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SHOWBIZ 'Joe Exotic' series, Luther Vandross, singer's announcement, star couples
by Windy City Times staff

This article shared 648 times since Sun Apr 25, 2021
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Hedwig and the Angry Inch's John Cameron Mitchell has been tapped to play the title character opposite Kate McKinnon in the series Joe Exotic (working title), Deadline reported. The limited series centers on Carole Baskin (McKinnon), a big-cat enthusiast, who learns that fellow exotic animal lover Joe "Exotic" Schreibvogel (Mitchell) is breeding and using his big cats for profit. She sets out to shut down his venture, inciting a quickly escalating rivalry. But Carole has a checkered past of her own and when the claws come out, Joe will stop at nothing to expose what he sees as her hypocrisy.

Google paid tribute to the late singer Luther Vandross (on what would've been his 70th birthday) with an original Google Doodle animation, according to Variety. With Vandross' 1981 debut solo single "Never Too Much" serving as the soundtrack, viewers are taken on a colorful trip through highlights of the singer's career. Also in observation of Vandross' birthday, Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, announced the RIAA certification of four of his signature singles: "Dance With My Father" (platinum), "Here and Now" (platinum), "Endless Love" (platinum) and "A House Is Not A Home" (gold).

Singer, songwriter and musician Ezra Furman revealed she is a transgender woman and mother in an emotional post to Instagram, according to . The indie folk-rock singer said she had been initially hesitant to make the revelation, but felt the times called for more visible examples of trans people and parents. Furman uses she/they pronouns. In part, she stated, "I've come to terms with the fact that I am a woman, and yes for me it's complex, but it's complex to be any sort of woman."

Newly engaged couple Jonathan Bennett (Mean Girls) and Jaymes Vaughan made history when they appeared on the new cover of The Knot magazine's summer 2021 issue, noted. Bennett revealed he fell in love at first sight when he was interviewed by Vaughan on Celebrity Page.

One-time Top Chef winner Kristen Kish tied the knot with fiancee Bianca Dusic in an intimate ceremony, noted. The brides both wore black—Kish in a black blazer with leather sleeves layered over a white shirt, and Dusic in a black sleeveless mock-neck dress. Top Chef judge Gail Simmons, Stephanie Izard and Roy Choi were among those who wished the couple well. The Fast Foodies star announced their engagement in September 2019.

Grammy-nominated/GLAAD Award-winning rapper Chika updated her fans and peers after posting some tweets that indicated she is struggling with mental health and suicidal ideation, noted. "I am alive. I am okay," she tweeted. "Thank you to everyone who has reached out to check in." She also thanked Cardi B, who reached out to her after she had posted struggles.

While recasting one character, who also happens to be gay, the Simpsons producers not only recast him with a Cuban-American actor—but also made sure the actor was gay, too, Instinct Magazine noted. Julio is a gay Cuban character who was previously voiced by Hank Azaria, the same actor who voiced Apu (and who has stopped voicing both); now, Julio has been recast with gay Cuban-American actor Tony Rodriguez.

Also, The Simpsons' parody of a "depressed British singer from the 1980s"—clearly styled at least partially on Morrissey—received rave reviews in many quarters, the man himself is apparently less than thrilled, Variety noted. The singer was satirized as an imaginary friend of Lisa Simpson's named Quilloughby, from a fictional band called the Snuffs, who, like Morrissey, was a vegan with a glum outlook. In a post on the singer's Facebook page posted shortly after the episode, Morrissey, or a representative, apparently called the show "hurtful" and "racist" for depicting him with a paunch he claimed he never had, criticized Hank Azaria's long-running Indian character Apu, praised Saturday Night Live and took a dig at the show's ratings.

Focus Features has set production with Gareth Neame's Carnival Films on Downton Abbey 2, according to Deadline. The original principal cast will all once again return for the second film which began production last week and is set to release Christmas 2021 on December 22, 2021. Original stars include Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Imelda Staunton and Maggie Smith. Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, Nathalie Baye and Dominic West will join the cast.

Also, Focus Features will release Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain—a documentary about the uncommon life of the late storyteller, explorer, and chef, a press release noted. The film will have its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on Friday, June 11. The documentary is directed by Academy Award® winner Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom; Won't You Be My Neighbor?). Focus Features will first release the documentary exclusively in theaters on Friday, July 16, before the film premieres on television on CNN and streams via HBO Max.

Former Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) President Phil Berk was criticized—and later ejected from the organization—for sending an email equating Black Lives Matter to Charles Manson, The Advocate reported. The email contained an article from the right-wing website FrontPage Mag, where the writer attacked Black Lives Matter and specifically went after the group's queer co-founder, Patrisse Cullors. In 2018, actor Brendan Fraser accused Berk of sexually assaulting him in 2003, The Advocate added.

Lil Nas X said he wants to feature Rihanna and Bad Bunny on a remix of his number-one single "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)," noted. The single—caught up in controversy since its release, partially due to the religious imagery used in the video—returned to streaming services after it was briefly taken down for unknown reasons in mid-April.

Madonna took to Instagram and shared a video showing her hanging posters along city streets with the two hashtags: #wakeupamerica and #guncontrolnow, The Daily Mail noted. Later, the "Borderline" singer shared a series of photos of herself posing in front of her #guncontrolnow handiwork on the street, along with some more powerful statements in favor of more gun-safety measures. She also addressed a couple of the more recent police shootings of unarmed Black and Brown males: "Adam Toledo was 13 years old, Daunte Wright was 20! The Officers who killed them are only being charged with manslaughter. This is insanity. Horrific. And yet it has become normalized in our society. Yes—people kill people, not guns. But the vast majority of people are not enlightened and guns are too easy to own."

The HBO Max ballroom-competition show Legendary was nominated for two MTV Movie and TV Unscripted Awards, noted. The show's official Instagram account noted that the show was nominated for Best Competition Series and Best Fight. For Best Competition Series, the show is up against RuPaul's Drag Race, The Challenge, The Circle and The Masked Singer; in the Best Fight category, Legendary is up against scenes from Selling Sunset, The Real Housewives of New Jersey, RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked and Keeping Up with the Kardashians. The awards will be handed out May 16-17.

American Cinema Editors (ACE) recently held its Eddie Awards. Deadline reported that the virtual event honored Netflix's Aaron Sorkin drama The Trial of the Chicago 7, Hulu/Neon's Palm Springs, the animated film Soul, the Netflix limited series The Queen's Gambit and ESPN's The Last Dance, among other productions. Also, Spike Lee was honored with the ACE Golden Eddie Filmmaker of the Year Award; while Lynzee Klingman, ACE, and Sidney Wolinsky, ACE, received Career Achievement Awards for their contributions to film editing. A prelude to the Oscars, the Eddies are considered barometers for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Best Picture and Best Editing categories, according to its website.

Carey Mulligan won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Female lead for her Promising Young Woman performance—and dedicated her award to the recently passed actress Helen McCrory (wife of Billions actor Damian Lewis), Deadline noted. McCrory—who starred in Peaky Blinders and His Dark Materials as well as the Harry Potter and James Bond film franchises—passed away April 16 at age 52. Mulligan said, "She was a true independent spirit and actress that I have looked up to, and will continue to look up to for the rest of my career, Helen McCrory, so thank you to her for everything she gave us."

And speaking of those awards, Nomadland won the marquee Best Feature category at the 36th annual Film Independent Spirit Awards, Deadline noted. The event also handed out three awards to Amazon Studios' Sound of Metal, including to Riz Ahmed for Best Lead Actor. Minari's Yuh-jung Youn was named Supporting Actress; Netflix's Crip Camp (with executive producers Barack and Michelle Obama) won the Documentary Award; and Amazon's One Night in Miami director Regina King and the ensemble cast was honored with the Robert Altman Award. There were also five new TV categories this year, and HBO's I May Destroy You won Best New Scripted Series to go along with a previously announced Ensemble Award.

Netflix revealed the cast for its live-action adaptation of Alice Oseman's gay coming-of-age graphic novel Heartstopper, noted. Newcomer Joe Locke joins Kit Connor (His Dark Materials) in the roles of Charlie Spring and Nick Nelson, students at an all-boys grammar school in Britain who discover they have feelings for each other. The show is currently in production until this summer, with no release date announced.

Paris Jackson has joined the cast American Horror Story: Double Feature, noted. Sources told TMZ the singer-songwriter-model will appear in at least one episode of Ryan Murphy's anthology horror series, now in its 10th season. The announced cast already includes recurring actors Sarah Paulson, Macaulay Culkin, Evan Peters and Kathy Bates.

The outrage surrounding producer Scott Rudin intensified, with Broadway star Sutton Foster speaking out while the twin brother of a late former Rudin assistant posted an emotional video message alleging that his brother was traumatized by his experience with the producer, Variety reported. "It's a really unfortunate situation, but the only positive outcome is the one that is happening, and I know Hugh [Jackman] feels exactly the same way," Foster said, referencing her Music Man co-star. Both statements followed Rudin's announcement that he is "stepping back" from Broadway. Rudin is also reportedly being removed from five A24 projects, Deadline noted.

On a related note, Hugh Jackman released his own statement regarding the Rudin situation, Playbill noted. "I want to say how much I respect and applaud the people that have spoken up about their experience working with Scott Rudin," Jackman said. "It takes an enormous amount of courage and strength to stand up and state your truth. This has started a conversation that is long overdue, not just on Broadway, and the entertainment industry, but across all workforce. The most important voice we needed to hear from was Scott Rudin, he has now spoken up and stepped away from The Music Man."

Kendall Jenner was granted a five-year restraining order against a man who allegedly threatened to shoot her, noted, citing TMZ. The model was recently forced to move out of her home after she was informed by police that 24-year-old Malik Bowker had allegedly made scary threats in which he said he intended to buy a gun and shoot the both of them. The order means Bowker must stay at least 100 yards away from Kendall, including her home, places of work and her vehicle.

RuPaul's Drag Race alum Nina West and Queer Eye co-host Bobby Berk are developing a children's variety show for Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, Deadline reported. Nina's Treehouse—written and created by West, portrayed by Andrew Levitt and Patricia Taylor—aims to create a space where all children feel welcomed, accepted and inspired to be creative, while embracing what makes them unique.

Transgender activist and former celebrity hairstylist Gracie Cartier—who has worked with Jada Pinkett Smith, Alicia Silverstone and other celebrities—came out as HIV-positive on her new show, Transcend, reported. Cartier revealed that she was coming out as HIV-positive in part to fight the stigma that still surrounds the virus, "not only external stigma but also for me personally, my internal stigma."

Singer-songwriter Angel Olsen came out, officially introducing her girlfriend to the world via social media, according to . "My beau, I'm gay," Olsen wrote on her Instagram, accompanying a post with pictures of Adele Thibodeaux, her partner. Thibodeaux, who uses they/them pronouns, is a writer on HBO's High Maintenance. She also posted a picture of her smiling face with the words "I'm gay!!!" in her Instagram Stories.

Jeopardy! named the guest hosts who will preside over the iconic game show through the rest of its 37th season, USA Today reported. They include former Roots and Star Trek: Next Generation star LeVar Burton, who actively campaigned to be host (and who recently received the backing of actor Ryan Reynolds, noted); Good Morning America anchors George Stephanopoulos and Robin Roberts; author and CNBC host David Faber; and sportscaster Joe Buck. Specific dates for the hosts have not yet been announced, but will begin showing up in June.

Ava DuVernay's animated adaptation of family fantasy books Wings of Fire is taking off at Netflix, Deadline noted. Wings of Fire, written by Tui T. Sutherland, will be adapted into 10 40-minute episodes. The series is centered around a bitter war that has raged for generations between the dragon tribes who inhabit the epic world of Pyrrhia.

Work on the upcoming ninth season of MTV's reality series Are You the One? was put on hold in the wake of a Daily Beast story (and current investigation) in which former contestant Gianna Hammer accused the producers of drugging her and covering up a sexual assault during the filming of Season 5 in 2017, Deadline noted. Hammer alleges that the producers gave her an extra dose of her medication after she had a confrontation with another cast member, despite her protests that the medication should not be mixed with alcohol. Hammer claims the producers allowed the male contestant to remain on the show after the incident.

Antoine Fuqua (Magnificent Seven; Training Day) will direct a new film version of the Tennessee Williams classic Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, according to Playbill. Fuqua will produce the film with Stephen C. Byrd and Alia Jones-Harvey, who were also behind the 2008 revival of the Williams classic that was directed by Emmy winner Debbie Allen and featured Terrence Howard, James Earl Jones, Phylicia Rashad and Anika Noni Rose. That production—which played a sold-out 19-week run—made history as the first all-African-American production of that title on Broadway and the highest-grossing play of that season.

Tens of thousands of people are calling on Netflix to pull the plug on former Bachelor Colton Underwood's coming-out series before it finishes taping, according to LGBTQ Nation. "Cassie [Rudolph, Underwood's former girlfriend] is a victim of Colton's abuse, and he does not deserve a platform in any way," an online petition with more than 25,000 signatures so far states. "Regardless of his sexuality, Colton should not be given a platform as a result of his abusive, manipulative, and dangerous behavior." Underwood apologized to Randolph on Good Morning America.

Singer-songwriter Gloria Estefan is in negotiations to join Andy Garcia in the reboot of Father of the Bride, according to Deadline. Estefan would play Garcia's wife, with Adria Arjona tapped to play the bride-to-be. The film will tell the story of a father coming to grips with his daughter's upcoming wedding through the prism of multiple relationships within a big, sprawling Cuban-American family.

Courtney Stodden credited trailblazing stars like Elliot Page and Sam Smith with helping them come out as non-binary, according to Page Six. The Celebrity Big Brother UK alum announced they will be using "they/them/their" pronouns going forward as their "spirit is fluid."

Buds Digest, a new cannabis and culture magazine for queer stoners, has launched, noted. A creation of Ben Tousley, Mac Malikowski and Jason Rodgers, the publication has launched its first issue—with three covers, of Bruce LaBruce, Claywoman and Sam Buck—and aims to explore art, music and more.

HBO Max announced that Selena Gomez's cooking show Selena + Chef has been renewed for a third season, a press release revealed. New episodes of the unscripted series will premiere later this year, exclusively on HBO Max. In season three, Selena will continue her cooking adventures at home with a new roster of all-star chefs. Like in its first two seasons, each chef will highlight a different charity each episode.

Kelly Osbourne revealed on Instagram that she had "relapsed" after nearly four years of sobriety, telling fans, "This is a little hard for me to talk about, but I've always promised you that I will always be honest with you about where I'm at and what's going on in my road to recovery," noted. She added, "I relapsed. Not proud of it." Osbourne has been candid about her struggle with drugs and alcohol in the past, first announcing she was one year sober back in August 2018 after a relapse following a long history with addiction.

Electronic-music pioneers The Chemical Brothers have returned with the new single "The Darkness That You Fear." The six-time Grammy-winning duo—Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons—released the brand-new song via Republic Records, the first new music since 2019's critically acclaimed album No Geography.

Rapper Machine Gun Kelly has teamed with Unlisted Brand Lab to create a nail-polish line called UN/DN, according to a Complex item that cited Page Six. "We're honored to be working with MGK on this rare opportunity to build a brand that will progress a category to embody a cultural shift that has been a long time coming," Unlisted founder/CEO Candy Harris said.

The Real Housewives of Orange County Braunwyn Windham-Burke hung out with some gal pals in Miami after splitting from her first girlfriend, Kris, earlier this month, Page Six noted. The group included Fernanda Rocha, who appeared on season six of "Orange County" as Tamra Judge's friend and identifies as a lesbian.

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