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SHOWBIZ Sandra Bernhard, 'Love, Simon,' Taylor Swift, Tiffany Haddish
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-06-18

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Sandra Bernhard recently sat with Tim Teeman over at the Daily Beast—and made it clear she was done being asked about former best friend Madonna, Queerty noted. When Teeman asked about the singer, Bernhard responded, "I haven't been in touch with her for years. This is a very overly examined relationship at this point." Bernhard also described herself as "anti-bitter. I love life, new experiences, meeting people and new friends. I'm incredibly open." She also talked about Donald Trump, #MeToo and her appearance on season two of the FX show Pose.

Devious Maids/Ugly Betty alumna Ana Ortiz has been tapped as a lead in the Disney + series Love, Simon, inspired by the 2018 LGBT movie, Deadline noted. This marks the first casting for the the half-hour series. Love, Simon is a coming-of-age film about Simon, a closeted gay teen growing up in the suburbs of Atlanta.

Everyone from Ryan Reynolds to RuPaul to Billy Porter to, yes, Katy Perry appears in Taylor Swift's music video for "You Need to Calm Down," the second single off the singer's upcoming seventh album, Lover, Rolling Stone noted. The track highlights Swift's support for the LGBTQ+ community—and it includes a pledge at the end to sign Swift's petition to support the Equality Act. LGBTQ+ pop culture icons in the video include Laverne Cox, Adam Lambert, Ciara, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, members of Queer Eye, Todrick Hall and Ellen DeGeneres.

Actress/comedian Tiffany Haddish has canceled her upcoming Atlanta performance because of Georgia's new restrictive abortion law, Page Six noted. News outlets report that the Girls Trip star sent a statement to ticketholders Saturday, saying she cannot "in good faith" perform in Georgia unless it withdraws the so-called heartbeat bill. Haddish had been scheduled to perform June 22 at the Fox Theatre. The new law ( which goes into effect next year )would ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks—before many women know they are pregnant.

On the heels of its season-two premiere, FX has given an early third-season renewal to its groundbreaking drama series Pose, from Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Steven Canals, Fox 21 Television Studios and FX Productions, Deadline noted. Pose—a drama spotlighting the legends, icons and ferocious house mothers of New York's underground ball culture, a movement that first gained notice in the late 1980s—joins American Horror Story, Sons of Anarchy, Nip/Tuck and The Shield as FX drama series that outperformed their series premiere telecast.

Actor Tyler Blackburn came out as bisexual earlier this year. Now, in a wide ranging interview with Playboy, the Roswell star is opening up about his amazing new boyfriend, feeling "very sexual," and his coming-out journey, Queerty noted. "I had to really be patient with myself—and more so with men," the Blackburn said. "Certain things are much easier with women, just anatomically, and there's a freedom in that." He added, "At times, bisexuality feels like a big gray zone. I've had to check myself and say, I know how I felt when I was in love with women and when I slept with women. That was true and real. Don't discredit that, because you're feeding into what other people think about bisexuality."

More than two years after a controversial Billboard interview, Miley Cyrus has issued an apology for her dismissive remarks about hip-hop, Complex.com noted. In 2017, Cyrus claimed she was no longer interested in rap because of the materialistic and sex-driven messages. In her apology, she said she still had a lot to learn and acknowledged her privilege as a white musician. Cryus' statement arrives less than two weeks after she released her She Is Coming EP, which includes contributions from hip-hop stars Swae Lee, Ghostface Killah, and Mike Will Made-It.

Much-accused director Bryan Singer is settling a nearly two-year old rape case involving a minor with a hefty payout—but strict insistence on his innocence, Deadline noted. The X-Men director will hand over $150,000 to Cesar Sanchez-Guzman's bankruptcy trustee to see the sexual-abuse claim disappear. Singer's lawyer, Andrew Brettler, said, "The decision to resolve the matter with the bankruptcy trustee was purely a business one, as litigation costs would well exceed the amount requested by the trustee to pay off the creditors who were owed money when the debtor filed for bankruptcy."

The HBO show Euphoria is considered by many to be extremely graphic—and one storyline in the first episode had actor Eric Dane's character, a married man with a child, committing statutory rape with a trans teenager named Jules ( Hunter Schafer ), Decider.com noted. In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, the Grey's Anatomy alum confirmed that Euphoria utilized a prosthetic erect penis for the "intense" moment, although he revealed that he was "willing" to go full-frontal if that's what the scene required.

Joy Division is marking the 40th anniversary of the album Unknown Pleasures by releasing 10 films, a press release noted. Working together with the band, their visual coordinator Warren Jackson has commissioned the films—one for each track on the album—that will present a filmic re-imagining of the music in 2019. The first video for "I Remember Nothing," directed by Helgi and Horour, is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYo6jfIxtao&feature=youtu.be.

Empire co-creator Lee Daniels said that while it's "a bore," his sobriety is very important to him, Page Six noted. Daniels said he initially got into drugs and alcohol because his father couldn't cope with him being gay. Now, "I'm angsty and I'm sober, so that is really weird to be going to the Met Ball and to other social activities not intoxicated," he told New York Magazine. "I hate f—king being sober. It's a bore. It's a f—king snooze."

The MTV Movie & TV Awards returned to television June 17, with host Zachary Levi and a number of pop culture favorites, Variety noted. Dominating this year's nominations with four apiece were front-runners Avengers: Endgame, which took home the evening's best movie award, and Game of Thrones, which won best show. The Oscar-nominated documentary RBG also scored four nods but was overtaken by the evening's best documentary winner: Surviving R. Kelly. Some of the individual winners included Robert Downey Jr., Elisabeth Moss, Lady Gaga and Josh Brolin. Additionally, Dwayne Johnson was honored with the Generation Award, and Jada Pinkett Smith took home the Trailblazer Award.

Dee Rees has been set to direct The Kyd's Exquisite Follies, a musical fantasy based on her own original script, Deadline noted. Rees' previous film, 2017's Mudbound, got four Oscar nominations including one for her adapted script, and her Bessie Smith HBO biopic Bessie got her two Emmy noms for writing and directing. The filmmaker announced herself as a voice to watch with her lesbian-themed Sundance debut, Pariah.

Debra Messing ( TV's Will & Grace ) will return to Broadway next year in a spring production of playwright Noah Haidle's Birthday Candles, according to Deadline. The Roundabout Theatre Company production will mark the New York premiere of the play. Directed by Vivienne Benesch, Birthday Candles will begin previews April 2, 2020, and run through June 21.

Before returning to the ABC show How to Get Away with Murder for its sixth season, Jack Falahee is in the production Byhalia, Mississippi at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., through July 7, Playbill noted. Winner of Chicago's Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work in 2016, Evan Linder's comedy explores race, infidelity and family through the eyes of the habitants of the town that gives the play its name.

Actress Marcia Cross ( TV's Desperate Housewives ) is "grateful to be alive" to watch her daughters graduate after a battle with anal cancer, USA Today noted. Cross recently talked about getting diagnosed about a year and a half ago, with the hopes that her story would inspire others to get educated and tested for human papillomavirus. Doctors believe her anal cancer and husband Tom Mahoney's 2009 throat cancer came from the same type of HPV, which can be transferred through sexual intercourse or skin-to-skin contact.

Following their well-received mini-reunion at Coachella, 'NSYNC is thinking about getting together again, People.com noted. Lance Bass recently told Variety that the boy band will soon discuss the possibilities of a reunion project in the midst of vetting offers. The whole band, including Timberlake, previously reunited at their Walk of Fame ceremony last April.

Stars including Justin Timberlake, Halle Berry, Charlize Theron, Laverne Cox and LL Cool J are buying out entire theaters for screenings of Emanuel, a documentary produced by Viola Davis and Stephen Curry about the Dylann Roof shootings, Page Six noted. It tells the story of June 17, 2015, when Roof, 21, walked into Bible study at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, SC, and murdered nine African-Americans during their closing prayer.

Smallville star Allison Mack is accused of imposing a restrictive diet on India Oxenberg—the daughter of Dynasty star Catherine Oxenberg and a fellow member of the controversial Nxivm self-help group—to suit the sexual desires of the group's leader, People.com noted. The accusation against Mack—who pled guilty in April to her role in the a group prosecutors say sexually exploited women—was made by another ex-member during testimony in the sex trafficking and conspiracy trial of group leader Keith Raniere. Raniere has pled not guilty.

Necessary Outlet, an LGBTQ production studio, is marking Pride Month with an early release of Community, a new audio drama podcast, a press release noted. Ripped from today's headlines, the first season of the 12-part serialized LGBTQ drama chronicles a fictional shooting that unfolds inside a gay nightclub. Written and directed by Jack Tracy, the first episode is available now on Spotify. Episode two will launch July 9, with a new show airing every Tuesday.

Literary giant Nicholas Sparks ( The Notebook ) tried to have an LGBTQ curriculum banned from the Epiphany School of Global Studies, a faith-based prep school started by the author in 2006, according to a Queerty item. In 2013, a group of students began meeting informally to discuss their sexual orientations, and became the immediate subject of bullying. Sparks ordered Benjamin to ban the group, and threatened at least two teachers with termination for defending the students. Saul Benjamin, a former headmaster at the Epiphany School, has accused Sparks and other school Trustees of creating a hostile work environment, as well as homophobic and racist policies. Sparks has apologized, saying, in part, "It's never been my intent to be unresponsive to the needs of the LGBTQ or any minority community," PinkNews noted.

Out musician Bob Mould announced a string of new solo electric tour dates for September 2019—all following 25+ shows earlier this year in the United States and Europe in support of his latest full-length solo release, Sunshine Rock, a press release noted. ( In addition to the solo dates there will be one Bob Mould Band appearance at Chicago's Riot Fest on Sept. 13-15. ) A few of Mould's new stops include Turin, Italy; Nashville; Asheville, North Carolina; and Washington, D.C.

Madonna's "Madame X" tour that kicks off in New York City on Sept. 12 is off to a surprisingly sluggish start, with hundreds of seats still available for most gigs after more than a month on the block, Page Six revealed. That's despite the fact that the pop star's upcoming tour will focus on small, theater-type venues ( like the Chicago Theatre ) that typically only have a few thousand seats each. Her 2015-2016 "Rebel Heart Tour" grossed $170 million at venues that often drew more than 30,000 fans for a single performance.

Speaking of Madonna, Junior Vasquez is holding out hope for a reunion with the singer, Page Six stated. He's hoping the ex-pals and collaborators can bury the hatchet at WorldPride, where Madge is set to perform at the Pier Dance. Vasquez and Madonna fell out after his release of the mid-'90s song "If Madonna Calls," which included an alleged voicemail from the singer without her permission.

Rain—the Beatles tribute band—theatrical production hybrid—has canceled its upcoming Broadway engagement, Playbill noted. The group was planning to present The Best of Abbey Road Live!, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the famed album, on July 16—21. The Rain tour—scheduled to conclude its summer engagement in Sioux Falls—is no longer able to extend into New York City as part of the In Residence on Broadway series at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.

One of the top-selling female country artists of all-time, Shania Twain, is returning to the Las Vegas Strip with Shania Twain "Let's Go!" The Vegas Residency, opening at Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on Friday, Dec. 6, a press release noted. Twain will serve as creative director for her new Las Vegas show, combining her three decade-long career with inspiration from her iconic videos and elements from her 2018 sold out global NOW tour. Tickets go on sale to the public starting Friday, June 21 at 10 a.m. PT.

Tamar Braxton apologized to her ex-colleagues on The Real two years after her dramatic exit from the talk show—as well her famous sisters and Fix My Life host Iyanla Vanzant, Page Six revealed. "When all u know and felt is hurt. You hurt. Self inflicted and to others are included. From my sisters, the ladies of the real, Iyanla, old and new Friends and whomever else I've EVER hurt, from being hurt. Please forgive me," Braxton wrote on Instagram. In May 2016, Braxton was fired from The Real after two seasons—and did not go quietly.

Kyle Richards revealed on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills that she once had an eating disorder, People.com noted. Richards tearfully disclosed to castmates Lisa Rinna, Dorit Kemsley, Erika Girardi and Teddi Mellencamp that she previously battled an eating disorder in the 1980s. At one point, Richards said, "I would take V8 juice and put it in a bowl and heat it up and that was my food. I was 99 lbs."

Blumhouse Productions has set Sophia Takal to direct a remake of the 1974 slasher film Black Christmas, with a script written by Takal and April Wolfe ( Widower ), Deadline noted. Blumhouse is producing for Universal and shooting soon in New Zealand. Imogen Poots ( Green Room ), Aleyse Shannon ( Charmed ), Brittany O'Grady ( Star ), Lily Donoghue ( The Goldbergs ) and Caleb Eberhardt ( Broadway's Choir Boy ) are set to star. There was also a 2006 remake.

Wendy Williams' "very sexy" mystery man has been identified as 27-year-old Marc Tomblin, according to People.com . Tomblin, a North Carolina native, was convicted of robbery with a dangerous weapon and breaking and entering in 2013, according to court documents obtained by Bossip. Tomblin's run-in with the law comes as no surprise to Williams, who told TMZ she already knew his past. "I am a 54-year-old grown ass woman. I know what I'm doing," Williams said.


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