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Showbiz news: Laverne Cox, Logic, Gloria Estefan, 'Teen Wolf'
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2017-08-29

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Laverne Cox casually dropped the news that Beyonce asked the Orange Is The New Black star to collaborate on a new project, The Huffington Post noted. Cox broke the news on Access Hollywood, where Cox discussed the first time she met the singer and her Emmy nomination for "Orange." Cox said, "So, I have no idea [how this came about] to be perfectly honest. I'm like, does she pick out her biggest fans ever and work with her? It's pretty amazing."

Modern Family's Nolan Gould and actor Coy Stewart star as gay teens in an interracial relationship in rapper Logic's new video for "1-800-273-8255" ( featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid ), according to Uproxx. The video also stars Don Cheadle and Matthew Modine as the boys' respective fathers. ( Luis Guzman also pops up in the video as a high school track coach. ) In the video, the couple hides their relationship until Modine's character finds the boy in bed together, which causes the African-American teen to go into a downward spiral of suicidal thoughts.

Singer Gloria Estefan will be honored at the 2017 National LGBTQ Task Force Gala-Miami on Oct. 7 at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, according to a press release. Estefan will be presented with the National Leadership Award for her work to support LGBTQ people. As an outspoken activist around racial and economic justice, immigration equality and marriage equality, Estefan has been an ally to the LGBTQ community through her partnership with the It Gets Better Project. Most recently, Estefan, along with husband,Emilio, produced an LGBT-themed movie titled A Change of Heart that premiered at the OUTshine Film Festival in Miami.

Charlie Carver and Colton Haynes ( both openly gay actors ) lock lips in the new Teen Wolf cycle, Gay Star News noted. What's more is that they play characters who are in a gay relationship in the final instalment of the hit show. Carver ( who has a twin, Max ) made his name as a teen on the program Desperate Housewives; meanwhile, Haynes' ( who has also been on Arrow ) career ascent continues with a role in this year's series of American Horror Story.

In a new interview with The Cut, Kathy Griffin revealed that Rosie O'Donnell —one of President Trump's most notorious sparring partners—helped convince her to release an apology video after Griffin's photo of a beheaded Trump sparked intense backlash from both Republicans and Democrats, according to Page Six. During a phone call between the two women, O'Donnell asked Griffin, "What is James Foley's mom going to think when she sees this?" Foley was the American journalist who was beheaded by ISIS in 2014.

The Evening Standard reported that ITV is looking for a place to build a mini theme park in London that will immerse visitors in the period Brit worlds of Downton Abbey and Victoria, according to Moviefone. They expect 250,000 people a year will want to check out the "distinctive visitor experience," which has a tentative opening target of 2018.

Showtime has acquired the rarely seen Prince concert film Sign O' the Times, which will air on U.S. television for the first time in more than a decade, premiering Saturday, Sept. 16, at 9 p.m. ET/PT, a press release touted. Created as a companion to the 1987 Prince double album of the same name, Sign O' the Times features live performances of songs including "U Got the Look" ( with Sheena Easton ), "If I Was Your Girlfriend" and "I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man," in addition to the title song and a striking rendition of the Prince classic "Little Red Corvette." Much of the film was shot at Prince's own Paisley Park Studios, as well as on tour in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Actress AnnaLynne McCord called out Southwest Airlines for allegedly discriminating against a same-sex couple and their children, NewNowNext.com noted. The star of the recent 90210 TV reboot tweeted a photo of two men and their daughters smiling in their seats. In an accompanying note, she explained that the clan was not allowed to board the plane when a Southwest employee called for "Family Boarding." A representative for Southwest says it has not heard directly from the family, but insisted the airline "regret[s] any less-than-positive travel experience."

Amazon Studios has greenlit a fifth season of Jill Soloway's Transparent, according to Deadline. Season five of the award-winning series will begin production next year and is expected to premiere in 2018 on Prime. The entire Pfefferman family will be back, including Jeffrey Tambor ( Arrested Development ), Judith Light ( Dallas ), Gaby Hoffmann ( Girls ), Jay Duplass ( Togetherness ) and Amy Landecker ( Louie ). Andrea Sperling ( Spivak ) will continue as executive producer as well as Soloway.

The Toronto Film Festival ( which runs Sept. 7-17 ) will screen the world premiere of the new Lady Gaga documentary Gaga: Five Foot Two, a cinema-verite look inside her life, Page Six reported. Gaga is also set to perform after the docu debut, which is set for Sept. 8 at the Princess of Wales Theatre. The Netflix original documentary will bow on the streaming service Sept. 22.

The movie version of the '90s TV show Baywatch is now out on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Combo packs, according to a press release. Lt. Mitch Buchannon ( Dwayne Johnson ) leads his elite squad of lifeguards on a mission to save the bay. Co-stars include Zac Efron and Priyanka Chopra.

Nurse Jackie actor Haaz Sleiman has come out about his sexuality, TheWrap noted. "I am a gay, Muslim, Arab-American man. And I'm going to take it even further: Not only am I gay, but I'm also a bottom. Not only am I a bottom, but I'm also a total bottom which means I like it up you know where," he said in a video posted on Facebook. The 41-year-old Lebanese-American actor's declaration was in response to a recent finding by Human Rights Campaign that more LGBTQ Americans have been murdered already this year than in all of 2016.

Tituss Burgess recently learned the hard way why there's only one Beyonce, TheWrap reported. The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt actor said that the toughest part of the Netflix comedy's third season was filming the parody of Beyonce's "Lemonade," which took place after his character, Titus Andromedon, became suspicious that his significant other was unfaithful. "The most challenging thing, and not just because it's the episode I submitted, but it was the 'Lemonade' episode," said Burgess, who earned his third straight Emmy nomination last month for his role on the series that stars Ellie Kemper.

P!nk received the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the MTV Video Music Awards on Aug. 28, according to a press release. Among some of the other winners were Ed Sheeran ( artist of the year ), Kendrick Lamar ( multiple awards, including video of the year, for "Humble" ), Zayn & Taylor Swift ( best collaboration, for "I Don't Wanna Live Forever ( Fifty Shades Darker )" ) and Twenty One Pilots ( best rock, for "Heavydirtysoul" ). Katy Perry hosted the event.

A porn company is suing Marc Juris—the openly gay president of WE TV—for $1.2 million, claiming he knowingly distributed its videos to file-sharing torrent sites, NewNowNext.com noted. Flava Works, which specializes in videos starring models of color, claims Juris joined its site as a member, and then downloaded various videos as well as illegally uploaded them on peer-to-peer file-sharing sites such as Gay-Torrents.org and GayTorrent.ru. Flava Works CEO Phil Bleicher claims Juris filed a countersuit under a John Doe pseudonym, claiming Flava Works blackmails its subscribers by filing boilerplate lawsuits and threatening to out them as customers.

Singer Morrissey is releasing a new CD on Nov. 17, according to a press release. Low in High-School will be Morrissey's first studio album since 2014 and his debut for BMG. The album will see BMG partnering with Morrissey on the new release and on the launch of his new label, Etienne Records. The album will be released digitally and in physical formats: CD, colored vinyl and limited-edition cassette.

Actress Glenn Close said she was humbled to receive an award named after Katharine Hepburn, given what an inspiration Hepburn was to her career, Page Six noted. The Day of New London reported Close received the Spirit of Katharine Hepburn Award in Connecticut. The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center presents the honor to someone who embodies Hepburn's "spirit, independence and character."

Legendary composer Stephen Sondheim has spoken about when director John Tiffany approached him with a view to directing an all-male version of Company, WhatsOnStage.com noted. Sondheim was speaking at the National Theatre's platform, hosted by Jeremy Sams, who asked whether Sondheim had ever said no to a director who wanted to stage one of his pieces. There's always talk about if Bobby is gay or not. ( He isn't. ) ... [Tiffany] said he'd like to do an all-male version. I said OK, let's do a reading of it, and it didn't work, because it wasn't written that way."

In an effort to celebrate Missy Elliott's accomplishments, one Virginia resident launched a petition to replace a Confederate monument in the state with a statue of the pioneering rapper, Billboard noted. Spearheaded by Portsmouth native Nathan Coflin, the Change.org petition—which has garnered thousands of signatures—seeks to "put white supremacy down, flip it and reverse it," by removing the current Confederate monument in Coflin's city and replacing it with "a true Portsmouth native hero."

Taylor Swift's new self-referencing video for "Look What You Made Me Do" set a record for most-viewed music video in a 24-hour period, ABC News noted. The video racked up 28 million views in less than a day; at its peak, it received more than 3 million views per hour. As a result, the video out-drew "Despacito," which got 22 million views in 24 hours, and Adele's "Hello," which racked up 27 million views.

Amid the glitz of her current tour, Mariah Carey told Page Six that she suffers from "low self-esteem" and remembers what it was like being a broke aspiring singer. She said, "I just feel like I am a regular human being and I deserve the same respect as anybody else. I have always had low self-esteem, and people do not recognize that." But she added, "I can't measure what type of respect I deserve—I really can't." Carey's on the road with Lionel Richie for their All the Hits tour.

VH1 announced Ricky Martin: Behind The Vegas Residency will premiere Monday, Sept. 4, according to a press release. This one-hour special will give viewers access to Martin's seven-week preparation for his Vegas residency. VH1 is available in 93 million U.S. households, and has an array of digital channels and services.

A transgender woman at an LGBT event over the weekend ambushed Caitlyn Jenner for voting for Donald Trump, Page Six revealed. The woman, Ashlee Marie Preston, filmed the intense confrontation and shared it on Facebook. "It's really f—ked up you continue to support somebody that tears us down," she yelled at Jenner at the event. "It's really f—ked up." Stunned by Preston's action, Jenner remained mostly quiet as the journalist continued to hound her.

Speaking to Billboard magazine recently, country star Shania Twain revealed the reason she name-dropped the actor on her 1997 single "That Don't Impress Me Much" was because she didn't see what the big deal was after seeing naked photos of him in Playgirl magazine, Page Six noted. The photos in question appeared in the August 1997 issue of the now-defunct Playgirl magazine. Pitt, who was 33 when the photos were published, successfully sued the publication at the time, stopping shipment of more copies of the issue and eventually forcing its recall.

Facing a March 19, 2018, trial start, CBS wants a multimillion-dollar lawsuit over profits and salary for Judge Judy dismissed—but Judy Sheindlin herself wants the Les Moonves run company to know that she's the boss, Deadline reported. "CBS had no choice but to pay me what I wanted because otherwise I could take it wherever I wanted to take it or do it myself," boasted the TV judge in a deposition from last summer in the case that Rebel Entertainment first filed in March 2016. Sheindlin ( who makes $47 million/year ) added, "I can produce this show myself for decades. I choose not to do that because of my age and because of the fact that I like the uncomplicated life I lead."

LCD Soundsystem has teamed with the Amsterdam-based design studios Puckey and Moniker as well as with Google's data arts team to produce a kind of abstract, interactive music video for their latest single "Tonite," Variety reported. "Dance Tonite," as the piece is called, lets owners of high-end virtual-reality ( VR ) headsets dance to the single's music, capturing their motions and then broadcasting them to anyone visiting the projects' website with their computer, phone or Daydream VR headset.

Javier Bardem, Gael Garcia Bernal, Angelina Jolie and Helen Mirren will headline a series of public conversations about their careers as part of this year's Toronto Film Festival, according to Variety. Bardem stars in mother!, Darren Aronofsky's upcoming horror film, and Loving Pablo—both of which will debut at the festival. Jolie is bringing First They Killed My Father, a drama about the Cambodian genocide that she made for Netflix, to the gathering. Mirren is appearing opposite Donald Sutherland in The Leisure Seeker, another festival entry. And Bernal will be seen in If You Saw His Heart, which will screen at the event.

Forbes released its two annual lists of the highest-paid actors and actresses, revealing a continuing gender wage gap in Hollywood, TheWrap noted. Mark Wahlberg topped the highest-paid actors list with a $68 million paycheck between June 2016 and 2017, while Emma Stone topped the other list with a competitively small $26 million. With a combined $488.5 million, the top 10 actors on Forbes' list far outranked the top 10 actresses, who earned $172.5 million total.

Morgan Freeman will be the 54th recipient of the SAG Lifetime Achievement Award for his career achievement and humanitarian accomplishments, Deadline noted. The award, which will be presented at the 24th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Jan. 21, 2018, is SAG-AFTRA's highest honor. Freeman, who began acting at age 12, has appeared in nearly 100 films, which together have earned more than $4.5 billion at the box office.

After blacking out her entire social-media presence, Taylor Swift has announced her sixth studio album, Reputation, will be released Nov. 10, TheWrap reported. The "Blank Space" singer also revealed some pop art to go along with the new album.

The Today show announced a special performance by music superstar Kelly Clarkson on Sept. 8 as part of its 2017 Summer Citi Concert Series, a press release noted. Interested persons can enter for a chance to fly to New York City to watch the performance and meet Clarkson at https://twitter.com/kelly_clarkson/status/900696715384176640.

Musician Bobby Valentino's public drama is far from over, BET.com noted. Valentino and Reima Houston—the transgender woman who accused the singer of attempting to coerce her into having sex with him—are reportedly gearing up to face off in the courtroom. Valentino's legal team filed a suit against Houston, claiming she was guilty of extortion. The "Mrs. Officer" singer alleges Houston took an unauthorized video of him during their late-night encounter, and when he asked about it, she threatened to release it on social media unless he paid her several thousand dollars.

Jay-Z is standing up for his lyrics, despite what the Anti-Defamation League has to say, Page Six noted. "You wanna know what's more important than throwin' away money at a strip club? Credit / You ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America? This is how they did it," Jay-Z raps in the song "The Story of O.J." While the Anti-Defamation League did "not believe it was Jay-Z's intent to promote anti-Semitism" it did find cause for concern in the lyric. But on a recent episode of the "Rap Radar" podcast, Jay-Z revealed that many of his lyrics are exaggerated, which is why he considers much of this debate moot.

In other news regarding Jay-Z, he will be the musical guest when Saturday Night Live returns for its 43rd season, Deadline noted. Ryan Gosling will be the guest host. At the end of Season 42, cast members Bobby Moynihan, Vanessa Bayer and Sasheer Zamata made their final appearances; Colin Jost and Michael Che will return to the Weekend Update desk.

The women of Buffy the Vampire Slayer are staying mum after a bombshell account by show creator Joss Whedon's ex-wife, Kai Cole, in which she said Whedon described a set full of "beautiful, needy, aggressive young women" and admitted several affairs during their 16-year marriage, according to TheWrap. Sarah Michelle Gellar, who played the title role in a star-making performance over seven seasons, and Eliza Dushku ( who played Faith ) were among those who declined to comment on Cole's characterization.

Grammy winner Fergie ( known for heading The Black Eyed Peas ) will release her second full-length album, Double Dutchess, on Sept. 22 via her own label, Dutchess Music/BMG, according to a press release. ( She will also release what's called her first visual album "experience"—Double Dutchess: Seeing Double. She has already released the single "Hungry" ( featuring Rick Ross ), which has an accompany video, as well as "You Already Know" ( with Nicki Minaj ). A few of the other songs on the album include "M.I.L.F. $," "Tension," "Love Is Blind" and "Love Is Pain."

In his first major TV role, Orlando Bloom has been tapped to topline Amazon's eight-episode straight-to-series fantasy drama Carnival Row, Deadline reported. The series follows the investigation of a string of unsolved murders that are eating away at whatever uneasy peace still exists between a city's citizens and immigrants that happen to be mythical creatures.

Melanie "Mel B" Brown stormed off the America's Got Talent stage after fellow judge Simon Cowell made a crude joke about her wedding night, People.com noted. "I kind of imagine this would be like Mel B's wedding night," Cowell said after a magician suffered a technical malfunction during his performance. "A lot of anticipation, not much promise or delivery." Brown is in the middle of a divorce from estranged husband Stephen Belafonte.


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