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Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-02-22



James Franco gets roasted; 'Steel Magnolias' inspiration dies
Entertainment news: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

This article shared 9936 times since Wed Aug 28, 2013
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Lines have been leaked from the Comedy Central Roast of James Franco that airs Sept. 2, and some of the most wicked one-liners deal with sexual orientation, according to . For example, Seth Rogen unleashed lines such as "He's a tough guy to pin down, although I've heard many guys have been able to do it" and "In all seriousness, he is a very hard-working actor. He once told me he worked for 36 hours straight, which I don't believe—the straight part, obviously." In addition, others such as Sarah Silverman, Jonah Hill, Andy Samberg, Jeff Ross and Aziz Ansari deliver gay-related zingers.

Services for real-life "Steel Magnolia" Margaret Harling were held recently in Louisiana, according to an item. Harling was a psychiatric nurse and a historic preservationist. She and her daughter, Susan, were the original Steel Magnolias, written about in the play and movie of the same name by her son, Robert. Margaret was the inspiration for the character M'Lynn Eatenton, the mother who loses her daughter to diabetes, according to Entertainment Weekly.

Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Melissa Manchester will join musician Richard Marx for the Point Foundation's "Voices on Point" event Sept. 7 in Los Angeles, according to a press release. Others slated to appear include former diver Greg Louganis as well as actresses Florence Henderson, Wendie Malick and Carmen Electra. Actor/songwriter Dean Pitchford will receive the Point Courage Award from the foundation, a national LGBTQ scholarship fund.

Jonathon Cheban, Kim Kardashian's BFF, has claimed he almost lost his $500,000 watch when a man tried to rip the 22-carat sparkler by Jacob & Co. right off his wrist in The Hamptons, according to Extra TV. Cheban posted a photo of the pricey watch on Instagram, revealing the location where he was lunching. Cheban later said, "I guess it teaches people a lesson that Instagram can be a little bit dangerous."

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is set to merge the Trayvon Martin case and the Paula Deen scandal in a forthcoming story, according to the New York Post. Cybill Shepherd will play Jolene Castille, a famous Southern chef who guns down an unarmed, hoodie-wearing Black teen she thought was following her on the Upper West Side. The episode, which also features Jeffery Tambor and Leslie Odom Jr., will air in October.

The next season of Survivor—subtitled "Blood vs. Water"—will feature returning Survivor contestants playing with/against their loved ones, according to TV Guide. Among the 10 people returning are season one's Gervase Peterson (competing against niece Marissa), Tina Wesson from The Australian Outback (who will be playing with daughter Katie) and One World's controversial Colton Cumbie (and fiance Caleb). The season starts Sept. 18 on CBS.

The national LGBT organization GLAAD has released its first Studio Responsibility Index (SRI). The SRI analyzes the quantity, quality and diversity of LGBT people in films that six major motion picture studios—20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Sony Columbia, Universal Pictures, The Walt Disney Studios and Warner Brothers—released during the 2012 calendar year. The report found that out of the 101 film releases by the major studios in the 2012 calendar year, only 14 films contained characters identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual. There were no films containing transgender characters. The full report is at

Julien's Auctions will exhibit and sell property from the life and career of the late comedienne Phyllis Diller Sept. 22, according to a press release. Highlighted costumes and accessories from Diller's stage performances and television work include a velvet robe worn on The Love Boat (estimate: $800-1,200) and a performance-worn pink sequined dress (estimate: $800-1,200). There will also be a number of pianos played by Diller, an accomplished concert pianist, and many selections of paintings and prints from her own secondary career as studio painter. See .

Wentworth Miller, former star of the TV series Prison Break, has come out as gay while protesting Russia's laws discriminating against gay people, according to . In a letter to St. Petersburg International film festival director Maria Averbakh declining a guest-of-honor invitation to the festival, Miler writes, "Thank you for your kind invitation, As someone who has enjoyed visiting Russia in the past and can also claim a degree of Russian ancestry, I would make me happy to say yes. ... However, as a gay man, I must decline." Miller, 41, has also been on such TV shows as Popular and House M.D. as well as movies like Underworld.

In a partnership between Marvel and live entertainment producer Hero Ventures, former Live Nation chairman and Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark producer Michael Cohl will produce the Marvel Experience, according to . Described as a "first-person superhero adventure" and set to debut next year, the $30 million themed production will feature dozens of Marvel characters combined with multimedia technology, original 3-D animated movies and a 4-D motion ride, all in a traveling dome complex as big as two football fields.

Stars Laura Benanti and Cheyenne Jackson will join previously announced Tony winner Shuler Hensley in the New York City Center Encores! production of Frank Loesser's The Most Happy Fella, which will play the Manhattan venue April 2-6, 2014, noted. Tony winner Casey Nicholaw will direct the limited engagement, with music direction by Rob Berman. The musical opened at the Imperial Theatre May 3, 1956, and ran for 676 performances.

The CW has picked up a script for an untitled drama based on the TV show Fame from executive producers Sam Haskell and original Fame star Debbie Allen, according to a item. Allen starred on the TV show "Fame," which aired 1982-87. The series—based on the 1980 motion picture of the same name—was set in a high school for performing arts in New York, and looked at the personal and professional struggles of its students.

NBC reporters Jenna Wolfe and Stephanie Gosk are new mothers, according to USA Today. The couple welcomed baby daughter Harper Estelle Wolfeld Gosk Aug. 21 at 7:31 p.m.; she weights seven pounds, 13 ounces. Wolfe tweeted, Fell madly in love w Harper Estelle tonight. Thx for the kind words and well wishes. Other than that I'm speechless." Wolfe later said on the Today show that they chose the name "Harper" because "It's the perfect combination of athleticism, and gentleness, and kindness, and beauty and a little TV moxie."

Fox News' Executive Vice President of Programming Bill Shine announced that former The View co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck will make her on-air premiere on Fox News Channel's "Fox & Friends" Sept. 16, according to . Hasselbeck will make her debut along with co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade on a redesigned set. During her final day on The View in July, Hasselbeck called her decade-long tenure "nothing short of extraordinary."

Rizzoli & Isles star Angie Harmon has a great working dynamic with co-star Sasha Alexander, but she was still surprised when fans of the show pushed for their characters to become more than friends, according to the New York Daily News. "Whether we're gay or straight, it doesn't matter," said Harmon, who is known for her conservative views. "We're all women. We all have the same wonderful situations happen to us, the same horrific situations. We all get our hearts broken."

Singer Brandy was set to be the surprise grand finale act for Mandela Sports and Culture Day in Soweto, South Africa recently, according to the New York Daily News. However, Brandy got the surprise as concertgoers left the stadium, which holds 90,000, ahead of her taking the stage—leaving only 40 attendees. She left after two songs. Her rep said, "Brandy was not going to South Africa to headline a show; she was there for a cause and was only scheduled to sing two songs, as there were other performers ahead of her."

Changing their plans with just a couple months until their big day, Kelly Clarkson and her fiancee Brandon Blackstock have cancelled their wedding ceremony and now plan to elope, according to a Radar Online item. The American Idol winner told People magazine that she and Blackstock became overwhelmed with their busy schedules and trying to plan a wedding at the same time. They became engaged last December.

Ellen DeGeneres and wife Portia De Rossi are trying to unload the equestrian ranch they purchased in the Hidden Valley community in Thousand Oaks, Calif., in 2009, a year after they married, according to Radar Online. The property—for which they're asking almost $11 million—has a main house, several cottages, barns and even a yoga pavilion. The couple originally listed the place in 2011 for $14,900,000 but took it off the market a few months later.

Sweetwater Books, a division of the Utah-based Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, has terminated the release of the young adult novel Woven, allegedly following a dispute over an author's autobiographical blurb that outed him as a gay man, according to the Huffington Post. The controversy reportedly began when co-author Michael Jensen received a proof of the novel with a line missing from his biography: "He lives in Salt Lake City with his boyfriend and their four dogs." The acquisitions editor of Cedar Fort, Angie Workman, allegedly told Jensen he could not present himself as a gay man living with his boyfriend because the publisher worried that it might hurt the company's relationship with Latter-day Saint (LDS) church.

Oscar winner Ben Affleck will take on the role of Batman in the as-yet-unnamed superhero movie coming from Warner Bros. in the summer of 2015, replacing Christian Bale, according to NBC News. At Comic-Con in July, the studio announced that Batman and Superman would battle each other in the upcoming film. Henry Cavill, who played Superman in the summer movie Man of Steel, will reprise his role in the new film.

Police have identified a suspect in the beating death of a transgender woman who starred in an online reality series, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Fontana, Calif., police are looking for 18-year-old Dantjier Powell, of San Bernardino, in the death of 32-year-old Domonique Newburn. Newburn starred in Hollywood Houseboys, a YouTube show described as "a docu-reality series that opens the doors behind the daily lives of four gay friends, their relationships and how they form their own limelight into Hollywood."

Gay actor Matt Bomer (TV's White Collar and the movie Magic Mike) is among those praising Prison Break actor Wentworth Miller for recently coming out as a gay man, according to E! News. Bomer said, "Wow, I think it's really bold and incredibly classy how he came out and did it. I am really proud of him. Its very reflective of his amazing character." Additionally, Bomer—who came out in February 2012—acknowledged the positive legal changes happening for the LGBT community by saying, "I hope all these laws continue to pass but we still have a long way to go." Miller decided to publicly reveal his sexuality after being invited to attend a film festival in Russia; he declined the offer, citing the country's headline-making law banning "gay propaganda."

Amelie—the 2001 French film that became a worldwide box-office hit—is going to be a Broadway musical, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Dan Messe, the keyboardist and composer of Brooklyn neo-folk indie ensemble Hem, revealed on the band's Facebook page that he is at work on an adaptation of the movie. Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and starring Audrey Tautou as the title character, the film (which received five Oscar nominations) follows an innocent young waitress in a whimsical version of modern-day Paris.

Emmy-winning television star Jackee Harry (TV shows 227 and Sister, Sister) joined the cast of off-Broadway's NEWSical The Musical for a one-week engagement Aug. 23-27, according to . Producer D'Angora said before the engagement, "Jackee is a comedic genius and she can sing her face off. Hands down, I am the luckiest producer in New York theatre this season!" NEWSical The Musical has previously featured special guests Perez Hilton, Andrea McArdle, Cheri Oteri and Carson Kressley.

After two seasons, TV Land has cancelled the series Happily Divorced, according to . Based on Fran Drescher's real life, Happily Divorced stars the actress as a woman who re-enters the dating world after finding out her husband is gay, and juggles her relationship with her current boyfriend and ex-husband. The network's current slate includes Hot In Cleveland, The Exes and The Soul Man, the upcoming Kirstie Alley sitcom Kirstie and the Jaime Pressly pilot Jennifer Falls.

Singer Linda Ronstadt says she has Parkinson's disease and can no longer sing, according to an L.A. Times item. Ronstadt, 67, made the disclosure in an AARP Magazine interview posted online. Ronstadt, an 11-time Grammy winner, said that she was diagnosed with the neurological ailment about eight months ago and "can't sing a note." She added that she uses poles to help walk and uses a wheelchair when traveling.

Sydney Leathers—known as Anthony Weiner's most recent sexting partner—may have been exposed to HIV when she shot her porn debut earlier this month, the New York Daily News reported. The actor who played the politician in Weiner & Me is Corvus Xander, an adult film star who filmed a sex scene three weeks ago with Cameron Bay, a female porn actress who recently tested positive for HIV. So far, Leathers has had negative results from three HIV tests.

Legendary actress Julie Harris died at age 87 at her home in West Chatham, Mass., of congestive heart failure, according to the New York Daily News. Harris won a record five Tony Awards for best actress in a play during a theater career that spanned almost six decades and included such roles as Sally Bowles in I Am a Camera and Emily Dickinson in The Belle of Amherst. (She received a special Lifetime Achievement Tony in 2002.) She was also in movies such as East of Eden and Reflections in a Golden Eye as well as TV shows like Knots Landing.

Judge William T. Moore of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia signed an order of dismissal in Jackson v. Deen, the discrimination lawsuit that ravaged celebrity chef Paula Deen's career, according to the Huffington Post. The case was dismissed "with prejudice," which means that the same suit cannot be filed in court again. Interestingly, plaintiff Lisa Jackson later said in a statement, "The Paula Deen I have known for more than eight years, is a woman of compassion and kindness and will never tolerate discrimination or racism of any kind toward anyone." It was during a deposition for this case that Deen admitted using the N-word in the past.

Brian Burke, former general manager of the National Hockey League's Toronto Maple Leafs,has joined a growing chorus of voices condemning Russia's ban on gay propaganda, according to the Globe and Mail. Burke said the country should be prevented from hosting any further international competitions as long as the "archaic" law remains in place. Burke—whose late son, Brendan, came out in 2009—has become one of the most high-profile voices in the North American LGBT community, and will be the director of player personnel for the U.S. Olympic hockey team at the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia.

British sitcom Vicious—featuring gay actors Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Derek Jacobi—will run for a second season, according to Gay Star News. The ITV sitcom features the award-winning actors as a gay couple who have been together for nearly 50 years. McKellen (of the X-Men series) plays Freddie, a sharp-tongued delusional actor who lives with partner Stuart in their Covent Garden flat.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force announced Star Trek actor and LGBT advocate George Takei will be the recipient of the organization's 2013 National Leadership Award, noted. The award will be given to Takei Nov. 9 at the 17th Annual Miami Recognition Dinner. "I am deeply honored to be recognized by this wonderful organization that has been fighting for LGBT equality for the past four decades," Takei said in a statement.

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo's Mama June and Uncle Poodle took Alana Thompson (better known as Honey Boo Boo) for the child's first drag experience, according to . The family went to to Hamburger Mary's in Jacksonville, Fla., for a drag show and a couple of rounds of Drag Bingo. In addition, the family put out a tip jar for autograph- and photo-seekers, promising to donate any money they raised to a charity that combats cyberbullying.

At MTV's Video Music Awards Aug. 25, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis capped their award-winning night with a performance of the gay anthem "Same Love" (which won Best Video With a Social Message), according to . The hip-hop duo were joined onstage by Mary Lambert, who sings the song's chorus, and surprise guest Jennifer Hudson. Before that, openly gay NBA basketball star Jason Collins and Harlem rapper A$AP Rocky jointly introduced the song. Upon winning the award for "Same Love," Macklemore said, "Gay rights are human rights; there is no separation." The duo also won for best hip-hop video for "Can't Hold Us."

Although many criticized Miley Cyrus' twerking performance at MTV's Video Music Awards, she has at least one defender: Adam Lambert, according to the Hollywood Reporter. "Listen if it wasn't ur cup of tea—all good but why is everyone spazzing?" Lambert tweeted in Cyrus' defense. "Hey—she's doin something right. We all talkin." In 2009, Lambert dealt with controversy about his American Music Awards performance, when he simulated fellatio with a male dancer and kissed a male keyboardist.

Madonna has been named the highest paid celebrity of 2013 by Forbes magazine, which reports that the "Like a Prayer" singer brought in $125 million between June 2012 and June 2013, according to an item. Movie director/producer Steven Spielberg was second with $100 million, and there was a three-way time for third, as Simon Cowell, Howard Stern and Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L. James each earned $95 million. Oprah Winfrey was 13th with $77 million.

The NBC daytime soap opera Days of Our Lives will replace Chandler Massey, who has shot his last scene as gay character Will Horton, according to . "As Chandler Massey announced back in June, he will be leaving the show to further pursue his education and other entertainment opportunities," according to a show statement. "While Days of our Lives is disappointed to lose such a talent, the show understands and supports him in his future endeavors." Massey, who joined the soap in 2010, won two daytime Emmys.

TV's Wonder Woman, Lynda Carter, is set to become part of the CBS show Two and a Half Men, according to . The actress-singer will play "a version of herself" in the upcoming 11th season. The show is getting an overhaul this fall as Amber Tamblyn joins the show as Charlie's lesbian daughter, who moves in with Alan (Jon Cryer) and Walden (Ashton Kutcher).

The Help director Tate Taylor is considering a reunion with three of the stars from his hit 2011 drama, as Viola Davis, Oscar winner Octavia Spencer and Nelsan Ellis (Lafayette in TV's True Blood) are being eyed for supporting roles in Universal's untitled James Brown movie, according to . The star of the movie, Chadwick Boseman, broke out with his performance as Jackie Robinson in the film 42. Mick Jagger will also be depicted as a character in the James Brown film along with his Rolling Stones bandmate Keith Richards; fellow musician Little Richard is also slated to be in the movie.

Hoping to gain a competitive edge amid an incredibly crowed playing field, Focus Features is moving up the release of the film Dallas Buyers Club from Dec. 6 to Nov. 1, the Hollywood Reporter noted. The AIDS drama, starring Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto, is loosely based on the real-life story of Ron Woodroof, who began smuggling antiviral medications into the United States from all over the world after being diagnosed with HIV in the mid-'80s. However, the film will now compete with Diana, the movie about Princess Diana that stars Naomi Watts.

Dollywood—Dolly Parton's famous amusement park—is getting a major upgrade, according to OUT Traveler. The Pigeon Forge, Tenn., spot is getting a $300-million expansion over the next decade, with much going to the forthcoming DreamMore resort. The hotel will feature 300 rooms, views of the Smoky Moutains, front-porch spaces, and even lemonade and hot chocolate for those who enter the lobby. A new roller coaster is also planned, although it's designed to be tamer than the park's current rides.

In an interview with GQ Australia, out gay singer Ricky Martin admitted that his religious upbringing and self-hate led him to bully other gay men while growing up, according to an item. Martin said, "I was very angry, very rebellious. I used to look at gay men and think, 'I'm not like that, I don't want to be like that, that's not me.' I was ashamed." He added, "I look back now and realize I would bully people who I knew were gay. I internalized homophobia."

Out tennis champion Billie Jean King said that individual athletes should decide whether to compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics that will take place in Sochi, Russia, the Washington Blade reported. "The athletes who have the most to derive from it and the least to derive from it if they don't go, I think they should get the vote," she said. King came out as a lesbian in 1981 after her relationship with her secretary became public.

Downplaying rumors that arose after the group's brief reunion at the Video Music Awards, Lance Bass said there are no plans for an NSync tour, according to . "It would be lovely to do it, but we've got nothing planned," Bass told The Associated Press between breaks of his Sirius XM show, "Dirty Pop With Lance Bass." One reason is that Justin Timberlake begins his solo tour this fall, and Bass says the closest he'll get to the stage is a seat in the audience.

Jake Gyllenhaal is slated to appear on James Lipton's Inside the Actors Studio Thursday, Sept. 19, at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT, according to . In his first time on the series, the actor discussed his films Brokeback Mountain, October Sky, Donnie Darko, End of Watch and the upcoming Prisoners. In addition, he discussed his Hollywood family (which includes sister Maggie) and his relationship with late friend and "Brokeback" co-star Heath Ledger. Inside the Actors Studio premiered in 1994 and celebrated its 250th episode in May.

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