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Showbiz: Archie Comics, Britney Spears, Andrew Garfield, rapper's lyrics
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2017-07-11

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For the new comic, Your Pal Archie, Archie Comics will release a variant cover with gay character Kevin Keller for the debut issue at this year's Flame Con convention, the world's largest LGBT comic con, according to NewNowNext.com . The special cover features members of the Archie gang like Betty, Veronica and Kevin as their superhero alter-egos flying above New York alongside Flame Con's mascot, Flamie. The third annual Flame Con returns to Brooklyn Aug. 19-20.

Britney Spears' arrival in Israel has caused quite the commotion, AOL.com reported. It's the pop star's first visit to the country, and a tour of the holy sites in Jerusalem was described by Israeli news outlets as a veritable mob scene. Spears performed at Tel Aviv's Yarkon Park—the same outdoor venue where Justin Bieber and Aerosmith recently headlined and where Radiohead is due to take the stage July 19.

In other Spears-related news, the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation will open its brand-new Britney Spears Campus, a 16,000 square-foot facility combining more than 45 pediatric and adult services, People.com noted. According to a press release, the building was made possible after Spears raised $1 million with donations from her "Piece of Me" show ticket sales. Other major donors included Zappos, Live Nation, Caesars Entertainment and more.

Former Spider-Man actor Andrew Garfield has sparked backlash with his admission that he's a "gay man right now, just without the physical act," The Toronto Sun noted, citing Gay Times Magazine. He made the remark during a Q&A panel about his role as Prior Walter in the London production of Angels in America, during which he discussed his preparation for playing a gay man on stage. Chris Evans' actor brother Scott ( who's openly gay ) was among those criticizing Garfield, posting, "This article grosses me out. Ur ( sic ) a talented guy,but seem to be completely oblivious to what is coming out of ur mouth."

Controversial rapper Tyler, the Creator just had his new album leak online and it's setting fire to the Internet for one big reason—he might be coming out as gay on it, Out.com reported. The news may sound surprising given the amount of times he's been called "homophobic," but the co-founder of Odd Future seems to be hinting at something in the lyrics of the album Scum Fuck Flower Boy. In between guest vocals by everyone from Estelle and Jaden Smith to Schoolboy Q and Lil Wayne, Tyler raps about "kissing white boys since 2004" and falling in love.

Wonder Woman has taken more money in the United States than any other film in the DCEU superhero series, which includes Batman v. Superman, Man of Steel and Suicide Squad, The Independent noted. Internationally, Wonder Woman is still somewhat behind: Zack Snyder's Batman v. Superman has made $873.26 million around the world, while Wonder Woman is at $670.68 million at counting, just ahead of Man of Steel ( $668.05 million ).

Nelsan Ellis, best known for playing Lafayette Reynolds on HBO's True Blood, has died at age 39, Deadline reported. ( The Ellis family confirmed that the cause of death was heart failure, but they added that the circumstances behind it were due to alcohol withdrawal, SDGLN.com noted. ) Said True Blood creator Alan Ball: "Nelsan was a singular talent whose creativity never ceased to amaze me. Working with him was a privilege." Ellis, who joined the cast of CBS' Elementary this past season, was also in the Oscar Best Picture nominee The Help alongside Octavia Spencer, Viola Davis and Emma Stone.

Jared Leto's reported sci-fi anthology project with Jerrick Media has roped him into a lawsuit Penthouse is filing to protect the intellectual property of its late founder, Bob Guccione, The Hollywood Reporter noted. The adult magazine claims Leto and his reported business partners are knowingly using trademarks without permission. The lawsuit also targets the defendants' online magazine, Omni Media, which allegedly infringes on trademarks for Guccione's Omni science-fiction magazine.

Vivien Leigh's copy of the Gone with the Wind script is going up for auction alongside dozens of items from the late star's personal collection, Page Six noted. Sotheby's said it will offer paintings, jewelry, clothes, books and more belonging to Leigh at a Sept. 26 auction in London. Leigh won an Oscar for playing Scarlett O'Hara in the 1939 epic.

Gabourey Sidibe and Jurnee Smollett were last-minute star replacements for Jussie Smollett at a Los Angeles pool party, according to Page Six. Jussie had been slated to host a party held at the home of Phill Wilson, the president and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute. However, he was directing an upcoming episode of Empire.

Gotham actor Donal Logue's missing transgender daughter, Jade Logue, has safely returned home to her family in New York City, according to a Unicorn Booty item. "Jade is now safely back home with her family," Logue's rep said. "Donal is incredibly thankful for everyone's support, and especially to the NYPD, FBI and Team Adam NCMEC for her safe return." In April 2016, it's reported Jade tweeted about being transgender, going to social media to write, "shoutout to being trans can't wait to be assaulted for absolutely no reason other than existing."

Madonna opened the Mercy James Institute for Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care July 11 at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi, a press release noted. The Mercy James Institute for Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care is the first unit of its kind in the country. It is named for Madonna's Malawi-born daughter, Mercy James, and is developed in partnership with Madonna's charitable organization, Raising Malawi and the Malawian Minister of Health. See RaisingMalawi.org .

Louis C.K. has made a move into movie distribution, releasing the LGBT gang documentary Check It through his website, Variety noted. Check It, executive-produced by Steve Buscemi, follows the members of Black gay gang in Washington, D.C., as they attempt to survive. "It knocked me right over," Louis C.K. said. "It was an amazing emotional ride. It was funny and moving, I learned a lot and it gave me a lot to think about after."

Following in the footsteps of her American Beauty director Sam Mendes last year, Annette Bening has been named president of the jury for the 74th Venice Film Festival, Deadline noted. The actress ( known for roles in movies such as Bugsy, The Grifters and The Kids Are Alright ) is the first woman in recent memory to assume the role. Catherine Deneuve was the last female president in 2006. The jury will award the Golden Lion for Best Film as well as the other main prizes on Sept. 9, with the festival starting Aug. 30.

The Fosters concluded its fourth season with what has been called one of the most heart-wrenching cliffhangers yet, but the Freeform drama is looking toward getting back to family business next season, TV Guide noted. Last season concluded with Callie ( Maia Mitchell ) having a prostitution-related situation as well as traumatic brain injury rage sessions and Jude's ( Hayden Byerly ) advanced sexual awakening. Regarding the fifth season, executive producer also hinted, "We're exploring the political climate on college campuses and a lot of the debate about whether freedom of speech should be totally protected on college campuses or whether speakers who are inflammatory or incite discrimination and violence, whether they should be allowed to speak."

Fox is developing a new singing competition from Israeli producer and distributor Armoza Formats that will rival former show American Idol ( which is now on ABC ), Variety reported. Although no series order has yet been finalized, development has accelerated since May, when ABC closed a deal to bring "Idol" back to television just two seasons after Fox canceled the long-running franchise. "Idol" ( which spawned stars such as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Adam Lambert and Jennifer Hudson ) ended a 15-season run on Fox in 2016, with the network canceling the show after watching it suffer ratings declines and slip from its perch as television's highest-rated series.

Iggy Azalea is collaborating with controversial rapper Azaelia Banks after yeras of fighting on social media, Page Six noted. Azalea announced on Snapchat, "Public service announcement. Azealia is going to be on [Iggy's upcoming album, 'Digital Distortion.'] Burn your wigs now or preserve them in your freezer for release day." Azalea has described Banks as "poisonous, miserable and a bigot," in the past. Banks responded to the news thusly: "Although SUPER flattering, her announcement was very premature, as I have still yet to hear which track it is she would like me to feature on!"

BBC One and Masterpiece on PBS announced the cast for their co-production of Louisa May Alcott's classic novel Little Women, the L.A. Times noted. Two-time Academy Award nominee Emily Watson will play beloved family matriarch Marmee, while honorary Academy Award winner Dame Angela Lansbury will star as Aunt March. A release date for the series has yet to be announced.

John Blackwell Jr., a drummer who played with Prince for 15 years, has died at the age of 43, according to Newser. In an Instagram post, wife Yaritza said Blackwell had died peacefully in her company, TMZ reported. In addition, People noted that Blackwell was diagnosed with two brain tumors last year and had to learn to walk again after losing most of the function in his left arm and leg.

Bradley Cooper and Irina Shayk went on a star-studded vacation in Tahiti —joining Allison Williams ( and her husband Ricky Van Veen ), Anderson Cooper ( and his partner Benjamin Maisani ), Diane von Furstenberg and Andy Cohen for an island sojourn, People.com noted. The outing marked the first time the American Hustle star and his Russian model love were spotted together since they welcomed child Lea de Seine in March.

Lady Gaga recently performed at the wedding of Lolita Osmanova, the daughter of Russian oligarch Eldar Osmanov, who reportedly had a $10 million price tag on her big day, according to a Billboard item. Osmanova and husband Gaspar Avdolyan enjoyed a private performance by Gaga herself at their venue in L.A.'s Dolby Theatre. Gaga wore a red gown for her performance and sang a number of major hits, including "Bad Romance," "Marry the Night" and more.

Guy Oseary—the manager of Madonna, U2 and Amy Schumer—is defending Jay-Z's use of Jewish stereotypes in the song "The Story of O.J.," from the rapper's just-released 4:44 album, Variety reported. Oseary, who was born in Israel, posted a photo on Instagram of himself with Jay-Z on July 1, accompanied by his interpretation of the song's message. Addressing purported anti-Semitic lyrics, Oseary wrote: "If you read the lyrics out of context I can understand why people are jumping to that conclusion. But if you listen to the song in its entirety you will hear that the whole of the song is based on exaggerated stereotypes to make a point."

British actor Daniel Craig is set to play James Bond—again—despite notoriously batting down the role in 2015, claiming, "I'd rather slash my wrists" than play 007 in another film, The Daily Beast reported. Craig, 49, has had a recent change of heart, according to reports, and will team up with Adele for Bond 25, which is expected to begin shooting next year. Adele won a 2013 Grammy for her song for Skyfall.

The Emmy®- and Golden Globe-winning Game of Thrones returns for its seven-episode seventh season Sunday, July 16, exclusively on HBO, followed by other episodes subsequent Sundays at the same time, a press release noted. Based on the best-selling fantasy book series by George R.R. Martin, the hit fantasy series chronicles an epic struggle for power in a vast and violent kingdom. New cast members for the seventh season include Jim Broadbent, Tom Hopper, Megan Parkinson and Ed Sheeran.

Released by NPG Records and Warner Bros. Records in new Deluxe and Deluxe-Expanded Edition format, Prince's Oscar- and Grammy-winning RIAA diamond-certified album Purple Rain returned to the Top 5 of the Billboard Top 200, bowing in at number four, according to a press release. Combining all versions, the album moved 52,000-plus cumulative units. The two-CD Purple Rain Deluxe set includes the official 2015 Paisley Park remaster of the original tapes from the soundtrack, presenting an unheard vision of the album overseen and sanctioned by Prince himself.

The WNBA announced special community and media events for Verizon WNBA All-Star 2017 in Seattle, a press release noted. The All-Star Game, televised nationally by ABC and broadcast globally in more than 200 countries and territories, will take place Saturday, July 22 ( 3:30 p.m. ET ) at KeyArena, home of the Seattle Storm.

In a revealing new interview with SiriusXM radio, Kesha credited a strict recording routine with helping her cope with depression, Rolling Stone noted. Kesha never directly referenced her ongoing legal battle with Sony and producer Dr. Luke, whom she has accused of sexual assault and battery. However, she admitted that her dream of making a new album is what kept her going through the past four years. The new album, Rainbow, is due Aug. 11.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer said that Comic-Con is staying in San Diego at least until the year 2021, but the expansion to the convention center is going to be what makes it a continued success to the local economy, SDGLN.com noted. Outside the convention center, Faulconer was joined by Tourism Authority CEO Joe Terzi and Convention Center CEO Rip Rippetoe. They thanked Comic-Con head David Glanzer for the renewed contract. Each year, the pop-culture convention brings in $135 million as well as $2.8 million in tax revenues.

An uncovered letter from the late rapper Tupac Shakur to pop icon Madonna reveals that race was a big factor in their breakup, People.com reported. TMZ published portions of a previously unseen letter Shakur penned while at the Clinton Correctional Facility, where he was serving time on sexual abuse charges. "For you to be seen with a black man wouldn't in any way jeopardize your career—if anything it would make you seem that much more open and exciting," Tupac wrote in the 1995 note. "But for me at least in my previous perception I felt due to my 'image' I would be letting down half of the people who made me what I thought I was. I never meant to hurt you."

Daniel Dae Kim is speaking out after news broke that he and actress, Grace Park will not be returning to hit CBS show Hawaii Five-0 next season after rumored salary negotiations broke down, AOL.com noted. On Facebook, Kim wrote, "The path to equality is rarely easy. But I hope you can be excited for the future. I am." The two were reportedly offered were offered new salary contracts that were 10-15-percent less than what series stars Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan are paid, according to Variety. CBS said the cast received "large and significant salary increases," Page Six noted.


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