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Showbiz news: Morrissey, Bette Midler, Liam Hemsworth, 'The Voice'
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
2017-09-26

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Morrissey has unveiled "Spent the Day in Bed," the debut single from his new studio album Low in High School ( out Nov. 17 on Etienne/BMG ), a press release noted. The song features electric piano, synthesizers and acoustic guitars; in the song, the singer urges listeners to focus on their own strengths and to "stop watching the news because the news contrives to frighten you, to make you feel small and alone." A few of the other songs on the album include "I Wish You Lonely," "The Girl from Tel-Aviv Who Wouldn't Kneel" and "Home Is a Question Mark." Also, Morrissey will tour in support of Low in High School, and he will perform classics as well as songs from the new album; stops include Portland ( Oct. 31 ), Seattle ( Nov. 2 ), Chicago ( Nov. 25 ) and New York City ( Dec. 2 ) before winding up in Boston ( Dec. 7 ).

Singer Nona Hendryx ( who was part of the group LaBelle, with Patti LaBelle and Sarah Dash ) recently mused about her life to Page Six. In part, the 72-year-old Hendryx ( who said she loves working out ) talked about seeing Bette Midler again: "I saw my old friend Bette Midler recently in Hello, Dolly, and she was wonderful. We first met at the Continental Baths ( formerly in the Ansonia Hotel ). It was a gay bathhouse that would have artists come and play there while guys watched wrapped in their towels—or not! I think that's where she developed the moniker 'The Divine Miss M.'"

Hunger Games star Liam Hemsworth is lending his voice to Australia's same-sex marriage debate, Queerty noted. The 27-year-old star posted to Instagram, strongly advising Australians to vote in favor of marriage equality for all. Last month, singer/fiancee Miley Cyrus ( who said Hemsworth doesn't want to be identified as a "straight dude" ) tweeted about why all Australians should vote yes on their postal votes. Hemsworth's brother, Chris, has also publicly supported marriage equality.

Openly gay former NFL player Esera Tuaolo amazed The Voice judges and the audience with his rendition of Andra Day's "Rise Up" on the premiere of the singing TV show, People.com noted. Tuaolo, 49, kept his sexual orientation a secret from his NFL teammates during the nine years he was a defensive tackle, buthe revealed on the show what it was like to finally come out of the closet. Judges Jennifer Hudson and Blake Shelton vied for him, with Tuaolo opting for Shelton.

Following her Emmy win, Lena Waithe has confirmed that she plans to make a primetime show in which the main character is a Black lesbian, according to PinkNews. "We do still have a way to go," she told The Daily Beast. "I want to create a show where a Black gay woman is the lead, where she is the protagonist, she is the person whom we are following." At this year's Primetime Emmys, Waithe became the first African-American woman to win the Emmy for Comedy Writing.

Shonda Rhimes didn't mince words in a new interview with Vanity Fair, pointing out the bittersweet nature of the recent history-making Emmy wins, Rolling Stone noted. "It's embarrassing, frankly," she said. "To me, it feels embarrassing that we are still in a place in which we still have to note these moments. … I'm hoping that it's not a trend. I'm hoping that people don't feel satisfied because they saw a lot of people win, and then think that we're done." Donald Glover, Riz Ahmed, Sterling K. Brown and Lena Waithe were among those who were anointed a number of Hollywood's "firsts" during the awards ceremony.

Transparent creator Jill Soloway has said that the worst thing President Trump has done is to encourage intolerance, according to Page Six. "We're all affected as artists now that we live in a world where we can't take for granted the idea that modernity and tolerance are the same thing," Soloway said. "That's the worst thing that Trump has done. We're moving forward in time, and backward in tolerance and that's a really upsetting feeling for our equilibrium as people."

Walt Disney Pictures is now in business with Moonlight Oscar-winning writer Tarell Alvin McCraney to script a musical idea for David Oyelowo to star, Deadline noted. Details are under wraps on what is being titled Cyrano the Moor, but it's apparently some kind of musical mash up of two classic stories—Cyrano de Bergerac and Othello—and will be set in the Bristol region of England during the 19th century.

Ryan Seacrest is still sore over Mariah Carey's claims his production team sabotaged her ill-fated "New Year's Rockin' Eve" performance, according to Page Six. Carey's manager, Stella Bulochnikov, had claimed that Dick Clark Productions was aware of technical issues before Carey's performance began and did nothing to address it. On Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen recently, Seacrest said, "[The crew] put on the biggest live music events and they know what they're doing, and I know how good they are at their jobs—so my reaction was, she was working with the best. I find it hard to believe they made big mistakes that night."

Warner Bros.' remake of A Star Is Born, with director-star Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, will hit theaters earlier next year—specifically, May 18 instead of its original Sept. 28, Deadline reported. Reportedly, Warner Bros. executives saw an early cut of the film and were blown away by Gaga's and Cooper's performances, so they want to get the film on screens as soon as they can. The pic's new release date occurs coincidentally during the Cannes Film Festival.

Production on the show Riverdale has proceeded despite a car crash involving lead actor KJ Apa, Deadline noted. The Vancouver crash left the actor unhurt. The New Zealand-born Apa, 20, crashed into a lamp post in a rented car, sources say. After visiting a downtown Vancouver hospital, he was released with no injuries. Riverdale's second season premieres Oct. 11. Hollywood union SAG-AFTRA has now dispatched a team to Canada to investigate working conditions for performers on the set of the show, TheWrap noted.

TLC's Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins is calling for justice after police shot her mentally ill cousin 18 times, according to People.com . After the confrontation ( in Peoria, Illinois ) resulted in the death of her 25-year-old cousin Eddie Russell Jr., Watkins posted on Instagram, "My Cousin Was Shot 18 Times Including the Face and Back of His Head! He Harmed NO ONE EVER! He Had Mental Health Issues AND THE COPS KNEW THAT!" The Peoria Police Department released a press release on its Facebook page, alleging Russell was shot and killed in front of his home as he was "advancing towards officers with a handgun."

In an emotional Instagram post, actor Brandon Flynn, of 13 Reasons Why, made the case for marriage equality in his homeland—and identified himself as part of the LGBT community, according to NewNowNext.com . Flynn was inspired to write after seeing someone had written "Vote No" in skywriting over Sydney, Australia, where a public survey on same-sex marriage has deeply divided the nation. "We've been scared shitless our whole lives, thanks to all the stigmas that surround us—stigmas that were set in place by the same kind of people who flew that plane over Sydney," he posted. "Equality takes courage, it worries me that too many people in this world lack the balls to stand up for what is right. #fuckhate."

Producer Paula Wagner has set dates for the musical adaptation of the late Garry Marshall's best-known blockbuster, Pretty Woman, to be reborn as Pretty Woman: The Musical 27 years after the film made Julie Roberts a star and confirmed Richard Gere's heartthrob status, Deadline reported. The musical will star Tony winner Stave Kazee ( Once ) as a single businessman in need of a temporary wife, and Samantha Barks ( Eponine in the film of Les Misérables ) as the hooker he hires—and who becomes his love interest.

Actress/writer Lena Dunham called out President Donald Trump in tweets—including one that compared him to Dylann Roof, the man convicted in the 2015 mass shooting in a predominantly African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, TheWrap reported. The tweet came in response to a thread by comedian and Full Frontal writer Travon Free, who was questioning how CNN and other members of the media identify a racist.

A Manhattan judge has tossed a lawsuit Madonna filed against her Upper West Side apartment building ( Harperley Hall ) in New York City, according to Page Six. The judge found that Madonna waited too long to sue ( more than two years ) after the co-op board tried to enforce a rule that she be physically present in the $7.3 million pad when any member of her family or staff are there.

The Stephen King movie It has passed the unadjusted domestic gross of The Exorcist ( $232.9 million, counting the 2000 reissue ) to become the most profitable R-rated horror movie ever, according to Forbes. Warner Bros. is calling the record from a pure genre standpoint, with all other pics such as The Sixth Sense ( $293M ), Jaws ( $260M ) and Will Smith's sci-fi zombie pic I Am Legend ( $256.4M ) considered horror hybrids, Deadline noted. Regarding the early fall, It is the largest title ever between the Labor Day-to-November frame; the horror film eventually will beat Gravity ( $274M ), which is October's highest-grossing title ever stateside. Meanwhile, the sequel to It will be out September 2019, accorrding to The Hollywood Reporter: the sequel will take place in the present, it will be punctuated with flashbacks, allowing the same group of kids to be seen again.

The cast recording of the recent sold-out Broadway revival of Sunday in the Park with George—starring Jake Gyllenhaal in his Broadway debut and Tony-wining actress Annaleigh Ashford—is out on digital download and streaming release via the Arts Music division at Warner Music Group, with the CD version to be released in November, according to a press release. Produced and mixed by Bart Migal, the album features the entire cast of the Sarna Lapine-directed production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine.

Barbra Streisand only wants to be shot from her "good side"—apparently even when it comes to charity, according ot Page Six. The singing diva joined other A-list celebrities such as Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, Justin Timberlake, Kerry Washington and Diddy at the "Hand in Hand" relief benefit in Los Angeles, but made sure photographers shot her best side ( reportedly the left side of her face ). Streisand is famous for insisting on being shot from the left; she even swapped seats with Fallon as a guest on his Tonight Show.

For the first-time ever, all 194 episodes of the Emmy Award-winning Will & Grace are available to stream and on-demand, a Hulu press release stated. The series is available on the NBC app, Hulu and on-demand through satellite, cable and telco pay TV providers; they premiered Sept. 21, one week ahead of the return of Will & Grace on NBC. Hulu will be the exclusive SVOD partner for the original eight seasons, which will also be available on the NBC App and pay TV providers with authentication.

Aaron McCusker has been cast as Freddie Mercury's lover Jim Hutton in 20th Century Fox's Bohemian Rhapsody, which Bryan Singer is directing, Deadline reported. Hutton was a key figure in Mercury's life; he was a hairdresser and boyfriend who spent the last six years with the Queen frontman, and was with Mercury when he died. Mercury is being played by Mr. Robot's Rami Malek.

Lesbian-owned filmed production company tello Films recently received news that two of its projects have been nominated for International Academy of Web Television ( IAWTV ) Awards, a press release stated. Maybelle received a nomination for Best Writing ( Bridget McManus ) for a drama and Best Original Song ( Karman Kregloe ), while Riley Parra was nominated for Best Sound. The winners will be announced Oct. 4 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, according to the IAWTV website.

Netflix has given an eight-episode straight-to-series order to an untitled comedy ( fka Russian Doll ) from Natasha Lyonne, Leslye Headland ( Bachelorette, Sleeping with Other People ) and Amy Poehler, with Lyonne attached to star, according to Deadline. Co-created and executive produced by Lyonne, Poehler and Headland, the comedy follows a young woman named Nadia ( Lyonne ) on her journey as the guest of honor at a seemingly inescapable party one night in New York City.

Sarah Connor is coming back. After more than 25 years, Linda Hamilton is set to return to the Terminator cinematic universe for a new installment of the sci-fi franchise, Deadline reported. The actress will reunite with Arnold Schwarzenegger—who will reprise his role as the killing machine from the future—as well as James Cameron, who directed her in the original film as well as Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

Josh Duhamel was reportedly tired of his pop-star wife Fergie's "partying" before their breakup, Page Six noted. According to pals, their marriage broke down over the course of about a year, in spite of trying couples' therapy. The long slide coincided with the recording of Fergie's first solo album in 11 years, Double Dutchess.

In more action-related news, Oscar winner Alicia Vikander swaps her fancy, costumes from The Danish Girl and Tulip Fever for the military pants and tank top of British archaeologist-adventurer Lara Croft in the new action-packed trailer for MGM/Warner Bros.' reboot of Tomb Raider, Deadline noted. Based on the 21-year old video game franchise, the reboot is an origin story for the heroine.

The Voice alum Meghan Linsey released a statement after taking a knee after singing the national anthem at a Tennessee Titans game on Sept. 24. In part, she said, "Yesterday upon finishing the anthem, I kneeled in solidarity with the players and for those who experience racism and police brutality on a daily basis. I love the American Flag, but a symbol is nothing without the people it represents, so yesterday, I kneeled for those who are mistreated, beaten down and disregarded."

Freeform has ordered a new drama pilot, Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists, from Warner Horizon Scripted Television, a press release noted. Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists is based on the popular book series The Perfectionists, written by Sara Shepard, who also penned the number-one New York Times bestselling book series Pretty Little Liars. Pretty Little Liars stars Sasha Pieterse and Janel Parrish are set to reprise their original roles in the new pilot.

HBO has renewed its drama The Deuce for a second season, a press release announced. Titled after the local slang for New York's fabled 42nd Street and starring James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Deuce began its eight-episode season Sept. 10. The show chronicles the rise of the porn culture in New York from the early 1970s through the mid-1980s.

Jada Pinkett Smith shut down Leah Remini's claims that she's a member of the Church of Scientology, according to E! News. "I know Jada's in. I know Jada's in. She's been in Scientology a long time," Remini told The Daily Beast. "I never saw Will [Smith] there, but I saw Jada at the Celebrity Centre." Pinkett Smith posted on social media, ""I have studied Dianetics, and appreciate the merits of Study Tech… but I am not a Scientologist. I practice human kindness, and I believe that we each have the right to determine what we are and what we are not.NO ONE ELSE can hold that power."

Sabrina the Teenage Witch might be flying back to TV, TheWrap noted. The CW is developing The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, an hour-long dark drama in the horror genre that might be a companion series to the established Riverdale series. "Sabrina" will reimagine the origin of the Archie Comics character Sabrina the Teenage Witch as a dark coming-of-age tale that involves witchcraft and the occult.

R&B and realty star Tamar Braxton has released another track from her forthcoming album, Bluebird of Happiness, according to a press release. The track "Blind" is being released today as an Instant Grat track, meaning fans who pre-order the album will immediately receive the song. Additionally, Tamar announced a national tour, joining Xscape and Monica on 22 stops, including Chicago ( Dec. 15 at the United Center ), Nashville ( Dec. 1 ) and Los Angeles ( Jan. 6, 2018 ).

Andrea Bocelli rested at home resting after falling off his horse and hitting his head, Page Six has confirmed. "He is home and doing fine," a rep for Bocelli said. The legendary blind Italian tenor, 58, was riding near Pisa, Italy, when he fell, TMZ reported. He was rushed to the hospital by helicopter.

Conservative commentator Jedediah Bila has left ABC's The View, ABC News noted Bila made the announcement Sept. 18, saying she was leaving to work on a new book and had "a lot of opportunities" to consider. Co-hosts Sunny Hostin and Joy Behar both sent Bila off with kind remarks even though they noted that their opinions are often on the other side of the political spectrum.

Modern Family star Ariel Winter recently gavve the Internet a piece of her mind, E! Online noted. No stranger to criticism about her looks, Winter star took to social media with a self-described "rant" aimed at those who continue to pick her apart. In part, she wrote, "Screw having to always look appropriate or fashionable. For what? Society? Who gets to decide what is appropriate or fashionable????"

Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth of Tom Tom Club are celebrating the 36th anniversary of their debut album—which featured classic hits like "Genius of Love" and "Wordy Rappinghood"—with a brand-new music video for "As Above So Below," a press release noted. The video was co-directed by Nico de Pouldu and Jim Swaffield and filmed on the beach in Bretagne, France.


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