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SHOWBIZ Megan Rapinoe, 'High School Musical,' Roxane Gay, 'Paris Is Burning'
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-11-18

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Soccer star Megan Rapinoe accepted Glamour's Woman of the Year award—another addition to her hardware collection that includes the Golden Ball award as the top player at the World Cup in France this year, USA Today reported. Her speech lauded the efforts of social activists from past and present but took time to distinguish one prominent figure: Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. "I see no clearer example of that system being alive and well than me standing before you right now," she said, in part. "It would be a slap in the face to Colin, and to so many other faces, not to acknowledge, and for me personally, to work relentlessly to dismantle that system that benefits some over the detriment of others, and frankly is quite literally tearing us apart in this country."

Disney is ( finally ) coming out of the closet with its new Disney+ show, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, The New York Daily News noted. In the new 10-episode series—a reboot of Disney's original High School Musical movie that came out in 2006—Disney adds the character Carlos, a gay Latinx student choreographer, to the show's cast. Carlos is played by actor Frankie Rodriguez; like his character, Rodriguez is gay, Latinx and a musical theater lover.

Writer Roxane Gay and designer Debbie Millman are engaged, On Top Magazine noted. Gay, 45, is best known for her 2014 essay collection Bad Feminist, while Millman, 57, has authored six books and is the host of the podcast Design Matters. Millman announced their engagement on Instagram. According to queer blog Autostraddle, Millman pursued Gay by inviting guests onto her podcast that she knew Gay would find interesting.

Fans of Paris Is Burning are about to discover new footage from the seminal 1990 documentary, The Washington Blade noted. The Criterion Collection, which focuses on licensing "important classic and contemporary films," announced its roster of new releases for February 2020, and one of them will be the iconic documentary—with about an hour of previously unseen footage. "Paris" chronicles the mid-to-late '80s ball culture in New York City led by Black and Brown gay and transgender communities.

The Chi creator Lena Waithe and her longtime girlfriend Alana Mayo, the head of production at Michael B. Jordan's studio Outlier Society Productions, quietly tied the knot in San Francisco, Page Six noted. "We snuck and did it, you know," Waithe, 35, told guest host John Legend on The Ellen Degeneres Show. "We didn't really make any announcements or a big … you know." The actress-writer explained that the couple was in San Francisco and spontaneously decided to get married at the courthouse in front of a bust of Harvey Milk, one of the first openly gay elected officials in the country.

Lil Nas X became the first gay person in history to take home a Country Music Association ( CMA ) Award, LGBTQ Nation noted. The CMA ceremony was held Nov. 13 in Nashville, where Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus took home the award for Musical Event of the Year for "Old Town Road." Nas and Cyrus were up against collaborations involving Garth Brooks and Blake Shelton, Maren Morris and the Brothers Osborne, Brooks & Dunn and Luke Combs, and Brantley Gilbert and Lindsay Ell.

Pop artist Jakk Fynn ( he/him )—a transmasculine Latinx pop artist committed to redefining masculinity—released the music video for his latest single, "Fire," a press release noted. Fynn described the video as "an artistic statement on how society imposes gender constructs and sexual identities on its members, but this motif is applicable to all marginalized groups." The video is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wakRX_bjNLk.

Alicia Keys took to Instagram to share her response to her 4-year-old son's insecurities about his fabulous rainbow-hued manicure, NewNowNext.com noted. "He looked at me and said, 'Mommy, I don't want this on my nails,'" Keys recalled. 'People are not gonna like it.'" She added, "Can you believe this?!" she continued. "Four years old! "He's 4, and he already understands the concept that somebody is going to judge him because he chose rainbow colors on his nails." "You chose it, you liked it, you do it," she added, recalling what she'd told Genesis. "Who cares what anybody else says?"

Judy & Liza & Robert & Freddie & David & Sue & Me—the memoir written by Judy Garland's manager and female power agent Stevie Phillips—is being adapted into a Mad Men-style television series, Deadline reported. Phillips managed Garland and her daughter, Liza Minnelli, as well as Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Henry Fonda, George Roy Hill, Bob Fosse, Cat Stevens and David Bowie. Sue Mengers, who worked with Stevie at CMA, will also be featured.

The Met presents Philip Glass' modern work Akhnaten, coes to cinemas Nov. 23 as part of the Live in HD series, a press release stated. Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo is the title pharaoh, the revolutionary ruler who transformed ancient Egypt, with mezzo-soprano J'Nai Bridges as his wife, Nefertiti. The cast also features soprano Dísella LÔrusdÃ"ttir as Queen Tye, tenor Aaron Blake as the High Priest of Amon, baritone Will Liverman as Horemhab, bass Richard Bernstein as Aye, and bass Zachary James as Amenhotep III.

Oscar-winning actress/comedian Mo'Nique sued Netflix, accusing the streaming giant of racial and gender discrimination by trying to drastically underpay her for a stand-up special after offering other stars tens of millions of dollars, NBC News noted. The suit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court accuses Netflix of giving a "biased, discriminatory" offer to Mo'Nique for a one-hour comedy special around November 2017. She was offered $500,000 as a "talent fee"—an offer the lawsuit claims was significantly less than those offered to men and white women for the same type of stand-up original specials.

In another Mo'Nique-related item, trans comedian Flame Monroe slammed her in a recent interview, BET.com noted. On Fox Soul's The Tammi Mac Late Show, Monroe said, "Here's the funniest part: You tore me down for my lifestyle, and then turned around and married my lifestyle [alluding to Mo'Nique's husband, Sidney Hicks]," she said. "You've been knowing me all these years. Gay bashing don't work with me; I'm from the West Side of Chicago."

Singer Ellie Goulding threatened to not perform for the NFL halftime show at its Thanksgiving Day game because the league supports the Salvation Army, LGBTQ Nation noted. When Goulding initally shared the news of her upcoming performance with her fans on Instagram, they mentioned the Salvation Army's history of anti-LGBTQ politics. David Hudson, national commander of the Salvation Army, called the group's history of anti-LGBTQ politics "myths," adding, "An individual's sexual or gender identity, religion, or lifestyle has no bearing on our willingness to provide service." The organization was busted by New York City's Commission on Human Rights in 2017 for discriminating against homeless transgender people.

Robert De Niro—Oscar-winning actor, producer and director—has been named the 56th recipient of SAG-AFTRA's highest tribute: the SAG Life Achievement Award for career achievement and humanitarian accomplishment, a press release noted. De Niro will be presented the performers union's top accolade at the 26th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, which will be simulcast live on TNT and TBS on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020.

Music superstar John Legend was named People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive. However the Voice coach—who just released the new deluxe edition of his holiday album A Legendary Christmas ( that includes a controversial rewrite of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" )—said he wasn't always the guy fans have come to know. Although the Ivy-league educated musician had brains beyond his years, he told the publication. "I was always like less mature, less at ease socially. I had plenty of awkward times."

Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts made the festival rounds earlier this year; now the award-winning documentary is set to be released on VOD next month, NewNowNext.com noted. The film, directed by Nick Zeig-Owens, follows Mattel ( real name: Brian Firkus ) over a year of her life as she experiences the highest highs and lowest lows of celebrity. Entertainment Weekly reported that an acoustic soundtrack featuring original music from the film will be released later in December.

The movie The Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix in the titular role, has surpassed $1 billion in gross sales at box offices worldwide, according to People.com, citing Entertainment Weekly. The milestone makes the blockbuster the first R-rated movie to hit the $1 billion mark, the outlet noted. It also means that the movie, which tells the tale of the rise of Batman's archnemesis, has now officially beat out Deadpool as the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time; the Ryan Reynolds-led film made $783 million.

Celine Dion celebrated the release of her new work, Courage—her first English-language album in six years—by taking the stage at New York City drag club LIPS, NewNowNext.com noted. Courage is her first English-language album since losing her husband, Rene Angelil, whom she said she hoped he would like it.

Ariana Grande is telling her fans that she has a bad sinus condition that has made her "very sick" and might force her to cancel upcoming shows on her world tour, Page Six noted, citing People.com . While she sounds OK, "I'm just in a lot of pain and it's difficult to breathe during the show," she said in a message to her fans. "I just really don't know what's happening with my body right now and need to figure it out."

In the upcoming film En Brazos de un Asesino, heartthrob actor/producer William Levy plays an assassin who becomes responsible for a woman desperate to flee the clutches of a vicious drug lord who has held her captive for almost a decade, a press release noted. Levy has starred in Tyler Perry's The Single Mom and Brent Ryan Green's The Veil; he also played Mateo Ferrera on Fox's musical drama Star and was on Dancing With the Stars. The movie will be out Dec. 6, with Pantelion Films/Lionsgate distributing it.

The future of NBC's daytime soap Days of Our Lives is in doubt after all the cast members were released from their contracts, The Hollywood Reporter noted. The 55-year-old drama—the longest-running entertainment show in NBC's history—will go on an indefinite hiatus at the end of November, although enough episodes have been banked to play out the rest of the 2019-20 season. Days of Our Lives was renewed for 2019-20 in January; should it be picked up again, production would likely resume in the spring—but the cast would have to negotiate new contracts.

Oscar-nominated actor Clive Owen will star as Bill Clinton in Impeachment: American Crime Story—the third season of FX's award-winning limited series franchise—which centers on the sex scandal that rocked the Clinton presidency, Deadline noted. He joins Sarah Paulson, who will play Linda Tripp, Beanie Feldstein, who will play Monica Lewinsky, and Annaleigh Ashford, who will play Paula Jones. The role of Hillary Clinton is currently being cast.

Los Angeles-based Manifesto Records is releasing DK40—which celebrates the 40th anniversary of the punk band Dead Kennedys—on vinyl Nov. 15, a press release noted. DK40, a four-LP live collection, captures the band's '80s performances in Amsterdam, Munich and San Francisco as they perform songs such as "Chemical Warfare," "Too Drunk to Fuck," "D.H. Peligro's Mom" and "Stars and Stripes of Corruption." In April, Manifesto released DK40, a three-CD set.

Jamie Lee Curtis recently told Extra how she's been able to stay sober for 20 years. She said, "It's not constantly a struggle for me to stay sober—I am sober, I am a very sober, sober person. The struggle is to never forget that you are an addict, to never stop reminding yourself that, in fact, at the party, I'm not going to have cocktails." In Variety's recent Recovery issue, Curtis also revealed that she became addicted to painkillers after getting plastic surgery for puffy eyes in 1989.

Self-proclaimed "Christian comedian" John Crist is turning to the big guy for forgiveness of his "sexual sins," the New York Post noted. The stand-up comic has cancelled his tour after allegations of sexual harassment and manipulating women into physical relationships were published in the religious publication Charisma News. Netflix has also put his upcoming special on hold after the allegations surfaced, Variety reported. Five anonymous women accused Crist, 35, of bartering tickets for sexual favors and making repeated drunken phone calls and sexts over the last seven years.

The television premiere of the Oscar-winning film Green Book will air on Showtime on Saturday, Dec. 14, a press release noted. The movie received top honors at the 2019 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali; Viggo Mortensen received a Best Actor nomination for his performance. Set in 1962, the film follows a world-class African-American pianist ( Ali ) who recruits an Italian-American driver ( Mortensen ) as he embarks on a concert tour.

The New Line movie Black Adam, based on the DC Comics character and starring Dwayne Johnson, will hit cinemas Wed., Dec. 22, 2021—a few days after Fox's Avatar sequel on Dec. 17, Deadline noted. The film is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, who recently directed Johnson in Disney's upcoming Jungle Cruise. Black Adam will open against Sony's Hotel Transylvania 4, Universal's feature adaptation of the Broadway musical Wicked and, possibly, Sherlock Holmes 3.

Patricia Heaton's husband, Carol's Second Act producer David Hunt, has been accused of sexual misconduct in an on-set scandal that led two female employees of the CBS sitcom to quit their jobs, Page Six noted. Hunt—the show's executive producer—allegedly inappropriately touched a female writer, who ended up leaving the series along with a producer after they claim the network mishandled their complaints, the New York Times reported. Writer Broti Gupta said she went to human resources about Hunt touching her in two separate incidents, including one occasion where he put her hand on her thigh. Hunt's lawyer, Bryan Freedman, said his client did "did not remember the details as described."

The latest installment of Real Housewives will take place in ... Salt Lake City, Utah, Page Six reported. Andy Cohen made the announcement to a crowd of surprised BravoCon fans. He continued, "I have to tell you, in Utah, you've got the majesty of the mountains. You've got the majesty of the Mormon religion, you've got an exclusive community of people who have very successful businesses who live in their own universe."


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