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Entertainment: Celebs on Indiana; Bradley Cooper; Laverne Cox; Annie Lennox
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times

This article shared 5645 times since Tue Mar 31, 2015
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Several celebrities have spoken out against Indiana's religious-freedom law that make businesses and individuals immune from lawsuits so long as they are motivated by religious belief, The Huffington Post noted. Among them are Ashton Kutcher, Dustin Lance Black, Dan Savage, Miley Cyrus, James Van Der Beek, George Takei and Andy Cohen. Cyrus called Indiana Gov. Mike Pence an "asshole" on Twitter; Kutcher posted, "Indiana are you also going to allow Christian establishments to ban Jews from coming in? Or Vice Versa? Religious freedom??? #OUTRAGE" Activist Dan Savage posted, "Shitty governor makes shitty state even shittier by signing shitty legislation."

On a related note, Chicago alt-rock band Wilco is taking a stand against Indiana's new Religious Freedom Restoration Act, according to Variety. The band has cancelled an Indianapolis concert in protest of the recently enacted Indiana law that critics say could allow businesses to discriminate against gay and lesbian patrons. Hope to get back to the Hoosier State someday soon, when this odious measure is repealed," the band posted on Twitter.

Warner Bros is negotiating with its American Sniper star Bradley Cooper to make his feature directorial debut on the remake of A Star Is Born, Deadline reported. The hope is for Cooper also to star in the film. Once his deal is done, their first stop will be to Beyonce, who once was positioned to play the role of the young woman whose dreams of stardom are helped by a self-destructive icon whose best days are behind him.

Laverne Cox of Orange Is the New Black was the glamorous centerpiece in the living room of John Berendt's Upper West Side townhouse recently, according to Page Six. Berendt was celebrating the multimedia Metabook release of his nonfiction best-seller Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Cox voiced infamous Savannah drag queen Lady Chablis on the app's audiobook. The original version had no images; this new version even has crime-scene photos.

The Great Performances special Annie Lennox: Nostalgia Live in Concert will air April 3 on PBS, according to a press release. In the 60-minute concert that was taped at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles in January, Lennox performs songs from the Nostalgia album like "Summertime," "Strange Fruit," "I Cover the Waterfront" and "God Bless the Child."

Some 170 items from out figure-skating commentator Johnny Weir's wardrobe are available on the eBay store Linda's Stuff—and shoppers can buy without bidding, according to the New York Post. The sale includes designer clothing ( such as an Alexander McQueen silk scarf ), shoes and accessories. Weir has said, "What I'm most excited about is the fact I can donate a portion of the proceeds to my hometown fire department in Quarryville, Pennsylvania."

Downton Abbey will end its run after the upcoming sixth season, but a movie may happen, according to TheWrap. "We're very interested in that. It's definitely something that we're contemplating," executive director Grahm Neame said on a conference call with reporters. Neame said he and Downton Abbey creator/writer Julian Fellowes would be excited to bring the Masterpiece series to the big screen, but there is currently no set plan in place to do so.

Tim Gunn, the mentor of Project Runway, has said he "is not in favor of male-to-female" transgender runway models during a speech at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, according to . Gunn said, "I have respect and admiration and a great love for [transgender] people, period. But here's the issue: You can have all the surgeries and all the hormones in the world … but the male skeleton is different than the female skeleton. Men don't have hips." His speech, "Fashioning Life's Lessons: Make it Work,'' was the last of the series for the academic year.

Roseanne Barr has denied that she's slated to replace Rosie O'Donnell on The View, according to E! Online. "I haven't heard about it," Barr told one follower on Twitter. "No one has contacted my representatives—but it's often rumored." While producers try to find the next co-host, several Hollywood stars have been filling in as guest hosts including Raven-Symone, Mario Cantone and Naya Rivera.

The Broadway company of the Tony-winning, record-breaking hit musical Chicago will welcome Grammy winner Brandy Norwood to the Ambassador Theatre beginning April 28, Playbill noted. Norwood, who starred opposite the late Whitney Houston in the most recent TV version of Cinderella, will be making her Broadway debut in the role of Roxie Hart. She will play an eight-week limited engagement through June 21.

On the same day that Puerto Rico announced it would no longer defend its ban on same-sex marriage, Ricky Martin, one of the island's most famous people, released a music video featuring a married gay couple, according to On Top Magazine. Disparo al Corazon ( Shot to the Heart )—from Martin's recently released Spanish-language album, A Quien Quiera Escuchar ( To Those Who Want to Listen )—is a ballad about about finding love at an unlikely moment. In its music video, Martin, dressed in black, stands before a mirror and confesses that before finding his love he was not a saint. Reflected back in the mirror are various couples, including two recently married men.

Stage and screen star Julie Andrews announced plans to publish a follow-up to her 2008 memoir Home that will include behind-the-scenes stories from such iconic films as The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Victor/Victoria and more, according to a Playbill item. Hachette Book Group, which published Home: A Memoir of My Early Years, will also release the second book, which is slated for a September 2017 publication. Andrews will reflect on her life from the 1960s to the present.

Taylor Swift had a big night at the iHeartRadio Music Awards March 29, according to E! Online. Along with performing with Madonna and dancing with Innovator Award winner Justin Timberlake, she won Artist of the Year, Best Lyrics ( for "Blank Space" ) and Song of the Year ( "Shake It Off" ). Some of the other winners included Sam Smith ( Best New Artist ), Hozier ( Alternative Rock Song of the Year, for "Take Me to Church" ), and Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj ( Best Collaboration, for "Bang Bang" ).

On a related note, Jamie Foxx is under fire for an anti-trans joke he said at the iHeartRadio event, USA Today noted. "We have some groundbreaking performances here, too, tonight," Foxx said during a monologue. "We got Bruce Jenner, who will be here doing some musical performances. He's doing a his-and-her duet all by himself." Perez Hilton tweeted, "Boo! Shame on you #iHeartAwards for allowing @iamjamiefoxx to be transphobic on national television! Those #BruceJenner jokes were wrong!!!"

Hugh Jackman announced on Instagram that he will reprise his role as Wolverine for only one more movie, Us Weekly noted. "WOLVERINE ...ONE LAST TIME. HJ," he captioned a shot of his two fists resting on the table with three of Wolverine's signature metal claws sticking out of his knuckles. However, he has been linked to both 2016's X-Men: Apocalypse and an untitled solo Wolverine project that's set to come out in 2017. Jennifer Lawrence ( who plays shapeshifting Mystique ) has also announced that she's leaving the X-Men franchise after the 2016 film.

The National College Athletic Association ( NCAA ), which is preparing its Final Four basketball tournament on April 4 and 6 in Indianapolis, released a statement March 26 voicing its apprehension about Indiana's SB 101, the so-called "religious-freedom" bill. "The NCAA national office and our members are deeply committed to providing an inclusive environment for all our events," said NCAA President Mark Emmert. "We are especially concerned about how this legislation could affect our student-athletes and employees."

University of Massachusetts guard Derrick Gordon—who became the first openly gay men's Division 1 basketball player after coming out last April—has decided to transfer and play his final college season at another school, reported. Gordon told ESPN's Jeff Goodman of his intention to leave Massachusetts but said that his decision to transfer was unrelated to his sexuality. Gordon averaged 9.8 points and 4.9 rebounds per game this past season for UMass.

Former Ohio State NCAA champion wrestler Mike Pucillo opened up about his sexuality in a new interview with Open Mat, according to The Huffington Post. Pucillo, who was a three-time All-American and 2008 NCAA Division I Champion at Ohio State, recalled coming out as gay to his best friend and college teammate, Reece Humphrey. Pucillo, 28, said he drew courage from the likes of fellow gay sports figures Michael Sam, Robbie Rogers and Dartmouth lacrosse All-American player Andrew Goldstein.

Pretty Woman is making its way to Broadway, according to People. Director Garry Marshall has spoken out about his plans to turn the classic 1990 rom-com into a musical, confirming the ongoing speculation. The veteran writer-producer, 80, revealed that he is collaborating on the theatrical version with producer Paula Wagner and the author of the original screenplay, J.F. Lawton.

Netflix has set premiere dates for season three of Orange Is the New Black and a number of new series, Variety noted. "Orange" will return on June 12, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp bows July 17, and Sense8—the new drama from Andy and Lana Wachowski—premieres June 5. Sense8" a sci-fi thriller, is described as a global tale of minds linked and souls hunted.

SPOILER ALERT: Speaking of "Orange," a Latin Times article has revealed 14 things to look for in the show's upcoming season. Among them are that there are 14 episodes next season; that Jason Biggs and Pablo "Pornstache" Schreiber are not appearing; that background on Big Boo will be revealed; and that Natasha Lyonne has confirmed that Nicky Nichols is coming back, adding that the next season will feature "so much bloodshed."

Actress Kara Mosley has said the transformation of her character Maya on The Bold and The Beautiful—who was recently revealed to be a transgender woman—"has been really exciting," as she has worked to reflect how she would tackle the dilemma faced by anyone with gender dysphoria: "Why this body?," according to . Mosley told Janet Mock on the latter's show, SoPOPular, that she "was excited, and nervous at first. Soaps don't have a great history in handling transgender characters. Twenty years ago, the headlines were 'So and So is A Man.'" Mock cited Kerry Washington's performance in Life Is Hot in Cracktown, Felicity Huffman in TransAmerica and Famke Janssen on TV's Nip/Tuck.

An on-again, off-again Freddie Mercury biopic starring Sacha Baron Cohen appears to be on again, according to the Consequence of Sound. Last year, it was reported that Cohen had left the project due to disagreements with the surviving members of Queen over the film's direction and tone. Now, though, Queen manager Jim Beach has revealed that Cohen is back on board with the project, and not only will he depict the legendary singer, but he's also writing and directing the film himself.

After three consecutive years as the producers of the Oscars, Neil Meron and Craig Zadan have decided not to return for a fourth, reported. Now the search is on for who will oversee next year's telecast. The two—who've produced films such as Chicago and The Bucket List, in addition to TV projects such as the live NBC productions of Peter Pan and The Sound of Music—were credited with bringing new playfulness to the ceremony.

The United States Postal Service will release a commemorative forever stamp to celebrate Dr. Maya Angelou on April 7 at the Warner Theater in Washington, D.C., according to a press release. "Human Family," the next focus track from Angelou's Caged Bird Songs CD, will premiere April 3 on Yahoo Music. She worked on the Caged Bird Songs album prior to her death on May 28, 2014.

Less than a week after the movie about iconic singer Janis Joplin found itself in court and potential purgatory, the embattled writer of the pic has hit back with a lawsuit of his own, Deadline noted. The film ( starring Amy Adams ) was slapped with a multi-claim suit by LKL and Silver Reel that alleged writer Ron Terry and others had breached an option agreement because a $1.7-million loan hadn't been dealt with as required. Now Terry has filed a cross-complaint claiming the plaintiffs "were unable to fulfill their contractual obligations in the time allotted and, as a result, would now rather see the Janis Project be still-born."

Legendary musician Paul McCartney and out crooner Sam Smith are just two of the acts slated to perform at Chicago's Lollapalooza this year. More than 125 acts are scheduled to play on eight stages, including Alabama Shakes, Florence + the Machine, TV on the Radio, Kid Cudi, Metallica, Marina and the Diamonds, George Ezra, FKA Twigs and A$AP Rocky. The event will return for its 11th year at Grant Park on July 31-Aug. 2. Visit .

NBC has ordered eight episodes of First Dates, an observational documentary series from executive producer Ellen DeGeneres and Shed Media that takes a peek at what happens when a couple meets for the first time and love may be in the air, according to a press release. Based on a hit U.K. format, this unique hour-long series offers an authentic look at a variety of real first dates happening over one night at the same restaurant. Production will begin in July in Chicago; no premiere date is set.

This summer, ABC Family will premiere Becoming Us, an unscripted show that chronicles the life of 17-year-old Ben Lehwald of Evanston, Illinois, as his father Charlie transitions to become Carly, according to People. The docuseries from Ryan Seacrest Productions will take Ben's perspective as he watches his dad divorce his mom, Suzy, before undergoing gender-reassignment surgery. The series will also focus on Ben's girlfriend, Danielle, whose dad is also transitioning into a woman.

In a New York Times op-ed, Angelina Jolie wrote that she underwent preventative surgery to have her ovaries and Fallopian tubes removed because of cancer fears, according to ABC News. The procedure, laparoscopic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, was motivated by a family history of ovarian cancer. A small benign tumor was found on one ovary, but no other signs of cancer were uncovered, she wrote. Jolie's mother, grandmother and aunt died from cancer.

Unfortunately for Michael Sam, he reportedly failed to impress coaching personnel at the NFL combine as he attempts to get back into the league, according to Fox Sports. Not only were his unofficial times of 5.02 and 5.03 seconds in the 40-yard dash slower than his efforts as an aspiring defensive end, but one personnel director in attendance said that Sam failed to excel in other drills as well. Last year, the St. Louis Rams released Sam, the first openly gay player to make a regular-season roster; the Dallas Cowboys later cut him from its practice team.

Out rapper Mykki Blanco announced in a Facebook post that she is stepping back from the mike to pursue a career in investigative journalism, according to . Blanco will travel to Nepal in May "to begin learning about homosexuality and LGBT rights in Nepalese society specifically that of the 'third gender' group referred to as 'Meti,'" she explained on Facebook. Eventually, Blanco plans to enroll in a sociology and gender studies program, but in the meantime, her Nepal trip will provide an opportunity for her to gain experience "in the field."

LGBT-film distributor Wolfe Releasing announced that co-president and LGBT film pioneer Maria Lynn will retire at the end of March, after 22 years with the company, according to a press release. Co-President Jim Stephens will assume the role of sole president. During her tenure at Wolfe, Lynn helped navigate the company through the many changes in the industry, including transitions from VHS to DVD to Blu-ray and digital streaming.

Cheryl James and Sandra Denton of Salt-N-Pepa may be enjoying a rejuvenated interest in their 1986 hit "Push It," but they're also developing a cooking show together, People revealed. James and Denton—who reunited with their bandmate Deidra Roper ( a.k.a. DJ Spinderella ) in 2007 after breaking up in 2002—plan on including their families in on the foodie fun as well.

Empire actress Taraji P. Henson ( who plays Cookie Lyon on the show ) is apologizing for claiming her son was racially profiled during a traffic stop in Southern California last year, CNN reported. The Glendale Police Department released dash-cam video of the encounter that contradicted her son's claims. "A mother's job is not easy and neither is a police officer's," she said in a post on Instagram. "Sometimes, as humans, we overreact without gathering all of the facts."

Out gay actor Stephen Fry has quit Instagram, saying he was "hounded off" the social-media site, Pink News noted. Fry, who had almost 100,000 fans on the site posted a blank image with the message: "Newspapers, as ever, suck all the joy out of everything. Closing down. It was, briefly, fun. Bye." He has announced that following his marriage to comedian Elliott Spencer last year, he would take some time off Twitter.

Dr. Luke wants Kesha's medical records turned over to his legal team in their ongoing legal battle over allegations that he sexually and physically abused the pop star, Page Six noted. The producer, whose real name is Lukasz Gottwald, has filed court docs requesting any and all communications in which the "Tik Tok" singer accuses him of abuse, drugging or date-raping her on a private jet.

Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek and The Brady Bunch actress Florence Henderson will host the Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Awards April 24 at the Universal Hilton in Los Angeles, according to TheWrap. Also, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced that this year's Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement will go to producer/director Michael Gargiulo for his work on TV classics such as Password," "I've Got A Secret" "To Tell the Truth" and numerous variety specials for CBS.

Dr. Robert Rey took down a drunken fan who grabbed his crotch and called him "Dr. Gay," according to RumorFix. The Dr. 90210 reality-show star was in Brazil posing with fans when another man grabbed Rey's testicles—so intensely that the physician said the area was inflamed days afterward. A martial-arts expert, Rey took out the fan with two punches to the jaw and a kick.

Rihanna has surprised fans with an announcement about some upcoming new music, The New York Daily News noted. The star took to Instagram to reveal that she would be dropping "B—-h Better Have My Money,"a track from her anticipated album R8. This is the second single the singer has released from the forthcoming album, following her hit with Kanye West and Paul McCartney, entitled "FourFiveSeconds."

A bidding war broke out between designer Narciso Rodriguez and fashion PR figure Karla Otto over Yahoo Style editor Joe Zee's Chelsea apartment, Page Six noted. Rodriguez—who already lives next door—won, for a reported $2 million. Rodriguez has been advised to combine the units.

X-Files is coming back to Fox as a six-episode limited series, according to TheWrap. The series' Emmy Award-winning creator and executive producer Chris Carter is returning, alongside stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, who'll reprise their roles as FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, respectively, more than a decade after the show ended in 2002.

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