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Showbiz news: Armistead Maupin, Wendy Williams, Taylor Swift, 'House of Cards'
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2017-11-28

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Jennifer M. Kroot's The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin, winner of an Audience Award at the 2017 SXSW Film Festival, will premiere on Independent Lens on Monday, Jan. 1, 2018, a press release noted. The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin examines the life and work of one of the Tales of the City storyteller, following his evolution from a conservative son of the Old South into a gay-rights pioneer. The film will be available for online viewing on the site beginning Jan. 2.

Talk-show host Wendy Williams said that she was groped during a taping of her talk show, Inside Edition reported. Discussing the Charlie Rose scandal, Williams spoke about the incident, but did not name the person who did it, calling him only "my worst guest." It didn't take long before her loyal viewers posted an image from 2011, when comedian Gilbert Gottfried appeared on her show, placing his head in between her breasts while he hugged her. Gottfried, 62, told Inside Edition he didn't recall the incident—and wasn't aware that Williams had banned him from her show.

The Thrill of It All ( Capitol Records ), Sam Smith's sophomore album, debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, with 237,000 equivalent album units earned during the week ending Nov. 9, a press release noted. It has also topped the charts in the U.K, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands and Belgium, selling one million units worldwide in the first week of release. The album includes the hit "Too Good At Goodbyes," which is certified platinum by the RIAA.

However ( speaking of the charts ), Taylor Swift's latest album, Reputation, scored the best-selling week of this year ( the week after Smith's feat )—and became the year's highest-selling LP so far—by selling 1.2 million copies, Rolling Stone reported. Reputation marked the fourth time Swift crossed the platinum mark in an opening week—following 2010's Speak Now, 2012's Red and 2014's 1989—making her the first artist to achieve four million-selling weeks, Billboard reported. According to Nielsen, Reputation sold 41 percent more albums than the other 199 albums on this week's Billboard 200 combined.

A letter indicated that the sixth and final season for Netflix's House of Cards is looking to resume production after Dec. 8, Deadline reported. The announcement comes in the wake of the sexual-misconduct investigation facing Kevin Spacey. In a letter to the "Cards" team that Deadline obtained, Media Rights Capital SVP of Television Business and Legal Affairs Pauline Micelli expressed appreciation for their patience, indicating that the crew will be paid for an additional two-week hiatus from Nov. 27 through Dec. 8—indicating that production will take place after the latter date.

Chuck D ( the leader of the influential rap group Public Enemy ) discussed gay executives with The Guardian while promoting his book, Chuck D Presents This Day in Rap and Hip-Hop History. At one point, Chuck said that, in the 1990s, "the heads of those record companies hated [female rappers]. And the same with gay rappers. Even though a lot of those executives, they might have been gay, they kept things hidden because of marketing. My argument was, and is, always the same: hip-hop is about being who you are, without trying to be somebody else."

The Recording Academy's 60th annual Grammy Award nominations were announced the morning of Nov. 28 in the top categories, including record of the year, song of the year, best new artist and album of the year, CBS News noted. ( Grammy-nominated singer Andra Day announced the nominees. ) Dominating this year's biggest awards are Childish Gambino, Kendrick Lamar, Bruno Mars and Jay-Z. The Grammy Awards will take place Sunday, Jan. 28, on CBS.

Beyonce was this year's highest-paid woman in music, pulling in a whopping $105 million pre-tax, Forbes reported. The album Lemonade was a hit with both critics and fans, giving Beyonce her sixth solo number-one; the ensuing Formation World Tour, much of it falling into our list's scoring period, grossed a quarter of a billion dollars. Adele finished second, earning $69 million, boosted by seven-figure nightly grosses on her first proper tour since 2011.

Speaking of Beyonce, she is getting into the holiday spirit with her own line of gifts this year, Page Six noted. She's embellished everything from hoodies to onesies with slogans: "I Sleigh All Day," "Slay Bells," "Holidayonce," "Have a Thicc Holiday" and "Sis the Season," to name a few. The items are available on Beyonce.com, and range from $35 to $55.

Actress Rutina Wesley has played queer roles on True Blood and Queen Sugar—and there seems to be an LGBTQ element to her real life as well, NewNowNext.com noted. She's posted a number of photos on Instagram getting comfy with New Orleans-based Chef Shonda—and has even shown what appears to be an engagement ring. Wesley was previously married to actor Jacob Fishel, but the two divorced in 2013 after eight years.

Barbra Streisand announced a new concert album and a one-off Netflix show, Independent Online noted. In Barbra: The Music...The Mem'ries...the Magic! ( that aired Nov. 22 ), the 75-year-old singer-actress takes fans behind-the-scenes of the forthcoming compilation—which was filmed on the last stop of the iconic superstar's 13-city 2016 tour—and is composed of a career-crowning array of songs. Fans can either purchase a single disc, 19-song album of memorable concert highlights or a deluxe two-disc set featuring the entire concert performance.

Bisexual comedian Erikka Innes has a brand-new special called Unicorn Dance Party 2, according to PR. Innes—a Stanford University grad, nationally touring comedian and award-winning writer ( with the twitter handle @nerdgirlcomedy )—performs and hosts regularly at Flapper's Comedy Club in Burbank, California, and has appeared on Laughs on Fox and Sirius XM's Hey Get Off My Lawn. More about the hour-long special is at https://www.amazon.com/Unicorn-Dance-Party-Erikka-Innes/dp/B076XXS6KY.

Comedians and real-life married couple Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher announced the release of their first split comedy album Back to Back, out Dec. 8 on ASpecialThing Records, a press release noted. Recorded live in Brooklyn on their recent Back to Back co-headlining tour, the 12-track comedy album includes six duo tracks featuring the couple together, followed by three solo tracks from each of them. The album, the first from a same-sex married couple performing as a duo act and separately, features all new material and both comic's edgy and human takes on love, identity and pop culture.

A third accuser—and the first non-transgender individual—is alleging that Jeffrey Tambor sexually harassed her back in 2001, saying that he forcibly kissed her, Deadline reported. Like before, the Transparent star is apologizing for any upset and denying the claims. In a statement, Tambor said: "I have absolutely no recollection of anything like this incident ever happening. If it did, it wasn't meant as anything more than an enthusiastic farewell and gratitude for a job well done at the end of a shoot. However, I am deeply sorry for any discomfort or offense I may have inadvertently caused her." Tambor has exited the series.

Morrissey defended Kevin Spacey and questioned Anthony Rapp's sexual-misconduct allegation in a recent interview with German publication Der Spiegel, The Washington Blade noted. Morrissey explained that he is against sexual assault but thinks many victims only tell their stories because they are "disappointed" with the encounter. About Rapp saying that Spacey assaulted him when Rapp was 14, Morrissey said, "You have to ask 'Where were the boy's parents?' You ask yourself if the boy didn't know what could happen."

The Hollywood agent who allegedly groped Terry Crews is back at work after a brief suspension—and the actor thinks he got off easy, the New York Daily News rported. WME agent Adam Venit returned to work following a one-month paid suspension that came after he was accused of grabbing Crews' genitals at a party in February 2016. Upon hearing the news, Crews, 49, took to Twitter to share his feelings, posting "SOMEONE GOT A PASS."

Uma Thurman wished a Happy Thanksgiving to her Instagram followers—all except Harvey Weinstein and his "wicked conspirators," Deadline noted. She wrote, "I'm glad it's going slowly—you don't deserve a bullet." She also cited the #MeToo hashtag in reference to herself. She recently told Access Hollywood, "I've learned that when I've spoken in anger I usually regret the way I express myself. So I've been waiting to feel less angry. And when I'm ready, I'll say what I have to say."

British-American actress Angela Lansbury says attractive women "must sometimes take blame" for sexual harassment, adding that beauty "has backfired on us," according to The Huffington Post. "There are two sides to this coin," she told Britain's Radio Times. "We have to own up to the fact that women, since time immemorial, have gone out of their way to make themselves attractive. And unfortunately it has backfired on us, and this is where we are today."

NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit—known for its use of "ripped from the headlines" storylines—will use the Harvey Weinstein scandal as inspiration for an episode later this season, Page Six reported. However, the episode won't be set in the entertainment biz; it will focus on the airline industry. Law & Order: SVU also was planning an episode starring Gary Cole and inspired by Donald Trump for last season, but it never aired.

Backstreet Boys' Nick Carter has been accused of rape by Melissa Schuman, former member of teen-pop group Dream, Rolling Stone noted. In a detailed blog post, Schuman claimed that the alleged attack occurred after she and Carter were cast in the same "made-for-TV movie." Carter allegedly invited Schuman to his apartment and performed oral sex on her, despite Schuman insisting that she "didn't want go any further" beyond kissing; she claims he then led her to his bedroom and raped her. Carter has denied the allegation.

FX has slotted Wed., Jan. 17, for the premiere of The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, Deadline noted. The 10-episode Versace examines the shocking July 1997 assassination of Gianni Versace ( Edgar Ramirez ) on the steps of his Miami Beach mansion by sociopath and serial killer Andrew Cunanan ( Darren Criss ). Penelope Cruz and Ricky Martin also star.

A judge has ruled Janice Dickinson's defamation lawsuit against Bill Cosby can continue, Page Six reported. The former supermodel filed suit against the fallen comedian/actor and his attorney, Marty Singer, after Cosby branded her a liar for accusing him of rape. Cosby, who remains roiled in civil litigation over sex assault and rape claims, is slotted to stand retrial next April for molesting a Temple University employee in 2004.

The celebrity roster of ABC's next edition of Dancing with the Stars will include all athletes, the show revealed during the season 25 finale—during which Broadway star Jordan Fisher was crowned the winner, US Magazine reported. Ten athletes yet to be named from a variety of sports will compete for the coveted Mirrorball trophy in spring 2018. In past seasons, numerous sports stars have competed on the ballroom floor and triumphed, including Emmitt Smith, Apolo Anton Ohno, Kristi Yamaguchi, Meryl Davis and Helio Castroneves.

A former Glee star was arrested for an alleged altercation with her husband, ABC7.com reported. Naya Rivera ( who played cheerleader Santana ) was charged with domestic battery and was arraigned in West Virginia. Local news reports said Rivera's husband, Ryan Dorsey, claimed she hit him in the head and lip while they were taking their 2-year-old son for a walk. The couple have been married since 2014.

Mariah Carey is signing with Jay-Z's Roc Nation to manage her career after firing former manager Stella Bulochnikov earlier this month, Page Six noted. Sources previously said that Carey's backup-dancer boy toy Bryan Tanaka had taken over as her manager, but his role is creative director.

Gay ex-NFL player Esera Tuaolo was eliminated from NBC show The Voice on Nov. 13, Outsports noted. Judge Blake Shelton was forced to pick only three of his team's six finalists, and he chose to exclude Tuaolo from his final three after he sang LeAnn Rimes' "How Do I Live?"—thus, eliminating Tuaolo from the competition. Former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre tweeted, "While I'm disappointed to see my friend and teammate @eseratuaolo not make it to the @NBCTheVoice Playoffs, I am hopeful he will be coming back as a Wildcard!" Unfortunately, that did not happen.

Next year's Met Gala will have the theme "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination," Vogue.com revealed. Designed to create a dialogue between fashion and the masterworks of religious art in the museum's holdings, the show will be presented in a trinity of locations: the Anna Wintour Costume Center, the medieval galleries at the Met's Fifth Avenue location, and further uptown at the Cloisters. Anna Wintour's co-hosts for the 2018 gala ( to be held April 30 ) will be Amal Clooney, Rihanna and Donatella Versace.

NBC will air the Golden Globes 75th Anniversary Special on Wed., Dec. 13, at 9 PM ET/PT as a two-hour special hosted by Will & Grace stars Eric McCormack and Debra Messing to celebrate the best moments in the history of the awards, Deadline noted. It will feature highlight clips from past shows, exclusive interviews and a countdown of the top Globes-winning movies of all time as selected by members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Seth Myers will host the actual Golden Globes awards ceremony Sunday, Jan. 7, on NBC.

Shameless co-star Ethan Cutkosky ( who plays Carl Gallagher on the Chicago-set series ), 18, was charged with a misdemeanor DUI stemming from an arrest on Nov. 2, according to a New York Daily News item that cites TMZ. He reportedly smelled of marijuana and had admitted to officers that he was smoking earlier in the evening at the time he was pulled over in Los Angeles. Law enforcement sources told TMZ that he faces up to six months in jail, a $1,000 fine and a possible loss of license if convicted.


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