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SHOWBIZ Queer comic, 'Star Wars,' Nick Jonas, Rachel Maddow
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-10-08

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Ian Aber—the queer award-winning, Atlanta based comedian known as a national finalist on the hit reality competition series StandUp NBC—released his first-ever studio album, Night Sugar, through RadLand Records, a press release noted. In the album Aber, the child of a Chilean immigrant, shares his struggles with body image, being an openly queer person for more than three decades and the travails of being older in a youth-obsessed culture and industry. The album is now available on iTunes and Amazon, and Aber's national tour is scheduled for the winter of 2020.

Members of the creative team behind Star Wars Resistance said that two of the animated series' characters, Orka and Flix, are a gay couple, HuffPost noted. Athena Portillo, Justin Ridge and Brandon Auman confirmed this development in an episode of the podcast Coffee with Kenobi. Fans of the Lucasfilm Animation series, which debuted on the Disney Channel last year, had speculated about the nature of the relationship between Orka ( voiced by Jim Rash ) and Flix ( Bobby Moynihan ) for some time.

Nick Jonas opened up about the health scare he experienced with having type 1 diabetes, iHeart.com noted. The singer was diagnosed with the chronic illness when he was 13; at the time, his family become increasingly concerned for the singer's habit after he'd lost a significant amount of weight and developed a craving for sugary drinks. "I was very close to a coma," Jonas recently told Cigar Aficionado. "Like a day away, if I hadn't gone to the hospital."

Speaking of Jonas, he is joining the Emmy Award-winning series The Voice as a coach for the upcoming spring cycle, Deadline noted. Jonas shared the news with fans about his new gig today on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, while promoting the Jonas Brothers' current single, "Only Human." He will join returning coaches Kelly Clarkson, John Legend and Blake Shelton, along with host Carson Daly

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow will have a role in the Ruby Rose-led drama Batwoman, the DC Comics series about an out lesbian superhero, The Hollywood Reporter noted. Maddow takes on the role of Vesper Fairchild, a character from the Batman comics who had a romantic relationship with Bruce Wayne ( Batman ). However, the Batwoman catch is that there are no plans for Maddow's Fairchild to appear onscreen.

Ellen DeGeneres created controversy when she was spotted laughing with President George W. Bush at the Cowboys-Packers game over the weekend—and she's defending what happened, Page Six noted. DeGeneres and her wife, Portia de Rossi, were invited to the game by Charlotte Jones, the daughter of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. "When we were invited, I was aware that I was going be surrounded with people from very different views and beliefs, and I'm not talking about politics; I was rooting for the Packers," she explained, "and get this: Everybody in the Cowboys suite was rooting for the Cowboys, so I had to hide my cheese hat in Portia's purse." She added, "I'm friends with George Bush. In fact, I'm friends with a lot of people who don't share the same beliefs that I have."

Shout! Factory TV and Scream Factory are presenting 31 Nights of Horror in October, a press release noted. Each night of the stream will feature a genre favorite such as Chopping Mall, Witchboard, The Exorcist III, the original Willard and many more. And each movie will be followed by an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, including episodes MST3K: Night of the Blood Beast, MST3K: The Slime People and MST3K: The Crawling Eye.

Kanye West has announced that he will not record secular music any longer but will focus on gospel instead, LGBTQ Nation noted. The rap artist has also pushed back a release date for his upcoming album, Jesus Is King, again. West, who has repeatedly made headlines for his support of President Donald Trump, played the album for fans and media at two events, and it quickly leaked that one of the tracks—"Closed on Sundays"—includes lyrics praising the anti-LGBTQ fast food chain Chick-fil-A.

Country crooner and pop icon Dolly Parton recently reiterated her love for the LGBT community in an interview on Larry King Now, where she chastised judgmental Christians, LGBTQ Nation noted. "I keep saying, 'If you're the fine Christian that you think you are, why are you judging people?' That's God's job," she explained. "We're not God, we're not judges, we're supposed to love one another, we're supposed to not judge."

Actor Haaz Sleiman will be honored Oct. 20 with a Vanguard Award at the 11th Annual Fort Lauderdale Edition of the OUTshine LGBTQ+ Film Festival, a press release noted. This award—presented by the festival to a member of the LGBTQ+ community—recognizes notable individuals in entertainment for their contributions in helping to tell LGBTQ+ stories, as well as exemplifying outstanding leadership and support of community equality, representation and education. Previous Vanguard winners include Gloria and Emilio Estefan as well as Fred Rosser ( aka WWE Superstar Darren Young ).

On Nov. 1, UMe will release 40: The Best Of-1979-2019—a new compilation album that covers all 40 years of band Simple Minds' recording career, a press release stated. It captures the band's early experimentation, crosover chart successes and its new imperial phase represented by songs from 2015's Big Music and last year's Walk Between Worlds, which was their highest chart success in more than 20 years. The compilation will be available on a three-CD deluxe edition, single CD, two-LP colored vinyl and a 40-track digital format.

Also on Nov. 1, Grammy-nominated, UK electronic duo Underworld ( the single "Born Slippy" ) will be releasing Drift Series 1—an album composed of selections from their 52-week DRIFT multimedia project during which they released new music, text and video every Thursday for a year, a press release noted. Underworld just released "S T A R," the lead single from Drift Series 1. The duo will be heading out on tour spring 2020.

Actress Lupita Nyong'o is now a published author, and her children's picture book Sulwe—which means "star" in her native language, Luo—sends a powerful and much-needed message to girls of color PopSugar noted. The 48-page book, to be released Oct. 15, focuses on the heartwarming and whimsical story of a young dark-skinned girl named Sulwe who goes on a journey to discover her own unique beauty. In an Oct. 1 Instagram post, Nyong'o shared a photo of her 5-year-old self and reflected on who she was at such a young age and how she felt about herself, given the lack of representation for girls of color in children's literature.

Producer/director Ava DuVernay and Westworld executive producer Roberto Patino are developing a series based on DC Comics title DMZ, a futuristic drama set during a U.S. civil war, The Hollywood Reporter noted. In DMZ, the island of Manhattan has become a demilitarized zone separating the two sides, largely destroyed and isolated from the rest of the world. The series will focus on a fierce female medic who saves lives while desperately searching for her lost son. DuVernay is also attached to another DC project—a feature film based on the New Gods comic.

Diahann Carroll—the singer/actress who came from the Bronx to win a Tony Award, receive an Oscar nomination and make television history with her turns on Julia and Dynasty—died at age 84, The Hollywood Reporter noted. Carroll died at her home in Los Angeles after a long bout with cancer, her daughter, producer-journalist Suzanne Kay, said. In the late 1960s, Carroll became the first African-American female to star in a non-stereotypical role in her own primetime network series, with Julia; she received an Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe for her work. In addition, she was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 2011.

Lady Gaga honored the Oct. 5 anniversary of the release of the soundtrack from the 2018 film A Star Is Born in a suitable way, HuffPost noted. The "Paparazzi" singer shared a photo of herself on Instagram with pink platinum hair and a plaque recognizing the album's multi-platinum success. The album —which was released on Oct. 5, 2018, the same day as the film—is certified double platinum in the United States. It has sold more than 6 million copies worldwide, according to Interscope Records.

Singer Sia opened up to fans about the state of her health, revealing that she suffers from "chronic pain" due to a neurological disease, according to Page Six. Commonly referred to as EDS, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome weakens the connective tissue of the body, and often results in loosening of joints, thinning skin and weakened blood vessels, according to WebMD. The "classical" type of the disease occurs in 1 in 20,000-40,000 people.

Beyonce and Solange's dad and former manager, Mathew Knowles, has been diagnosed with breast cancer, Page Six noted. He and their mother, Tina, divorced in 2011; he married Gena Charmaine Avery in 2013.

Laverne Cox, the transgender actress best known for her Emmy-nominated role on Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, took to Instagram in a video to let the masses know she's open to meeting a special someone—in the LA area, Page Six noted. Cox and Kyle Draper announced their spilt this June in a joint statement released on Instagram, saying they know what their relationship meant to several people, "especially trans folks, giving them hope that this kind of love is possible for them as well."

Tina Tchen, a lawyer and former chief of staff to former First Lady Michelle Obama, was appointed president and CEO of Time's Up, Variety noted. Time's Up, an advocacy group formed as the #MeToo movement roiled Hollywood, aims to advocate for safer and more equitable work conditions for women across various industries. Tchen co-founded the organization's legal defense fund—a resource that has since raised more than $24 million for women who experienced sexual harassment at work.

Todd Phillips—best known for directing the Hangover trilogy and the forthcoming The Joker—has lashed out at cultural progress, claiming that if he can't rely on toxic masculinity then he doesn't know how to be funny anymore, Queerty noted. In a new interview with Vanity Fair, Phillips lashed out at "woke culture," citing it as the reason he has transitioned from directing comedies to dramas. Phillips has come under criticism in recent years for the misogynistic viewpoints in the Hangover series, and the vulgar homophobia in the films.

A new musical based on the life and career of Michael Jackson is getting a title change, Page Six noted, citing Variety. Originally called Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough, the show will now be known as MJ. It's currently in a multi-week development phase in New York City and is scheduled to hit Broadway next summer.

SoulCycle star Stacey Griffith and fashion designer Michelle Smith, the co-founder of Milly, have confirmed their romance, Page Six noted. They each posted an intimate kissing photo from the recent New York City Ballet 2019 Fall Fashion Gala, where they also posed on the red carpet together. Griffith previously dated photographer Debby Hymowitz for 13 years.

Better known as "the hot felon," model Jeremy Meeks reportedly landed a collaboration deal with Germany-based fashion company Fashion Concept GmbH to develop a clothing collection that is said to be worth $15 million, WWD.com noted. On the runway, Meeks has walked for the German fashion designer Philip Plein as well as Tommy Hilfiger and others.

Emmy-winning actress and Real Housewives fan Sarah Paulson shared her love for the franchise during a sit-down with Vanity Fair—but revealed one of the show's biggest names was far from friendly in real life, according to Page Six. When asked her thoughts on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills alum Lisa Vanderpump leaving the show this year, Paulson said she won't miss the reality star gracing her screen. The restauranteur reportedly wasn't very kind when they ran into each other at an event, with Paulson sharing, "I met her once at a party and she wasn't that nice to me. Am I going to get in trouble for that? She wasn't that nice."


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