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Showbiz news: Diana Ross, 'Drag Race' cast, Frank Ocean, Sam Smith
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2017-10-24

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ABC and dick clark productions announced that music superstar Diana Ross will be honored at the 2017 American Music Awards with the American Music Award for Lifetime Achievement, a press release noted. In addition to attending the very first show in 1974 and leading several performances throughout the years—including a star-studded performance of "We Are the World" in 1986—Ross hosted the show 1986 and 1987 and was on hand in 2014 to present the first-ever Dick Clark Award for Excellence to Taylor Swift. The ceremony will broadcast live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, Nov. 19.

The cast members of season three of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars have been revealed, a press release noted. The contestants will include Aja, BenDeLaCreme, Chi Chi DeVayne, Kennedy Davenport, Milk, Morgan McMichaels, Shangela, Thorgy Thor and Trixie Mattel. For more information on RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, go to http://www.vh1.com/shows/rupauls-drag-race-all-stars.

Frank Ocean has won a libel suit filed against him by his dad, Out.com noted, citing Law360. The Grammy winner's father, Calvin Cooksey, filed a claim in response to Ocean's 2016 Tumblr post describing how his dad called a transgender waitress a gay slur when he was a child. Cooksey argued the post cost him "future financial opportunities" through defamation. The judge ruled that "Calvin Cooksey ... failed to meet necessary elements to make his defamation claim."

Singer Sam Smith has come out as genderfluid in an interview with the London Sunday Times, according to an LGBTQ Nation item. The openly gay singer talks about his love of high heels and makeup and reveals that at one point in his life he didn't own any men's clothing—only women's. While Smith mostly identifies with drag queens lately, he said he does not consider himself a cisgender man, pointing out two tattoos of gender symbols on his fingers—one male and the other female, adding, "I don't know what the title would be but I feel just as much woman as I am man."

Mariah Carey's home was ransacked, with burglars robbing her of $50,000 worth of designer sunglasses and handbags, Page Six noted. Sources told TMZ the crooks seemingly got in through a window or door on an upper floor, as a ladder was found in the backyard. No one was home at the time of the burglary as Carey—who has 6-year-old twins Moroccan and Monroe with ex-husband Nick Cannon—is currently in New York.

Performances began Sept. 26 ( and officially opened Oct. 19 ) for the 35th-anniversary production of Harvey Fierstein's Torch Song Trilogy—now simply named Torch Song, according to Playbill. The Second Stage production off-Broadway stars Michael Urie and Mercedes Ruehl, with direction by Moises Kaufman. Urie stars as Arnold Beckoff ( the role playwright Fierstein originated ) opposite Ruehl as his mother, in a cast that also features Jack Difalco ( Marvin's Room ) as David, Ward Horton ( Pure Genius ) as Ed, Roxanna Hope Radja ( Frost/Nixon ) as Laurel, and Michael Rosen ( On The Town ) as Alan.

Transgender hip-hop artist Epiphany Mattel has released the single "#FixYoFace," a press release noted. "It's about everyone going above and beyond with their appearance to stand out and be noticed at clubs today, but then they bring their scowl, a 'resting bitch face,' that makes them unapproachable," explained Mattel. RuPaul's Drag Race favorite Latrice Royale manages Mattel.

Elton John will be pushing back from his piano at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for the last time next year, USA Today noted. John's last performance of his show "The Million Dollar Piano" will be on May 19, 2018, after more than 200 shows. It is John's second residency at Caesars Palace, as his "The Red Piano" shows ran from 2004 through 2009. The Caesars show is named after John's piano, which has dozens of LED video screens that display images while the singer performs some of his biggest hits.

Actor Ross Lynch, 21, recently talked with Out.com about playing gay serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer in the new critically acclaimed film My Friend Dahmer. "You have to put yourself in the person's world," Lynch said, "and his was very isolated. A big thing for me was the question you'd ask about any killer: Is it nature or nurture?" My Friend Dahmer premieres in theaters Nov. 3.

Talking about his recent role on Will & Grace as a conversion therapist, out actor Andrew Rannells said it was a thrill to be part of a show he has loved since college, TheWrap noted. He added that the revived sitcom hasn't skipped a beat, including its willingness to take on topical issues. Rannells and fellow guest star Jane Lynch appeared on last week's episode as newlyweds who run the gay-conversion camp that Jack's ( Sean Hayes' ) grandson attends.

Clay Aiken has no plans to run for president, TheWrap reported. The former American Idol and Celebrity Apprentice star shut down some left-field speculation by Christopher Ruddy's conservative website Newsmax suggesting the out gay singer "could be president someday" and "has all the components of a successful run." Tongue in cheek, Aiken told TheWrap, "I will not be available to run for president, as I have decided to retire to a small experimental colony on Venus where I am dedicating my life to growing prize-winning space turnips."

Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood star Hazel-E and boyfriend Rose Burgandy took to Instagram to post a controversial photo of a gay flag burning, along with some very negative messages—and the social-media community didn't take it too well, Hollywood Life reported. Hazel-E commented on the negative Instagram photo after Burgandy posted it as a response to another user. Her outspoken comment to her beau's post read, "Burn in Hell just like God said in the Bible!"

After more than 20 years, E! has announced it's canceling Fashion Police, NewNowNext.com noted. Gay icon Joan Rivers launched E!'s red-carpet coverage in 1995, injecting awards shows with her unique brand of snark and humor. Rivers left E! for the TV Guide Channel, but returned in 2010 to formally launch Fashion Police in its current form. The show has seen a variety of panelists, including Giuliana Rancic, Kelly Osbourne, George Kotsiopoulos, Brad Goreski, NeNe Leakes, Christian Siriano, Kathy Griffin and Margaret Cho. The long-running show will end Nov. 27 with a special retrospective, Fashion Police: The Farewell.

A group of Puerto Rican, Latinx and Black artists released a benefit compilation album to raise funds for relief efforts following the devastation on the island caused by Hurricane Maria, a press release noted. The album, titled Viva Puerto Rico, was organized by Puerto Rican singer/activist Taina Asili, and features nearly 20 rising and renowned musicians, including hip-hop icon Talib Kweli, punk band Downtown Boys, Grammy-winning singer Lila Downs and indie stars Hurray for the Riff Raff. The album is available only in digital form on Bandcamp, and can be purchased for $25.

Dolly Parton recently donated $1 million to the Vanderbilt University Children's Hospital in Nashville, Billboard.com noted. At a recent visit with patients at the hospital, Parton took some time to sing and to talk about her love of children and how it's affected her philanthropy as a public figure. Parton also heads the Imagination Library, a nonprofit organization that aims to promote early childhood literacy by giving children age-appropriate books to read.

Justin Timberlake will return to the biggest stage in the country's most-watched TV show for the first time since his infamous "wardrobe malfunction" moment with Janet Jackson in 2004, The Washington Post reported. Timberlake will be featured in February at Super Bowl LII, held at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. The league has yet to announce if any other artists will join him onstage.

Warner Bros.' syndication production arm is developing a new daytime format for Jane Lynch, according to Deadline. The show on showcasing her comedic take/spin on everything from pop culture moments to real people with unique, uplifting stories. It's targeting a fall 2018 launch.

In the latest fallout from the Harvey Weinstein sexual-assault scandal, Channing Tatum is ditching his film adaptation of Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock ( which is about sexual abuse ) at the Weinstein Company, Variety reported. The actor and producer announced Wednesday in a statement with producing partner Reid Carolin that they are halting development on the adaptation of Matthew Quick's 2013 novel, which focuses on a high school student who plans to kill his best friend and then himself as a result of sexual abuse. Tatum also said he's cutting ties with TWC, which has fired Weinstein and kicked him off its board in the wake of the far-reaching controversy.

Also, director, producer and Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o has detailed yet another series of alleged Harvey Weinstein sexual-harassment encounters, Deadline reported. In an essay in the New York Times, Nyong'o told of several explicit passes Weinstein tried to foist on her early in her career. "I had shelved my experience with Harvey far in the recesses of my mind, joining in the conspiracy of silence that has allowed this predator to prowl for so many years," Nyong'o wrote of her reasons for speaking out now. Weinstein has said that he recalls things differently.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences—having removed Harvey Weinstein—is now under pressure to eject Roman Polanski, Bill Cosby and other members who have been charged with and/or convicted of serious crimes, according to Page Six. While Weinstein has denied ever forcing himself on women and has not been arrested for anything, Polanski was convicted in 1977 of drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl. Cosby, accused by more than 50 women, was tried for sexual assault earlier this year in Pennsylvania. The trial ended with a hung jury, but he faces a retrial next spring.

Agent Tyler Grasham has now been fired from APA amid sexual allegations from several men, Deadline reported. "Tyler Grasham has been terminated, effective immediately," said a spokesman for the agency. The move comes as one of those who alleged he had been sexually assaulted said he was going to filed a police report with the LAPD. Among those who accused Grasham were former actor Blaise Godbe Lipman and film/TV editor Lucas Ozarowski. According to TheWrap, Brady Lindsey, 19, also accused Grasham, saying the agent reached out to him in a predatory manner when Lindsey was only 16.

Scandal actor Tony Goldwyn shared his own Hollywood casting-couch story in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal and the ensuing #MeToo movement, Page Six noted. "It happened to me when I was literally Lupita's age in my last year of acting school," he said on the red carpet of the 2017 GLSEN Respect Awards. "It happened to me by a man, and it wasn't as extended and awful as what Lupita went through, but it was the same thing." Goldwyn recently tweeted his support for actress Lupita Nyong'o, who told the story of her experiences with Weinstein in a New York Times op-ed.

Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez have raised $26 million for Puerto Rico disaster relief, with another $9 million raised by a benefit show, U.S. News & World Report notd. The two hosted "One Voice: Somos Live!" recently with Marc Anthony. Lopez says that amid "swirling negativity dividing our country," the outpouring of support for Puerto Rico following the devastating hurricane was gratifying. The benefit show included performances by Demi Lovato, Ricky Martin, Mary J. Blige and Gwen Stefani, while stars such as Kim Kardashian and Debra Messing manned the telephones.

House-music legends Ultra Nate and Quentin Harris recently released their first collaborative album, Ultra Nate and Quentin Harris as Black Stereo Faith, a press release noted. This month the duo will release their first package of remixes from Black Stereo Faith. The collection features two tracks from the album, "I'm Too Sexy ( Touch This Skin )" and "SNL," reworked and reimagined by various DJ/producers. The remixes of Black Stereo Faith's "I'm Too Sexy ( Touch This Skin )" and "SNL" release to iTunes, Spotify and all digital platforms on Oct. 27 from BluFire/Epod/ Peace Bisquit.

Fifteen-time Grammy Award winner Alicia Keys will return to the 14th season of NBC's musical competition series The Voice, Deadline reported. Keys will join Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and Kelly Clarkson, who will be making her coaching debut. This will mark Keys' third time as a coach; one of her artists, Chris Blue, was named "The Voice" when she last coached in season 12.

Chelsea Handler's talk show is ending after two seasons on Netflix, TheWrap reported. The comedian wrote in a Facebook post that she is stepping away from the show that launched in May 2016, and will focus on activism for the next year. She is also partnering with Netflix on a politically focused documentary.

Boy band LFO member Devin Lima underwent surgery to remove a "massive adrenal tumor," Page Six reported. "LFO singer Devin Lima went into an incredibly complicated surgery to remove a massive tumor in his abdomen. Devin has since come out of surgery successfully," publicist Alaina Bendi said. LFO members Lima and Brad Fischetti were slated to announce a spring tour this week, but Fischetti said they're going to hold off in light of Lima's health.

It's apparently a war between 50 Cent and Wendy Williams, The Daily Mail noted. The two let leash on one another on social media after the talk-show host told the hip-hop star to "get a life." Her comments were sparked by his plans to throw a "child-support release party" on his son's 21st birthday. In response, 50 Cent ( real name: Curtis James Jackson III ) took to Instagram, sharing a picture of Williams on the beach in her bikini and calling her "ugly" and saying, "Your husband is not a bad man. he deserve a side chick for talking to you."

Former One Tree Hill and Chicago P.D. star Sophia Bush has signed an exclusive talent holding and development deal with 20th Century Fox TV, Deadline reported. The deal calls for her to star in a comedy or drama project for the studio this coming pilot season, as well as develop additional projects for which she'd be an executive producer.

Mychael Knight—fashion designer and former contestant on Project Runway and Project Runway: All Stars—died outside Atlanta at age 39, People.com noted. Knight passed away on Oct. 17 after recently checking into a hospital for treatment for intestinal issues, TMZ reported. Andy Cohen tweeted, "I am so sad to hear about Mychael Knight. When he appeared on #ProjectRunway he was the sweetest guy, full of life, ambition & talent. #rip."

The people behind the Los Angeles Film Festival said that, beginning next year, the fest will take place in September, setting itself up to be involved in the heated and crowded fall festival season that includes the Telluride, Venice, Toronto and New York film fests, Deadline noted. The L.A. fest had been held in June.


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