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Entertainment news: GLAAD Awards; Ellen; Dirk Shafer; Zachary Quinto
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

This article shared 9416 times since Tue Apr 14, 2015
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The New York leg of the GLAAD Media Awards are May 9, and the LGBT watchdog group has just announced Jason Collins, Jeffrey Tambor, Jonathan Groff, Judith Light and Laverne Cox will be in attendance, reported. They're among the nominees, as well, with Tambor and Light co-starring in Transparent, Groff appearing in the recently canceled Looking, and Cox producing The T Word, a documentary about trans youth that aired on Logo. An earlier ceremony was held in Los Angeles on March 21, when How to Get Away with Murder and Transparent received honors, and actress Kerry Washington accepted a Vanguard Award.

Ellen DeGeneres partnered with the subscription-based service Vessel, offering subscribers early access to videos from more than 160 Ellen show creators, TheWrap noted. During her announcement, DeGeneres shared a clip of singer Kiesza's new music video for "Sound of a Woman," which premieres exclusively on Vessel. "I'm uploading some of my favorite clips from the show," DeGeneres said. "That means baby goats and singing babies and some of my favorites [where] people just fall over stuff, and that's what I like." While Vessel costs $2.99 per month, viewers who signed up within the next 48 hours received a free one-year subscription.

Dirk Shafer will be buried at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, noted. There will be a private memorial service for Shafer on April 19 that will include his parents, who live in Oklahoma. Shafer, a West Hollywood resident, was named Playgirl's "Man of the Year" in 1992. Shafer directed and starred in a 1995 film called Man of the Year in which he gave a fictionalized account of his life as a gay man under pressure to deny his homosexuality. Shafer, 52, was found dead in the passenger's seat of his car on March 5. While he appeared to have died of a heart attack, the cause of Shafer's death remains unclear.

At the annual Jeffrey Fashion Cares event and auction in New York City, actor Zachary Quinto criticized religious-freedom laws and drew loud cheers from a crowd that included designers like Joseph Altuzarra, Prabal Gurung and Narciso Rodriguez, noted. "We live in a time where our fellow citizens are crowd-sourcing money to monetize bigotry and hatred in the face of all the progress we've made," the actor said. Over the last 12 years, the event, founded by Jeffrey Kalinsky, has become known both as an opportunity for the industry to raise money for a number LGBT and AIDS organizations—and also for the skimpy fashion show that follows the annual auction. Jeffrey Fashion Cares raised about $700,000 this year.

Singer Boy George is teaming with producers of the reality franchises Real World, Project Runway and Keeping Up with the Kardashians for a series of his own, Gay Star News noted. The show will chronicle his move from London to Los Angeles. "If Marge Simpson met Dolly Parton and went dancing with Ziggy Stardust, it wouldn't come close to what you'll see," the Culture Club lead singer said in a statement.

Gay singer-songwriter Aiden Leslie has debuted the music video for his brand new single "I Just Go," which is available on iTunes, according to a press release. Although Leslie has released several singles over the years, "I Just Go" was one of the very first songs that he ever wrote. The video for the song is at

Magic Mike XXL star Joe Manganiello has just joined Paul Reubens in Pee-wee's Big Holiday, the road movie that's underway for Netflix, Deadline reported. In the pic—written by Reubens and Paul Rust—Pee-wee takes his first holiday, the journey of a lifetime in an epic story of friendship and destiny. Judd Apatow and Reubens worked together to bring the project to fruition, and Apatow is producing the film with Reubens.

Actress Hilary Swank said on The Meredith Vieira Show that far too much energy is still being spent in the United States on fighting equality for LGBTI people, Gay Star News reported. "Let people love people and let's focus on what truly needs looked at and help homeless people, homeless pets, sick people," Swank said. "Look at the rest of the world—let's focus on those things." Two-time Oscar winner Swank was largely unknown when she starred in Boys Don't Cry in the real-life story of Brandon Teena—a trans man who was beaten, raped and murdered by his male acquaintances after they discovered he was transgender.

After years of keeping their relationship secret, confirmed that singer Barry Manilow married his longtime manager, Garry Kief, in a private ceremony in Palm Springs, California, last year. The affair was a surprise even to the couple's 20 to 30 guests, who attended what they thought was a lunch at Manilow's sprawling Palm Springs estate. Manilow's longtime friend and Palm Springs neighbor Suzanne Somers was reportedly the best man. Kief also represents Lorna Luft ( Liza Minnelli's half-sister, who you might remember as Paulette Rebchuck in Grease 2 ) and Matt Dusk ( who was in the Forrest Whitaker-directed film First Daughter starring Katie Holmes ).

New details have emerged regarding Diane Sawyer's April 24 interview with Bruce Jenner, according to TheWrap. Sources close to Jenner and the production told TMZ that the ABC News conversation will be "a farewell to Bruce" in the Kardashian family patriarch's eyes. "He will 'present himself' as a woman publicly for the first time," the celebrity news site said. However, Jenner will not reveal his new name or dress like a woman on-camera.

Talking with AARP Magazine, Good Morning America's Robin Roberts opened up about her life's most memorable milestones and expresses gratitude for her recovery in addition to sharing her excitement for the future, E! noted. "I think of Sept. 20—the date of my transplant—as my birthday more than my real birthday, on Nov. 23," said Roberts, who previously underwent treatment for myelodysplastic syndrome, a rare blood disorder. Roberts, 54, who previously came out as gay in December 2013, also reflected on her 50th-birthday celebration with partner Amber Laign, a licensed massage therapist whom she's been dating for a decade.

Iconic star Cher was honored at an amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, gala in Sao Paolo, Brazil, according to . Supermodels Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss chaired the event, and were joined by amfAR chair Kenneth Cole and designer Riccardo Tisci. In addition to Cher receiving the Award of Inspiration, the organization also honored Felipe Diniz and designer Jean Paul Gaultier. In previous years, the Inspiration Gala Sao Paulo has featured performances by artists such as Mary J. Blige, Gilberto Gil, Dita Von Teese, Fergie, Bebel Gilberto, Grace Jones, Jennifer Hudson, Debbie Harry and Preta Gil, LGBT Weekly noted.

Out musicians Elton John and Michael Stipe are calling for the equal rights of transgender inmates following claims that a transgender woman was mistreated at a Georgia prison, the Associated Press reported. "Transgender women in male prisons have an equal right to protection from violence and abuse in prison, and yet they continue to face horrific injustices," according to a joint statement they released. Recently, the Justice Department said prison officials must treat an inmate's gender-identity condition just as they would treat any other medical or mental health condition.

Actor Ryan Reynolds was the victim of a hit-and-run in a hotel parking lot in Vancouver, Page Six reported. "While walking, Ryan was struck by a paparazzi driving a car through an underground parking garage," publicist Leslie Sloane said. "The man fled the scene. Ryan is okay." The Vancouver-born Reynolds has been in the city over the past several weeks shooting his new film, Deadpool.

Exactly three weeks after Univision host Rodner Figueroa was fired for controversial on-air remarks about First Lady Michelle Obama, two new hosts for the program Sal y Pimienta have been named in his place, according to Fox News Latino. Carlos Calderon and Jomari Goyso have joined Lourdes Stephen on the Sunday night entertainment show. The Emmy-winning Figueroa has since apologized to the first lady for his comment, while maintaining that it was taken out of context.

Benedict Cumberbatch, openly gay personality Graham Norton and Orange Is the New Black are among the nominees for this year's BAFTA ( British Academy of Film and Television Arts ) TV Awards, the UK Independent noted. Cumberbatch was nominated for leading actor for Sherlock, while Norton received a nod for his show The Graham Norton Show. "Orange" is a nominee for best international show, alongside True Detective, The Good Wife and House of Cards. Norton will host the awards ceremny on May 10.

Universal Pictures has acquired an untitled comedy pitch that Girls co-star Andrew Rannells and Jersey Boys castmember Mike Doyle will write, according to Deadline. It's a potential star vehicle for out actor/writer Rannells, and Judd Apatow will produce it under his Apatow Productions banner. Rannells is a Grammy winner and Tony nominee for his breakout role in Broadway's The Book of Mormon.

Conservative groups are trying to kill a prospective ABC sitcom about a family upended when a teenage son comes out as gay, because sex columnist and gay-rights activist Dan Savage is involved in the production, the Associated Press noted. The Media Research Center and Family Research Council said their members have sent more than 21,000 postcards and made more than 4,000 telephone calls asking ABC to abandon the series, tentatively titled The Real O'Neals.

What began as a custom fan-made set of Legos could become a reality, thanks to the Lego Ideas Program, noted. Now that the Golden Girls set has been accepted into the program, it has a set amount of time to reach 10,000 supporters. If it hits that mark, it will enter a review phase where it is tested for playability and safety, and to make sure it's consistent with the Lego brand. Visit

The Academy has set dates for the next three years of Academy Awards, with next year's Oscars taking place on Feb. 28, 2016, and subsequent shows occurring on Feb. 26, 2017, and March 2, 2018, TheWrap reported. The show takes place on the last Sunday in February except in years in which the Winter Olympics is held, when it moves to the first Sunday in March. As part of the Academy's long-term deal with ABC, the next three Oscar shows will all air live on the network. All will take place at the Dolby Theatre at the Hollywood & Highland center in Hollywood.

Teen actor Jaden Smith has sparked a conversation about gender norms after stepping out in Calabasas, California, in what appeared to be a woman's dress, Yahoo! reported. Will and Jada's 16-year-old son sported the long-sleeved black frock with cut-off jean shorts underneath and netting over the top. Jaden has said that Albert Einstein inspired his sartorial style, stating, "Einstein didn't really like to change clothes because he had too much other stuff to worry about, and I'm the same. All black is pretty much my go-to look."

Music-industry trade publication and charts organizer Billboard has announced the nominees for the 2015 Billboard Music Awards. Taylor Swift leads all artists with 14 nominations, while out singer Sam Smith has 13, Iggy Azalea has 12 and Meghan Trainor has nine. The Billboard Music Awards will air live on Sunday, May 17, on ABC. Smith later tweeted, "Oh my lordy. THIRTEEN Nominations. Unreal. Thank you so much Billboard xxxx," according to Gay Star News.

Marilyn Monroe is heading to China, The Wall Street Journal noted. Chinese film company DMG Entertainment has struck a deal with brand-development firm Authentic Brands Group LLC to develop projects for Mini Marilyn, a cartoon version of the late U.S. actress. The two companies plan to develop the character for film, merchandise and in forthcoming retail and entertainment projects.

A recently announced publishing deal that will yield a memoir next year from current "It Girl" Taraji P. Henson is one of two pending books spawned by FOX-TV's wildly popular hip-hop series Empire, The Chicago Sun-Times noted. Henson, who plays fan favorite Cookie Lyon on the hit family drama filmed in Chicago, is scheduled to release her memoir in mid-2016 via Simon & Schuster imprint 37 Ink. However, HarperCollins is releasing a memoir from Timothy Mosley, aka Timbaland ( who's the executive music producer of the series ) this November.

Pop—formerly TV Guide Network—unveiled its 2015-2016 slate, which contains more than 300 hours of original programming, according to TheWrap. One of the highlights from the programming slate includes the Pitch Perfect-inspired a cappella singing competition Sing It On, which John Legend and Core Media Group will executive-produce. The net also revealed that Tyra Banks will host its 42nd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards later this month.

Actor James Van Der Beek ( Dawson's Creek; CSI: Cyber ) recently talked gay porn with Late Late Show host James Corden, Metro noted. Van Der Beek was asked when he knew he made it. His answer: "The moment I really realized [Dawson's Creek] had become a phenomenon was when somebody made a porno version of the show. That was the moment when I realized we had made it—it was a gay porno ... called Dawson's Crack." He added it was in his security when airport security flagged him shortly after 9/11.

Baz Luhrmann's Netflix series The Get Down has cast its first four male leads, TheWrap noted. T.J. Brown, Justice Smith, Shameik Moore and Skylan Brooks will make up the ragtag group of teenagers who run wild in the streets of the late-1970s Bronx. Luhrmann will direct the first two episodes and the season finale, and serve as executive producer.

Award-winning actress Rita Moreno will be the speaker for Northeastern Illinois University's spring commencement ceremony on Monday, May 11, a press release stated. Moreno belongs to an elite group of performers, having won each of the entertainment industry's most prestigious awards: the Oscar, the Emmy, the Tony and the Grammy. During the commencement ceremony, Moreno will be awarded a Northeastern Illinois University honorary doctorate degree in recognition of her achievements.

Rock superstars Pat Benatar and Neil "Spyder" Giraldo are celebrating their latest musical milestone with the release of the CD/DVD set Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo: The 35th Anniversary Tour on April 28, a press release stated. The 14-track commemorative package features their greatest hits, including "Promises in the Dark," "We Belong," "Sex as a Weapon" and "Love Is a Battlefield." The duo has also embarked on a nationwide tour.

True Detective returns for its eight-episode second season Sunday, June 21, according to HBO. A bizarre murder brings together three law-enforcement officers and a career criminal, each of whom must navigate a web of conspiracy and betrayal in the scorched landscapes of California. Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams and Taylor Kitsch star.

Rapper Kanye West is facing new rumors that he is secretly gay, with sources claiming that the rapper may be stepping out on wife Kim Kardashian with another man from the world of high fashion, reported. The rumors indicate that West is in a relationship with French fashion designer Olivier Rousteing, who is a friend and runs in the same fashion circles. An ex-boyfriend of Rousteing has allegedly posted some suggestive photos and emails that West and Rousteing exchanged. Back in August, 2014, rumors began circulating that West's friendship with openly gay designer Ricardo Tisci may have been something a little more.

The Nicole Kidman film Grace of Monaco, the Grace Kelly biopic that opened the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, won't be getting a theatrical release in the United States, Deadline noted. Instead, the pic will premiere on Lifetime on May 25—the day after Cannes wraps its 2015 edition. Battles over cuts to the film between U.S. distributor The Weinstein Company and director Olivier Dahan, as well as protests from the Monaco royal family over the depiction of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier, mired the film, which was only released theatrically overseas.

Between a breakup and a death in her family, Fantasia Barrino is having a really stressful month, New Pittsburgh Courier noted. The former American Idol winner has lost her grandmother, Addie Collins—and it looks like her relationship with Kendall Taylor has fizzled. Barrino posted a photo of wedding rings with the caption, "It's Done…. The Kids and I Will Always Love You i got to stay strong for Granny.. He was the best man I knew kendall you are loved."

Speaking of Fantasia, she and fellow singer/actress Brandy are being called before the court to answer questions about why they really cut ties with their former publicist, Courtney Barnes, according to the Chicago Defender. They'll come face-to-face with their former rep as witnesses in his discrimination case against Sony Music. Brand is accusing the company of firing him from the label because he's Black.

A judge has ruled against DLT Entertainment in an infringement case playwright David Adjmi brought against the company, saying Adjmi's take on the classic TV show Three's Company can proceed, Courthouse News Service reported. In 2012, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater ran the play 3C; however, DLT sent a cease-and-desist letter more than a week into the run. Approving Adjmi's request for fair use, Chief U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska detailed the "nightmarish" spin the playwright gave on Jack, Janet and Chrissie's antics—including Adjmi's re-imaging of Jack as "Brad," a gay man who's repeatedly subjected to homophobic slurs. The 56-page opinion quotes variations of the word "faggot" from the play at least a dozen times, plus allusions to rape, drugs, psychosis and other themes.

This article shared 9416 times since Tue Apr 14, 2015
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