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SHOWBIZ RuPaul, 'Grease,' Queen Latifah, LGBT lists
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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VH1 announced that RuPaul's Celebrity Drag Race, an expansion of the Emmy-winning franchise, has been greenlit for 2020, a press release noted. The four-episode event series will feature 12 celebrities as they sashay into the "werk" room to compete for the first-ever title of "America's Next Celebrity Drag Superstar." The premiere date and star-studded guests will be announced soon.

John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John announced on Instagram that they will be hosting three very special screenings of their hit 1978 movie musical, Grease, in mid-December in Florida, noted. The actors will join fans after each screening for a Q&A and are encouraging them to dress up and sing along with the movie. Travolta and Newton-John will be traveling to three different cities across the Sunshine State: West Palm Beach on Dec. 13, Tampa on Dec. 14 and Jacksonville on Dec. 15.

Queen Latifah ( real name: Dana Owens ) was awarded the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal by Harvard University for her contributions to Black history and culture, noted. The music artist, producer, and actress has earned a Grammy, an Emmy, and a Golden Globe; in 2006, Latifah became the first hip-hop artist to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Previous recipients of the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal include Muhammad Ali and Maya Angelou. revealed its list of the 10 most powerful LGBT characters in comics. The list includes, among others, Deadpool ( whose pansexuality was addressed in director David Leitch's 2018 sequel Deadpool 2 ), Northstar, Mystique, Poison Ivy, Wonder Woman and Iceman. Topping the list is Alan Scott, who originally debuted in DC comics in the 1940s and was the first character to bear the Green Lantern moniker.

In a similar vein, IndieWire has a list of 15 homoerotic horror films. Some of the movies include A Nightmare On Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge, Interview with the Vampire ( with Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise, and a new director's cut that may include a sex scene between the two ), The Babadook, Cat People, Bride of Frankenstein ( by queer filmmaker James Whale ), Hellraiser, The Covenant and The Last House on the Left.

Also, Lambda Literary has released a list of 10 queer horror books that are considered gems. Some are Burning, by Jane Chambers; Queers Destroy Horror, edited by Wendy N. Wagner, Robyn Lupo, Craig Laurance Gidney and Traci Castleberry; Santa Is a Vampire, by Damian Serbu; Unfinished Business: Tales of the Dark Fantastic, by Catherine Lundoff; and Night Shadows, edited by J.M. Redmann and Greg Herren.

Megan Mullally reportedly took a leave of absence during the final season of Will & Grace amid rumors of an on-set feud with co-star Debra Messing, noted. The NBC sitcom premiered the first of its 18-episode final season Oct. 24 but TVLine reported that Mullally—who plays Karen on the show—will be excluded from two episodes airing later in the season after she took some time off. Earlier this year, fans took notice that Mullally and Messing unfollowed each other on Instagram; Mullally has since unfollowed co-star Sean Hayes on Instagram as well but still follows Eric McCormack.

Streaming service Dekkoo has started airing the original series The Third, from creator Matthew Lynn, a press release noted. In the series, a young man ( played by Sean McBride ) enters into a passionate three-way relationship with an established gay Palm Springs couple ( Corey Page and Ryland Shelton )—only to learn that "adding a third" could bring a whole new set of skepticism, jealousy and secrets. The trailer is at

While appearing on the podcast Lip Service to promote his new album, Elevation, R&B singer Tank said that just because a man has performed oral sex on another man doesn't mean he's gay, noted. He was answering a question from host Angela Yee, who was disputing the idea that just because a man has lied before, that doesn't make him a liar. noted that he later defended his point on social media, adding, "Homophobia's real—let me tell you just that. It's just as real as racism and classism—all these things—and [is] just as damaging, and it plagues our community the worst. This can't be used as a negative."

Kristen Stewart stars in the movie Seberg, which is based on the real-life story of Jean Seberg, who bankrolled African American political groups—most notoriously, the Black Panthers, Deadline noted. "Jean was just addicted to revealing herself, and she was so available," Stewart said. "If you watch any of her work, she protrudes energetically, and has something to say, albeit ambiguous at times. There's just something that she needs to get out." Amazon will release the movie Dec. 13.

Singer Charli XCX is taking on the small screen by executive producing a Netflix series about Nasty Cherry, the all-female indie band signed to her Vroom Vroom Recordings label, noted. I'm With the Band: Nasty Cherry will follow their journey to becoming a band—"from moving in together and their first practice to their first performance and debut single release and everything in between," according to Netflix.

Actress Rosario Dawson is being sued by a transgender ex-friend/employee who has accused her of beating and misgendering him, Newsweek reported. Dedrek Finey—who knew Rosario Dawson's family for years and helped renovate the actress' home after her mother encouraged him to move cross-country from California to New York to work for them—has accused Dawson of attacking, harassing, misgendering, beating and punching him. Dawson—of the recently released Jay and Silent Bob Reboot and Zombieland: Double Tap, and who is currently dating presidential hopeful Cory Booker—had yet to comment.

Actress Rose McGowan filed a federal lawsuit alleging that Harvey Weinstein and two of his former attorneys engaged in racketeering to silence her and derail her career before she accused him of rape, NBC News noted. The suit names as defendants Weinstein, attorneys David Boies and Lisa Bloom and their law firms, and Black Cube, an Israeli intelligence firm hired by Weinstein. The suit comes on the heels of a pair of recent books that detail Weinstein and his team's efforts to keep his accusers quiet.

Miley Cyrus has backpedaled on some controversial remarks she made, reported. The "Slide Away" singer caused a stir when she told her followers on an Instagram Live show recently that she used to think she "had to be gay because all guys are evil, but it's not true." After getting some blowback, she posted, "I was talking shit about sucky guys, but let me be clear, YOU don't CHOOSE your sexuality. You are born as you are. It has always been my priority to protect the LGBTQ community I am a part of. Happy Monday!"

Olympic athlete/actor/activist Gus Kenworthy acquired equity ownership in Previse LLC, a privately-held U.S.-based vegan skincare manufacturer, Business Wire noted. Kenworthy—the British-born American Olympian and actor from Telluride, Colorado—is known for his competitive wins ( being the 2014 men's slopestyle Winter Olympics silver medalist ) and progressive activism.

Receiving the prestigious Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award For Excellence In Film, Jane Fonda pulled off what is easily the most unusual acceptance speech ever given in the annals of Hollywood awards shows, Deadline noted. I am sorry I'm not there, but as you may have heard I have been getting arrested," she said in a pre-taped acceptance speech, explaining her fight over climate change and why she has moved to D.C. for a while. At that point the crowd went crazy when footage of Fonda being put in handcuffs and carted off to jail was shown, as she shouted, "Thank you, BAFTA. BAFTA, thank you! Thank you for the Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award!"

Disney Plus has launched development of a sequel to the 1993 fantasy-comedy Hocus Pocus, Variety noted. The original Hocus Pocus starred Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy as a trio of witch sisters who have been cursed since 1693 in Salem, Massachusetts; the witches are inadvertently resurrected 300 years later by a boy whose family has moved from Los Angeles to Salem. Midler, Parker and Najimy are not attached to the sequel but Disney is hopeful that they may become involved.

Openly gay pro wrestler Jake Atlas has reportedly signed a contract with WWE, Outsports noted. Last Word On Pro Wrestling issued the initial report, with So Cal Uncensored further reporting that Atlas is scheduled to join the global wrestling juggernaut's performance center in January 2020. Atlas spun his 2017 Southern California Rookie of the Year award into multiple championships and stellar performances for high profile indie promotions like Pro Wrestling Guerilla and Defy Wrestling.

At a Rainforest Fund benefit at New York's Beacon Theatre Dec. 9, the reunited Eurythmics will be on a star-packed bill that also includes Bruce Springsteen, H.E.R., James Taylor, Shaggy and Sting, who produces the events with his wife, Trudie Styler, Variety noted. Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart have rarely performed as a duo since Eurythmics went on hiatus almost 30 years ago and subsequently released a reunion album and toured 20 years ago. Robert Downey Jr. will host the Beacon event. Also on the lineup are John Mellencamp, Bob Geldof and MJ Rodriguez, with other artists set to be announced later.

Sister Act star Whoopi Goldberg announced that she will be reprising her role as lounge singer-turned-nun Deloris Van Cartier in next year's revival of the Sister Act musical on London's West End, noted. "Yeah, the original Deloris is back—a little older, a little seasoned but really still kind of out there," Goldberg said via video. Also, Jennifer Saunders ( Absolutely Fabulous ) will play Mother Superior, the role played by Dame Maggie Smith in the movies.

Lee Pace ( Halt and Catch Fire ) and Jared Harris ( Chernobyl ) have been tapped as leads in Foundation—Apple TV+'s upcoming drama series based on Isaac Asimov's science fiction novel trilogy, Deadline noted. The 10-episode series from David Goyer, Josh Friedman and Skydance Television chronicles the epic saga of The Foundation, a band of exiles who discover that the only way to save the Galactic Empire from destruction is to defy it.

A book of Toni Morrison quotations is coming out in December, USA Today noted. The Measure of Our Lives: A Gathering of Wisdom will draw from her whole body of work, including celebrated novels such as Beloved and Song of Solomon. The foreword is by Zadie Smith, adapted from a tribute she wrote soon after the Nobel laureate died in August at age 88.

Elton John announced Oct. 26 "with the heaviest heart" that he would have to cancel a show scheduled that night in Indianapolis due to being "extremely unwell," Variety noted. The heaviness presumably extended well beyond the disappointment of not being able to play for fans: John's mother-in-law, Gladys Furnish, mother of his husband David Furnish, was reported to have died Oct. 25. The singer did not mention the passing in the message he posted to fans on social media.

Brandon T. Jackson claimed God has forgiven him for playing a gay character in Ben Stiller's 2008 cinematic masterpiece Tropic Thunder, Queerty noted. In Tropic Thunder, he played Alpa Chino—a closeted actor who accidentally revealed feelings a man named Lance—in the 2008 movie. Since 2008, however, Jackson has undergone a religious transformation and become a devout Black Hebrew Israelite, and playing a gay character goes against his new ultra conservative religious beliefs.

This year's American Music Award ( AMA ) nominations were announced—and singer Post Malone has the most nominations, with seven, according to an ABC press release. Three-time AMA winner Ariana Grande and first-time AMA nominee Billie Eilish each received six nods, while Lil Nas X and Taylor Swift are tied with five each, followed by Billy Ray Cyrus, Khalid and Ella Mai ( four each ). The AMAs will broadcast live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, Nov. 24, at 7 p.m. CT on ABC.

The classic holiday movie It's a Wonderful Life will arrive on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray for the first time ever Oct. 29, a press release noted. Paramount spent more than a year restoring this treasured film, using the original nitrate negative along with two fine grain masters made in the 1940s. The 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack includes the black-and-white film in 4K high definition, as well as a colorized version on Blu-ray, along with three special features new to 4K Ultra HD disc: "Restoring a Beloved Classic," "Secrets from the Vault" and "It's A Wonderful Wrap Party." A 2-Disc Blu-ray set will also be available.

The Anne Bancroft Collection will be out on Blu-ray on Tuesday, Dec. 10, from Shout! Factory, a press release noted. The collection—curated by Bancroft's husband, writer/director/producer Mel Brooks—includes the films Don't Bother To Knock ( 1952 ), The Miracle Worker ( 1962 ), The Pumpkin Eater ( 1964 ), The Graduate ( 1967 ), Fatso ( 1980 ), To Be Or Not To Be ( 1983 ) and, for the first time on Blu-ray, Agnes Of God ( 1985 ) and 84 Charing Cross Road ( 1987 ).

ABC will air the original holiday movie Same Time, Next Christmas Thursday, Dec. 5, a press release noted. It will also rebroadcast on ABC on Monday, Dec. 23, as well as on Freeform as part of its "25 Days of Christmas" programming. The movie stars Lea Michele, Charles Michael Davis, Bryan Greenberg, Nia Vardalos and Phil Morris, among others.

Taylor Kitsch ( 21 Bridges; The Normal Heart ) is attached to star in the Neill Blomkamp ( District 9 ) sci-fi thriller Inferno, Deadline noted. Kitsch will play a cop who is called to investigate a seemingly ordinary murder in the New Mexico desert—and who ultimately faces a humanoid beast who will stop at nothing to exterminate the one witness to its crime.

Supernatural star Jared Padalecki was arrested at an Austin, Texas, club called Stereotype that he tends to frequent quite often, TMZ reported. Per his booking sheet, he's facing two counts of assault and one count of public intoxication. Padalecki was restrained by police—but not before pulling out a wad of cash and allegedly flashing it to the officers.

Liam Hemsworth stars in the action thriller Killerman, coming to Digital Nov. 19 and on DVD Dec. 3 from Paramount Home Entertainment, a press release noted. Hemsworth stars as money launderer Moe Diamond in the dangerous criminal underworld of New York City. The film also stars Emory Cohen ( Brooklyn, The OA ), Diane Guerrero ( Orange Is the New Black ), Zlatko Buric ( Pusher ), and Suraj Sharma ( Life of Pi ).

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