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Chely Wright, partner have twins; John Barrowman's new gig
Entertainment news: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

This article shared 6730 times since Tue May 21, 2013
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Country-music singer Chely Wright and her wife, Lauren Blitzer-Wright, are now the parents of identical twin boys, Gay Star News noted. The "Single White Female" singer gave birth to the children May 18 in New York City. The babies are named George Samuel and Everett Joseph, after their great-grandfathers. Wright and Blitzer-Wright married in Connecticut in August 2011.

Out actor John Barrowman (Torchwood; Arrow) will host a new celebrity singing competition for ABC for the summer called Sing Your Face Off, according to Digital Spy. Sing Your Face Off has been commissioned for a six-episode run, and each episode features five celebrities emulating iconic musicians and singing their songs. Debbie Gibson and former Saturday Night Live cast member Darrell Hammond will be judges; contestants confirmed so far include daytime soap star Lisa Rinna, ex-Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach and comedian Jon Lovitz.

The hit PBS series Downton Abbey will return for season four on Jan. 5, 2014, USA Today reported. Season four will run for eight weeks, from Jan. 5 to Feb. 23. Shirley MacLaine, who plays Martha Levinson, will return, as will several new actors including Tom Cullen, Nigel Harman, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Gary Carr. Returning actors include Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Dame Maggie Smith and Michelle Dockery.

The band Backstreet Boys announced that it will release a brand new album and embark on a 24-city North American tour with all five original members: Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, Brian Litrell, AJ McLean and Kevin Richardson. This is the band's first tour with all five original members in a decade. The tour will kick off in Chicago and continue through such cities as Montreal, Detroit, Phoenix, Las Vegas and San Francisco.

Actress Angelina Jolie, 37, has reportedly experienced no complications since undergoing a double mastectomy in February and reconstructive surgery in April, according to . However, the mother of six is also planning to undergo surgery to remove her ovaries. Because of her "faulty" BRCA1 gene, she still faces a high risk of developing ovarian cancer, which her doctors estimate at 50 percent.

Talking with Howard Stern, superstar singer Rod Stewart said he once seduced a man, thinking he was a woman, according to a New York Daily News item. "There was this beautiful woman in a bar... and I'm thinking...'Why aren't the guys trying to chat her up?'" he recalled about an Australian night out in the 1970s with his band Faces. "They said, 'Rod, we have left her for you,' It turned out she was a guy."

GLAAD has accused writer Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho) of conducting "publicity stunts" for his Twitter rant about being disinvited to the organization's Media Awards, according to Gay Star News. "Given the crude remarks he's made about the gay community and people living with HIV/AIDS, this publicity stunt is not surprising," Rich Ferraro, GLAAD's vice president of communications, said in a statement. Ellis has also stated that watching the TV show Glee is "like stepping into a puddle of HIV."

Actor David Yost, formerly known as the Blue Power Ranger, has rejected producers' request to participate in an upcoming Power Rangers reunion because he said he was bullied over his homosexuality, the New York Daily News reported. Yost, 44, who starred on the show 1993-96 but didn't come out as gay until later, tweeted that he had been offered the chance to return for an episode of the current Power Rangers Megaforce but turned down the opportunity. A "Power Rangers" producer who wished to remain anonymous told TMZ that Youst was a "pain in the ass" when he filmed the series.

In an interview with the Advocate, R&B singer Monifah Carter talked about her journey as a lesbian in the music industry and her own family. Among other things, Carter said that her mother said "Oh. God," when seeing her hold hands with her first girlfriend, adding to the fact that Monifah's brother was gay—but that discovering Monifah's lesbianism "wasn't a big deal." On TV One's reality series R&B Divas, she is reconnecting with 22-year-old daughter Akemi, who disapproves of her mother's two-year relationship with her partner, Terez.

The American Civil Liberties Union has started a campaign to tru and and get Modern Family's gay couple Cameron and Mitchell married, according to Gay Star News. The advocacy arm of the civil liberties group, called ACLU Action, started a campaign complete with a website for RSVPs. Modern Family premiered on ABC in 2009, and has won the Emmy for outstanding comedy series the past three years.

Winona Nelson's new graphic novel, Artifice, is garnering attention—not only because the story features gay protagonists, but because the comic portrays their relationship as completely normal, according to . Artifice is in the yaoi—a.k.a. boys' love or BL—comics genre. Yaoi, a Japanese manga genre focusing on gay men, is mostly written for and by women and is extremely popular in Japan, with a small but avid fan base in the United States.

America Ferrera, who starred on the ABC show Ugly Betty, is getting her bachelor's degree after a decade, according to . Ferrera graduated from the University of Southern California with a diploma in international relations May 17. "I'm walking in my college graduation in 3 days from @uscdornsife! It's finally happening! Took me 10 years, but it feels great," she tweeted May 14. She enrolled at USC Dornsife (or Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences) in 2002.

Actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Chris Pine are in talks to play the Princes in the Walt Disney Pictures film adaptation of Into the Woods, according to . Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain) and Pine (Star Trek), best known for their film work, sang for Academy Award-winning Chicago director Rob Marshall and are expected to receive offers to join the cast, which is led by Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp.

Actress Mo'Nique (who won a best supporting actress Oscar for her role in Precious) has lost 80 pounds, according to US Weekly. In a radio interview, Mo'Nique explained that husband Sidney Hicks encouraged her to change her habits and admitted that she was a "food junkie" who once weighed nearly 300 pounds. She now mixes up her workouts by lifting weights, running, doing yoga, playing basketball, taking at least 10,000 steps a day and other activities.

David Beckham—the English midfielder who combined good looks and top skills to become one of the most recognizable athletes in the world—announced that he would retire from soccer at season's end, the New York Times reported. Beckham, 38, has played his final season for Paris St.-Germain, adding a French league championship to the ones he won in England with Manchester United, in Spain with Real Madrid and in the United States with the Los Angeles Galaxy. Beckham is married to Victoria Beckham, formerly known as Posh Spice, one-fifth of the Spice Girls.

A 1991 painting depicting a topless Bea Arthur—the actress known for her shows Maude and The Golden Girls—that was created by artist John Currin sold at an auction for $1.9 million, the L.A. Times reported. The sale was part of a larger Christie's auction in New York of post-war and contemporary art that brought in $495 million—a record figure for any art auction. Among other items at the auction were works by Jackson Pollock, Roy Lichtenstein and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Outspoken LGBT ally Chris Kluwe, a football player who was with the NFL's Minnesota Vikings, has found a new team: the Oakland Raiders, according to . The punter told Fox Sports he intends to continue speaking out on behalf of the LGBT community. California is awaiting a ruling from the Supreme Court on whether Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriages, will be upheld.

The people behind the online series Where the Bears Are are seeking donations for the second season at, according to a press release. In the first season, Rick Copp (The Brady Bunch Movie) Joe Dietl (The Thin Pink Line) and Ben Zook (Jack and Jill) played three gay bear roommates living together in Los Angeles who attempted to solve the murder of a party guest who turned up dead in their bathroom.

A month into the relaunch of soaps All My Children and One Life To Live online, producer Prospect Park is adjusting its release schedule to two new original episodes each, instead of the four it's airing weekly now, according to . Fresh episodes of All My Children will be uploaded on Monday and Wednesday, and new episodes of One Life To Live on Tuesday and Thursday. (Friday will continue to be day for recap shows.)

Uma Thurman will star as controversial anti-gay activist Anita Bryant in the film Anita, produced by Sex And the City creator Darren Star, Howard Rosenman, Jeffrey Schwarz and Dennis Erdman, noted. Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman will direct from a screenplay by Chad Hodge; those filmmakers won Oscars for Common Threads: Stories From The Quilt and The Times Of Harvey Milk. The film follows the singer and orange-juice spokeswoman who, after allowing a gay screenwriter into her home, is forced to confront her past as an anti-gay Christian crusader.

Top tennis players Roger Federer and Andy Murray recently spoke about the topic of a fellow athlete coming out of the closet, according to a item. "I don't think it would be a problem," Federer said. "We're very relaxed. We don't play a team sport and see each other all the time. ... We're very open. So whatever happens, happens." Murray added, "From speaking to the other players, I don't think anyone has any issues with it. So I hope that in tennis it's an issue that is dealt with well when the situation arises."

Rihanna is suing British retail giant Topshop for $5 million for selling T-shirts bearing her image without her consent, according to the New York Post. The "Umbrella" singer's team had tried to negotiate with Topshop owners Arcadia Group for eight months over the rights to her image; however, a source said "they offered her $5,000 and said they don't care." Rihanna, 25, has hired international law firm Reed Smith to file the suit in London.

In an effort to bolster the struggling CW series The Carrie Diaries (based on Sex and the City, but set in the 1980s), Samantha will be introduced as a character when it returns this fall, according to the New York Post. In the film Sex and the City 2, a flashback established how Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) met best friends Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda. Samantha met a poodle-haired Samantha (Kim Cattrall) in CBGBs, where Sam was a bartender in 1986.

On the new track "Dirty Laundry," former Destiny's Child member Kelly Rowland details her envy over Beyonce and her solo fame, according to the New York Daily News. Part of the song is "When my sister was on stage killin' it like a (expletive)/ I as enraged, feelin' it like a (expletive) ... Bittersweet she was up, I was down/ No lie, I feel good for her but what do I do now?" Rowland also talks about domestic violence she's endured on the song, which is part of her upcoming album, Talk A Good Game.

The UFC suspended lightweight fighter Nate Diaz for tweeting an anti-gay post about fellow fighter Bryan Caraway, according to . (In the tweet, Diaz called Caraway "the biggest Fag in the world.") Diaz's manager tried defending the fighter, saying, "Guess what? The word [expletive], at least in Northern California, and where Nate is from, means (expletive). It means you're a little punk. It has nothing to do with homosexuals at all." In a release, the UFC said, "We are very disappointed by Nate Diaz's comments, which are in no way reflective of our organization."

Judge Mariah Carey was among those who performed on the season finale of American Idol—but now there are allegations that she lip-synched her way through some of her greatest hits, according to . Carey and her reps are insisting that the singer's performance—which included songs such as "Vision of Love" and her new single, "#Beautiful—was live. Incidentally, Candice Glover won the singing competition, besting Kree Harrison.

Singer George Michael has been airlifted to hospital with a head injury following a crash on the M1 motorway in England, according to the BBC. A spokesman for Michael confirmed he had been involved in an accident but said the singer only had "superficial cuts" and was "fine." The "Faith" singer was a passenger in a Range Rover and no other vehicles were involved. In September 2010, Michael received an eight-week sentence for crashing his car while under the influence of cannabis.

Britney Spears is working on her eighth album with help from Black Eyed Peas front man, reported. is taking a different approach, telling Billboard, "Before we even start, we've had these juicy sessions, where we've been bonding, building the trust and comfort. I've never worked like this before—not even the Peas." The two previously collaborated on the 2012 song "Scream and Shout" on his solo album, #willpower.

ABC Entertainment announced that the final unaired episodes of the TV show Don't Trust the B—— in Apt. 23 are playing out online and on select mobile devices, according to . The eight new episodes are available through June 23 on Watch ABC on, the Watch ABC Player for iPAD, iPhone, iPod Touch and Kindle Fire, HULU and iTunes.

Sources say that Shakira and Usher are turning for season six of the NBC show The Voice in the spring of 2014, reported. The return of the duo will see the departure again of original judges Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green, who coming back for season five, which will premiere this fall. Adam Levine and Blake Shelton will remain on the panel of the series, which ends its current season (with Shakira and Usher) June 18.

Daniel Radcliffe has revealed that he was given "step-by-step instructions" to shoot a gay sex scene in his upcoming movie Kill Your Darlings, according to Digital Spy. Radcliffe said: "I was doing a gay sex scene and the director (John Krokidas) was giving step-by-step instructions. And the favorite note I have ever had was when we were kissing and the director shouted, 'Not like that. Crazy sex kissing!'" Radcliffe plays the late poet Allan Ginsberg in the movie, which co-stars Elizabeth Olsen and Michael C. Hall.

Multiple sources have confirmed that Beyonce is expecting her second child, according to E! Online. The news followed rampant speculation that the "Crazy in Love" songbird was pregnant, even as the couple remained tight-lipped about their ever-growing family. Speculation started after Beyonce wore a gown at the recent Met Gala that concealed her stomach, and grew after she cancelled a show in Belgium, citing dehydration and exhaustion.

Outfest LA, Los Angeles' 11-day LGBT film festival, has announced its Opening Night film: C.O.G., starring Dale Dickey, out actor Jonathan Groff and Pretty Little Liars' Troian Bellisario, according to . C.O.G. is the first feature film based on the writings of David Sedaris, and it premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival. Outfest opens on July 11 and prior to the screening of C.O.G., the event will present its 17th annual Achievement Award to Kimberley Peirce, best known for the film Boys Don't Cry, which stars Hilary Swank.

Lesbian women's basketball player Brittney Griney said that Kim Mulkey, her coach at Baylor University, told players not to be open publicly about their sexuality because it would hurt recruiting and look bad for the program, according to . "It was a recruiting thing," Griner said during an interview with ESPN The Magazine and espnW. "The coaches thought that if it seemed like they condoned it, people wouldn't let their kids come play for Baylor." Earlier this year, Mulkey said she didn't care about her players' sexual orientation, Gay Star News noted.

Legendary out columnist Michael Musto has responded to being laid off from The Village Voice, according to . It was announced May 17 that the blogger/columnist had been let go, shocking fans and colleagues. (The company also released food critic Robert Sietsema and theater critic Michael Feingold.) On Facebook, Musto expressed his gratitude for the position, writing, in part, "What a ride! I got to meet my icons, piss off power brokers, and write whatever I wanted because the Voice not only let you do that, but encouraged you to do so, providing a cathartic venue in which to spout truths and even make enemies, if need be."

The landmark drama The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me—about a gay man's coming-of-age during the peak years of the HIV/AIDS crisis—got a makeover on the eve of its 20th anniversary, the Huffington Post reported. Originally conceived as a solo piece in 1993, it was presented as an ensemble piece with Andre De Shields, B.D. Wong and Rory O'Malley, among others, for one night only May 20 in New York. David Drake said that seeing the original New York production of Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart inspired him to write "Night."

In his final regular appearance on Saturday Night Live, Bill Hader's character Stefon gets away from Seth Meyers and marries Anderson Cooper (who appeared as himself), according to the Huffington Post. However, in the skit, Myers breaks up the wedding a la The Graduate, surrounded by the colorful nightlife characters he's talked about over the years.

Simon Cowell will be the lone male judge on the next season of X Factor, according to . Singers Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio will join returning judges Demi Lovato and Cowell. "It's taken more than a decade but I'm delighted to finally be on a panel with three girls (I think!)," Cowell said in a statement. Rowland was part of Destiny's Child while Rubio, who has sold more than 20 million albums worldwide, has coached on The Voice Mexico.

The Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles held its second annual Voice Awards May 19 at The Globe Theatre, according to a press release. The organization honored the show American Idol, activists Fred Arens and Jason Duguay, and writer/director Liesel Reinhart; actor and GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz hosted the event. Among those who attended were actress Marissa Jaret Winokur, writer/comedian Bruce Vilanch, Glee's Alex Newell and U.S Congressman Adam Schiff.

Chicago Filmmakers—the presenting organization of Reeling, the world's second oldest LGBT film festival—has announced return dates for the festival after its 2012 hiatus. The 31st edition of Reeling, which has been officially rechristened Reeling: The Chicago LGBT International Film Festival, will be Nov. 7-14. Windy City Times movie critic Richard Knight Jr. has been named program director for Reeling, while Gretchen Blickensderfer has been named managing director. The duo will split responsibilities for the festival.

Mary J. Blige is facing a new financial issue, according to . The Internal Revenue Service is after the "No More Drama" for $3.4 million in unpaid taxes. TMZ reports she failed to pay income taxes totaling around $574,000 in 2009, $2.2M in 2010, and $674,000 in 2011. In addition, Blige still owes the state of New Jersey $901,000.

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