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Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-03-17
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SHOWBIZ 'Pose,' Jane Fonda, 'Queer Eye,' Queen Latifah
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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Janet Mock's directorial debut is one for the history books, noted. The writer, TV host and transgender-rights advocate directed the most recent episode of FX's Pose, titled "Love Is The Message"—and it marks the first time a transgender woman of color has ever directed a television show. Mock has also been the first trans woman of color to write for a major television show. Set in the late 1980s, Pose focuses on life and society in New York City's ballroom culture.

Speaking of Pose, FX has handed out a second-season renewal for the dance musical drama, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The show, from co-creators Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Steven Canals, will return for its sophomore run in 2019. An episode count has not been determined. The series, which has drawn impressive reviews, made history with primetime's largest cast of transgender series regulars portraying transgender characters as well as the largest recurring cast of LGBTQ characters ever for a scripted series.

In a basement meeting room of the Capitol Visitor Center, actress/activist Jane Fonda recently pressed lawmakers to expand protections for women domestic workers and farmworkers, Page Six noted. One of her messages was that The MeToo and Times Up movements is are chances for Hollywood to call attention to women in other industries who face pay inequity and sexual harassment. Fonda was joined by other activists, including Ai-jen Poo, of the National Domestic Workers Alliance; Monica Ramirez, of the National Farmworker Women's Alliance; and Fatima Goss Graves, of the National Women's Law Center.

On the heels of just receiving four Emmy nominations, Queer Eye has been renewed for a third season, Deadline noted. Production on the eight-episode third season of the Netflix show began production in Kansas City, Missouri, on July 16, with co-hosts Antoni Porowski ( food/wine ), Bobby Berk ( interior design ), Karamo Brown ( culture ), Jonathan Van Ness ( grooming ) and Tan France ( fashion ). The original Queer Eye for the Straight Guy was a TV hit when it debuted on Bravo in July 2003.

A new venture fund focused on African-American content has launched and teamed with its first partner, Queen Latifah's Flavor Unit Entertainment, Deadline noted. The Essence Creators and Makers Fund has a $20 million endowment from Essence Ventures, the parent company of Essence Communications. The fund will support and partner with creators and makers of color in an effort to mitigate the barriers faced in securing financing for the development and production of projects.

Absolutely Fabulous actress Joanna Lumley will be honored with a lifetime achievement award at this year's Rose d'Or international television festival in Berlin, The Hollywood Reporter noted. The British actress will receive her award at the 57th Rose d'Or ceremony in Berlin on Sept. 13. Lumley has won two BAFTA TV awards for her performance as Patsy in BBC sitcom Ab Fab, a role that made her internationally famous. Lumley ( who has also appeared in such feature films as The Wolf of Wall Street and Paddington 2 ) made history this year by becoming the first female host of the BAFTA ceremony.

The CW has put in development a Batwoman series for 2019 consideration, Deadline noted. It hails from former The Vampire Diaries executive producer Caroline Dries and the architect of the CW Arrowverse, Greg Berlanti. The lesbian superhero is already scheduled to visit the Arrowverse for the annual crossover event in December. It was Arrow star Stephen Amell, along with the CW President Mark Pedowitz, who announced at the CW presentation in May that this year's crossover event will feature Batwoman.

Speaking of comic books, Black Canary, Huntress, Cassandra Cain and Renee Montoya will join Harley Quinn's girl gang in the Margot Robbie film Birds of Prey, TheWrap reported. Robbie will produce Birds of Prey and reprise her Suicide Squad character, Harley Quinn. The film is centered around a revolving group of female heroes and villains. Montoya is a detective working for the Gotham City Police Department she is openly lesbian, and during The New 52 comics she takes on a costumed identity, becoming the Question.

In Tennessee recently, WNBA star Chamique Holdsclaw wed NBA executive Cara Wright, Swish Appeal noted. Holdsclaw proposed marriage at the very location where it all began: Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium. In a shared statement, the couple said, "Our love story is special to us but we just want everyone to know that love is worth it, and can be unexpected, and needs to be embraced. Regardless of who you're in a relationship with, if both of you are willing to commit and sacrifice to be together, love wins."

Veteran Z100 radio host Elvis Duran and Alex Carr are engaged after having been together for nearly eight years, Page Six reported. Carr, a zookeeper from Staten Island, proposed to Duran July 13 by opening an umbrella inside —a nod to the Friday the 13th superstition—that had the message "Elvis will you marry me?" written on it.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson spilled on his current relationships with Tyrese Gibson and John Cena, and was asked point blank about calling Vin Diesel a "candy ass" during a game of Plead the Fifth with Andy Cohen, noted. "Ya know, that whole thing with Tyrese, it was pretty disappointing because I'd been friends with Tyrese for a very long time," he continued. "I always feel like a beef requires two people to actually jump in it, and it was really one-sided, and he had voiced his opinion a lot on social media. ... We haven't talked and I don't see where we would, and to me, there's no need to have a conversation."

The Downton Abbey movie is happening, according to Deadline. Focus Features has set production with Carnival Films to begin this summer. The original principal cast—including Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery, Hugh Bonneville and more—is set to reprise its upstairs/downstairs roles, with Focus and Universal Pictures International distributing.

Paris Jackson confirmed her bisexuality—something she thought everyone already knew, according to Page Six. "That's what you guys call it so I guess—but who needs labels," she wrote on Instagram. Her admission made the rounds on social media, causing her to turn to Twitter to express frustration. "EVERYONE HAS KNOWN FOR YEARS I CAME OUT WHEN I WAS 14, WTF," she tweeted alongside an article.

Capitol Records has released the Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again: The Movie Soundtrack, a press release noted. Original ABBA member Benny Andersson produced and arranged the soundtrack, which has cast members covering 18 ABBA classics, including "Fernando" ( sung by Cher and Andy Garcia ), "When I Kissed The Teacher" ( sung by Lily James, Jessica Keenan Wynn and Alexa Davies ), "Waterloo" ( Hugh Skinner and Lily James singing ) and "Dancing Queen" ( featuring Pierce Brosnan, Christine Baranski, Julie Walters, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard, Dominic Cooper and Amanda Seyfried ).

Scarlett Johansson has exited the movie Rub and Tug after backlash over the actress playing a transgender man, TheWrap noted. "In light of recent ethical questions raised surrounding my casting as Dante Tex Gill, I have decided to respectfully withdraw my participation in the project," Johansson told Out Magazine. "Our cultural understanding of transgender people continues to advance, and I've learned a lot from the community since making my first statement about my casting and realize it was insensitive." Rub and Tug is based on the life of Dante "Tex" Gill, a massage parlor owner in Pittsburgh in the 1970s and '80s, who, according to an obituary, was known as "the woman who prefers to be known as a man."

Elton John called Brandi Carlile's By The Way, I Forgive You his "Album of the Year" on his Rocket Hour radio show on Beats 1 on Apple Music, a press release noted. Produced by Grammy-Award winning producer Dave Cobb and musician Shooter Jennings, the album debuted at number one on the Billboard Top Current Albums, Rock Albums and Americana/Folk Albums charts and number five on the Billboard 200 chart—a career high for the Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter and performer.

Mary Poppins will fly back into movie theater a bit sooner than expected, as Disney has moved up the opening of the upcoming Mary Poppins Returns to Dec. 19—a week earlier than the original Christmas Day release, Playbill noted. Hamilton Tony, Pulitzer Prize and Olivier Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda takes on the new role of Jack the lamplighter in the Rob Marshall-directed movie musical, which stars Emily Blunt as title nanny and features a score by Hairspray and Smash duo Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. The movie picks up 25 years after the original film, as Michael Banks ( played by Ben Whishaw ) and his three children mourn the sudden loss of his wife.

Megan Mullally was disappointed by Will & Grace not receiving an Emmy nomination, although she received one for acting, The Hollywood Reporter noted. Another curveball was that all of Mullally's main co-stars—Eric McCormack, Debra Messing and Sean Hayes—were also snubbed. "I was very surprised. Obviously, I feel everyone should be nominated. It's weird. But that does happen. There's no rhyme or reason—who knows?," she said.

Evan Rachel Wood and Sterling K. Brown are in talks to lend their voices to Disney's Frozen 2, the sequel to the 2013 smash hit, Variety noted. Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell and Josh Gad are returning to reprise their roles as Elsa, Anna, and Olaf, respectively. Frozen 2 is set to bow Nov. 27, 2019.

Rugrats is relaunching with not only new episodes but also a live-action film with CGI characters, noted. Viacom announced it was reviving the series with 26 episodes from Nickelodeon and a film from Paramount Players starring characters Tommy, Chuckie, twins Phil and Lil, Susie and Angelica. The Rugrats movie is set for release on Nov. 13, 2020.

Beth Ditto announced she will be directly support for Sam Smith on the upcoming leg of The Thrill of It All Tour, a press release noted. Ditto will join Smith starting Aug. 14 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Aug. 15 at Chicago's United Center through Sept. 13 at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Following that run, Ditto will also join Florence + the Machine for two special shows at The Anthem in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 5-6.

RuPaul—the Emmy-winning host of RuPaul's Drag Race—is bringing his personality to the daytime space, filming a talk-show pilot for Telepictures, Variety reported. The show—targeted for a fall 2019 launch—will be filmed in front of a live audience, and will feature the host bringing his unique point of view to the format, interviewing celebrities, giving beauty and glam tips, playing games and dishing on pop culture.

Atlantic and Rhino Records will release Aretha Franklin's The Atlantic Singles Collection 1967-1970 in two physical formats on Sept. 28, with double-CD and double-LP versions available, noted. The collection will also be available for digital download and via streaming services. The set features 34 singles that Franklin released during her first three years with Atlantic Records, including "Eleanor Rigby," "( You Make Me Feel Like ) A Natural Woman" and "Respect." During her first three years with Atlantic, Franklin garnered nine gold singles, three gold albums and three Grammy Awards.

Also on Sept. 28, Reprise Records will release An American Treasure—a career-spanning Tom Petty box set, a press release noted. The 60-track set unveils dozens of previously unreleased recordings, alternate versions of classic songs, rarities, historic live performances and deep tracks that spotlight Tom's remarkable depth and evolution as a revered and tremendously influential songwriter, recording artist and performer. An American Treasure marks the first release of Tom Petty music since the artist's c passing in October 2017.

MTV announced nominations across all gender-neutral categories for the 2018 VMAs, a press release noted. Cardi B received nods in 10 categories, including "Video," "Song" and "Artist of the Year," and The Carters secured eight, including "Video of the Year," "Best Collaboration" and "Best Hip Hop" for their recent hit single "APES**T." Other top contenders include Childish Gambino, Drake, Bruno Mars, Ariana Grande and Camila Cabello. The VMAs will air live from Radio City Music Hall on Monday, Aug. 20, at 8 p.m. CT.

Drake's Scorpion album set a record by posting seven simultaneous singles on Billboards Top 10, noted. That toppled The Beatles record of five singles set in 1964. Billboard noted the band remains "the only act to monopolize the Hot 100's entire top five in a week." Drake's rankings are as follows: "Nice for What" at No. 1; "Nonstop" at No. 2; "God's Plan" at No. 4; "In My Feelings" at No. 6; "I'm Upset" at No. 7; "Emotionless" at No. 8; and "Don't Matter to Me," featuring Michael Jackson, at No. 9.

A number of stars have called on the public to stop blaming actress Asia Argento for the death of her boyfriend, Anthony Bourdain, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Since Bourdain committed suicide last month, many of the celebrity chef's fans have pointed a finger at Argento. n an open letter published by the Los Angeles Times, many of the Italian actress' peers defended her against online bullies. Notable names in the entertainment industry—including Rose McGowan, Olivia Munn, Mira Sorvino, Rosanna Arquette, Paz de la Huerta, Natasha Henstridge, Terry Crews and more—backed the letter

Selena Gomez's email was hacked and her identity was stolen, and the alleged culprit is a woman in New Jersey, TMZ reported. The Los Angeles County district attorney claims Susan Atrach accessed Gomez's and her associate's accounts several times from June 2015 through February 2016, then allegedly stole digital property and stored media that she posted online and shared with others. She faces a maximunm sentence of nearly 10 years in prison if convicted.

For the first time ever, Harvey Weinstein admitted in an interview that he "offered acting jobs in exchange for sex"—but, according to him, "so does everyone," Page Six noted. "Yes, I did offer [women] acting jobs in exchange for sex," the disgraced movie mogul told The Spectator. Weinstein, 66, is facing in life in prison after being accused of sexual assault and harassment by dozens of women. He pled not guilty to rape and criminal sex-act charges last month, and is currently out on $1 million bail. Weinstein later said The Spectator article was bogus, according to TMZ.

In an interview three months before his death, Anthony Bourdain criticized Bill and Hillary Clinton for how they handled the accusations of sexual harassment that rocked the former president during his time in office, TheWrap reported. In an interview in Popula which was published posthumously, Bourdain called the former president "a piece of s—. Entitled, rapey, gropey, grabby, disgusting, and the way that he—and she—destroyed these women and the way that everyone went along, and, and are blind to this! Screamingly apparent hypocrisy and venality.""

In a new deal between Hulu and A+E Studios, the fourth and final season of fan favorite drama series, UnREAL, is now available to stream in its entirety on Hulu, a press release noted. The final installment joins Hulu's originals slate and brings together the complete UnREAL library, all on Hulu.

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