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Entertainment: Robin Williams; Nate Berkus; Jill Soloway; Paris Is Burning
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2015-05-19

This article shared 6923 times since Tue May 19, 2015
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Starz Digital has picked up the North American rights to Robin Williams' final film, Boulevard, according to NewNowNext.com . Directed by Dito Montiel ( A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints ), the film sees Williams as married but closeted Nashville bank manager Nolan Mack, whose life is forever changed when he picks up young hustler Leo ( Roberto Aguire ). However, instead of paying Leo for his body, Nolan just wants some of his time and companionship. Boulevard had its world premiere at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival and received positive reviews. The film will open in New York and other cities July 17.

Internet figure Perez Hilton has become a father for the second time, according to Gay Star News. In a statement, Hilton ( born Mario Lavendeira ) said: "It is with great pride and relief that I can finally announce: I am a dad again! The road to this birth has been a difficult journey, quite different from the first time, and my son and I are overjoyed at this happy and healthy addition to our family." Earlier this year, Hilton made news by being on Celebrity Big Brother UK, but was called a "bully" and an "embarrassment to the LGBTI community" by his housemates.

Married couple Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent shared a photo of their daughter, Poppy Brent-Berkus, via Instagram, E! reported. Brent posted the picture first, which showed their little girl grasping one of her fathers' fingers. "Perspective. Our daughter continues to be the biggest gift, the most spectacular teacher," Rachel Zoe's former assistant wrote in the caption. Berkus then captioned, "#handinhandwego @nateberkus." The couple's daughter was born via surrogate on March 23.

The honors continue to pile up for Transparent creator Jill Soloway. According to TheWrap, Soloway will be named Showrunner of the Year at the Banff World Media Festival in June. Amazon Studios is also set to be honored with Banff's Award of Innovation. Additionally, writer/director/executive producer Soloway will present a master class about the show, dissecting the series. Transparent was the first online series to ever win a Best Television Series-Musical or Comedy Award, at the Golden Globes.

A protest surrounding a planned screening of the 1990 documentary Paris is Burning on June 26 in Brooklyn has prompted arts organization BRIC and the filmmaker herself to re-evaluate the program, Queerty reported. The movie's director, Jennie Livingston, and musician/artist JD Samson were invited to join in the screening as part of the Celebrate Brooklyn! events. However, many were upset that no queer and trans people of color or representatives from the thriving ballroom community that the film documents were asked to participate.

Janet Jackson celebrated her 49th birthday by revealing to fans that she would end their seven-year wait for music by releasing a new album and embarking on a world tour in 2015, Rolling Stone reported. The singer's last studio LP, Discipline, arrived in 2008 and she last toured in 2011. While no release date was unveiled, Jackson hinted that her new album or its first single would be titled either "My Conversation" or "Conversations in a Cafe."

Barbra Streisand plans to give the palatial grounds of her Malibu, California, mansion an eco-friendly overhaul after The New York Post reported that several celebs have water-guzzling gardens despite the state's devastating drought, according to Page Six. She even plans to let some of her plants go brown in an effort to save water. The singer's rep said his client stands by an earlier statement that she's "cut down her water usage by over 50 percent … and she is going to take further steps to conserve water."

In a new interview with Essence magazine, Jussie Smollett opened up about how the show Empire has changed his life—including making him a potential inspiration for young people considering coming out of the closet, People noted. "If I can help someone else feel less alone, no matter what they're going through, I'm happy to have that opportunity," he said. When Smollett spoke openly about his sexuality with Ellen DeGeneres in March, however, it wasn't a game-changer for him, as he'd never considered himself in the closet.

Fox is already signing big-name guest stars for the second season of its mega-hit new series Empire, EW.com noted. The network has enlisted actor-comedian Chris Rock, pop star Alicia Keys, and singer and Hunger Games actor Lenny Kravitz for roles next season, Fox TV chairman and CEO Dana Walden announced to advertisers in New York. There are no details yet on how the stars will be folded into the storyline of the show, which during its debut season landed talent like Snoop Dogg, Gladys Knight and Mary J. Blige.

Jane Fonda has told of how she became a beard in the '60s for a gay actor, The Independent noted. Fonda, who stars alongside Lily Tomlin in comedy Grace and Frankie—a television program about two women who become friends after their husbands fall in love—has spoken of the struggle for men to be accepted as gay. "When I was young, I was the female that gay guys wanted to try to become heterosexual with," she said. "A very famous actor who's gay—and I will not name names—asked me to marry him. I was very flattered, but I said: 'Why?' This was 1964."

Out interviewed Game of Thrones actor Kit Harington ( who plays Jon Snow ) for its latest issue. Regarding his show's sexuality, he said, "It's not just gay and straight. We've got bisexual characters as well, which is rarely done on TV. I like the fact that we deal with a broad spectrum of sexuality." He also talked about everything from the backlash he received for saying it was "demeaning" to be called a hunk, to the fraternal Game of Thrones group Night's Watch ( "There is something homoerotic about that. They all bunk up together. ... There's brotherly love." )

Although it underwent some casting changes in the early stages—namely The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo's Rooney Mara replacing Mia Wasikowska as Therese—Todd Haynes' romantic drama Carol premiered at Cannes, We Got This Covered reported. In the film ( based on Patricia Highsmith's erotic novel The Price of Salt ), Mara's Therese falls head over heels for an older, married woman ( Cate Blanchett ) in a loveless marriage. Situated in New York circa 1950, Haynes' feature has been described as a tale of tragic love and lust.

Speaking of Cate Blanchett, she revealed to Variety magazine that she has been in same-sex relationships "many times," The Huffington Post noted. Variety reported, "When asked if this is her first turn as a lesbian, Blanchett curls her lips into a smile. 'On film—or in real life?' she [asked] coyly." However, the actress later said that Variety edited out a part where she said she hasn't had sexual relations with a woman, Page Six added. Blanchett and her husband, playwright Andrew Upton, have four children.

At the Billboard Music Awards May 17, out British singer Sam Smith accepting the award for top male artist in a unique way: with cue cards, USA Today reported. Calling in from New York, where he's recovering from vocal-cord surgery, Smith used the cards to thank his fans and give shout-outs to Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj and Ed Sheeran. Speaking of Swift, she dominated the ceremony, snagging eight awards, including top artist ( besting Smith, One Direction, Ariana Grande and Katy Perry ).

Also regarding Swift, model Cara Delevingne ( playing a character named Mother Chucker ) is featured in Swift's video for the song "Bad Blood." ( Swift's character is named Catastrophe. ) However, she's hardly the only celebrity in it: Actress Mariska Hargitay, Paramore frontwoman Hayley Williams, Selena Gomez, Jessica Alba, supermodel Cindy Crawford, singer Ellie Goulding and actress Hailee Steinfeld are also in bit parts in the video. The video focuses on a group of women trained in everything from martial arts to weaponry.

The lookbook for rapper/designer Tyler, The Creator's Golf Wang's Spring/Summer 2015 collection dropped—and one image has people talking, according to Complex. It's a T-shirt with a rainbow-colored logo with the words "Golf Pride Worldwide" encircling it—which Tyler said he took from a Neo-Nazi group called White Pride Worldwide and added the LGBT pride rainbow to flip the imagery on its head. He said, "What if a Black guy wore this logo on a shirt? Would he be promoting self-hate? ... What if a gay guy wore this on a shirt? Would he [be] promoting homophobia? Then BAM! I had it."

Out actor Bryan Batt recently speculated in Esquire magazine about what happened to his closeted character, Sal Romano, on the show Mad Men, according to Queerty. ( Romano was written out in the show's third season. ) In part, Batt wrote, "I'd like to think that Sal had a happy ending, that he does realize who he is and moves on. ... I imagine him walking through the West Village as Stonewall happens and getting swept up in it." Mad Men recently ended its seventh and final season.

Calvin Klein, who only put the finishing touches on his $75-million Southampton mansion last summer, is already looking for his next real- estate project—he's reportedly shopping for a new home in Los Angeles, according to Page Six. The fashion icon was house-hunting before he arrived at a show by photographer Bryan Fox at Think Tank Gallery to look for new art for a potential, palatial L.A. pad. Among other celebrities at Fox's show were Demi Moore, Michael Keaton, Marisa Tomei and Gus Van Sant.

Grammy-winning singer and legendary performer Bette Midler's first major tour in a decade, "Divine Intervention," has launched. She started her tour with shows in the Florida cities of Hollywood and Tampa, and she's slated to stop by other cities such as Chicago, Denver, Boston, Las Vegas and London, among others. Accompanied on stage by a 12-piece band as well as backing vocals by the Harlettes, the show features a stage production courtesy of stage designer Michael Cotton. Midler counterbalances the two-hour set of songs with a skewering of social media, in which Midler mocks Facebook and Twitter with commentary and punchlines.

Taye Diggs will be returning to Broadway this summer in the hit musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Just Jared reported. will be taking over the lead role from Darren Criss, whose final performance will be on July 19. Diggs has previously starred on Broadway in Rent and Wicked, both alongside his ex-wife Idina Menzel, as well as in Chicago and Carousel. He hasn't been on the Broadway stage since January 2004

TheWrap has written an article on 11 former teen heartthrobs to carry the season-two torch on the ABC series Secrets and Lies in light of Ryan Phillippe's appearance throughout the show's first season. Some of the men listed were Brian Austin Green, Freddie Prinze Jr., Barry Watson ( the TV show Seventh Heaven ) and Mario Lopez.

Lincoln Center Theater's Broadway revival of The King and I, spurred by glowing reviews and nine Tony nominations, claimed a spot in the Broadway millionaires' club for the first time recently—a particularly unusual achievement for a nonprofit production in a theater with not many more than 1,000 seats, Variety reported. However, the tally fell just outside the top 10 for that week, behind such productions as Finding Neverland and An American in Paris.

Marlo Thomas paid tribute to the late writer of West Side Story, Gypsy and Alfred Hitchcock's Rope when she received the first Arthur Laurents Award for Distinguished Artistic Achievement from the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Page Six noted. "Arthur wrote rich, meaty, dream roles for women: Mama Rose [in Gypsy], Anne Bancroft and Shirley MacLaine in The Turning Point, [Barbra] Streisand in The Way We Were,'" said Thomas, who starred in Laurents' 2009 play, New Year's Eve.

The WNBA has suspended All-Stars and married couple Brittney Griner and Glory Johnson for seven games each after their domestic violence arrests in April. The two were arrested on suspicion of assault after a fight in the home they recently bought. They were married recently in Phoenix. WNBA President Laurel J. Richie said in a statement issued May 15, "The WNBA takes all acts of violence extremely seriously. It is our strong belief that violence has absolutely no place in society, in sports or in this league.

Two male models have become the first openly gay couple to sign with Fusion Models, The Daily Mail noted. John Tuite, 22, and Carlos Santolalla, 25, go by the portmanteau Jarlos, and have already earned a following in the modeling world and on New York City's party scene. Although the fashion industry may seem very accepting of gay people, the couple explained that models are still expected to appear masculine or androgynous.

Following in the extravagant footsteps of Celine Dion, Shania Twain, Britney Spears and Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez has announced a run of shows at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino's AXIS Theater, beginning in January, The New York Times reported. Lopez, 45, shared the news on American Idol, where she serves as a judge. Lopez said, "The show is going to be a multifaceted, high-energy 'Jenny From the Block' party, mixing all aspects of what my fans and I love—dance, hip-hop, Latin and pop. It's going to be the show I've always dreamt of creating."

Off-Broadway's The New Group has announced three productions for its 2015-16 season, Playbill noted. Stage and screen star Cynthia Nixon ( Sex and the City ) will return to direct, following her recent directorial debut with the acclaimed Rasheeda Speaking. The season will also feature Sam Shepard's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Buried Child, starring Oscar nominees Ed Harris and Amy Madigan. In November, Nixon will direct the world premiere of Mark Gerrard's Steve. The play centers on Steven, a failed Broadway chorus boy turned stay-at-home dad who finds himself, on his birthday, full of anxiety.

Young and the Restless actor Greg Rikaart has made it official, marrying his longtime love, TV writer Robert Sudduth, in Maui recently, E! Online reported. The Emmy winner took to Twitter to share a photo from his very special day and wrote, captioning it "Holy matrimony." Rikaart told Gay Star News and revealed that he hopes producers of Young and the Restless will have his character, Kevin, come out of the closet.

Legendary folk-rock singer Melanie ( "Brand New Key," "Look What They've Done To My Song Ma" ) recently joined pop music star Miley Cyrus to perform and record a number of tracks for Cyrus' "Backyard Sessions" series, presented by the Happy Hippie Foundation, a press release stated. The Happy Hippie Foundation is designed to fund programs and help provide homeless youth, LGBT youth and other vulnerable youth populations with consistent support services, education and employment opportunities.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will release the third season of the critically acclaimed political drama House of Cards on Digital HD June 29, and Blu-ray and DVD July 7, according to a press release. Produced in association with MRC, this Emmy®-winning original series stars and was executive produced by two-time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey, who plays President Frank Underwood, and Robin Wright, as wife Claire Underwood. All 13 episodes of the third season will be available in four-disc Blu-ray and DVD sets, both with collectible packaging, along with an all-new featurette, "Backstage Politics."

Out actor T.R. Knight is heading to the '60s to square off with James Franco, TheWrap reported. The former Grey's Anatomy star has joined the cast of the Hulu Original event series 11/22/63. Knight will play Johnny Clayton, a salesman in 1960s Texas who can't quite break up with his estranged wife Sadie Dunhill ( Sarah Gadon ), even as she falls in love with Jake Epping ( James Franco ). The series centers on Franco's Epping, a divorced English teacher who embarks on a quest to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

A New York Supreme Court justice ruled in favor of embattled Broadway producer Ben Sprecher May 12, finding publicist Marc Thibodeau in breach of contract for sending anonymous emails that scared off a potential investor on the Broadway musical Rebecca ( based on the Daphne du Maurier novel ), Playbill reported. In a plot twist out of a showbiz mystery novel—and just a day before rehearsals were to begin—producers abruptly announced that an "angel investor" ( later named in court as Laurence Runsdorf ) had been scared off after receiving "an extremely malicious e-mail, filled with lies and innuendo." Various developments swiftly derailed the musical that was capitalized between $12 million and $14 million.

International Mr. Leather ( IML )—an international conference and contest involving the leather community held annually in May since 1979 in Chicago—will take place May 21-25. The Congress Plaza Hotel will host, and there will be various events such as the leather market, Gear Blast 2015, a reception for women and trans individuals, the IML Pecs and Personality Contest, and the Black and Blue Ball, among other items. Thousands of individuals are expected to attend. Visit imrl.com/.


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