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Cher cancels; Michael Sam's honor; Andy Cohen outs Spacey
Entertainment news: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

This article shared 7517 times since Mon Nov 24, 2014
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Cher has cancelled her "Dressed to Kill" tour on doctors' orders, Gay Star News noted. The legendary gay icon said she was "devastated" and has pledged to finish it next year. The 68-year-old "Strong Enough" singer was given medical advice that she needed more time to recover from an ongoing viral infection. Almost 30 dates were cancelled, including shows in New York, Boston, Chicago and Toronto; refunds will be given.

Michael Sam, the first openly gay man to be drafted by an NFL team, has been named one of GQ's Men of the Year, noted. The former Cowboys practice squad member will also appear on one of the six covers of the special annual issue. After GQ's announcement, Sam tweeted, "A big thank you to @GQMagazine for including me among their #GQMOTY - I'm beyond honored to share their company!!; In addition, Sam's boyfriend, former University of Missouri swimmer Vito Cammisano, tweeted kudos to Sam.

In his new memoir The Andy Cohen Diaries: A Deep Look At A Shallow Year, the Bravo boss, 46, not only disses prison-bound pals Teresa and Joe Giudice as well as Long Island Medium Theresa Caputo—but he slams ( and outs ) A-list actor Kevin Spacey, Radar Online reported. The Watch What Happens Live host implies his gaydar was set off by the 55-year-old American Beauty star when he ran into him at a U.S. Open game in September 2013. Spacey has been notoriously tight-lipped about his personal life in recent years, often shutting down reporters' questions about gay rumors.

In honor of World AIDS Day on Monday, Dec. 1, Showtime will present the world premiere of The Last One, a documentary chronicling the history of The NAMES Project Foundation's AIDS Memorial Quilt, according to a press release. This 70-minute documentary from director Nadine C. Licostie examines the quilt's legacy and present-day influence as an educational tool in the ongoing effort to raise awareness about the disease and the fight to end it. Among those profiled are quilt founder Cleve Jones and self-described "Hand Maiden of the Quilt" Gert McMullin.

As Angelina Jolie prepares to deliver Unbroken, her biggest directorial effort yet, the star told Du Jour magazine she's "absolutely" quitting acting for good, The Wrap noted. "I've never been comfortable as an actor; I've never loved being in front of the camera," Jolie said. The magazine spread was shot on Gozo Island off of Malta, the location of her next directorial effort By The Sea, an onscreen reunion for her and husband Brad Pitt.

The Queen Latifah Show has been axed by Sony Pictures Television, thanks to low ratings and high costs, USA Today reported. Production will shut down at year's end, although original episodes will continue airing through March. Among women ages 18 to 49, the core daytime audience, the show ranks last among all talk shows, tied with The Doctors. This marks the second go-round for Latifah, who had another daytime talk show that ran for two seasons, from 1999 to 2001.

Fox has set the premiere date for the final season of high school choir drama Glee, The Wrap reported. The 13-episode, 11-week run kicks off with a two-hour event on Friday, Jan. 9. The series will conclude with a two-hour finale on March 20. Several original cast members are slated to return on the sixth and last season of the Ryan Murphy dramedy, including Jenna Ushkowitz, Jayma Mays, Mark Salling and Dianna Agron. The final season of Glee was originally planned to be a full 22-episode season, but Fox dropped the order to 13 in July.

In a Nov. 20 Facebook post, actor Sean Hayes revealed that he quietly married music producer Scott Icenogle the previous week after eight years of dating, CBS News reported. News broke of the couple's engagement after Hayes' appearance on The Talk in October, when fans noticed the 44-year-old actor sporting a ring on his left wedding finger. Hayes has been notoriously private about his personal life, officially coming out in 2010 in an interview with The Advocate, more than 14 years after his landmark series Will & Grace first debuted on NBC.

A woman claiming to be the girlfriend of Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps has revealed she was born male, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Taylor Lianne Chandler, 41, who identifies as intersex, has also shared intimate details of their alleged relationship via Facebook. Chandler, who was named David Roy Finch at birth, said she met 29-year-old Phelps via Tinder before the most decorated Olympian of all time was suspended from swimming after being arrested for driving under the influence in September.

Thousands are backing a petition calling for the cancellation of the TLC series 19 Kids and Counting over the stars' discriminatory sentiments against the LGBT community, according to The Huffington Post. A petition on that Jim Wissick of San Jose, California, launched states that the show, starring conservative Baptists Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and their children, should be axed because of the LGBT fearmongering promoted the family allegedly promotes. Wissick highlights Michelle Duggar's involvement in a robocall against an anti-discrimination housing law affecting the transgender community in Arkansas.

Actor Chris Hemsworth ( Thor ) has been named People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive. The Australian actor, 31, thought it was "pretty funny" when he first heard the news—as did his wife, Spanish model Elsa Pataky, 38, whom he wed in 2010. The Avengers favorite takes over for singer/The Voice judge Adam Levine, who had the title in 2013. Some people had expected anyone from Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt to future Oscars host Neil Patrick Harris to take the crown, USA Today added.

Speaking of the "Sexiest Man" title, actor Ryan Gosling has been considered several times—and has allegedly repeatedly turned down the offer, according to The Wrap. "They tried a few times, especially during his huge year in 2011," an individual close to the cover negotiations said. Multiple efforts were consistently squashed by the actor's team. George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Ben Affleck, Bradley Cooper and Tom Cruise are among those who have been anointed with the title.

OUT Magazine hosted its annual OUT 100 Awards at Stage 48 in New York, according to a press release. The event—which Orange Is the New Black's Lea DeLaria hosted—honored Ellen Page, Sam Smith, Zachary Quinto, Samira Wiley and Tyler Oakley, and featured performances by Mary Lambert, Bridget Everett and MNDR. Other attendees included actor Paul Bettany, Neon Trees' Tyler Glenn, The Real Housewives of New York's Countess Luann de Lesseps, Perez Hilton and Neil Patrick Harris' husband, David Burtka.

Some of the most successful and iconic songwriters of the past half-century captivated an audience of about 800 with performances and speeches at the ASCAP Centennial Awards in New York City, Rolling Stone noted. Stevie Wonder discussed how songwriting can encourage and inspire love before playing a stunning three-song set, including "We've Only Just Begun," "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" and "Superstition," which got the audience dancing. Among other acts, Joan Baez revisited Bob Dylan's "Forever Young," and Bernadette Peters paid tribute to Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim with his Into the Woods tune "Children Will Listen."

Orange Is the New Black star Taryn Manning was arrested for violating a restraining order and threatening to kill her ex-girlfriend, Page Six reported. Manning, 35, was put in cuffs after her ex Jeanine Heller, 32, told police the actress was stalking her through social media and was sending her text messages threatening to kill her, a source said. Heller was arrested July 2 for stalking Manning and again on Sept. 2 for criminal contempt for violating a restraining order.

Country music star Ty Herndon announced he is "an out, proud, and happy gay man" in an interview with Entertainment Tonight that aired Nov. 20, according to . The singer's career includes 17 Billboard hits over a span of nearly two decades. ( "What Mattered Most," "Living in a Moment" and "It Must Be Love" are his three number-one hits, and released the album Lies I Told Myself in 2013. ) Herndon revealed he stayed closeted because he feared public knowledge of his sexuality would have a negative impact on his career. Rumors surrounding Herndon's sexuality first surfaced in 1995, when an undercover male police officer alleged that the star exposed himself in a park.

Interestingly, Herndon's announcement that he is gay has prompted a second country singer—Billy Gilman—to come out on the same day, USA Today reported. In a five-and-a-half minute video posted to YouTube, Gilman said, " It's difficult for me to make this video, not because I'm ashamed of being a gay male artist, or a gay artist, or a gay person. But it's pretty silly to know that I'm ashamed of doing this knowing that … because I'm in a genre, in an industry that is ashamed of me for being me." In 2000, Gilman became the youngest singer ever to have a Top 40 hit on Billboard's country singles chart, being just 12 years old when his debut single, "One Voice," hit number 20.

The 2014 National Book Awards were presented recently at a ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, according to Publishers Weekly. The winners of the 65th annual awards, overseen by the National Book Foundation, included Jacqueline Woodson ( Young People's Literature ), Louise Gluck ( Poetry ), Evan Osnos ( Nonfiction ), and Phil Klay ( Fiction ). Woodson, whose work is filled with African-American themes, is an open lesbian, stated. The award, one of the most prestigious accolades in American literature, comes with a $10,000 cash prize.

Fox will unveil its new drama series Empire on Jan. 7, with limited commercial interruption, following the season premiere of American Idol, Deadline reported. Empire centers on Lucious Lyon ( Terrence Howard ), a charismatic music superstar who is about to take his company, Empire Entertainment, public; Taraij P. Henson stars as Lucious' ex-wife Cookie, and she's still looking for a share of his success. Empire is from the minds of Lee Daniels ( Lee Daniels' The Butler, Precious ), Danny Strong ( Game Change, Lee Daniels' The Butler ) and Brian Grazer.

Kathy Griffin has reportedly signed to become the late Joan Rivers' successor on the TV show Fashion Police, US Weekly noted. TMZ initially reported that Griffin will be joined by Rivers' daughter and "Police" producer Melissa Rivers, as well as co-hosts Giuliana Rancic and Kelly Osbourne; it's not clear if George Kotsiopoulos is returning. Earlier, Griffin confirmed to Access Hollywood that she was offered the gig, but said, "I don't know if the situation is correct at this time for me or right for me at this time."

Diana Ross and Meghan Trainor ( "All About That Bass" ) have signed up to mentor the finalists on the current season of the talent show The Voice, noted. Music legend Ross and breakout pop-star Trainor, as well as Colbie Caillat and Fall Out Boy's Patrick Stump, are heading to the singing competition as guest mentors to 10 aspiring singers. They join an A-list roster of stars who have already appeared as mentors on the current season, including Taylor Swift, Stevie Nicks, Alicia Keys, Gavin Rossdale and Little Big Town.

Stephen Amell, the star of CW's Arrow, has criticized Warner Bros. for its Flash feature-film announcements on Oct. 15, claiming the movie studio's Ezra Miller casting undercut the CW's television incarnation of "The Flash," The Wrap reported. "I thought that it was shitty that all of this stuff got announced the morning of the spectacular ratings of the second episodes of 'The Flash' came in," Amell told AMC Movie News. The CW's Flash debuted to record numbers; however, Warner Bros. unveiled a new phase of its DC Comics movie lineup, which included a standalone Flash movie set for 2018 and an announcement that gay actor Miller ( The Perks of Being a Wallflower ) would star as the speedy superhero in multiple films.

Netflix backed away from its planned Bill Cosby comedy special in light of the ongoing allegations of sexual assault being brought by several women, The Wrap reported. The comedy special Bill Cosby 77 was slated to premiere over the Thanksgiving holiday. ( NBC has also canceled plans for a new family comedy with its one-time star, Newser noted, and TV Land has pulled The Cosby Show from its line-up. ) More than a dozen women, including former supermodel Janice Dickinson, have come forth with stories of being drugged and sexually assaulted. Cosby's lawyer has blasted Dickinson's claims as "outrageous."

The new 1 World Trade Center offices of Vogue magazine are infested with rodents—and editor-in-chief Anna Wintour is not happy, Page Six stated. The 25th- and 26th-floor digs of the Conde Nast publication are overrun with vermin, and Wintour has -issued an edict to staffers to clear her glass-walled office of the pests before she steps a stiletto heel on the premises. Wintour is not expected to take up full-time residence at the country's tallest building until after the New Year.

Hoping to boost a floundering box office, Sting is going to step into the leading role of the $15-million Broadway show for which he's supplied the score, The Last Ship, People magazine reported. Sting—who has said he'd display his rear end "in Macy's if it will help our show"—steps into the show Dec. 9, and is scheduled to remain until Jan. 10.

Yellow Sound Label will release Herringbone—the two-disc solo CD debut by Tony Award winner BD Wong—on Dec. 2, according to a press release. The unique concert album marks the recording premiere of the one-man off-Broadway musical that features a book by Tom Cone, music by Skip Kennon and lyrics by Ellen Fitzhugh. The openly gay Wong played Dr. George Huang on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Father Ray Mukada on Oz and will be in the fourth Jurassic Park movie, Jurassic World.

Vogue editor Anna Wintour has talked about putting Kim Kardashian and Kanye West on the magazine's cover earlier this year—and unleashed a backhanded compliment at the couple in the process, Time noted. During a talk at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Wintour said, "I think if we just remain deeply tasteful and just put deeply tasteful people on the cover it would be a rather boring magazine. Nobody would talk about us. It's very important that people do talk about us. ... I hope another Kim Kardashian comes this year!"

Katy Perry has been named radio's artist of the year, a press release declared. According to Mediabase, she is the only artist with the most spins at three different radio formats. In addition to being the most-played act at Top 40, Hot AC and AC radio, Katy's single "Dark Horse" ( featuring Juicy J )—from her quadruple-platinum album Prism ( Capitol Records )—was the most-played song of 2014 at Top 40 radio.

Speaking of Perry, she, One Direction and Lionel Richie led the list of winners at Billboard's 11th annual Touring Awards, held Nov. 20 at New York's Edison Ballroom, Billboard noted. One Direction, which was not in attendance, took home the awards for Top Draw and Top Tour, with grosses in excess of $290 million. Perry appeared via pre-recorded video to accept the award for her Prismatic Tour, which was recognized as Top Package for featuring Capital Cities, Kacey Musgraves, Tegan & Sara, Becky G and Ferras throughout its 2014 run. Richie was honored with the Legend of Live Award.

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) released two Web videos featuring Dr. Ana Maria Polo, host of the popular Telemundo show Caso Cerrado, for the organization's Americans for Marriage Equality campaign, according to a press release. In the videos—one in English and one in Spanish—Polo speaks out in support of the right for committed gay and lesbian couples to marry nationwide, asking, "What right do we have to interfere with love?" This is the 13th video release for the relaunch of HRC's Americans for Marriage Equality Video campaign; previous ones include celebrities such as Anthony Bourdain, Colbie Caillat, Tony Hawk, Susan Sarandon and Demi Lovato.

One Direction won artist of the year at the American Music Awards, taking home three honors and was the night's big winner next to Katy Perry, who didn't attend the show, the Associated Press noted. Perry won three honors as well, including single of the year for No. 1 hit "Dark Horse." Also, Taylor Swift received the first-ever Dick Clark Award for Excellence, presented by Diana Ross. Pitbull hosted the event, and performed with Ne-Yo.

Lambda Literary announced that The Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation has awarded its Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices a $5,000 grant per year for the next four years to establish a playwriting workshop at the popular summer residency. Playwright, poet and essayist Cherrie Moraga will teach the new playwriting workshop. The retreat will be held June 22-29, 2015, at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Applications are at .

Mike Nichols, the entertainment icon and husband of ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer, died suddenly at the age of 83, ABC News reported. Nichols was born in Germany in 1931, and came to the United States when he was 7, when his family escaped Nazi Germany. He graduated from the Walden School in New York City, and began pursuing theater while attending the University of Chicago in the early 1950s. Nichols—one of the few to win the EGOT: an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony—directed Broadway and film hits such as The Graduate, The Birdcage, Death of a Salesman, Carnal Knowledge and Working Girl.

Frozen and The Lego Movie were among the winners at the BAFTA Children's Awards, held in London, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Disney's Oscar-winning feature took the honor for best film in the kids vote category, which saw more than 200,000 votes cast by 7-14-year-olds. Elsewhere, The Lego Movie fought off competition from Maleficent, How to Train Your Dragon 2 and kids' favorite Frozen to win best feature film.

Border2Border Entertainment Inc. has announced the wide release of Charlie David's ( Dante's Cove ) new film, Studlebrity, a press release stated. The latest in his work on the off-camera lives of men who aren't shy of cameras, Studlebrity follows the I'm a Stripper series. Studlebrity will be available to rent or own in stores nationwide Dec. 9. Distribution and broadcast partners include Cineflix Rights, Syndicado, LOGO, OutTV Canada, OutTV Netherlands, iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Xbox, Vimeo and TLA Video.

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