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Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-09-06



SHOWBIZ Kaytranada, NFL star, Alexandra Billings, video game, George Michael
by Andrew Davis

This article shared 3539 times since Fri Nov 10, 2023
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Out Montreal DJ/producer Kaytranada teased his latest single, "Out of Luck," with Mariah the Scientist, on Twitter, Complex noted. "THIS IS THE ANTHEM!" Kaytra wrote in his quote-tweet of the song playing at a release party. With a collaborative album in the books and recent singles to his name, fans could be getting closer to a complete solo album in the future.

The first installment of Ryan Murphy's American Sports Story anthology series for FX will star Josh Andres Rivera as football player/convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez, with Patrick Schwarzenegger as fellow former NFL star Tim Tebow, Deadline revealed. The project reunites Schwarzenegger with Murphy; the actor's first TV role was on Murphy's Scream Queens. The first installment charts the rise and fall of NFL superstar Hernandez (who was rumored to be gay, although it's not known if his sexuality will be covered) and explores the connections of the disparate strands of his identity, his family, his career, his suicide and their legacy in sports and American culture.

Transgender actress/activist Alexandra Billings—who's appeared on TV shows including Transparent and How to Get Away with Murder, and in Wicked on Broadway—is getting ready to revisit Broadway with her life story, Out reported. Billings is preparing the autobiographical musical S/He and Me for an industrial workshop in March ahead of a Broadway production. Billings made her Broadway debut in 2018 in The Nap and joined the cast of Wicked as Madame Morrible the following year. Also, she has lived with AIDS since 1995, and Billings is known as much for her LGBTQ+ and AIDS activism as she is for her acting accomplishments.

The video game Overwatch is getting its first nonbinary character, and fans are happy to see more LGBTQ+ inclusion in the series, PinkNews noted. Gaming convention BlizzCon 2023 provided Overwatch 2 fans with a sneak peek at the new Damage character Venture. They are a Canadian archeologist willing to use their drill weapon to dig deep for treasure and win in battle. The newest Overwatch is slated to drop sometime in May 2024, according to Dexerto. In April, Overwatch expanded its roster of LGBTQ+ characters with the introduction of Lifeweaver, an out pansexual scientist that uses plant-based tech to heal and protect teammates; then, during Overwatch 2's Pride Month celebrations, Blizzard revealed popular characters Pharah and Baptiste are both queer.

British pop star George Michael was among those inducted into the Rock & Hall of Fame nearly seven years after his death at age 53, noted. Grammy-winning R&B singer Miguel opened the tribute to Michael with a cover of "Careless Whisper," followed by Adam Levine's take on "Faith" and Carrie Underwood's cover of "One More Try"—although Levine was widely panned, other media outlets stated. Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley officially welcomed Michael into the Rock Hall. "George was one of the greatest singers of our time," he added. "His voice was sublime. It expressed both strength and vulnerability, qualities that resonate throughout his outstanding songwriting."

The theme of the spring 2024 Costume Institute exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art will be "Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion," Vogue noted. Approximately 250 items drawn from the institute's permanent collection—some very rarely seen in public before—will be displayed in an entirely new way. From a 17th-century English Elizabethan-era bodice to 21st-century acquisitions by designers including Phillip Lim, Stella McCartney and Connor Ives, the core exhibit will span 400 years of history. There will also be designs by Elsa Schiaparelli, Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Dior, among many others.

Emmy/Tony/Grammy winner Billy Porter and GLAAD President/CEO Sarah Kate Ellis were honored at New York Stage and Film's annual gala, held Nov. 5 at Manhattan's Plaza Hotel, per a GLAAD press release. Guests included Chuck Cooper, Wilson Cruz, Tony winner J. Harrison Ghee, Nathan Lee Graham, Dominique Jackson and Brian Quijada, among others. The night included a tribute to Ellis, co-curated by GLAAD and NYSAF; in addition, there were remarks from Michael Anderson, Jennifer Finney Boylan, David Burtka, Frankie Grande and Peppermint. Singer Melissa Etheridge presented Ellis' award,

After a record-breaking 2023, Taylor Swift has been named Apple Music's Artist of the Year, a press release announced. In the first 10 months of 2023, she saw 65 songs reach Apple Music's Global Daily Top 100—more than any other artist. Among other things, Swift is the most-streamed female artist in Apple Music history, and Midnights is still the biggest album of all time by a female artist in Apple Music history by first-day and first-week streams worldwide.

Queen Latifah seemingly endorsed a message criticizing DJ Akademiks' response to rapper Saucy Santana's recent message in their feud, according to Complex. On her Instagram Stories, Latifah shared a post from Bronx rapper/activist Mysonne addressing the feud following Akademiks' admission that he's scared of responding to Saucy Santana, who's openly gay. "It's crazy to me how DJ Akademiks is crying scared to say anything to Saucy Santana because he's a gay man and he's scared of getting 'canceled,' but has said some of the most outlandish, vile, disrespectful and demeaning things to Black women with absolutely no fear whatsoever," the post read. "Brings me back to Malcolm X's quote... 'The most disrespected, unprotected and neglected person [in] America is the Black woman!'"

Atlanta rapper Lil Baby addressed speculation that he was involved in a leaked gay sex tape, according to VIBE. He said he was "sick" of people using his name to chase "clout" and attention. Baby said that there wasn't any "cap in his rap" and denied being the man in the video. The video in question showed a man with braids similar to Baby's giving another man oral sex; social-media users then flocked to the musician's Instagram account to make jokes and fling obscenities at the entertainer.

Grammy-winning singer, songwriter and trailblazer Boy George will return to Broadway next year in the Tony-winning Moulin Rouge! The Musical, Playbill noted. The famed artist (real name: George O'Dowd) will step into the role of Harold Zidler—the role that Tony winner Danny Burstein created—on Feb. 6, 2024, at Broadway's Al Hirschfeld Theatre, playing a limited engagement through May 12, 2024. Tituss Burgess continues his limited engagement as Harold Zidler through Dec. 17, and Eric Anderson will return to the role Dec. 19, 2023—Feb. 4, 2024.

The Recording Academy released an official statement regarding why Christian drag queen Flamy Grant's full-length, Bible Belt Baby, was dropped from consideration in the Grammys' best contemporary Christian music album category, Billboard reported. The academy confirmed that Grant's album—which had been at the top of the iTunes Christian charts, at one point—had been moved into the best pop vocal album category based on "explicit language/content" used in one of the album's songs, "Esther, Ruth and Rahab." "The Academy is an open and inclusive organization that embraces artists from all backgrounds and genres," the statement read.

Peter White—who portrayed Linc Tyler on the ABC soap opera All My Children over four decades and starred in the original stage production and film adaptation of The Boys in the Band—has died at age 86 of melanoma, per The Hollywood Reporter. The Boys in the Band revolves around a group of gay men attending a birthday party in a Manhattan apartment for their friend Harold (Leonard Frey), though it's left unclear whether Alan (played by White) was/is gay. The play ran for more than 1,000 performances.

Award-winning fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi and actress/advocate/QVC Brand Ambassador for Accessibility Selma Blair have collaborated to create Isaac Mizrahi Live! x Selma Blair for QVC, according to the network. A description read, "The collection is designed with input from the disability community and inspired by [Blair's] personal style, her passion and her powerful perspective."

Controversial rapper Azealia Banks launched a blistering attack on gay musician Troye Sivan online after he praised her song, "212," according to Out. "This is these white kids' weird way of apologizing for bandwagoning," Banks wrote on her Instagram Story. "Having no clue of the kind of shit happening to me behind the scenes in the industry." Then, she went harder: "And [you're] a late condescending expired Twink anyway bitch. We've been past 212. Trying ur hardest to old on to the f*cking weak ass pedophilia x incest aesthetic - perpetuating that underlying double standard that somehow pedophilia practiced amongst men is somehow okay… that fueled ur trash ass music in the first place." Most social-media users sided with Sivan, but some defended at least some of what Banks said.

Zeke Smith, best known as the first-ever trans man to compete on Survivor, married Nico Santos, who's starred on shows like Superstore and films like Crazy Rich Asians, on Nov. 4 in Palm Springs, California, according to an Out piece that cited People Magazine. Smith told People, "For us, we've been together for almost six years. We own a home together, have a joint bank account. We're each other's emergency contacts. By all sorts of usual metrics, we are married. But actually having the ceremony, making it legal, it's about becoming a family. We're in it forever."

Grant Gustin—who starred on the CW's long-running The Flash—will make his Broadway debut in the new musical Water for Elephants, Deadline noted. Gustin, who also appeared in the TV series Glee, will portray main character Jacob Jankowski. The musical—based on the Sara Gruen 2006 novel that was made into a 2011 film that starred Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon—begins previews on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024, at Broadway's Imperial Theatre, with an opening night on Thursday, March 21.

The Mean Girls musical-comedy film—a twist on the 2004 classic—will be out Jan. 12, 2024, a press release noted. The plot line should be familiar to some: New student Cady Heron (Angourie Rice) is welcomed into the top of the social food chain by the elite group of popular girls called "The Plastics," ruled by the queen bee Regina George (Renee Rapp) and her minions, Gretchen (Bebe Wood) and Karen (Avantika). However, when Cady falls for Regina's ex-boyfriend Aaron Samuels (Christopher Briney), she finds herself prey in Regina's crosshairs. The official trailer is at

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Dr. Francois Clemmons—a gay Black actor best known as the singing policeman from Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. The fundraiser has a goal of $100,000, and the monies raised will help pay for medical and living expenses. The page states, "The costs for this kind of retirement community are high for almost anyone. But they are simply not possible for a performing artist like Francois, an openly-gay Black man who—despite his leading role on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood—encountered discrimination, struggled financially, and never benefited from legacy privilege or generational wealth."

Queer for Fear director Sam Wineman recently accused executive producer/showrunner Bryan Fuller of sexual harassment, discrimination, bullying and more—but Variety has published the accounts of 14 people who dispute Wineman's claims, Out noted. (Both Wineman and Fuller are openly gay.) For example, Steak House, another of the executive producers, told Variety that he was there when a "back cracking" incident that Wineman mentioned in his suit, and said that Wineman has mischaracterized what happened.

Before her death earlier this year, Lisa Marie Presley conveyed shock and horror over the depiction of her father, Elvis Presley, in the script for Sofia Coppola's new film Priscilla, Variety reported. The messages asking Coppola to reconsider her vision were sent four months before Lisa Marie suffered fatal cardiac arrest in January. Priscilla is a biopic of Priscilla Presley, based on the subject's 1985 memoir Elvis and Me. Among other things, the film shows Elvis and Priscilla's courtship—one that began in Germany in 1959 when Priscilla was 14 and Elvis was 24.

Oscar winner Charlize Theron (Monster) told Town & Country magazine that she is still dealing with "trauma" since the night her mom, Gerda Maritz, shot and killed the actress' dad, Charles Theron, per Page Six. "I would say this: It's a simple correlation to make," she said. "But I think it's way more complicated than having just one night of trauma in your life." In order for Maritz to save herself and her then 15-year-old daughter, she shot her husband, killing him; since his death was in self-defense, Charlize's mother was not charged.

Hyatt hotel heir Anthony Pritzker's divorce from his wife of 34 years, Jeanne, is turning nasty. Anthony—the brother of Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker—is said to be worth more than $3 billion; however, he is reportedly claiming that he is "only" worth $55 million. Anthony amassed part of his fortune with Pritzker Group, a private-equity firm he operated with JB.

Nineties gay adult-film star Hank Hightower (real name: Henry Robert Hightower) passed away at age 57, Queerty noted. Close friend Jeff Yarbrough said on Facebook, "One of the (few) special guys in my life lost a health battle today. Hank and I lived large, hard and fast at an appropriate time for all that—late 1990s—after a sh*t ton of our friends had died of AIDS." He added that "memorial details will be sent in a few weeks." After retiring, Hightower devoted much of his time to animal-rescue efforts.

Bhagavan "Doc" Antle—an exotic wildlife preserve owner who gained notoriety on the Netflix series Tiger King—pled guilty to animal trafficking and money laundering, ABC News noted. Antle oversaw the sales or purchases of cheetah cubs, lion cubs, tigers and a juvenile chimpanzee that were all protected as endangered species, according to a Justice Department release.

Gannett, the largest newspaper chain in the United States, recently hired Bryan West to report exclusively on Taylor Swift-related news for USA Today, Out noted. West defended his position in a recent interview with Variety, saying, "I would say this position's no different than being a sports journalist who's a fan of the home team." West's responsibilities go beyond traditional reporting; he will also engage with Swift's fanbase, produce video content, and cover events like tour stops and award shows.

Singer/actress/reality-show personality Kandi Burruss responded after food vlogger/former MMA fighter Keith Lee shared his bad experience at her Atlanta eatery, Old Lady Gang, VIBE noted. Lee's family was informed they were unable to place a to-go order per Old Lady Gang rules and that the wait for a seated table was more than an hour; however, once Lee himself entered the restaurant, a table was prepped to be ready in five minutes. Burruss said, "On the weekends, we get a lot of community support, people in our city that show up for us, as well as a lot of people from out of town. So, with that being said, we don't want to overwhelm our kitchen by having to, you know, have such long times for the people who are actually at the restaurant, plus having to do to-go orders."

Also regarding Burruss, she seemed to defend Justin Timberlake in the wake of Britney Spears releasing the bombshell memoir The Woman in Me, per Hollywood Life. "That era of pop and R&B, it was a lot of boy bands that did, like, urban music, urban routines and dancing, the whole image," Burruss said. "That was in at the time, and nobody was passing judgment." The reality star also commented that "people are getting canceled" for issues that she said weren't "a problem" in years past, adding, "Leave him alone, y'all. He was a really, really good guy."

Legendary music executive/producer L.A. Reid—who helped develop music superstars Mariah Carey, Pink, TLC and Usher—has been sued by a former music executive who claims he sexually assaulted her more than two decades ago, per Deadline. Drew Dixon claims Reid derailed her rising career after he became Arista Records' chief executive and she rejected his advances. The allegations include two alleged sexual assaults that she said happened in 2001. Although the allegations date back to the turn of the century, Dixon is suing under New York state's Adult Survivors Act.

American Idol alum Jimmy Levy—a singer known for his support of former President Donald Trump—blamed Satan after his backpack caught fire while on a plane in New York, according to the Daily Dot. "I am convinced that this entire scenario was a spiritual attack from the pits of hell and I rebuke it in the name of Jesus! I rejoice during this time, because I only have a few burns on my hands," he said, in part. However, some people joked on social media that the singer's political views had actually caused God to attack him. "@jimmylevymusic maybe your god is punishing you for the hate against the LBGTQ+ community," a user said. In July, Levy told Fox News that he left the mainstream music industry after his involvement with the occult led him to be harassed by demonic entities.

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