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Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-02-22



SHOWBIZ 'Black Adam,' Cyndi Lauper, Sondheim, Oscars, OutFest
by Andrew Davis

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Cultured Magazine recently profiled Quintessa Swindell—who became the first out, non-binary actor to play a lead superhero in the DC universe when they portrayed Cyclone in the 2022 movie Black Adam. Swindell grew up in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and their father first introduced them to the method performances by actors Philip Seymour Hoffman and Daniel Day-Lewis that later shaped their craft. Swindell began their Hollywood career in 2019 with a regular role in the Netflix series Trinkets, which ran for two seasons. The same year, they appeared in an episode of Euphoria as Anna, who had a steamy encounter with Hunter Schafer's Jules. The full article is at

Music legend and staunch LGBTQ+ ally Cyndi Lauper compared the recent rash of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation to what happened in Germany under Adolf Hitler, The Advocate noted. Interviewed by The Hill's In the Know blog, the "True Colors" singer said, "Equality for everybody, or nobody's really equal. This is how Hitler started, you know—just weeding everybody out."

The late gay composer Stephen Sondheim's final musical will have its world premiere in New York this fall, per The Hollywood Reporter. The musical—formerly known as Square One and now entitled Here We Are—is inspired by two Luis Bunuel films: The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie and The Exterminating Angel. Joe Mantello (Wicked; Assassins) will direct the musical, which features a book by David Ives; performances will begin in September for a strictly limited engagement off-Broadway at The Shed's Griffin Theater.

Anne Heche, Tom Sizemore, Paul Sorvino, Leslie Jordan and Charlbi Dean were among the actors omitted from the Oscars' "In Memoriam" segment, Yahoo! noted. (John Travolta got emotional as he introduced the segment, giving a sweet call out to his late Grease co-star Olivia Newton-John before Lenny Kravitz performed his song "Calling All Angels.") Dean, who starred in Triangle of Sadness, was one of the most notable as her film was up for multiple nominations, including Best Picture; the South African actor and model died in August from bacterial sepsis at age 32. Many of those left out of the televised tribute—including Sorvino, Heche, Sizemore and Dean—are included in the Oscar's larger online in-memoriam gallery at

Backstage at the Academy Awards, Oscar winner Jamie Lee Curtis (Everything Everywhere All at Once) offered her thoughts on Hollywood's historic tendency to separate award nominees into binary categories based on gender, Deadline noted. "Obviously, I would like to see a lot more women be nominated so that there's gender parity in all the areas, in all the branches. And I think we're getting there," said Curtis. "We're not anywhere near there, and of course inclusivity then involves the bigger question which is, 'How do you include everyone when there are binary choices?' '[It's] very difficult." She added, "As the mother of a trans daughter, I completely understand that. And yet to de-gender the [categories] also, I'm concerned will diminish the opportunities for more women, which is something I also have been working hard to try to promote."

Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins said she was very disappointed that no women were nominated for best director at the Oscars this year, Variety noted. "I give up, I give up," Jenkins said. "I say that even with all of their push to have diversity. The numbers are just hugely imbalanced of who votes for these things. I sort of just stopped paying attention to it. It's still going to take a long ways to go." The 2023 director nominees were Martin McDonagh (The Banshees of Inisherin), winners Daniel Kwan and Daniel Schienert (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Steven Spielberg (The Fabelmans), Todd Field (Tar) and Ruben Ostlund (Triangle of Sadness).

The line-up for the 20th Anniversary Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC Film Festival has been announced, Out noted. Highlights at this year's festival include the documentary Little Richard: I Am Everything, from Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning producer/director Lisa Cortes; and Kristy Lovell and Zackary Drucker's portrait of the New York City Meatpacking District and the trans women of color who lived and worked there in The Stroll. Outfest Fusion Festival—with 23 world premieres, five U.S. premieres, four international premieres and three North American premieres—will take place in person in Los Angeles and virtually on March 24-April 2.

LGBTQ+ actor and Emmy winner Kit Connor (Netflix's Heartstopper) has been set to lead the feature mystery-horror One of Us, which will begin filming in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Deadline noted. In the allegorical film, members of a family begin dying one by one at a funeral, while Connor's character searches for the stranger in the midst. Callum Woodhouse (The Durrells), Charlotte Hope (The Spanish Princess), Siobhan Fallon-Hogan (Rushed) and Ian Beattie (Game Of Thrones) will also star in the feature.

Out country singer Ty Herndon has teamed with fellow musician Terri Clark to release the single "Dents on a Chevy," per a press release. Herndon said, "Getting to duet with my friend Terri Clark on this track is like a dream come true. The second I heard this, I knew it had to go on my album 'JACOB' as a tribute to all those people in our lives who just fit—our husbands, wives, partners, best friends and family members. Having people in our lives we can count on through the good times and the bad is so important, and this song is for them."

In the five-part Fox Nation docuseries Jussie Smollett: Anatomy of a Hoax, brothers Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo claimed the morning they prepared to allegedly help actor Jussie Smollett stage a racist and homophobic attack against himself in 2019, Smollett didn't show up on time, according to Page Six. "We made sure we got there at 2 a.m. sharp. We had no phones because he did not want us to bring any phones," Abimbola said. Smollett, who has long proclaimed his innocence, didn't take part in the project, which ran nearly two weeks after he filed an appeal challenging his 2021 disorderly conduct conviction and requesting a new trial. Then-CPS Superintendent Eddie Johnson also appears in the docuseries. In addition, there is the six-part podcast "Attacking Jussie: The Osundairo Brothers Story," which is a companion piece to the docuseries.

Real Housewives of Miami co-star Julia Lemigova revealed that her wife tennis legend Martina Navratilova's double-cancer diagnosis (throat and breast) put the pair's adoption plans "on hold," Page Six noted. "When you're adopting a child, it has to be about the child," Lemigova told host Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen. When asked how far along in the adoption process they were, Lemigova said they were pretty close.

The life of author and activist Eve Adams—an early chronicler of LGBTQ+ people in New York City—will be the subject of a TV drama in the works at Universal Television, per The Hollywood Reporter. Gabe Dunn and Arika Lisanne Mittman are developing a drama based on The Daring Life and Dangerous Times of Eve Adams, a biography by historian Jonathan Ned Katz.

Law Roach, one of the most celebrated celebrity stylists in the world, announced his retirement in an Instagram post, Out noted. "My cup is empty," he wrote. "Thank you to everyone who've supported me and my career over the years. … If this business was just about the clothes I would do it for the rest of my life but unfortunately, it's not! The politics, the lies, and false narratives finally got me! You win… I'm out." Roach—who works with clients like Hunter Schafer, Venus Williams, Ariana Grande, Kerry Washington, Anya Taylor-Joy, Tiffany Haddish and Aldis Hodge—is probably best known for his work styling Zendaya, which he's done since 2011.

Actor Lukas Gage (who's in Netflix's You) told The New York Times that he feels pressured "all the time" to identify with a certain LGBTQ+ label in his career, Yahoo! noted. "An agent that dropped me was like, 'Stop dyeing your hair, stop wearing weird clothes, and pick a lane: gay, bi, or straight. It's too confusing," Gage said. Although the actor has never addressed his sexuality publicly, Gage has played several LGBTQ+ characters, including on Love, Victor, The White Lotus, and, most recently, You.

Warner Records announced the launch of its first-ever flagship electronic dance music label: Major Recordings, per a press release. Headed by executive Sam Mobarek, Major Recordings has revealed its first signing—rising duo PARISI—in partnership with Parlophone's FFRR.

The producers behind X-Rated: NYC and For the Love of DILFs are launching a brand-new series called Miami Dolls—about trans women who work at the legendary Palace Bar in Miami Beach, according to Out. The main cast of Miami Dolls features Edna Mwah, Fantasia Royale Gaga, Nicky Monet, Rasheeda Phox and Tiffany Fantasia. This comedy docuseries, which premiered March 15 on OUTtv, is about showcasing "trans joy instead of trauma," spotlighting trans women working together, developing friendships, and having a good time.

Actress Tilda Swinton opened her keynote appearance at South by Southwest by sharing her pleasure that the pandemic had gotten to a point where audience members at the event didn't have to wear masks anymore, Variety noted. However, she added, "I'm about to shoot a picture in Ireland, and I was told to wear a mask at all times—and I'm not." Swinton claimed she is "very healthy" after having gone through COVID-19 infections multiple times. However, in 2022, Swinton spoke with W Magazine about the severity of one of her infections and the long COVID symptoms she was still dealing with, including memory lapses.

Two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali (Moonlight; Green Book) reportedly has a number of his own changes he wants to see for his solo outing in the vampire superhero movie Blade, The Direct noted. Ali is reportedly heavily involved with Blade's story process—so much so that he has demanded "script changes all the time" in recent months. Ali's passion for Blade has been well-documented over the past few years, with other reports noting his frustration about how difficult it's been to get the movie off the ground. Blade is currently set to debut in theaters on Sept. 6, 2024.

Washington National Opera, in D.C., announced the lineup for its 2023-24 season, Playbill noted. Sprinkled throughout more traditional offerings, such as Turandot and Gounod's Romeo and Juliet, are Broadway-adjacent offerings, including two operas by Tony winner Jeanine Tesori, direction by Broadway's Michael Mayer and a performance from Tony nominee Ramin Karimloo. See .

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles (Habitat LA) raised $925,000 to help fuel the organization's efforts to build and preserve affordable housing during the 2023 Los Angeles Builders Ball Presented by City National Bank on March 8 at The Beverly Hilton Hotel, per a press release. Aptly themed "Rise Up," the event featured red-carpet arrivals, a live auction and live entertainment by award-winning singer, songwriter and actress Andra Day. Celebrity attendees included the Property Brothers (who were honorees), Zooey Deschanel, Loni Love, Kim Coles and many others, along with a surprise appearance from Vin Diesel.

Peacock renewed Days of Our Lives for two more seasons—meaning the iconic soap opera will make it to at least its landmark 60th season, Variety noted. The series moved to Peacock in September, having previously aired on NBC since 1965; "Days" was NBC's longest-running drama series before switching to Peacock in 2022. The show has won 61 Emmys and gotten 392 nominations; it has also won multiple People's Choice Awards and GLAAD Media Awards. See

For the 21st consecutive year, LA-based marketing company Distinctive Assets is delivering its Everybody Wins" gift bags to Oscar nominees in the acting and directing categories, CNBC noted. The 2023 edition of the bag—not affiliated with the Academy Awards—is valued at roughly $123,000 (and it's taxable income), according to documents reviewed by CNBC Make It, and includes more than 60 gifts ranging from a $16 package of chocolate-covered pretzels to a hair-restoration consultation to a $40,000 visit to a luxury Canadian estate.

Internationally known DJ Diplo (real name: Thomas Wesley Pentz) doesn't want to "define" his sexuality — but he says he's "not NOT gay," Page Six revealed. The DJ told Emily Ratajkowski on her "High Low" podcast that he isn't "aroused by men that much," although he noted, "I'm sure I've gotten a blow job from a guy before," adding that he felt that such a sexual act "is not that gay."

Elvis director Baz Luhrmann's daughter Lilly talked about how she's dealt with the rumors about her famous father being gay, Out noted. Lilly said the media and, then, her friends grilled her about the rumors. According to Lilly, these claims made her feel embarrassed and confused. "Why are they making fun?" she asked herself. "I'm like, 'They just have different sleeping schedules.'" She added that she doesn't feel "traumatized" by it, adding that "there [are] worse things to go through." Baz has been married to a woman, Catherine Martin, since 1997.

Sean "Diddy" Combs is entering the race to buy BET, joining fellow media moguls Tyler Perry and Byron Allen as they vie to purchase a majority stake of BET Media Group amid reports that owner Paramount Global is exploring a sale of the asset, according to Variety. Combs is already the owner of Revolt, which he launched in 2013. Over the past decade, the network rooted in hip-hop culture has developed into a multimedia company that produces linear and digital long-form series and multi-platform short-form programming.

Multiformat retailer QVC—which reaches more than 200 million homes globally via its 12 broadcast networks and millions more via multiple streaming services, websites, mobile apps and social pages—named actress, author and disability advocate Selma Blair as its brand ambassador for accessibility, Chain Store Age noted. QVC is also launching a dedicated "accessible & adaptive" category that includes hundreds of products across fashion, home, electronics and beauty.

Model Jeff Thomas died in a suspected suicide, according to a Page Six item that cited TMZ. Authorities said they received a call on March 8 reporting Thomas' body had been found after he allegedly jumped from the balcony of his Miami apartment. Thomas had a strong social-media presence and was represented by London's AMCK Models.

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