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Chris Pine knocks Russia's law; celeb judges on 'Drag Race'
Entertainment news: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

This article shared 8010 times since Wed Jan 22, 2014
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Actor Chris Pine ( Star Trek; the upcoming Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit ) has said the United States should have done more in the run-up to the Sochi Olympics to protest Russia's anti-gay legislation, which he calls "clearly awful, archaic, hostile nonsense," according to an Associated Press item. "I think we should do more than just send gay Olympians there," the 33-year-old actor said. ''What's happening there in terms of gay rights or the lack of it is extraordinary and awful."

RuPaul is back with a new crop of celebrity guest judges to help transform "herstory" with the sixth season of the series RuPaul's Drag Race, according to a Logo press release. This season's celeb guest judges include Neil Patrick Harris, Adam Lambert, Khloe Kardashian, Linda Blair, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Heather McDonald, Eve, Paula Abdul, Mike Ruiz, David Burtka and Bob Mackie. The new season starts Monday, Feb. 24, on Logo.

On the heels of her debut song "Break Your Heart," singer/songwriter Aline Queen has released the follow-up single "Princess Boy," which celebrates adolescent boys exploring their love of dressing as the female gender, according to a press release. "The song is about how I really have a love and admiration for people who cross dress," says the singer, who has spent years as a professional dominatrix. The dance song is available on iTunes and at other digital retailers, and the video appears on YouTube.

Shakira has announced the release date of her new album, according to Digital Spy. The singer confirmed the worldwide release date of her 10th studio LP on Twitter as March 25. The record marks her first English language LP since 2009's She Wolf, which sold more than 3 million copies worldwide, and included the singles "She Wolf," "Did It Again" and "Gypsy."

Actress Amy Adams ( Enchanted; American Hustle ) displayed what patrons said were impressive pipes while singing karaoke at a gay bar in Los Angeles, according to the New York Daily News. In a video TMZ obtained, the actress belted out the last few lines of "Defying Gravity," from the musical Wicked, while appearing on stage with a male friend.

Liza Minnelli was originally signed to do the Pine Brothers Softish Throat Drops ad that aired during the Golden Globes featuring Martha Stewart— but she canceled on the day of the shoot after reportedly making demands and suffering an apparent "nervous breakdown," The New York Post noted. Minnelli allegedly insisted on a rider that included two cartons of cigarettes, a humidifier, six cases of Bai antioxidant drink, black Egyptian cotton towels, a body scale, a food scale, no Styrofoam plates ( silver trays only ), a $400 coffee service, and full hair and makeup. Stewart reportedly earned $1 million for a 40-minute film job.

Madonna donated $1 million to her charity Raising Malawi in 2012,despite the African aid organization being hit with allegations of fraud and misplaced funds, among other things, according to Radar Online. The executive director of the charity from 2005 to 2010, Philippe van den Bossche, left the charity amid accusations he allowed the organization to use school funds for personal expenses, such as free housing, a car and driver, and a golf club membership. ( He denies being accused of such conduct. ) Raising Malawi did actually help construct classrooms in the African country in 2012 with the help of local aid organization buildOn.

Kanye West is reportedly upset with Beyonce's latest album because he claimed to have the idea of doing a visual album first, Radar Online noted. Supposedly, people around West convinced him the idea wouldn't work. West's latest album, Yeezus, has sold fewer than 1 million copies despite critical acclaim.

In an op-ed that originally ran on, Alicia Menendez offered advice on Dallas Buyers Club actors ( and Golden Globe winners ) Matthew McConaughey should they win Oscars. In part, she wrote, "I really would have loved it if you'd used this national platform in front of some of the bougiest, most influential Americans to remind everyone that HIV and AIDS persists as a reality. Prove to us that you're the great actors I think you are by demonstrating that you've been touched and transformed by a reality that isn't your own."

Recently, out meteorologist Sam Champion marked his first Television Critics Assn. appearance as the new face of the Weather Channel, according to Variety. Champion's new show will follow Al Roker's longstanding Weather Channel early-morning series Wake Up With Al. Weather's session was aptly timed as the cabler has gone public with its carriage fight with DirecTV.

The nominations for the 2014 Oscars were announced Jan. 16 at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences' Beverly Hills headquarters. The nominees for Best Picture are 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity, Her, Nebraska, Philomena and The Wolf of Wall Street. Among the actors nominated were Sandra Bullock ( Gravity ); Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey ( Dallas Buyers Club ); Lupita Nyong'o ( 12 Years a Slave ); and Meryl Streep ( August: Osage County ). Among the snubs were Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson ( Saving Mr. Banks ); Robert Redford ( All Is Lost ); and Tracy Letts for writing August: Osage County. The Academy Awards will take place March 2 on ABC. Ellen DeGeneres will host.

Former Glee star and YouTube sensation Charice attempted to take her own life, is reporting, and her grandmother claims it's because of the financial strain the 21-year-old was feeling. The grandmother, Teresita Relucio, appeared on the local Filipino program Showbiz Police to confirm Charice's suicide attempt—by slashing her wrists. Last year, Charice came out of the closet, telling The Buzz, "Yes, I am a lesbian. But to those who can accept me, thank you very much. We are all equal, whether you are gay or straight."

Madonna is writing a "grown-up" album of ballads—with help from Adele, according to The Daily Mail. Madonna has asked the 25-year-old songstress to help her, promising in return to write a song for Adele's next record.

The View co-host Sherri Shepherd used the "love the sinner, hate the sin" approach to explain why she is not anti-gay, according to a Huffington Post item. Talking with's Alicia Melendez, Shepherd said the biggest misconception about her is that she has been mistakenly deemed anti-gay because of her Christian background. Shepherd added, "You grow up being a Christian and you grow up believing homosexuality is a sin; you're going to hell if you're a homosexual. ... I might not agree with your lifestyle, but I love you. You may not agree with my lifestyle, but you love me."

Two actors associated with classic TV shows have died. Dave Madden, who was band manager Reuben Kincaid on the '70s show The Partridge Family, has died at age 82, according to . Madden died of congestive heart failure and kidney failure following a long illness. Also, Russell Johnson—the professor on Gilligan's Island—has passed at age 89 of natural causes.

Wolfe Releasing has acquired the worldwide Digital and DVD rights to EastSiders, according to a press release. The film—based on season one from writer/director/award-winning playwright Kit Williamson—reveals the aftermath of infidelity on a gay couple, and will debut on VOD and DVD this summer.

At the Critics' Choice Movie Awards Jan. 16, the film 12 Years a Slave was named the Broadcast Film Critics Association's best movie of 2013, according to the L.A. Times. The drama also earned awards for supporting actress for Lupita Nyong'o and adapted screenplay for John Ridley. Gravity earned the night's most wins, with a record-breaking seven trophies, including one for Sandra Bullock ( actress in an action movie ), who dropped the F-bomb during the ceremony. France's Blue Is the Warmest Color, about a lesbian couple, won for best foreign-language film. Oprah Winfrey presented Lee Daniels' The Butler co-star Forest Whitaker with The Joel Siegel Award.

Bravo Media has greenlit the brand-new culinary competition series Top Chef Extreme ( working title ), which will premiere in summer 2014, according to a press release. In each episode, personalities from past Top Chef and Top Chef Masters will face off head-to-head in three rounds of extreme culinary challenges. Fans are encouraged to share their dream "cheftestant" battle pairings on Top Chef's Facebook page or on Twitter @BravoTopChef, using #TopChefExtreme.

Lesbian musical duo Tegan and Sara will support the third leg of singer Katy Perry's tour, which will take place Sept. 9-Oct. 8, according to a press release. In another tour-related announcement, Tegan and Sara will be a part of Amnesty International's Bringing Human Rights Home benefit concert at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Feb. 5 with The Flaming Lips, Imagine Dragons, Lauryn Hill, The Fray and more. Also, the duo teamed with The Lonely Island to sing "Everything Is Awesome," the theme from The LEGO Movie.

Approximately 8.5 million people tuned in for the fifth-season premiere of Duck Dynasty ( Jan. 15 )—down from the 12 million viewers who watched the fourth-season premiere, according to a Huffington Post item. Moreover, in the highly sought after age demographic of 18-49, only 4.2 million tuned in. Also, executives at several networks ( ABC and CBS ) were reportedly mad with A&E for "caving" to the backlash from Duck Dynasty fans when star Phil Robertson was suspended for anti-gay comments, Fox News noted.

Michelle Hurst, who plays Miss Claudette on the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, recently awoke from a 16-day medically induced coma at a North Carolina hospital, reported. Hurst was injured in a serious car accident before the holiday season that required the coma. Piper Kerman, who wrote the memoir on which the series is based, shared a link to a fundraising site ( ) set up to help cover medical expenses and lost income from time off work.

Singer Jennifer Holliday—best known for her portrayal of Effie "Melody" white in the original Broadway musical Dreamgirls—has a new album, The Song Is You, according to a press release. "Song" ( a mix of standards, previously unrecorded songs and lesser-known compositions ) is Holliday's first pop album in 23 years.

Fox television stations have opted not to pick up the talk show hosted by Kris Jenner for next season—but are leaving the door open for 2015, according to . Kris, produced by sibling Twentieth Television, had a six-week trial run on several key Fox stations this past summer.

While at the Sundance film festival, openly gay actor George Takei slammed Utah Gov. Gary Herbert for not recognizing the more than 1,300 same-sex marriages that took place in Utah between the overturning of the state's ban late last year and their stoppage during appeal, according to . Takei, who was at the festival promoting the film To Be Takei, said of Herbert, "I'm stunned by his stupidity. Apparently he believes in governing by hysteria—that's the only way it can interpreted. This governor now is trying to put the toothpaste that's been squeezed out back into the tube."

At a "network party," the latest star of The Bachelor aired his candid but anti-gay thoughts about the possibility of a future gay bachelor, according to The Huffington Post. When asked about the ABC show possibly featuring a gay or bisexual bachelor, Juan Pablo Galavis reportedly told The TV Page's Sean Daly, "No... I respect [gay people] but, honestly, I don't think it's a good example for kids..." Galavis, the show's first Latino bachelor, added, "There's this thing about gay people... It seems to me, and I don't know if I'm mistaken or not... but they're more 'pervert' in a sense. And to me the show would be too strong... too hard to watch." He has since apologized, blaiming his choice of the word "pervert" on the fact that English is his second language, Fox News noted.

Rosie O'Donnell has joined the hit ABC Family series The Fosters for a multi-episode storyline, TV Guide reported. Her role is Rita Hendricks, the tough-love operator of a group home that takes in runaway Callie Jacob ( Maia Mitchell ). Regarding how she got the role, she said, "I googled The Fosters and found out Peter Paige, whom I worked with on Queer as Folk, was the co-creator. I emailed him to say how much my family loved the show and he wrote back and asked if I'd do a role."

Madonna has apologized for captioning a photograph of her teenage son boxing with a racial slur, according to the L.A. Times. The photograph shows Madonna's 13-year-old son Rocco in the midst of what appears to be some boxing training; part of the image's caption included a variation of the N-word with "dis" included as a prefix. After initially being defiant, Madonna posted, "It was used as a term of endearment toward my son who is white. I appreciate that it's a provocative word and I apologize if it gave people the wrong impression. Forgive me."

The AIDS movie Dallas Buyers Club and TV's Modern Family were among the winners at the 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild ( SAG ) Awards Jan. 17. Regarding movies, Dallas Buyers Club's Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto won honors for their roles, with Leto portraying a transgender woman. In the area of television, Modern Family won comedy series ensemble—the show's fourth consecutive SAG Award. Downton Abbey's formidable Maggie Smith won for outstanding performance by a female actor in a drama series, while Michael Douglas ( Behind the Candelabra ) won for outstanding performance by a male actor in a television movie or miniseries. Rita Moreno accepted the Screen Actors Guild's Life Achievement Award.

Dance and R&B divas Evelyn "Champagne" King and Thea Austin as well as rapper Eve have joined the entertainment line-up at the annual lesbian event The Dinah, according to press releases. King has had hits such as "Shame" and "Love Come Down"; Austin is the former lead singer of the '90s group Snap!, known for songs such as "The Power" and "Rhythm Is a Dancer." Grammy winner Eve recently released her first new album in 11 years, entitled Lip Lock. See .

Singer John Grant has released the video for the song "Glacier," off his 2013 album Pale Green Ghosts, according to a press release. The song's lyrics tackle the experience of suffering from struggles associated with homophobia. ( Grant is publicly out and HIV-positive. ) See the video—which contains references of everything from entertainer Divine to the assassination of Harvey Milk—at

Fox's Chairman of Entertainment Kevin Reilly says that if The X Factor comes back, it will be with a different format, according to . Reilly made the proclamation at Monday's Television Critics Association winter press tour, where he admitted that the singing competition "underperformed" this past season. Reilly elaborated, albeit slightly, on a possible form of the show without a weekly Simon Cowell presence, though Reilly said the creator of the series will never be completely out of it.

Lea Michele, star of Fox Television's popular series Glee, is set to release her 11-track debut album, Louder, on March 4, according to a press release. Tracks on Louder include the Sia-penned lead single "Cannonball", the pop/rock anthem "On My Way" and the ballad "Battlefield." See .

After having great success with The Sound of Music Live!, NBC plans to go the live-musical route again with Peter Pan, according to USA Today. A live remake of "Pan," from the same producing team of Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, will air Dec. 4, almost a year to the day after Music, which drew 18.6 million viewers for the live broadcast. Pan has not yet been cast, although in contrast to many productions, the title role will likely be played by a male actor.

A-List star Bradley Cooper got quite the surprise on the red carpet at the SAG Awards Jan. 18, according to US Magazine. Soon after he arrived outside the Shrine Auditorium, prankster and Ukrainian journalist Vitalii Sediuk lunged at the actor, kneeling and hugging him around his waist with his face in his crotch. At last year's Grammys, Sediuk, 25, attempted to interrupt Adele's Best Solo Pop Performance acceptance speech before presenter Jennifer Lopez cut him off.

Bisexual actress Amber Heard is reportedly engaged to Johnny Depp, according to The New York Daily News. Depp allegedly proposed on Christmas Eve but Heard took a while to make up her mind. Depp, 50, and Heard met while filming "The Rum Diary." They publicly confirmed that they were dating in June 2012 after Depp and his longtime partner Vanessa Paradis announced their split.

One Direction boy-bander Liam Payne has dealt with some backlash after showing some support for the A&E show Duck Dynasty in the wake of the star Phil Robertson's controversial anti-gay comments, according to The New York Daily News. Payne, 20, tweeted to Willie Robertson, complimenting the reality star for his "family values" and business ventures. Many people took the singer's tweets to mean he agreed with Phil Robertson's comments. Later, the singer lashed out at journalists and others he said "twisted" his words to be more significant than he intended.

Following the success of HBO's first-of-its-kind Game of Thrones international exhibition that traveled to five cities in 2013, HBO is extending its global reach by visiting Mexico City, Mexico; Austin, Texas at South by Southwest; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Oslo, Norway; Toronto, Canada; Belfast, Northern Ireland and Vancouver in 2014, according to a press release. The 2014 exhibition will feature all-new installations and offer a fresh perspective on the show, focusing on key places and characters/relationships from the series.

PBS has announced the premiere date of the British comedy ( "Britcom" ) Vicious, starring Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi as a gay couple who have been together nearly half a century, according to . The six-part series, which PBS acquired from Shine International in October, will air on Sundays and premiere July 6. Meanwhile, Jacobi's drama Last Tango in Halifax has been ordered for a second season, returning June 29.

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