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DiCaprio gives $61K to GLAAD; Van Sant's 'Fifty Shades' effort
Entertainment news: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

This article shared 6021 times since Wed Apr 24, 2013
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Actor Leonardo DiCaprio donated a total of $61,000 at the GLAAD Media Awards April 20, reported. The Great Gatsby and Django Unchained star first forked over $25,000 in the pledge drive conducted by Wilson Cruz before shelling out for a few auctions, winning a photo of Marilyn Monroe and a $22,000 African safari. DiCaprio is planning his own "11th Hour Auction" May 13 to benefit the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which aims to protect Earth's natural resources.

Openly gay two-time Oscar nominee Gus Van Sant has shot a steamy sex scene featuring Alex Pettyfer (Magic Mike) as Christian Grey in a bid to direct Fifty Shades of Grey, according to . The scene, insiders said, is when the ingenue Anastasia Steele loses her virginity to Grey. Van Sant had previously directed Promised Land and Milk for Focus Features, which has the rights to E.L. James' novel, along with Universal Pictures.

Writers for E!'s Fashion Police went on strike April 17, according to . They are striking E! and Joan Rivers' production company, Rugby Productions, which jointly employ the writing staff. Previously, the writers filed $1.5 million in wage and hour claims with the California Division of Labor Standard Enforcement against E! and Rivers' company.

At the AdAge Digital Conference in New York, BlackBerry Chief Marketing Officer Frank Boulben gushed about singer Alicia Keys' contribution to the company's planning, according to . Boulben said that it was Keys who initially approached BlackBerry with her deep interest in its technology. She has apparently attended five marketing meetings and, at one, gave a PowerPoint presentation.

Natalie Maines of The Dixie Chicks confirmed that she will release her debut solo album, Mother, on Columbia Records May 7, according to a press release. Heavily influenced by the more rock-based, edgy and intense sound of the title track (and Pink Floyd cover) "Mother," Maines teamed with friend and Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Ben Harper, who co-produced the record with Maines. Songs on the CD include "Vein in Vain," "Take It on Faith," "Without You" and "Come Cryin' to Me."

The tour featuring the 10 finalists from season 12 of American Idol (as well as an 11th person the fans voted to join them) will start June 29 in St. Louis, Mo., according to USA Today. The summer tour will comprise 40 shows, and tickets will go on sale May 3 at and Among the other stops are Detroit (July 5), Rosemont, Ill. (July 6), Las Vegas (July 12), Grand Prairie, Texas (July 27), Miami (Aug. 2) and Nashville (Aug. 31).

GLAAD has launched a new public service announcement campaign that director Brett Ratner helmed, a press release noted. The GLAAD "Coming Out for Equality" PSA series features a diverse group of straight celebrities and athletes "coming out of the closet" as supporters of equality and calling for other people to speak out. Participants include Jackie Chan, Tamala Jones (Castle), Giada De Laurentiis (Food Network), Jason Alexander (Seinfeld), Kristen Johnston (The Exes), Sarah Shahi (The L Word) and Pauley Perrette (NCIS), among others. Ratner has made a number of pro-gay moves after stepping down as producer of the 2012 Oscars telecast after making a gay slur, according to E! Online.

College basketball superstar and number-one WNBA draft pick Brittney Griner has come out of the closet, according to . Answering a question from Sports Illustrated's Maggie Gray about why women's professional sports leagues are more welcoming of out athletes than men's leagues, Griner said, "I really couldn't give an answer on why that's so different. Being one that's out, it's just being who you are." She added that coming out "wasn't too difficult." Griner is set to graduate from Baylor University in the spring.

NFL player Kerry Rhodes has rejected rumors that he's gay—but a man has come forward, claiming to be an ex-lover of Rhodes, according to . Russell "Hollywood" Simpson (who also provided photos to the website) said that he "ran the household and took care of all [Rhodes'] personal needs," adding that the other football "wives knew and loved me, too." Simpson also claimed that, among other things, Rhodes paid for everything (including an Aston Martin) and is sexually a top.

In a related story, Marcus Vick (the younger brother of quarterback Michael Vick, who served prison time for his part in a dogfighting ring) tweeted a gay slur toward the Arizona Cardinals, Kerry Rhodes' former team, according to . Marcus tweeted, "Those Arizona Cardinals got a brunch of Fruit Tarts on there team…. Watch out for the pile on pumps this year!!!" Marcus is wanted in Virginia courts for failing to appear and also neglecting to address an outstanding lawsuit settlement claim of $40,000 from 2008.

The April 18 of Glee featured a special performance of the song "More Friends Than You Know." According to, the song—which Tony winner Jeff Marx and Grammy winner Merv Warren co-wrote—was originally crafted for the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles to be performed as a part of the group's "It Gets Better" show. Chris Verdugo, the chorus' executive director, said, "Glee has been a champion for the underdog and the outcast, tackling tough issues including coming out and bullying. Having [the song] showcased on Glee is an amazing honor."

In an interview with, Joel McHale (the star of the NBC show Community and the host of The Soup) talked about everything from man crushes to the gayness of Community. When asked if Community will feature a coming-out episode for the dean (played by Dan Rash), McHale said, "It's leading to a graphic gay sex scene with a lot of costume changes. No, I think it's better to keep it ambiguous." Naming so-called "dude crushes," McHale listed Brian Williams, Patrick Stewart, Kobe Bryant and Chaz Bono, adding, "I'm not picky."

Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte (unintentionally) had the hosts of Good Day Philly in hysterics while talking about his reality show, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Lochte—whose E! show, What Would Ryan Lochte Do?, debuted April 21—said such things as, "My philosophy is if you're a man at night, you gotta be a man in the morning." (It had something to do with his ability to party all night and continue training the next day.) When asked what kind of pickup line would get his attention from a member of the opposite sex, his response was five seconds of complete silence—an eternity on live TV. The anchors managed to hold it together until Lochte signed off, and then they both burst out laughing.

The Young and The Restless actress Jeanne Cooper, 84, was recently hospitalized and is reportedly in critical condition, according to the Huffington Post. She is reportedly battling "a dangerous infection." Cooper's son, actor Corbin Bernsen, has been posting messages to his Facebook regarding his mother's hospitalization, saying her condition has been progressing.

After lengthy negotiations, Fox's musical dramedy Glee has been picked up for the next two seasons, according to . (The negotiations took longer because the network starts footing the bill after the fourth season.) Even if Glee's ratings continue to slip, the show has an off-network syndication deal with Oxygen, which makes a longer run attractive for Fox sibling 20th TV, the studio that produces Glee with Ryan Murphy TV. Glee now joins Fox shows Bones, The Following, New Girl, The Mindy Project and Raising Hope, which all have been renewed for next season.

Grammy-winning singer Lauryn Hill was given a two-week reprieve on her sentencing for federal tax evasion April 22 as U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo admonished Hill's defense counsel for failing to come up with most of the tax money promised prior to her scheduled hearing, according to . Hill, a solo artist and a member of the Fugees rap trio, pled guilty last June to failure to file federal tax returns from 2005-2007, when she earned $1.8 million. She faces up to a year in prison for each charge.

NBC has pulled the Eva Longoria-produced Ready for Love from its broadcast schedule after the new reality dating show's first two episodes delivered poor ratings, reported. Hosted by Giuliana & Bill stars Giuliana Rancic and Bill Rancic, Ready for Love premiered April 9 and was airing two-hour episodes on Tuesdays.

The film The Perks of Being a Wallflower and the NBC series The New Normal were among the honorees in 10 of the 33 media categories at the 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, held April 20 in Los Angeles, according to a press release. Among other recipients were the Fox show Raising Hope (for outstanding individual episode) and Oprah's Next Chapter (for outstanding talk-show episode). In addition, Harvey Weinstein and Jennifer Lawrence presented former President Bill Clinton with the Advocate for Change Award, and singer Kelly Rowland performed.

The success of the 2012 movie Pitch Perfect, about an all-girl a capella group, has spurred TV producers to create/revive shows with similar themes. American Idol producer 19 Entertainment and its parent company, CORE Media Group, have signed an exclusive deal with Varsity Vocals—the collegiate a cappella organization that organizes the International Championship of A Cappella—to develop a show built around the competition and the college students who participate in it, according to . NBC is also diving back into the a capella waters, recently announcing the revival of its competition series The Sing Off.

Electronica duo Daft Punk is back with a vengeance. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the act's "Get Lucky"—the lead single off the band's first non-soundtrack album in eight years, Random Access Memories—reached number three on the U.S. chart immediately after being released. In addition, on the music-streaming service Spotify, the song set a record, with the service saying it produced "the biggest streaming day for a single track in the U.S. and U.K."

Rap artist T-Pain recently came up with a unique tweet addressing anti-gay people, according to . He posted, "Attention all homophobic idiots: If you're not attractive to straight women, you're probably not attractive to gay men. You can unclench now." Thousands of followers retweeted his message.

Dexter—Showtime's popular drama about a Miami Police Department blood-spatter pattern analyst moonlighting as a serial killer—will end after the upcoming eighth season, according to a press release. Since debuting in 2006, Dexter—which stars Michael C. Hall as the tiular antihero—has been a steady ratings success, and has garnered honors such as a Peabody Award.

Actress Reese Witherspoon was charged with disorderly conduct after her husband, CAA agent Jim Toth, was arrested for driving under the influence April 19 in Atlanta, according to . Police said they spotted the couple's car weaving in and out of lanes, so they pulled them over. As the police were questioning Toth, they say, Witherspoon began complaining about the time it was taking and was ordered back inside the car. When she got out a second time, police said, she was arrested. Witherspoon has since apologized.

A musical based on Bret Easton Ellis' novel American Psycho will first debut in London, according to The New York Post. The Headlong theater company said it will stage the world premiere, which features songs by Tony winner Duncan Sheik, at the Almeida Theatre this winter; Rupert Goold will direct. The 1991 novel—ater made into a 2000 movie starring Christian Bale—chronicles a homicidal New York yuppie who is obsessed with high-end clothes and beauty products.

20th Century Fox announced that Charlie Brown, the beloved comic-book character, will be coming to the bigscreen in a 3-D animated version of Peanuts in 2015, reported. For more than four decades Charlie Brown and his friends in the Peanuts cartoon were among the most popular and beloved comic strips in U.S. daily newspapers. Charles Schulz, who died in 2000, had always been reluctant to grant movie rights to his characters, and his family has zealously guarded his copyright.

Ellen DeGeneres and longtime manager Eric Gold have parted ways, according to . DeGeneres reportedly tried to cap Gold and he said "no," so they went their separate ways. ("Capping" refers to putting a maximum dollar or percentage number on a rep's earnings from a client.) Over the last decade, DeGeneres has earned a reported half a billion dollars from her talk show, endorsements and other activities.

And so it goes with the Desperate Housewives drama: More than a year after Nicollette Sheridan saw her wrongful termination suit against Desperate Housewives end in a mistrial, the actress has gotten a new trial date, according to . Sheridan and defendants Touchstone Television will be back in court Dec. 2, L.A. Superior Court judge Michael Stern ruled. Stern's ruling came after denying a motion by the defendants to have the case dismissed.

Mario Lopez is returning for his second season hosting the Fox show X Factor—but Khloe Kardashian won't be joining him, according to USA Today. It will mark the third hosting configuration in three seasons for Simon Cowell's singing competition, as Steve Jones hosted season one. Lopez will join Cowell and Demi Lovato, who will be back as judges. Two other season two judges, Britney Spears and L.A. Reid, are not returning to the show, which starts its third season in the fall.

Joan Rivers wasn't too insulted that Gwyneth Paltrow recently compared the results of her own brief, botched flirtation with Botox to Rivers' famously frozen face, USA Today noted. Rivers said to People, "It just made me laugh. She says Botox made her scary like Joan Rivers? She should see what I look like without Botox. That's REALLY scary!" Rivers added, "I would have written the response myself, but I have so much Botox in my thumbs, I can't type."

The cast and crew of Germany's Next Top Model, which stars Heidi Klum, recently tried to figure out how two of the aspiring models caught head lice, the Huffington Post reported. The first model who caught the nasty nits was a 16-year-old contestant named Anna Maria, who, until the infestation, was favored to win the competition. The infested models had to continue checking for live lice 10 days after the first treatment and check for eggs everytime they comb their hair.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is set to undergo surgery for an abdominal injury, according to . "Saw my Dr who had to push my intestines back thru the tear in my abdomen. Kinda romantic," the pro-wrestler-turned-movie star tweeted. News of the operation comes after Johnson got back in the ring earlier this month to take on rival John Cena at Wrestlemania 29—a match Johnson lost.

Just two months after showing off his 43-pound weight loss, Chaz Bono, 44, revealed that he has dropped another 17 pounds (for a total of 60 pounds)—and is "still slowly losing," according to . "I still enjoy dancing. I still take classes," said the former Dancing with the Stars contestant, who also indulges in martial-arts training. The transgender entertainer/activist—who used the Freshology delivered-meal plan to achieve his initial weight loss—added, "Diets don't work. You just have to change what you eat, and I have."

Speaking of Focus Features, it has also acquired domestic-distribution and Latin American rights to Dallas Buyers Club, Jean-Marc Vallee's upcoming drama that stars Matthew McConaughey as an HIV-positive man, reported. Their script follows Ron Woodroof (McConaughey), a man diagnosed with HIV at the height of AIDS hysteria. With the health industry still unsure how to treat those with the disease, Woodroof turns to self-medication and alternative treatments to delay his supposed death sentence. McConaughey had previously made news for his significant weight loss to play the role.

Former supermodel Janice Dickinson has filed for bankruptcy, according to the L.A. Times. "I had some trouble, so yes, it is true," Dickinson confirmed to Radar Online. "I am upset and taking every step to pay everyone back and I feel terrible about it." Court documents allege that the former America's Next Top Model judge has racked up nearly $1 million in debt not only to the government but to plastic surgeons and cosmestic-procedure professionals.

Jennifer Lopez was scheduled to perform at the opening of India's Premier League recently, but it was reportedly canceled due to the pop star's diva-like demands, reported. Lopez, 43, reportedly insisted on a private plane and dozens of hotel rooms for her enormous entourage, including her own stylists, assistants and chef for the show. Rapper Pitbull replaced Lopez at the April 2 event in Kolkata.

A gay former college-football placekicker has said he is ready to return to football after a brief hiatus from the game and a difficult senior year that stopped his momentum into the NFL, noted. Alan Gendreau, 23, graduated from Middle Tennessee State University and tried out for the NFL last year. Currently, Gendreau is a free agent without a team for this year's draft, but he has plans to train in preparation for NFL tryouts next year. While playing in college, Gendreau was out to his teammates, who seemed not to care that he is gay.

Oxygen Media is picking up a second season of its New York modeling competition series The Face, reported. Naomi Campbell is executive producer of the show, in which 12 contestants will compete for a professional modeling job in the 10-episode season. The show's first season was hosted by Nigel Barker—who was a previous judge on America's Next Top Model for seventeen cycles—and supermodels Campbell, Coco Rocha and Karolina Kurkova competed to find "the face" of beauty.

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