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SHOWBIZ Lin-Manuel Miranda, Roxane Gay, 'Wicked,' Britney Spears
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy CIty Times..
2018-02-13

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Award-winning actor, writer, composer and humanitarian Lin-Manuel Miranda will unveil a new salsa-music remix of "Almost Like Praying"—his all-star benefit single recorded last fall to benefit the Hispanic Federation's "Unidos" Disaster Relief Fund—for hurricane recovery and rebuilding initiatives in Puerto Rico, a press release stated. Spanish Broadcasting System teamed with Miranda to premiere a one-of-a-kind, historic radio launch of the song on Feb. 8. To download and streaming "Almost Like Praying," visit AlmostLikePraying.com .

Roxane Gay criticized not being invited to the premier of the new Black Panther film despite being the writer of the Marvel comic series Black Panther: World of Wakanda, according to The Independent. Gay—who wrote the New York Times best-selling essay collection Bad Feminist—said the apparent snub had hurt her feelings, but she was still excited to see the film which has received rave reviews. The feminist author wrote the Black Panther spinoff comic book series for Marvel with poet Yona Harvey back in 2016; the pair are the first two Black women to author a series for Marvel.

When Wicked played its 5,960th performance Feb. 9 at the Gershwin Theatre, it surpassed Oh! Calcutta! to become the seventh longest-running production in Broadway history, Playbill noted. Since opening in 2003, Wicked has been performed in over 100 cities in 15 countries around the world and has been translated into Japanese, German, Dutch, Spanish, Korean and Portuguese. The musical has amassed more than $4.5 billion in global sales and has been seen by nearly 55 million people worldwide.

GLAAD will honor pop icon Britney Spears at the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hilton on Thursday, April 12, per a press release. Spears will receive GLAAD's Vanguard Award, which is presented to media professionals who have made a significant difference in promoting equality and acceptance of LGBTQ people. Previous Vanguard Award honorees include Jennifer Lopez, Cher, Kerry Washington, Elizabeth Taylor, Whoopi Goldberg, Antonio Banderas, Drew Barrymore, Janet Jackson, Demi Lovato, Eric McCormack, Josh Hutcherson, and Patricia Arquette.

LGBTQ artist/activist Parson James released the video for his song "Only You," according to a press release. The video premiered via PAPER Magazine, was directed by Dano Cerny ( The Chainsmokers; Bishop Briggs ), and features Kupono Aweau ( who toured with Madonna on her Rebel Hearts tour ) and transfemme musician/actress/designer/model Neon. The video is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Xyf_PCf7lc.

Andrew Garfield is trying to live his life as openly as possible, he said in a new interview with Out magazine—including when it comes to his sexuality, according to Rolling Stone. The Angels in America actor explained that while he currently identifies as a heterosexual man, he is not shutting out the possibility of being attracted to men in the future. Last summer, the Amazing Spider-Man actor made headlines after he was quoted as saying that he was a "gay man … just without the physical act." Garfield is set to reprise his role as Prior Walter in the Broadway revival of Angels in America later this month, less than a year after adopting the role for the National Theatre production.

Five-time Rolex 24 at Daytona champion Hurley Haywood, 69, has come out as gay, NewNowNext.com noted. He is opening up about his sexuality in his forthcoming autobiography, Hurley! From The Beginning. Though he's only now coming out publicly, Haywood confirms that his sexuality was well-known within the pro racing circuit, but it never impeded his career: "The racing community has been extremely supportive. I've never not gotten a ride because I was gay."

The CW has premiered its newest superhero series, Black Lightning—and there's a lesbian hero on the show as well, GayRVA.com noted. The series features Jefferson Pierce, also known as the titular Black Lightning ( played by Cress Williams ), but there's also Jefferson's daughter, Anissa, who is not only the superhero Thunder but is also the first Black lesbian superhero to be featured on television—or in any live-action format. Producer Salim Akil has made it a point to mention that there will be absolutely no plotline regarding Anissa coming out, stressing that it should just be about Anissa's life and living her life.

At least one person doesn't believe Richard Pryor slept with Marlon Brando: the comedy legend's daughter Rain, according to Page Six. On Facebook, Rain posted, "Daddy did NOT have relations with Brando. ... Why this sudden need to drag Daddy through the Hollywood mud? I find it tasteless and infuriating." The widow of Richard Pryor confirmed a claim by music producer Quincy Jones that the late comedian and Marlon Brando were lovers in the 1970s, The Guardian reported. Jones first made the allegation in a wide-ranging interview with New York Magazine while talking about Brando's sexual habits: "He'd f—k anything. Anything! He'd fuck a mailbox. James Baldwin. Richard Pryor. Marvin Gaye."

Bette Midler and Sharon Stone will star in a film version of Charles Busch's Broadway comedy The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, TheWrap reported. Andy Fickman ( Parental Guidance, Game Plan" will direct the adaptation of the odd-couple comedy, which premiered on Broadway in 2000 in a production starring Linda Lavin and Michele Lee.

Lena Hall—who won a Tony for playing Hedwig's beleaguered lover, Yitzhak, in Hedwig and the Angry Inch—stars in another transformative role in the film Becks, Advocate.com noted. In the movie, Hall plays a folk-rock musician licking her wounds at her very Catholic mother's house in St. Louis after being unceremoniously dumped by her girlfriend thousands of miles away in Los Angeles. The movie co-stars Christine Lahti, Hayley Kiyoko and Mena Suvari. It is now out in theaters ( including in Chicago at AMC Classic Galewood Crossings 14, 5530 W. Homer St. ).

Charmed is returning to the airwaves with a reboot featuring three new witches—and one of them will be a lesbian, according to LGBTQ Nation. The character Mel Pruitt is described as "a strong-willed feminist" in her mid-twenties who "feels deeply and is a bit controlling," and is a lesbian whose girlfriend is Detective Soo Jin. Mel's sisters are Madison and Macy. The original series aired from 1998 to 2006, and starred Alyssa Milano, Shannen Doherty and Holly Marie Combs; Rose McGowan was added to the cast after Doherty left the show.

Sarah Jessica Parker and Cynthia Nixon aren't letting their Sex and the City feud with Kim Cattrall get the best of them, according to Page Six. Parker and Nixon sent their condolences to their longtime co-star after Cattrall's missing brother was found dead in Canada. However, TheWrap noted that Cattrall posted an Instagram directly addressed to Parker: "I don't need your love or support at this tragic time @sarahjessicaparker. My Mom asked me today 'When will that @sarahjessicaparker, that hypocrite, leave you alone?' Your continuous reaching out is a painful reminder of how cruel you really were then and now."

Call Me By Your Name's Timothee Chalamet is will star as the title character in The King, a Plan B-produced drama helmed by David Michod. Chalamet will play the young Henry V. After his brother is killed in battle before his coronation, a young king is coronated in the late 1300s.

According to The Crimes of Grindelwald director David Yates, this year's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them sequel, at least, will not directly reference Dumbledore's sexuality, Entertainment Weekly noted. "Not explicitly," Yates replied when asked if the film makes it clear that Dumbledore is gay. "But I think all the fans are aware of that. He had a very intense relationship with Grindelwald when they were young men. They fell in love with each other's ideas, and ideology and each other."

Actress Claire Danes ( TV's Homeland ) revealed the advice Jodie Foster once gave her, Page Six noted. "[Jodie] said, 'You gotta ask for more money, 'cause there is more money,' " the actress said on The View. Danes also confessed that she has been the victim of sexual harassment, saying: "I think every woman has experienced it. Of course, it's a shared phenomenon, we all know that."

ABC's fantasy drama series Once Upon A Time will end with the current season seven, Deadline confirmed. The show returns for the second half of its final season on March 2, and the finale will air in May, after more than 150 episodes. The show stars Lana Parrilla, Robert Carlyle, Colin O'Donoghue, Andrew J. West, Gabrielle Anwar, Dania Ramirez, Alison Fernandez and Mekia Cox.

Queer digital-entertainment network Revry has launched the "#ShareTheLove" initiative, per a press releaes. Revry will donate half of all annual subscription fees in the months of February and March to The Trevor Project's global initiative TrevorSpace.org . See http://watch.revry.tv/.

Tom Ford debuted his first line of men's underwear at New York Fashion Week, according to NewNowNext.com . After showcasing tailored suits, snakeskin-print jeans and lamé blazers, the designer-filmmaker sent 20 male models down the catwalk at Park Avenue Armory wearing nothing but boxers in shades of nude and matching socks. Ford's show drew the likes of Lucas Hedges, Patrick Schwarzenegger, E.J. Johnson, Ciara, Halsey, Sebastian Stan, Trevor Noah and Lee Daniels.

SAG-AFTRA has released its Code of Conduct to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace, according to Deadline. President Gabrielle Carteris and national executive director David White announced in January that the initiative was in development. Leading with a Call to Action to its 160,000 members and the entertainment, music and media industries, the Code defines sexual harassment and details what constitutes a hostile work environment, retaliation, and other types of prohibited conduct.

Already battling Terry Crews in the courts over the Brooklyn Nine-Nine star's allegations that Adam Venit sexually assaulted him in early 2016, the WME agent is now facing a probe by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office, Deadline reported. After the review process is completed by the district attorney's office and the special task force Lacey announced last November, Venit's case could be prosecuted, tossed or sent over to City Attorney Mike Feur for misdemeanor charges and possible prison time.

In an older interview, director Quentin Tarentino ( Pulp Fiction ) claimed Roman Polanski's 13-year-old rape victim "wanted to have it," according to Page Six. Tarantino defended Polanski during a 2003 Howard Stern interview—that resurfaced on Jezebel—saying, "He didn't rape a 13-year-old. … He had sex with a minor. That's not rape." Tarantino, who ruefully said of Weinstein, "I knew enough to do more than I did," was accused by Uma Thurman of forcing her to do a car crash stunt in Kill Bill that left her injured; Tarantino called the crash "one of the biggest regrets of my life." Tarantino has since apologized.

Veteran Hollywood producer Jill Messick, who in recent months found herself caught in the middle of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, has taken her own life at age 50, according to NPR.org . Messick had been a manager for Rose McGowan in 1997, when the actor claims Weinstein raped her—a charge the he has denied. Messick, who was executive producer the films Masterminds and Baby Mama, suffered from bipolar disorder and depression, her family said. Nevertheless, in a statement, the family strongly suggests that finding herself in the middle of the high-profile Weinstein-McGowan story drove her to take her own life.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office will not pursue a sexual-battery case against singer Seal, Page Six noted. The decision means that the singer, 54, will not face charges after his former neighbor filed a complaint last month accusing him of assault. In January, police opened a criminal investigation after actress Tracey Birdsall alleged the singer groped and forcefully kissed her during a visit to his house in February 2016.

My True Colors Festival—an annual multidisciplinary arts event for and by underserved LGBTQIA+ storytellers—announced the winners of the second annual My True Colors Excel Pride Awards, a press release noted. Awardees will include Staceyann Chin, Laverne Cox, Dr. Marjorie Hill, National Black Justice Coalition Executive Director David J. Johns, Pipeline Angels Network founder/CEO Natalia Oberti Noguera, Brooklyn Community Pride Center Executive Director Floyd Rumohr and City College of New York's Linda Villarosa. A special presentation ceremony will take place April 12 at the Dumbo Loft in Brooklyn.

Three Olympians who played important roles in the establishing years of the WNBA ( Tina Thompson, Katie Smith and Chamique Holdsclaw ) and two assistant coaches ( UConn's Chris Dailey and Tennessee's Mickie DeMoss ) highlight the 2018 class of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, ESPN.com noted. Seven honorees were announced and will be enshrined June at the Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tennessee. The other two are former Colorado coach Ceal Barry, and longtime high-school and junior-college coach Rose Marie Battaglia.

In Los Angeles, a couple has discovered that their recently purchased $3 million house is haunted—by fans of the series American Horror Story, TVGuide.com noted. Dr. Ernst von Schwarz and Angela Oakenfeld purchased the mansion used as the setting for the first season of American Horror Story, affectionately known as the "Murder House," and are now suing the former owner of the house for not disclosing that the abode was used in the show, according to the real-estate site The Real Deal.

Actor Nate Parker is gearing up for a showbiz rebound with a new web series, Baselines, TheGrio.com noted. The Hollywood Reporter describes the short-form digital series as one that depicts the ins-and-outs of a Los Angeles family attempting to "protect their aspiring pro basketball player from the dangers of inner city Los Angeles." The project will be the first for the controversial actor after details of a college rape trial were made public during the promotion of his then-passion project, The Birth of a Nation.

Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami, director and editor Sophie Fiennes' critically acclaimed documentary exploring the public and private worlds of the legendary artist, is set for theatrical release nationwide this spring, following its highly regarded debut at the 2017 Toronto Film Festival. Kino Lorber is distributing the film in the United States and Canada, per a press release. Beginning with a New York theatrical run at Metrograph, BAM and the Film Society of Lincoln Center on April 13, Grace Jones: Bloodlight And Bami will expand to Los Angeles on April 20, and then San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, D.C., Miami and Detroit.

Singer Sam Smith has confessed to getting so drunk that he puked in his own hand during a night out in Sydney, Metro reported. The 25-year-old might have partied a little too hard on his trip down under with his 13 Reasons Why actor boyfriend, Brandon Flynn. On The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon the singer revealed that he did one tequila shot too many and threw up in a gay bar.

Taking place in Las Vegas on April 5-9 at the Tropicana Hotel, ClexaCon celebrates queer female characters and stories, comics, books, connecting fans, celebrities, creators and journalists, a press release noted. It also hosts a series of panels on a multitude of topics, workshops, charity events, parties, as well as a three-day film festival and a loud message of gender equality, female empowerment, diversity and inclusion. Featured guests for 2018 include Chlyer Leigh ( Supergirl; Grey's Anatomy ), Dot Marie Jones ( Glee ), Sarah Shahi ( Person of Interest; The L Word ) and others. See Clexacon.com .

Chris Brown tweeted his idea for a collaborative world tour with Beyonce, Bruno Mars—and Rihanna, Billboard reported. Back in 2009, Brown, of course, pled guilty to assaulting then-girlfriend Rihanna the night before that year's Grammys.

Cody Fern ( David Madson on The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story ) will join the cast of Netflix's House of Cards as a series regular, Deadline noted. The current cast for House of Cards includes Robin Wright, Diane Lane, Greg Kinnear, Michael Kelly, Jayne Atkinson, Patricia Clarkson, Constance Zimmer, Derek Cecil, Campbell Scott and Boris McGiver.

A voodoo ceremony at a New York Fashion Week show has raised some issues—confusing producers and raising questions about the legality of acquiring a machete in New York City, among other things, Page Six noted. Designers XULY.BÃęt, Mimi Prober and Hogan McLaughin were planning to combine their shows Feb. 8 and conducting the paean to two voodoo spirits, Ezili Dantor and Ezili Freda, who reportedly represent the "perfect feminine whole" in the religion. It was put together by People's Revolution founder, TV personality and amateur witch Kelly Cutrone, who said she consulted her lawyer before sourcing the machete traditionally carried by Ezili Dantor.


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