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Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-02-22



SHOWBIZ Janelle Monae, 'SNL,' EDM pioneer, Culture Club, Kim Petras, Wilson Cruz
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by Andrew Davis

This article shared 2798 times since Fri Apr 21, 2023
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Janelle Monae has re-entered the musical realm with the release of her single, "Float," featuring horns by Seun Kuti + Egypt 80, a press release announced. The song was first heard late last year as the official anthem of ABC/ESPN's NBA Saturday Primetime campaign, with Monae contributing voiceover narration to promo spots highlighting the biggest matchups and stars in the league. "Float" is available now via Wondaland Arts Society/Atlantic Records.

On SNL's April 15 episode, "Weekend Update" co-anchor Michael Che used the sketch show's platform to address recent legislation in Republican-dominated states like Florida, Kansas and Missouri—measures that would heavily restrict gender-affirming healthcare for transgender kids, Variety noted. Then, non-binary cast member Molly Kearney was lowered from the ceiling. "This harness is pretty tight and my groin area is beefed," they joked about the strap-like contraption. "I have been hung up on my genitals for far too long, and I'm starting to feel like a freaking Republican lawmaker." Talking with Che, Kearney said, "People need to wake up. We are making trans kids grow up too fast. We should be keeping them safe and we need to be lifting them up."

The record company Dark Entries has released Malebox—six previously unreleased songs (including "Love Me Hot" and "A Wicked Tool") from the archives of the late gay dance-song icon Patrick Cowley, according to a press release. "Best known for his chart-topping disco anthems, Cowley left us with an incredible body of work before his tragic death in 1982 due to AIDS-related illness," the release added. Cowley (who often worked with gay icon Sylvester) is considered one of the pioneers of EDM. See .

Boy George and Culture Club announced details of their upcoming "The Letting It Go Show" North American tour taking place this summer, according to NME. The 25-city run comes fresh on the heels of Boy George and Culture Club ending their sold-out Vegas shows and will kick off on July 13 in West Palm Beach, Florida with support from Howard Jones and Berlin. Just a few of the stops include Atlanta, Nashville, Cincinnati, Toronto, Philadelphia and LA; locally, the concert will take place Aug. 3 in Tinley Park, Illinois. Visit Ticketmaster for more info and tickets.

Trans Grammy-winning international pop singer/songwriter Kim Petras released her new single "Alone, featuring Nicki Minaj, via Republic Records/Amigo Records, a press release noted. The single samples Alice Deejay's eurodance megahit "Better Off Alone"—a nod to the dance hits that Petras lost herself in during childhood to forget her problems. Petras is gearing up for a performance at the Governor's Ball in NYC this June and will also perform at Life is Beautiful in Las Vegas and The Town in Sao Paulo, Brazil in September; she recently headlined Sydney WorldPride in Australia.

Out actor Wilson Cruz is in Thailand to film his next acting project: Mother of the Bride, per Queerty. Details of the Netflix rom-com first emerged in February, with the confirmation of leading cast members Brooke Shields, Miranda Cosgrove and Benjamin Bratt; other cast members have been revealed as Michael McDonald, Chad Michael Murray, Rachael Harris and Sean Teale. Paramount+ recently announced the next season of Star Trek: Discovery (which co-stars Cruz) would be its last.

TV personality and dance artist Erika Jayne announced her Las Vegas residency, "Bet It All On Blonde," at House of Blues Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, per a press release. The residency will officially launch Friday, Aug. 25, and will run into December. The residency comes on the heels of Bravo TV's recent season 13 announcement of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Jayne, who has been a cast member and fan favorite since 2015, will return to the show this year, which is currently filming. According to Radar Online, Jayne not only faces a $2.2-million tax lien but continues to rack up legal fees defending herself in various lawsuits over estranged husband Tom Girardi.

Everybody Rise! A Sondheim Celebration—an evening celebrating the work of the late composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim—will be presented July 30 at the Hollywood Bowl, Playbill announced. Three-time Tony winner Patti LuPone (Evita; Gypsy; Company) will lead a company that also includes Sierra Boggess (The Phantom of the Opera) and two-time Tony winner Sutton Foster (Thoroughly Modern Millie; Anything Goes; The Music Man). Additional artists will be announced.

Cheryl Dunye's groundbreaking movie The Watermelon Woman—a vibrant representation of Black lesbian identity by a Black lesbian filmmaker—will be released on Blu-ray on July 11 via Criterion, according to High-Def Digest. In the film, Dunye stars as Cheryl, a video-store clerk and aspiring director whose interest in forgotten Black actresses leads her to investigate an obscure 1930s performer known as the Watermelon Woman. The special-edition Blu-ray also includes a new interview with Dunye, six of her early short films, and essay by critic Cassie da Costa and more.

The RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 8 cast has been revealed, according to EW. The new season will feature a cast of 12 returning queens vying for the crown, including (among others) season-nine Snatch Game winner Alexis Michelle; season five's contestant Monica Beverly Hillz; Miss Continental winner Naysha Lopez, who first competed on season eight; season-13 Golden Boot winner and Miss Congeniality queen Lala Ri; season-six star Darienne Lake; and Canada's Drag Race season 1 star and RuPaul's Drag Race UK vs. the World competitor Jimbo. The season will premiere May 12 on Paramount+.

In a conversation with Radio Times magazine, actor Richard Armitage reflected on coming out to the people in his life when he was a teen and why he didn't want to talk about it publicly for so long, per Queerty. "[Coming out] happened when I was 19—to anybody who mattered—and I was always waiting for that question to punch me in the face, and it never did," Armitage said. "I don't know that I ever wanted to put myself in front of the work I was doing, anything about my family or personal life. I just thought, 'Let the work speak for itself.'" However, promoting the new Netflix thriller Obsession, Armitage told Evening Standard that he warned his partner about a full-frontal scene he does: "We did talk about it. I reassured him that it was all going to be fine, and we were being well looked after."

Singer and American Idol judge Katy Perry thanked the LGBTQ+ community for her success. Talking with Out, she said, "First and foremost, I wouldn't be here without the gay community supporting me. They have been such big admirers and fans and influences for me. … think they feel connected to the music. I think they feel safe. I think they love the OTT of the show [at her Vegas residency] and it is a really hammy show." Perry also includes the gay anthem "Walking On Air" in every show's setlist.

On a related note, openly gay American Idol alum David Hernandez released the first single from his autobiographical EP, Don't @ Me, a press release noted. "When It Rains, It Pours" is about the emotional turmoil many people are experiencing today. The video, directed by producer Trent Park (who wrote the song with Hernandez), incorporates water, fire, and air elements as symbols to depict the inner workings of Hernandez's mind; the visual is at

On Wed., May 24, the Netflix show The Ultimatum: Queer Love will debut, according to the network. On the show five new couples, consisting of women and non-binary people, are at crossroads in their relationships; in just a little more than eight weeks, each couple will either get married, or get out, after they each choose new potential partners.

The show Summer House: Martha's Vineyard will premiere on Bravo on May 6, according to a press release. Newlyweds Jasmine and Silas head to Martha's Vineyard for a much-needed vacation with friends, but things get hairy when an uninvited guest arrives. Preston Mitchum, an outspoken Black queer activist/attorney, is part of the cast.

Also, Bravo heads to the dance floor with six women as they prepare to face off against one another in ballroom competitions across the country in the new docuseries Dancing Queens, premiering Tuesday, May 9, per a press release. The series follows Colette Marotto, Donie Burch, Gaelle Benchetrit, Leonie Biggs, Pooja Mehta and Sabrina Strasser as they invest their time and money into their all-consuming passion to vie for the top spots, respect and recognition in the world of Pro-Am dance competitions.

LGBTQ+ musician Meshell Ndegeocello released the new single "Vuma," per a press release. The song is described as "a propulsive ode to the power of the human voice featuring the South African vocalist Thandiswa and jazz mallet master Joel Ross, who is heard here on marimba." Ndegeocello will make her Blue Note Records debut with the June 16 release of The Omnichord Real Book, a jazz-influenced album that taps into a broad spectrum of her musical roots.

The Last of Us star Pedro Pascal has reportedly been cast in an as yet unspecified role in director Ethan Coen's upcoming lesbian road-trip comedy, Drive-Away Dolls, LGBTQ Nation noted, citing Variety. Out actors Beanie Feldstein and Coleman Domingo also star in the film alongside Pascal, Margaret Qualley, Geraldine Viswanathan, Bill Camp and Matt Damon. The film is Coen's solo directorial debut, marking the first film he's directed without brother Joel.

The curtain has fallen on the longest-running show in Broadway history: The Phantom of the Opera. According to NPR, Andrew Lloyd Webber's mega-hit musical closed after more than 35 years and 14,000 performances. An estimated 6,500 people were employed by the production—including more than 400 actors—and it took a cast, orchestra and crew of 125 to put on a show. The premiere performance of The Phantom of the Opera took place on Jan. 26, 1988 at New York's Majestic Theatre (where it ended); it starred Steve Barton, Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman; Harold Prince directed. Webber dedicated the final Broadway performance to his son Nicholas, who died of gastric cancer last month, Reuters reported. Also, went out on a very high note, as box-office receipts for the show's final week hit a best-ever $3.7 million, per Deadline.

The Walt Disney Company settled with lesbian former Marvel Studios exec Victoria Alonso after firing her last month. According to Deadline, there was reportedly a multimillion-dollar deal. Alonso was abruptly shown the door on March 17 after a 17-year run at Marvel Studios; her departure came in the wake of being Oscar-nominated on the international feature film, Argentina, 1985.

Shout! Studios and Out of the Box Records present Born in Chicago—a music documentary on the rich history of the Chicago blues scene that will be available on all major digital platforms on Aug. 1, per a press release. The movie, written by music historian Joel Selvin, includes archival footage alongside interviews with Keith Richards, Bob Dylan, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Steve Miller, Harvey Mandel, Charlie Musselwhite, Barry Goldberg, Hubert Sumlin, Corky Seigel and many others. Dan Aykroyd narrates the film, which is executive-produced by Jim Belushi and Elliot Roberts.

The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) and Ailey Arts In Education & Community Programs (AIE) will hold free classes, workshops and conversations at the 15th annual Ailey Day celebration at the Arts Center on April 29—commemorating the late dance icon Alvin Ailey, Black Star News noted. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater—founded in 1958 by the famed dancer, choreographer and activist—has performed annually at NJPAC since the Arts Center's opening in 1997. Visit for more information.

LGBTQ+ musician Frank Ocean pulled out performing the second weekend of Coachella after jolting attendees on April 16 with what Variety called "a disorganized, meandering mess." (For Ocean's part, a statement read that a leg injury prevented him from performing properly the first weekend and that he was "not able to perform [on] weekend 2 due to two fractures and a sprain in his left leg.") Variety added that "Ocean's [April 16] set … was messy, loose, and a near-disaster that will likely go down as one of the most divisive in Coachella history, with flashes of brilliance that only made for a frustrating final outcome: that of disappointment and palpable audience WTF-ness." Ocean had not performed live in nearly six years, and was set to headline the fest in 2020 before the pandemic hit.

Netflix partnered with Louisiana's Xavier University and LGBTQ+ recording artist Big Freedia for the upcoming Shondaland series Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story with a "Spring Waltz" for students, per a press release. The event featured a performance from Freedia—a New Orleans icon and the "Queen of Bounce"—on the school's campus. As a surprise, an unveiling of Xavier University's first-ever marching band uniform was presented to much fanfare and pride as a gift from Queen Charlotte.

Anna Nicole Smith: You Don't Know Me will debut on Netflix on May 16, a press release noted. Director Ursula Macfarlane (Untouchable) and producer Alexandra Lacey are offering an examination of the life, death and secrets of Vickie Lynn Hogan—better known as model/actress Anna Nicole Smith. From her first appearance in Playboy in 1992, Smith's dizzying ascent was the very essence of the American dream, brought to a tragic halt with her untimely passing in 2007. Radar Online noted that Smith's ex Larry Birkhead and the former couple's 16-year-old daughter, Dannielynn, refused to participate in the film—but they plan to share their own story with never-before-heard details.

Diane von Furstenberg—the influential fashion designer credited with popularizing the women's wrap dress—will be the subject of a new documentary at Hulu, per Variety. Through archival footage and intimate interviews, the film takes a deep dive into the life and career of von Furstenberg, who forged a path for herself in a male-dominated industry and built a multi-million-dollar fashion empire. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy—the Oscar-winning filmmaker of the shorts "Saving Face" and "A Girl in the River"—is directing the film with Trish Dalton.

RuPaul's Drag Race's 15th season went out on top, according to Deadline. Sasha Colby took home the crown on April 14, closing the highest-rated season of RuPaul's Drag Race in three years. The long-running competition series moved to MTV from VH1 this season, which probably has a lot to do with its ratings jump.

The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner determined singer Aaron Carter died from drowning as well as the effects of alprazolam (the generic form of Xanax) and difluoroethane (found in refrigerants and aerosol sprays), according to CNN. Carter died last Nov. 5 at the age of 34. Carter is survived by his 1-year-old son, Prince, whom he shared with his partner Melanie Martin

David Hurles—an adult-film producer who enlisted rugged male models found on the streets of San Francisco in the '70s—has died at age 78, Queerty noted. Hurles passed away at a nursing home in Los Angeles due to complications from a stroke he suffered in 2008, according to The Bay Area Reporter.

Queer LA-via-Portland singer-songwriter Olive Klug (they/them) announced their debut album, Don't You Dare Make Me Jaded, which will be out Aug. 11 via Nettwerk, per a press release. It's accompanied by their new acoustic single "Casting Spells" and its animated music video, created by Melissa Ladybug. The video is at

Six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald will headline the annual benefit for New Haven, Connecticut's Long Wharf Theatre on May 15, Playbill noted. McDonald previously appeared in Long Wharf's 50th-anniversary benefit that took place in 2015.

Three years after Denise Richards walked away from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills in a sea of gossip and drama, she confirmed to Variety she is returning to the franchise as a guest. Richards claimed her return to the reality show was so unplanned that even Bravo's production team had no idea she'd be at a screening hosted by Real Housewife Garcelle Beauvais.

Netflix announced the shutdown of its DVD-by-mail business, Variety reported. The final Netflix DVDs will be shipped out on Sept. 29, 2023, according to co-CEO Ted Sarandos. In 2022, the DVD business generated $145.7 million (down 20% from the previous year), which represented just 0.5% of its total revenue. In addition, the streamer is launching paid password sharing, per Deadline.

Survivor alum Ricard Foye and his husband, Andy Grier Foye, are parting ways after seven years of marriage, per Extra. Last year, Andy, a transgender man, opened up on their relationship, telling E! News, "We met and I learned so much more about my queer community and so much more about what's possible." In 2015, the pair eloped after meeting as volunteers at a queer youth camp.

Peacock released the trailer for the three-part true-crime documentary Menendez + Menudo: Boys Betrayed, a release stated. According to the release, "Lyle and Erik Menendez infamously killed their parents in 1989. Menudo was the first mega-boy band to take the world by storm. In this explosive limited series, viewers will learn of the connection that links the two stories and could corroborate the brothers' decades-old accusations against their father, Jose Menendez." It's set to premiere May 2; visit .

Drummer Tommy Lee made some confusing statements about trans people on Instagram and, in doing so, also called himself the "gayest motherf*cker around," according to Out. The ex-husband of Pamela Anderson posted a six-year-old video of news anchor Liz Wheeler lying about what it means to be trans and comparing trans people to Rachel Dolezal, who lied about being Black, and to people who are into the adult baby fetish. However, Lee then deleted the post and posted that he's not actually transphobic, but thinks things are going too far.

Talent manager Entertainment 360 dropped actor Jonathan Majors (Creed III; Antman and the Wasp: Quantumania), per Deadline. The recent move by Majors' longtime manager came three weeks after the star was arrested on domestic-violence charges in New York City. The PR firm The Lede Company also has parted ways with Majors. Also, Variety reported that as Majors prepares for a May 8 court appearance, multiple alleged abuse victims of Majors have come forward following his March arrest and are cooperating with the Manhattan district attorney's office. However, the actor released footage of his ex-girlfriend partying hours after she claimed he assaulted her, per Radar Online.

Oscar winner F. Murray Abraham apologized after being given the boot from the Apple TV+ series Mythic Quest following two allegations of sexual misconduct, Page Six noted. The White Lotus actor said he was sorry for telling "jokes, nothing more" that "upset some of my colleagues" and resulted in him being let go in April 2022. Abraham has added that he had "grown in my understanding," and hoped his co-stars would "forgive" him following the allegations.

The Los Angeles District Attorney's Office is reviewing claims of sexual assault made against actor Armie Hammer (Call Me By Your Name), CNN noted. While the district attorney's spokesperson did not specify the identity of the complainant or complainants it is known that Hammer has been under investigation for sexual assault since February 2021, after a woman accused him of raping her in 2017. Hammer has not been charged in the case and has denied any wrongdoing.

This article shared 2798 times since Fri Apr 21, 2023
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