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SHOWBIZ Troye Sivan, Digital Drag Fest,'Killing Eve,' rapper comes out, 'Star Trek'
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2020-03-31

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On March 22, singer Troye Sivan revealed that his brand new single, "Take Yourself Home," would be officially coming out on April 1, Billboard.com noted. Alongside his announcement, Sivan also appeared to give fans a quick preview of the new track on his Instagram. In a video clip posted by the singer, Sivan is seen sitting in a down jacket with his face covered, dancing along to a track that fans quickly assumed was the new single. The clip came days after the singer went on Instagram and said "we're leaking music."

Producer Entertainment Group ( PEG ) announced its upcoming new web series "PEG Presents: Digital Drag Fest 2020." Starting March 27 and lasting through April 5, the new series will be hosted on Stageit, featuring a roster of PEG's biggest drag stars performing individual 30-minute shows for fans at home. Jiggly Caliente, Jinkx Monsoon, Jujubee, Manila Luzon, Alaska, Miz Cracker, Monet X Change and Nina West, among others, were among the queens slated to perform.

BBC America announced that the new season of Killing Eve—the spy thriller starring Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer—will premiere two weeks earlier than scheduled, EW.com noted. Season three will now kick off Apr. 12 at 9 p.m., instead of Apr. 26. The trailer finds assassin Villanelle ( Comer ) all over the emotional spectrum—and in a clown costume.

Rapper Da Brat came out in an emotional video posted to Instagram, LGBTQ Nation noted. Da Brat confirmed that she is in a relationship with Kaleidoscope Hair Products CEO Jesseca Dupart. In the video, Da Brat—a Grammy-nominated musician who is perhaps best known for her late 1990s/early 2000s collaborations with Missy Elliott, Mariah Carey, Jermaine Dupree, and Destiny's Child, among others—is receiving a car as a birthday gift from Dupart, and she is overwhelmed with emotions.

Star Trek: Picard revealed that one of the iconic Star Trek characters is part of the LGBTQ demographic, Pride.com noted. Jeri Ryan's Seven of Nine was first introduced back in Star Trek: Voyager, and while that series didn't explicitly portray her character as queer, Picard has been hinting at as much throughout the first season. In the finale, Seven is shown holding hands with Raffi ( Michelle Hurd ) in a seemingly romantic way—and Ryan herself seemed to confirm the implication on Twitter after the episode aired, with a rainbow-flag emoji.

Openly gay actor Greg Rikaart—best known for his 15-year run as Kevin Fisher on CBS's The Young and the Restless—took to social media to reveal that he has tested positive for the coronavirus, Deadline noted. According to his Instagram account, the multiple Daytime Emmy nominee had been experiencing symptoms for awhile and initially was diagnosed with pneumonia. Rikaart posted, in part, "I am a pretty healthy 43-year-old who doesn't smoke, doesn't drink much, eats well and exercises regularly and this has been the hardest experience of my life."

Lady Gaga officially postponed the start of her Las Vegas residency and the release of her upcoming new album, Chromatica, iHeart.com noted. In her lengthy note to fans, she explained that "it just doesn't feel right" to be releasing Chromatica during the current global pandemic surrounding the Coronavirus ( COVID-19 ), and that the focus needs to be put on "finding solutions." Also, she revealed that she had a secret Coachella set planned.

In another Gaga-related item, she recently got an unexpectedly embarrassing surprise by her dad, Joe Germanotta, Page Six noted. The singer was reportedly caught off guard when she learned Joe set up a GoFundMe account asking the public to donate $50,000 to pay for his staff's wages at family restaurant Joanne Trattoria amid the coronavirus crisis. Fans criticized him for seeking public help when his superstar daughter reportedly made $39 million in 2019; After online backlash, Joe removed the page.

Dr. Dre's classic debut rap album The Chronic, Selena's sophomore release Ven Conmigo and the Village People's worldwide disco hit "Y.M.C.A." are among 25 recordings being inducted into the National Recording Registry, USA Today noted. The Library of Congress announced that Tina Turner's "Private Dancer," Glen Campbell's "Wichita Lineman" and Whitney Houston's smash cover of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" are some of the titles tapped for preservation this year.

Jameela Jamil said she has some regrets about the way she came out as queer, People.com noted. The 34-year-old Good Place actress told Variety Live that she could have picked a better time to spill the news—explaining that she felt compelled to open up about identifying as queer after receiving backlash for her new judging and executive producing role on HBO Max's ballroom scene show, Legendary. "It was just an outburst," Jamil said. "That was not well-handled. I'm just human and I snapped!"

L.A. Theatre Works will offer free streaming access to its recording of Lips Together, Teeth Apart from now through the end of April as a posthumous tribute to playwright Terrence McNally, who died on March 24 of coronavirus-related complications, a press release noted. L.A. Theatre Works recorded Lips Together, Teeth Apart before a live audience at UCLA's James Bridges Theater in December, 2012. Directed by Bart DeLorenzo, it stars two-time Emmy Award winner Kristen Johnston ( 3rd Rock from the Sun, Mom ) as Chloe; Steven Weber ( 13 Reasons Why, Indebted ) as John; Missy Yager ( Mad Men, HBO's The Newsroom ) as Sally; and Ovation Award-winning actor Hugo Armstrong ( Waiting for Godot at the Mark Taper Forum ) as Sam. Visit LATW.org/remembering-terrence-mcnally.

Madonna got backlash online after she posted a video to Instagram calling the coronavirus "the great equalizer," while sitting in a bathtub filled with rose petals and surrounded by candles, CBS News noted. The clip garnered criticism from some, who accused her of being "out of touch." "That's the thing about COVID-19," the "Vogue" singer said in the video. "It doesn't care about how rich you are, how famous you are, how funny you are, how smart you are, where you live, how old you are, what amazing stories you can tell."

FX show Pose donated medical supplies to an NYC hospital in need, Mount Sinai, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Advocate.com noted. "On my FX series POSE, one of our regular sets and locations is a hospital where in season 3 ( spoiler ) Blanca works as an AIDS/hiv counselor," creator Ryan Murphy stated on Instagram. "Today we donated all our prop supplies to Mount Sinai hospital to help nurses and doctors battling the Covid outbreak. Let's all keep giving when and where and how we can."

Chef Floyd Cardoz—winner of season three of Bravo's Top Chef Masters competition series—died of complications from coronavirusat age 59, Deadline noted. Cardoz posted an update on his Instagram page Wednesday when he was first admitted to the hospital with a fever, saying he sought medical help as a precautionary measure.

The Television Academy is adjusting the eligibility and voting deadlines for this year's Primetime Emmy calendar in response to concerns made by TV communication executives and awards strategists in the current coronavirus climate, Deadline noted. The dates for the Creative Emmy Awards and Primetime Emmy shows remain unchanged respectively on Sept. 12-13 and Sept. 20, and will only be moved should state and national safety directives deem them to be.

Elton John hosted the hour-long Fox Presents The iHeart Living Room Concert for America on March 29, Deadline noted. Among the socially isolated celebrities who performed were Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey ( who hit her signature whistle notes during "Always Be My Baby" ), Backstreet Boys ( singing from five different homes ), Tim McGraw, Demi Lovato, Billie Eilish and Finneas O'Connell, Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong, Sam Smith and others. Lady Gaga, The Masked Singer's Ken Jeong, Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone, and Ellen DeGeneres were among those speaking during the event.

Reading bedtime stories to the nation, legend Dolly Parton will kick off a 10-book video series Thursday, April 2, with The Little Engine That Could, and will continue weekly with other titles from Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, Nashville Scene noted. The library's announcement contains this message from Dolly: "I hope this gift will further inspire a love of books and shared storytime during this important time. … From everyone on our team, thank you so much for inspiring a love of reading in your family. As I always say—'We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails'—and we're going to do just that, together." People can watch "Goodnight with Dolly" on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Nick Lachey put a spin on Music Monday in honor of the ongoing coronavirus quarantine, Page Six noted. The Love Is Blind host and singer shared a parody of "The Hardest Thing," a hit single performed by his old pop group, 98 Degrees, that discusses washing hands, isolating and social distancing. Lachey's spin on his old tune comes days after JoJo reworked her hit single, "Leave ( Get Out )," and Neil Diamond remade his "Sweet Caroline" to encourage people to wash their hands as coronavirus continues to plague the world.

Vogue and the Council of Fashion Designers of America ( CFDA ) decided to repurpose the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund to provide support for those in the fashion community affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. To raise awareness of this effort, they are launching a video series called "A Common Thread" that will tell stories about how U.S. designers and their workers and colleagues are coping, how businesses have been affected and how they plan to move forward. See https://secure.givelively.org/donate/cfda-foundation-inc/cvff-a-common-thread.

Mark Blum—a veteran New York stage actor whose credits also include roles in the film Desperately Seeking Susan and the Netflix TV series You—died due to complications from the coronavirus at age 69, Deadline noted. "He was a wonderful actor and a very good and kind man," tweeted Rosanna Arquette, his co-star in 1985's Desperately Seeking Susan. Madonna, another of that film's co-stars, posted, "I remember him as funny warm, loving and professional when we made Desperately Seeking Susan in 1985!!" Blum's Broadway credits include Gore Vidal's The Best Man ( 2012 ) and Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers ( 1991 ).

Alan Merrill—who penned the anthem "I Love Rock 'N' Roll" that became an era-defining hit for fellow rocker Joan Jett—died of complications from coronavirus at age 69, USA Today noted. "I can still remember watching the Arrows on TV in London and being blown away by the song that screamed hit to me," wrote Jett. "With deep gratitude and sadness, wishing him a safe journey to the other side.

Singer M.I.A sparked backlash from fans after saying she would "choose death" over getting a coronavirus vaccine, The Sun noted. She revealed she regretted having to vaccinate her 11-year-old son, Ikhyd, before he started school and made it very clear how against them she was. In defending herself against backlash, M.I.A. stated, in part, "Business is in bed with banks, banks are in bed with tech, techs in bed with us, we're in bed with corona. Corona is in bed with science. So on… the best is prevention."

AMC said that the season-10 finale of The Walking Dead will not air as planned, with post-production delayed due to the coronavirus shutdown, Deadline noted. "Current events have unfortunately made it impossible to complete post-production of The Walking Dead Season 10 finale, so the current season will end with its 15th episode on April 5," the network said. The planned finale will now appear as a special episode later in the year.

Heather Locklear made a rare appearance via Instagram by thanking all the people who are working through the self-isolation period—especially doctors, nurses and the "people who you order from and they deliver," EW.com noted. She also wanted to let her fans know that the "'90s are back" by pointing to her fading blonde hair. "Amanda Woodard's roots are alive and well," she said, in reference to her beloved character from Melrose Place.

Warner Bros. is pushing back the release of its upcoming superhero tentpole Wonder Woman 1984 by two months due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, The Hollywood Reporter noted. The sequel, which was set to bow in theaters in North America on June 5, will now hit the big screen on Aug. 14. Reteaming director by Patty Jenkins star Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman 1984 joins a growing list of studio tentpoles—including F9, Black Widow, Mulan, No Time to Die and A Quiet Place Part II—that have had their releases postponed due to the virus

Kino Lorber's virtual theatrical exhibition initiative, called Kino Marquee, has now expanded to 150 arthouse theaters to screen Cannes-prize winning Brazilian thriller Bacurau, a press release noted. Alamo Drafthouse and Laemmle Theaters have signed on to screen through many of their locations. Directed by Kleber Mendonca Filho and Juliano Dornelles and starring Sonia Braga and Udo Kier, Bacurau won the Jury Prize at Cannes in 2019. See KinoLorber.com/film/view/id/3721 for a list of virtual screening rooms and more information.

Disney is extending the shutdown of its U.S. theme parks in Anaheim and Orlando, saying that Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort will remain closed until further notice, Deadline noted. It also said it would "extend paying hourly parks and resorts cast members through April 18."

Mark Wahlberg and Mario Lopez joined the long list of celebrities who have spoken out in recent weeks—but they were criticized after they each posted clips from a joint workout at a gym in Los Angeles while thousands of their viewers remained under quarantine at home, Page Six noted. Lopez did say in the video, "My boy, Mark, we're staying six feet away. This place we're at right now we have completely to ourselves. It is sanitized, disinfected, we did a heck of a workout F45 style." A number of fans praised the duo for providing them an "awesome" and "great" workout to do at home, but there were also a number of critics who lambasted the famous pals for skirting around government mandates.

Bill Cosby may be seeking an early release from jail over coronavirus fears, Deadline noted. "Nothing has been filed, but we're exploring all legal actions," the comedian's longtime rep, Andrew Wyatt, told Deadline of efforts to secure early release and home arrest for the health-hobbled 82-year old Cosby. "For the record, Mr. Cosby has not been tested for the virus—but is feeling fine—other than being blind and his blood pressure spiking at times," Wyatt said at a separate time.

GLAAD shared an exclusive clip of GLAAD Media Institute alum Jan Eastman and her family competing to complete the challenges and puzzles ahead of them in the season finale of Nickelodeon's The Crystal Maze—a game show that brings entire families through a series of challenges, encouraging teamwork and mutual support, a press release noted. Eastman is a nurse, advocating for equality for LGBTQ in health care. She participated in the GLAAD Media Institute's course, Engagement 101: Telling Your Story: Messaging and Media Tools for Today's Activist in 2018.

Less than a week after Netflix and Ava DuVernay were sued by an ex-prosecutor depicted in When They See Us, the duo saw a federal judge dismiss a previous lawsuit over the Emmy-nominated miniseries, Deadline reported. U.S. District Court Judge Manish Shah wrote, "Because the First Amendment protects non-factual assertions ( and because neither defendants Ava DuVernay nor Array Alliance Inc. has sufficient minimum contacts with the State of Illinois to justify haling them into court here ), [John E. Reid & Associates'] complaint is dismissed." The Chicago firm John E. Reid & Associates took DuVernay, her ARRAY shingle and Netflix to court over a line in the series calling the company's once widely used technique "universally rejected."

After revealing he nearly passed on Set It Off earlier this year, actor Blair Underwood also said he initially didn't care to be one of the only Black guest stars of HBO's iconic series Sex and the City, Essence.com noted. Underwood revealed on Netflix's Strong Black Lead podcast that he was initially offered the role of the Black record executive who had a sister who didn't want him to date white women. However, the show was one of his wife's favorites so when HBO returned with another offer—to portray Miranda's boyfriend Dr. Robert Leeds, with a size-able character arc—he heard the executives out; once he was told the role wasn't about race, he accepted.

The Detroit Jazz Festival unveiled its 2020 lineup for Labor Day weekend, a press release noted. Grammy- and Tony-winning jazz vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater will serve as the festival's artist-in-residence, while a few of the other artists will include Herbie Hancock, Kurt Elling, Anat Cohen and Pharoah Sanders. The Detroit Jazz Festival is the world's largest free jazz festival in the world, but those unable to attend can take part in "Detroit JAZZ Fest LIVE!," which lets people ( for $20 each ) livestream performances from all four stages on all four days via their devices or computers; see live.detroitjazzfest.org .

Sue Perkins—the British TV presenter who helped turn The Great British Bake Off into a national institution—is embarking on a travel show for Netflix after undertaking similar voyages for the BBC, Deadline noted. She will journey through Latin America for the documentary series, which will be made by British production company Rumpus Media.

Gretel & Hansel arrives on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital on May 5 ( as well as on Digital on April 7 ), a Warner Bros. press release noted. Based on the fairy tale Hansel & Gretel, the plot involves a young girl leading her little brother into a dark wood in desperate search for food and work, only to stumble upon a nexus of terrifying evil. From Metro Goldwyn Mayer's Orion Pictures, the film stars Sophia Lillis ( IT, IT: Chapter 2 ), as Gretel; newcomer Samuel J. Leakey, as Hansel; and Alice Krige ( Star Trek: First Contact ), as The Witch.

Embattled actor Jussie Smollett returned to social media, The Jasmine Brand noted. The former Empire actor was seen in the clip playing a piano while singing the Stevie Wonder song "A Place in The Sun." Since his alleged attack in Chicago in early 2019, Smollett has stayed relatively mute as he claimed he has been quarantined for more than 400 days. Smollett recently entered a plea of not guilty to six new charges connected to that alleged attack.

Actress Amber Heard was spotted walking hand-in-hand with new girlfriend Bianca Butti while picking up plants, People.com noted. The Aquaman star first became romantically linked to Butti in January, when the two were seen locking lips during a Palm Springs trip, later hopping into a valeted red vintage Mustang for a ride together.


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