Paul Havern, as they all talk about the importance of chosen families. See www.barefootwine.com/chosenfamily.

Tony and Grammy Award winner Billy Porter ( now on TV's Pose ) called out "white, cisgender, rich boys" in the LGBTQ community for closing their checkbooks once they got marriage equality in a new interview with Vulture, according to Instinct Magazine. Among other things, Porter described witnessing how some left the battle field ( taking their money with them ) when the focus of LGBTQ rights shifted from marriage to transgender protections. He added, "We need take all that energy and focus, and shift it on to those who are less than us. That's how it works. Internal vigilance is the price of liberty. If we don't take care of the least among us, it doesn't matter how rich we are, it doesn't matter how fabulous we are."

Actress Chloe Grace Moretz is throwing shade at a rival film featuring LGBTQ characters, LGBTQ Nation noted. Moretz, 21, stars in the coming-of-age conversion-therapy drama The Miseducation of Cameron Post. While promoting the movie, Moretz revealed her stance on LGBTQ stories on-screen, specifically that "queer films should be made be queer people"—a reference to the rival conversion-therapy film Boy, Erased, due out in November. "This movie was directed by a bisexual woman of diversity, it has a very diverse cast and we didn't cast all celebrities," Moretz said. "You just look at the discrepancy and that's shocking."

The NBCUniversal Short Film Festival has named 15 original short films, pilots and webisodes as semi-finalists for its 13th annual festival that celebrates diverse stories while finding the next generation of storytellers, a press release noted. Among them are two LGBTQ items: Masks ( about a closeted student at a mass shooting at an LGBT nightclub ) and Rani ( about a Pakistani transgender woman ). ( Rani won the Fox Inclusion Award at the 2018 Outfest LA. ) Additionally, 11 of the 15 semi-final shorts were written or directed by women, exceeding last year's record-breaking female representation at the festival. The films will be showcased at public screenings in New York on Aug. 14-15 before the finalists are chosen for a finale screening and awards ceremony in Los Angeles on Oct. 24.

American Horror Story has been renewed for a 10th season, Deadline reported. "Ryan [Murphy] asked for a 10th season of American Horror Story which we were happy to give to him," FX Networks CEO John Landgraf said. As Murphy recently moved to Netflix for a big overall deal there, he "remains pretty committed" to his FX slate, and he is "really excited about Pose," which was just renewed by FX for a second season, Landgraf said.

Singer Robyn has released her new single "Missing U"—her first new music as a solo artist since Body Talk in 2010, via Konichiwa/Interscope Records, a pres release noted. "Missing U" was recorded and written in Paris and Stockholm, and had Robyn teaming Joseph Mount ( Metronomy ) and longtime collaborator Klas à … hlund ( Robyn, Charli XCX, Madonna ) to write and produce the track. People can see a lyric video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8o5BHH9U2Mg&feature=youtu.be.

Charlotte Rae—whose role as lovable house mother Mrs. Garrett on The Facts of Life charmed a TV generation—has died at 92, Deadline noted. Rae revealed last year that she had bone and pancreatic cancer, but a cause of death was not immediately revealed. Her big break into national notoriety came in 1978, when producer Norman Lear cast her in the TV show Diff'rent Strokes. Rae issued a memoir, titled The Facts of My Life, in 2015.

Speaking of The Facts of Life, Sony Pictures Television has a comeback of the hit NBC sitcom in the early stages of development, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson's Appian Way and Jessica Biel's Iron Ocean Films in talks to produce, TheWrap noted. The Diff'rent Strokes spinoff aired on NBC from 1979 to 1988. There is currently no writer or network attached to the new project.

Kim Kardashian was in hot water on social media after insinuating one of the most well known male models in the universe, Tyson Beckford, is gay, NewNowNext.com noted. On July 31, Beckford posted a negative comment on a photo of Kardashian on a post on someone else's Instagram account featuring an image of the media mogul. "Sis, we all know why you don't care for it," Kardashian responded, adding an emoji Kermit the Frog "sipping tea" meme—and some people began taking Kardashian to task for implying Beckford may be gay—and for using that as an insult.

Less than a year after taking over from Conrad Riggs as Amazon's hHead of Unscripted, Heather Schuster is exiting the company, Deadline reported. Amazon Studios is not commenting, but there are reports that Schuster's exit came after an internal investigation into alleged inappropriate comments during meetings and possible misuse of power. Riggs became embroiled in the sexual harassment allegations and claims against the Studio chief that resulted in he and several of his lieutenants being shown the door at the Seattle-based company.

Special to the online edition of Windy City Times


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