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SHOWBIZ 'Pray Away,' film contest, LGBTQ book, musicians, 'Star Trek'
by Windy City Times staff
2021-07-11

This article shared 1165 times since Sun Jul 11, 2021
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The new Netflix Original Documentary Pray Away, from executive producers Ryan Murphy and Jason Blum, will make its global launch on the platform Aug. 3, a press release noted. In the film, former leaders of the "pray the gay away" movement contend with the aftermath unleashed by their actions. Focusing on the dramatic journeys of former conversion therapy leaders, current members and a survivor, Pray Away chronicles the "ex gay" movement's rise to power, persistent influence and effect on individuals. Following a premiere at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival (with survivor Julie Rodgers and former leader Randy Thomas in attendance), the film also screened at DOC 10, in Chicago; and AFI DOCS, in Washington D.C.

LGBTQ streaming network Dekkoo is launching its second annual one-week short-film challenge, and creators could win a cut of $10,000 in prizes, a press release noted. Interested persons should shoot and submit a short film (no more than 10 minutes long) telling a queer story that features a happy ending. The winner will receive a cash award of $2,500 and the opportunity to direct a Dekkoo original short film with a production budget of $5,000; also, the four films that receive the most comments on that film's page on Dekkoo.com will win $1,000 each. Voting will end Sunday, July 25 and winners will be announced Wed., July 28; rules and guidelines are at https://dekkoo.blog/2021/07/07/attention-queer-filmmakers/.

Riverdale Avenue Books has published The Wizard of Pride—an LGBTQ retelling of the Wizard of Oz from Lambda Award-winning author Ryan Field, a press release noted. It's described as "an LGBTQ+ fairytale filled with references to gay culture and LGBTQ+ Pride that's long before Darius's time, but he's well aware there's no shame or hate in The Land of Pride." Books and downloads are available on Amazon, Barnes & Nobles Nook, iTunes and Kobo.

Transgender Emmy-nominated artist, author, activist and musician Laura Jane Grace (Against Me!, The Devouring Mothers) will perform a full solo set at the now-famous Four Seasons Total Landscaping in Philadelphia on Saturday, Aug. 21, a press release noted. (The show will also feature Brendan Kelly, of The Lawrence Arms.) Additionally, Grace recently announced a number of fall and winter appearances. Performing as part of the 2021 Punk Rock Bowling festival in Las Vegas on Saturday, Sept. 25, Grace will also be supporting the act Thursday on the East Coast during Dec. 27-30.

Toronto-based queer alt-hip hop artist Lex Leosis released her EP, Terracotta, a press release noted. The now TikTok rap battle champ also debuted a video for "That Feel," which shows an easy, breezy afternoon of skating in the sunshine. The previously released single and outlaw anthem, "Wanted," arrived with an icon Thelma and Louise-inspired video. The video for "That Feel" is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUs-1hAWf_c.

In time to commemorate the 55th anniversary of the Sept. 8, 1966 airing of the very first Star Trek episode, Paramount Home Entertainment and CBS Home Entertainment will debut new releases Sept. 7, 2021, a press release noted. The collection includes four Ultra HD discs, as well as four remastered Blu-ray discs with hours of previously released bonus content. Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (both the theatrical and director's cut), Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home are presented on both the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Discs, along with access to digital copies of the theatrical version of each film.

Also, Fathom Events will bring Paramount Pictures' 1986 sci-fi classic Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home to select movie theaters nationwide for its 35th anniversary on Thurs., Aug. 19, and Sun., Aug. 22, at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. (all times local), per a press release. This special 35th-anniversary event will also include the featurette "Three Picture Saga." In this featurette, cast and crew explore the backstory of the arc involving Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. See FathomEvents.com .

Emma Corrin—the star of Netflix's The Crown who won a Golden Globe for playing Princess Diana on the fourth season of the show—recently updated their pronouns on Instagram to she/they, out.com noted. Also, the actor shared photos of them taken by artist David-Simon Dayan, wearing a homemade binder (compression garments often worn by trans and non-binary people to alleviate chest dysphoria). Corrin previously came out when she labeled herself "Ur fave queer bride" alongside images of her in a wedding dress for Pop.

Director Dawn Porter teamed with MGM Television to produce a feature documentary about the live entertainment group Cirque du Soleil, Deadline noted. The film will pull back the curtain to tell the inside story of Cirque du Soleil's resurgence after the most difficult period in its history. (Before the COVID pandemic, Cirque du Soleil had performed 52,000 shows for more than 70 million people in Vegas as well as to audiences around the world.) Filming on the project continued through opening night on July 1, when Cirque du Soleil's show O returned to the stage at Bellagio Resort & Casino, in Las Vegas.

Billboard noted that Tyler, the Creator's Call Me If You Get Lost recently debuted at No. 1 on its Top Album Sales chart (dated July 10)—one of six debuts in the top 10; it's the second No. 1 for the artist. Also launching in the region: a reissue of Grateful Dead's 1971 self-titled live album and the latest studio releases from Beartooth, Doja Cat, Gary Allan and Modest Mouse. Plus, Lady Gaga's former No. 1 Chromatica returned to the top 10—and topped the Vinyl Albums chart for the first time—following its first release on black vinyl LP on June 25.

In a recent interview, Teen Wolf star Tyler Posey stated that the alt-rock singer he has been dating helped him realize he was queer, according to Page Six. Posey, 29, also said that his relationship with Phem is the "best relationship" he's ever been in. "[Phem] helped me realize that I fit under the queer umbrella and that I'm sexually fluid," Posey told NME magazine, adding he's "been with everybody under the sun."

Queer talent is front and center in the upcoming anthology American Horror Stories—a spinoff of American Horror Story, out.com noted. Matt Bomer, Glee's Kevin McHale, newcomer Paris Jackson and Pose's Dyllon Burnside will be part of the huge cast; some of the other co-stars will include Aaron Tveit, Gavin Creel, Billie Lourd, John Carroll Lynch and Danny Trejo. American Horror Stories premieres July 15 on FX on Hulu.

Openly gay Saturday Night Live actor/comedian Bowen Yang and out actor/writer/comedian Joel Kim Booster will co-star in Fire Island—a film inspired by Austen's 1813 literary classic about Regency romance in nineteenth-century England, only this time it's a gay rom-com set in modern-day New York, LGBTQ Nation noted. Booster wrote the script, and Queer Korean-American filmmaker Andrew Ahn is the director. Set in 1812, Pride and Prejudice has inspired numerous adaptations, including a faithful six-hour BBC miniseries in 1995; Bridget Jones's Diary, a 2001 interpretation with a contemporary twist; and a 2005 version starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen.

On Ellen DeGeneres' daytime talk show, RuPaul sat down with comedian, actress and Drag Race guest judge Loni Love (who was filling in for DeGeneres and doing hosting duties), out.com . One of the things they discussed was the fact that Kobe Bryant was a fan of RuPaul's Drag Race. "Kobe and his wife were in the lobby, and they said that they watched the show, and I was surprised by that," RuPaul said of the NBA great, who, along with daughter Gianna and seven other people, passed away in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California in January 2020. "It's moments like that that you love, that you know you're doing something good," Love replied.

The Spice Girls celebrated "Wannabe" turning 25 on July 8 with some throwback photos, EW.com noted. Geri Halliwell, a.k.a. Ginger Spice, a.k.a. Sexy Spice, posted photos celebrating the moment, with the first image showing the girls together—including Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham smiling—in her old backyard. "Wannabe" helped the Spice Girls take the United States by storm in 1996, eventually reaching platinum status (1 million in sales) within a year.

Tennis player Naomi Osaka returned to the spotlight for the first time since withdrawing from the French Open in May and skipping Wimbledon, posing on the red carpet at The ESPYS, which was moved to New York from Los Angeles this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, ESPN.com noted. Osaka—the world's highest-paid female athlete—won as the best athlete in women's sports at the annual show honoring the year's top athletes and sports moments. Tom Brady won best men's athlete and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers were named best team.

As Broadway productions prepare to welcome back audiences, Actors' Equity Association—the union representing stage performers and stage managers—issued new guidelines for productions that employ its members, Playbill noted. The updated safety protocols include measures for "fully vaccinated" companies, in which all Equity members and those who interact with them are 14 days past their final dose of an FDA or WHO-authorized vaccine, as well as workplaces where there is more than one unvaccinated adult (or unvaccinated minors).

Larry Rudolph, the longtime manager of Britney Spears, resigned as more controversy swirls over the pop singer's restrictive conservatorship, Deadline reported. "It has been over 2 1/2 years since Britney and I last communicated, at which time she informed me she wanted to take an indefinite work hiatus," Rudolph wrote in a letter sent to Spears' co-conservators Jamie Spears and the court-appointed Jodi Montgomery. "Earlier today, I became aware that Britney had been voicing her intention to officially retire." Also, less than 24 hours after Rudolph's resignation, the singer's court-appointed attorney and legal firm wanted out of the conservatorship.

In another Spears-related item, Radar Online cited a New Yorker article that stated that members of the singer's team don't trust her boyfriend, Sam Asghari. People on her team, who defend her conservatorship, believe Asghari is "manipulating" her and only dating Spears for her money. The Grammy winner has been linked to the fitness model since 2017 after meeting on the set of her "Slumber Party" music video.

Openly gay film director Todd Haynes' newest project, bankrolled by Apple TV+, is a documentary about the glam-rock group The Velvet Underground, Deadline noted. The film traces how Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison and Maureen Tucker—four disparate Manhattan musicians shepherded by pop-art legend Andy Warhol—changed rock and roll forever. Haynes has helmed such films as Far from Heaven, Carol and Velvet Goldmine.

Oscar-winning screenwriter Bill Condon will direct a new adaptation of Guys and Dolls for TriStar Pictures, which picked up the rights in 2019, according to Playbill, citing Deadline. Nicole Brown and Shary Shirazi will oversee Guys and Dolls for TriStar, along with previously announced producers John Goldwyn and Marc Toberoff. Casting and a timeline will be announced later.

Producer Mark Cortale and The Town Hall announced the season schedule for Seth Rudetsky's Broadway, taking place at The Town Hall, 123 W. 43rd St., a press release noted. Each evening, host/music director Seth Rudetsky welcomes Broadway performers for up-close and personal conversations and concerts. Upcoming guests include Jane Krakowski (Jan. 31, 2022), Vanessa Williams (March 7) and Brian Stokes Mitchell (April 4). For tickets and information, visit www.thetownhall.org or call 212-997-6661.

Award-winning singer, songwriter and activist Melissa Etheridge released "For The Last Time," the second single off her upcoming album, a press release noted. The song is one of nine tracks featured on the singer's new album—One Way Out—to be released Sept. 17, via BMG. Etheridge also released the accompanying music video, which features never before seen studio footage from 2013.

Drag personalities and comedy duo Trixie Mattel and Katya announced their first-ever U.S. tour, kicking off next March, a press release noted. "Trixie and Katya Live" is a parody homage to the classic female road-trip comedies from the '90s to today, including Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar; The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert; Crossroads; and Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar. Some of the stops will include Portland, Denver, Nashville, Chicago, Brooklyn and Philadelphia. See https://trixieandkatya.com/.

It turns out Taylor Swift and Adele are not collaborating on a single, Vulture noted. On July 2, a Twitter account called "The Swift Society" shared what appeared to be a screen grab from the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers (SESAC) online repertory in which it seemed that Taylor Swift and Adele had co-written and registered a song called "Broken Hearts/Shattered Hearts," and even Elle had published an article about it. However, later that day, an unnamed source told E! News that "'there is no truth' to the reported collaboration."

On Aug. 27, Capitol Records will release Halsey'sIf I Can't Have Love, I Want Power—and she unveiled the album's cover art at The Met Fifth Avenue in New York City, a press release noted. The cover, which may generate controversy, shows her wearing a crown while sitting on a throne with a baby on her lap—and one of her breasts exposed. The video of the cover's unveiling is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4uWjAJu0_8.

Company—Marianne Elliott's reimagined production of the Stephen Sondheim/George Furth musical starring Katrina Lenk and Patti LuPone—will begin Broadway performances a month earlier than previously announced, with the new preview date now set for Monday, Nov. 15, Deadline noted. The official opening night is now Thursday, Dec. 9 at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre—a full month earlier than the previously announced opening.

In Illinois, Kids in Macon County will soon have the chance to receive free books every month thanks to Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, according to FoxIllinois.com . United Way of Decatur & Mid-Illinois and the Community Foundation of Macon Countypartnered to launch the program, the Macon County Imagination Library, at a special event July 8 at the Decatur Public Library. Dolly Parton's Imagination Library mails high-quality, age-appropriate books to registered children from birth until their fifth birthdays.

Renee Montoya is coming to season three of Batwoman, according to an out.com item that cited That Illuminerdi. The website got a look at some of the casting calls for the upcoming third season of the CW show and found one searching for an LGBTQ+ performer (specifically, a Latinx or Afro-Latinx actress in her mid 30s) to play Montoya—a former Gotham City cop who becomes a vigilante and has dated Kate Kane (Batwoman) in the comics.

Shonda Rhimes—who has created shows such as Scandal and Bridgerton—is sticking with Netflix, Deadline noted. A new deal, which extends the multi-million dollar deal she signed in 2017, covers Rhimes, production company Shondaland and producing partner Betsy Beers. In addition to television, it will cover feature films as well as potential gaming and VR content. The deal also includes a branding and merchandise deal for Shondaland, which will add live events and experiences.

The horror film The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It arrives for Premium Digital Ownership at home July 23, according to a Warner Bros. Home Entertainment press release. The film is directed by Michael Chaves (The Curse of La Llorona), and stars Vera Farmiga (Annabelle Comes Home, TV's Bates Motel) and Patrick Wilson (Annabelle Comes Home, The Nun). The film will also be available on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD beginning Aug. 24.

The Tunisian horror film Dachra, from first-time director Abdelhamid Bouchnak, is now in U.S. movie theaters, according to a press release. The statement read, "Equal parts Midsommar and The Blair Witch Project, Dachra begins with a simple classroom assignment and spins through double plot twists."

The movie Red Notice—starring Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds—will be out Nov. 12, per Deadline. In the movie, Johnson is the FBI's top profiler, while Gadot and Reynolds as two rival criminals who are all brought together for a daring heist. Red Notice is arguably the biggest feature commitment by the streaming giant Netflix, at $130M.

Matthew Vaughn has set an all-star cast for his next big-budget action project, which will start shooting this August in Europe, Deadline noted. Argylle—which Vaughn will direct and produce, and which will be based on the upcoming spy novel of the same name—will star Henry Cavill, Sam Rockwell, Bryce Dallas Howard, Bryan Cranston, Catherine O'Hara, John Cena and Samuel L. Jackson. Pop star Dua Lipa will make her acting debut on the project and will provide original music for the title track and score.

There was backlash over Vanessa Williams performing for Independence Day, CNN.com noted. Williams hosted PBS' A Capitol Fourth, and it had been announced that she would sing "Lift Every Voice and Sing," which has become known as the "Black national anthem." Conservative Twitter jumped on the "national anthem" part and declared it "divisive," "segregation" and "racist" to have any anthem other than "The Star Spangled Banner," which was performed by Grammy winner Renee Fleming. Others supported Williams and chalked the whole thing up to social-media outrage.

Iggy Azalea dismissed claims of Blackfishing in her latest music video as "ridiculous and baseless," according to Yahoo! Entertainment. After the rapper dropped the video for "I Am the Stripclub" on July 1, some social-media users commented on her appearance, suggesting her look was "appropriation," or "Blackfishing"—an act in which one pretends to be or alters his/her/their appearance to look ethnically Black. The term gained attention after it was coined by hip-hop journalist Wanna Thompson.

Actress Valerie Bertinelli took to Instagram to respond to a follower who commented on her weight, CNN.com noted. "If I could lose the weight and keep it off I would, but since I haven't been successful with that my whole entire life, at 61, I'm still dealing with it. Where's the compassion? Not f—-ing helpful."" Demi Lovato was one of those showing love, writing, "I love you. You said it yourself, you're already enough AND whoever said that is hurting.. or not being shown enough compassion in their lives.. I'm sorry you had to deal w this. Here for you always." Bertinelli later thanked fans for their support, today.com stated. Bertinelli has been open about her grief following the death of the father of her son and ex-husband, rocker Eddie Van Halen in October 2020 at the age of 65.

Three episodes into its second-season run at its new home, Paramount+, Evil has been renewed for a third season by the ViacomCBS streamer, Deadline noted. Originally on CBS, Evil moved from CBS to Paramount+ ahead of its current second season after a strong showing for the first season on the platform as well as on Netflix as part of a one-year promotional window.

Actress Suzzanne Douglas has died at age 64, EW.com noted. Douglas, a Chicago native, was known for roles in projects such as When They See Us, How Stella Got Her Groove Back and The Parent Hood. "Suzzanne Douglas was a quiet, elegant force as we made WHEN THEY SEE US," tweeted showrunner Ava DuVernay. "A gentlewoman. A gem of a lady. A confident, caring actor who breathed life into the words and made them shimmer. I'm grateful that our paths in this life crossed. May she journey on in peace and love."

Non-binary actor/activist Sara Ramirez (Grey's Anatomy) announced their split from their husband of nine years, Ryan DeBolt, out.com noted. "We remain loving and supportive in how we are choosing to forge our new individual paths," they wrote on Instagram. "Thank you for holding space around our choices and respecting our families' privacy as we navigate this process on our own terms." They then urged their fans to do something positive and help out/contribute to charitable organizations like Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project, the Frances Thompson Education Foundation, the Rainbow Bridge Asylum Seekers and others.

Curtis Jackson, also known as rapper 50 Cent, is getting back into the non-scripted business with hip-hop competition format Unrapped, Deadline noted. The series is in development at ABC. The show is hip-hop talent format where celebrity contestants, coached by iconic hip-hop mentors, go head-to-head in rap battles until a king or queen is crowned. Casting is underway.

The Talk co-host Amanda Kloots paid tribute to her late husband, actor Nick Cordero, one year after he died of complications from COVID-19, according to CNN.com . She posted a message to Instagram about Cordero, calling him an "angel in heaven." Kloots included the lyrics to a song by Lucas Nelson called "A Few Stars Apart," writing that the song gets her "every time."

The UK version of Love Island suffered a security breach after YouTube prankster Omer Majid broke into the villa complex in Mallorca, Spain, Deadline noted. Producers said the trespasser was removed immediately after he managed to find a way past Love Island's tight security protocols.

It looks like Nick Cannon has become a father for the seventh time, Newsday noted. Instagram model Alyssa Scott, who publicly suggested last month that singer-actor and TV personality Nick Cannon was the father of her unborn child, revealed via Instagram that she had given birth to a son. This would be the fourth child for Cannon, 40, in less than a year. On June 14, Cannon welcomed twin boys with former iHeartRadio personality Abby De La Rosa; last December, he had his second child with yoga instructor and beauty pageant winner Brittany Bell.

A judge ruled that some former clients of Tom Girardi can pursue a collections lawsuit against his estranged wife, Erika Girardi (Real Housewives of Beverly Hills), people.com noted. Former clients Joseph Ruigomez, Jaime Ruigomez and Kathleen Ruigomez will be able to collect the $11 million they are owed by him, per a 2020 litigation. However, weeks after the bankruptcy trustee's special litigation counsel reported that Girardi Keese transferred $20 million to Erika's various businesses, the Ruigomezes have been given permission to continue with their suit against the reality star.


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