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Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-09-06



SHOWBIZ 'Special,' Bonnaroo, Broadway items, Rita Moreno, Bridgerton
by Windy City Times staff

This article shared 3091 times since Sun Apr 4, 2021
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The second season of the Netflix comedy series Special will premiere May 20, a press release noted. The series revolves around Ryan O'Connell, a gay man with mild cerebral palsy, and is based on his memoir I'm Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves. Charlie Barnett, Leslie Jordan, Ana Ortiz, Ajay Mehta and Buck Andrews are among the actors who appear during the second season. Executive producers of the show include O'Connor, Anna Dokoza, Jim Parsons, Eric Norsoph and Todd Spiewak.

The line-up for the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival—taking place in Manchester, Tennessee, on Sept. 2-5—has been announced, according to a press release. Just a few of the scheduled acts will include Megan Thee Stallion, Foo Fighters, Tame Impala, Lana Del Rey, Nelly, Phoebe Bridgers, Incubus, Lizzo, deadmau5 and Janelle Monae. Tickets are available at via

"Broadway by the Year" virtual concerts will take place April 26 (The Cole Porter Years), May 10 (The Kander & Ebb Years) and May 24 (The Andrew Lloyd Webber Years), a press release announced. Just a few of the scheduled performers include Liz Callaway, Kenita Miller, Tony Yazbeck and Max Von Essen. Each concert will begin streaming at 7 p.m. and be available on The Town Hall website for 72 hours; see for tickets and information.

Broadway Records announced the release of In Pieces, a new musical by Joey Contreras, according to a press statement. WIth 10 tracks, this highlights recording features performances by David Archuleta, Andrew Barth Feldman, George Salazar, Solea Pfeiffer, Ben Fankhauser, Natalie Weiss, Ashley De La Rosa, Leslie Hiatt and Emily Kristen Morris. The album will be available April 16 on and wherever digital music is sold.

Following its world premiere at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, Roadside Attractions acquired the critically hailed documentary Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided To Go for It, and is planning a robust theatrical release on June 18, a press release noted. Roadside took North American rights excluding the TV license to PBS' American Masters, which will present the exclusive U.S. broadcast premiere of the doc after a broad theatrical release. In addition to EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony) winner Moreno, others featured in the Mariem Perez Riera-directed doc include George Chakiris, Hector Elizondo, Gloria Estefan, Tom Fontana, Morgan Freeman, Mitzi Gaynor, Whoopi Goldberg, Norman Lear, Eva Longoria, Justina Machado, Terrence McNally, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Karen Olivo.

Rege-Jean Page, who became a global heartthrob as the dashing Duke of Hastings in the first season of Bridgerton, will not be part of season two of Shondaland's hit Netflix series, Deadline noted. Page had only been contracted for one season, and the plan was always for Page to only do season one, based on the first Bridgerton book, The Duke and I, sources said. His character will be referenced going forward, although he won't appear.

Superstar gymnast and Olympic champion Simone Biles will be the subject of a new Facebook Watch original series following her as she gets ready to compete in the postponed Tokyo Olympic Games—expected to be her last run at a medal, Variety noted. Simone vs Herself is slated to premiere this summer, timed for the Tokyo Olympics (currently scheduled for July 23-Aug. 8). The show is produced by Religion of Sports, the sports media company co-founded by Tom Brady, Gotham Chopra and Michael Strahan.

Out actor Jonah Blechman is involved in the releases of four diverse projects in 2021, including the director's cut re-release of iconic queer cult comedy classic Another Gay Movie (4/27), the new dark comedy TV series Pet Peeves (4/11), a turn in the horror-comedy film Claw and the upcoming Magnolia Pictures' Swan Song (fall), a press release noted. In Swan Song, Blechman shares the screen alongside veteran stars Udo Kier and Jennifer Coolidge.

Shiva Baby opened in selected theaters and on TVOD on April 2, a press release noted. In the 77-minute movie, a young woman (Danielle) struggles to keep up different versions of herself when she runs into her sugar daddy and her ex-girlfriend at a shiva with her parents. Written and directed by Emma Seligman, Shiva Baby co-stars Rachel Sennott, Molly Gordon, Dianna Agron, Danny Deferrari, Polly Draper and Fred Melamed.

Indie music star serpentwithfeet is in a new LGBTQ+-centric ad campaign for Orbitz titled "Travel As You Are," noted. According to a release, the campaign is "documenting uninhibited young LGBTQ+ travelers at their freeist," and includes a new cover of the Lesley Gore song "You Don't Own Me," by the musician. Serpentwithfeet recently released his second album, Deacon.

Lesbian TikTok creator Rochelle Hager, 31, died in a tragic accident in Maine, noted. According to a report in the Press Herald, Hager was driving in the town of Farmington when winds gusting up to more than 50 miles per hour toppled a large branch onto the roof of her 2015 Nissan Rogue. Hager regularly posted videos of herself and her fiancee, Brittanie Lynn Ritchie, to TikTok, and the two were speaking on the phone when the accident occurred.

Cher was criticized on Twitter after she said she was watching the Derek Chauvin murder trial and wondering if she could have helped George Floyd had she been in Minneapolis at the time, Page Six noted. The "Believe" singer took heat from many sides, accusing her of being a "white savior" and making the death of Floyd all about her. However, some defended her, with one person posting, "Cher is constantly helping all communities. More than most. So if a kind old lady wants to wish she was there to help. I don't see the damn harm. Calm down."

Beauty guru James Charles, 21, said he "f—ked up" by engaging in flirty conversations with two teenage boys who he believed to be 18, Page Six noted. "In both of these cases, I added these people on Snapchat, asked how old they were right away, was told that they were 18, believed them, engaged in flirty conversation, and then later on found out that they were actually 16," he said. "Upon finding out, I was immediately embarrassed and blocked both people." According to, this is, at least, the second time allegations of inappropriate communications with underaged boys have been leveled against Charles.

Openly gay CNN journalist Don Lemon appeared on Tamron Hall and talked about dealing with the tragic loss of his sister, finding love in his 50s and discussing racism with friends, among other things, according to a press release. Lemon also revealed for the first time on the live show that he and fiance Tim Malone are looking to start a family through adoption or surrogacy in the coming years, saying, "Yes, I'm thinking about starting a family. Listen: We got to get married first. And we're waiting for COVID to be over to do that because I just don't think it's a good time to get married during COVID. … But yeah so we're thinking about, do we want to adopt, do we want to go through surrogacy, how we want to do it. Tim is definitely going to have to be the one that to have the kid because he's younger—his body will bounce back."

Britney Spears said she "cried for two weeks" after watching part of a high-profile documentary that explored her career, The Guardian noted. Framing Britney Spears premiered in February and examined the pop superstar's rise to the summit of the music industry, her treatment at the hands of the tabloid media, her involuntary commitment to a psychiatric ward in 2008 and the subsequent conservatorship given to her father. Spears said via Instagram: "I didn't watch the documentary" but what she has seen of it left her "embarrassed by the light they put me in."

Demi Lovato said she identifies as pansexual, Page Six noted. The "Confident" singer, who has previously come out as sexually fluid, said in a new interview on The Joe Rogan Experience that she isn't sure if she'll end up with a male or female partner—or if she'll ever be pregnant. She also said she once heard somebody refer to the LGBTQIA+ community as the "alphabet mafia," and loved it.

BMX rider Corey Walsh has come out as gay, The Advocate noted. The professional rider penned a coming-out letter on Instagram in which he revealed that he once believed that such a note was "never going to happen." He concluded it by stating, "a huge thank you to anyone else who has previously opened up to tell their story. The only reason I have gotten to this point is because of you." Walsh, 26, is one of only a handful of openly gay men in the professional BMX world; others include Graeme Obree, Justin Laevens and Matt Beringer.

Halle Berry called out former 97 Rock radio host Rob Lederman for racist comments he made on-air regarding women's skin tones, noted. Lederman was subsequently fired by the station, at which he hosted the "Morning Bull" show."Disgusting. It's ridiculous this type of nonsense is still being broadcasted across airwaves," Berry wrote on Twitter. "ALL Black women are beautiful and worthy, Rob Lederman. GTFOH." Lederman described Berry's, Serena Williams', and Gayle King's skin tones by comparing them to toaster settings.

Lady Gaga's dog walker, Ryan Fischer, shared details about the injuries he suffered during the violent kidnapping of the singer's dogs last month, noted. "In the hospital, my lung collapsed again despite the chest tube poking at my insides," he wrote on Instagram. "And then it collapsed again. And again. It became quite clear that my lung was not healing, and the bullet wound had scarred my tissue like a burn. It could take months, if ever, for the hole to seal." Fischer was walking Gaga's three French bulldogs—Koji, Gustav and Asia—at the time of the Feb. 24 robbery in Hollywood; he was shot once in the chest before the assailants drove away with Koji and Gustav, leaving Asia behind. The dogs were returned safely by a woman who is not believed to be connected to the crime.

K-pop superstars BTS opened up about being "mocked" and called racist "expletives," amid a surge in hate crimes against Asians across the United States, Page Six noted. The seven-member South Korean boy-band members shared their experiences with discrimination in a statement with the hashtags #StopAsianHate and #StopAAPIHate. "We recall moments when we faced discrimination as Asians," they wrote in a message on Twitter in Korean and English. "We have endured expletives without reason and were mocked for the way we look. We were even asked why Asians spoke in English."

Musician Pharrell Williams said that his cousin, Donovon Lynch, 25, was killed by police during a chaotic night of violence in Virginia Beach on March 26, Today noted. Police said there were three separate shootings, and two people—Virginia Beach resident Lynch and 29-year old Deshayla E. Harris—were killed, with eight others injured. The Virginia Beach NAACP in a release said it was "distressed" to hear of the deaths of Lynch and Harris.

The 64th annual Grammy Awards will be broadcast live from Staples Center in Los Angeles on Monday, Jan. 31, 2022, Deadline noted. The January date returns the Grammys to its traditional month. This year, the Grammy Awards, which had been scheduled for Jan. 31, were moved to March 14 due to a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Starz is canceling its ambitious modern fantasy series American Gods after three seasons, noted. The show was known for its wide scope and large cast of interesting and diverse characters including gods, jinns, leprechauns, and more. Based on the novel by Neil Gaiman, American Gods follows Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle), who gets out of jail, meets a man named Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) who turns out to be the Norse god Odin, and gets entangled in a war between the old gods and the new.

A Game of Thrones stage production is in the early stages of development from producers Simon Painter and Tim Lawson, with the play being written and adapted by Duncan MacMillan, working alongside author George R.R. Martin, Deadline noted. In a statement, Martin said, "The seeds of war are often planted in times of peace. Few in Westeros knew the carnage to come when highborn and smallfolk alike gathered at Harrenhal to watch the finest knights of the realm compete in a great tourney, during the Year of the False Spring. It is a tourney oft referred during HBO's GAME OF THRONES, and in my novels, A SONG OF ICE & FIRE… and now, at last, we can tell the whole story… on the stage."

Trans actress Mareya Salazar is joining the cast of the CW's reboot Charmed, noted. Salazar will play Joséfina, a second cousin of the Charmed Ones, the three main witches on the show. Salazar is a Venezuelan-Canadian actress making her first foray into television with this role; she was previously in the Dutch romantic comedy Verliefd Op Cuba.

The CSI franchise is officially coming back, Deadline reported. CBS has given a straight-to-series order to CSI: Vegas, a sequel to the mothership CSI series, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, for the 2021-22 season. The show will be headlined by returning CSI stars William Petersen and Jorja Fox, and joined by new series regulars Paula Newsome, Matt Lauria, Mel Rodriguez and Mandeep Dhillon.

Oscar nominee Salma Hayek has joined House of Gucci, the feature film from MGM and Scott Free Productions that is in production, Deadline noted. She joins a cast that includes Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons, Jared Leto and Jack Huston, with Ridley Scott on board to direct. The film tells the story of how Patrizia Reggiani (Gaga), the ex-wife of Maurizio Gucci (Driver), plotted to kill her husband—the grandson of renowned fashion designer Guccio Gucci. Hayek will play Pina Auriemma, who was a clairvoyant friend of "Black Widow" Reggiani, who was sentenced to 26 years in prison after her trial in 1998.

BET+ revealed the cast for its male exotic-dancer series All the Queen's Men, based on Christian Keye's book Ladies Night, from Tyler Perry Studios, Deadline noted. Eva Marcille, Skyh Alvester Black and Candace Maxwell are among the cast members who will bring Club Eden—the fictional home to the hottest and most sensual male exotic dancers in the country—to life. Raquel Palmer, Michael "Bolo" Bolwaire, Keith Swift, Dion Rome, Jeremy Williams and Keyes are also in the cast. The one-hour 10-episode drama is set to debut this summer.

Last summer, pop star/TV personality Kelly Clarkson filed for divorce from her husband of almost seven years, Brandon Blackstock—and on a recent episode of her self-titled talk show, Clarkson said she can't really see herself ever walking down the aisle again, noted. Clarkson discussed the topic while interviewing guest Gwyneth Paltrow about her own experience with divorce and remarriage. Her candid conversation with Paltrow about divorce is just the latest from the "Since You've Been Gone" singer, who's been open about her personal journey since announcing the split. Fans can expect even more insight into what she's been going through when she's finally ready to release her next album.

Justin Bieber notched his eighth number-one album on the Billboard 200 chart, as Justice debuts atop the tally with 154,000 equivalent album units earned in the United States in the week ending March 25, Billboard noted. Justice (from Raymond Braun/Def Jam) halted the chart-topping domination of Morgan Wallen's Dangerous: The Double Album, which spent 10 consecutive weeks in a row, all from its debut, at the top.

Sir Anthony Hopkins, Anson Mount and Abbie Cornish star in The Virtuoso, which will be in some theaters, On Demand and on Digital on April 30 as well as on Blu-ray and DVD on May 4, a Lionsgate press release noted. In the R-rated film, a professional assassin (Mount) accepts a new assignment from his enigmatic mentor and boss (Anthony Hopkins).

The new date for the Ryan Reynolds-Samuel L. Jackson sequel The Hitman Wife's Bodyguard, which also stars Salma Hayek, is June 16, Deadline noted. (The first movie grossed $176.6 million worldwide in August 2017.) The sequel, on its new date, arrives the weekend after Warner Bros/HBO Max's feature musical In the Heights, and the weekend prior to Universal's F9.

Dancing with the Stars, based on the British format Strictly Come Dancing, has been renewed by ABC and will return for a 30th season, Deadline noted. Host Tyra Banks—who joined last year, replacing Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews last season—as well as judges Len Goodman, Derek Hough, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli all are expected to return.

Joe Manganiello—who portrayed Slade Wilson/Deathstroke in Zack Snyder's Justice League—has joined millions of fans and Zack Snyder supporters in the #RestoreTheSnyderVerse movement, Movieweb noted. The campaign—which began in the wake of the release of Snyder Cut and its visible superiority in comparison to the theatrical version of Justice League, as well as how Warner Bros. changed the approach towards DCEU—garnered more than 1 million tweets on Twitter in just 24 hours.

Grammy-winning singer Ariana Grande tweeted that she will be taking Nick Jonas' slot as a judge on the NBC show The Voice next season, noted. Surprise !!! i am beyond thrilled, honored, excited to be joining @kellyclarkson @johnlegend @blakeshelton next season ~ season 21 of @nbcthevoice ! [White heart emoji] @nickjonas we will miss you," Grande posted. Jonas first joined The Voice as a coach during season 18 in spring 2020.

Dave Franco, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Oliver Masucci, Steve Howey and C.S. Lee are set to join Jamie Foxx in Netflix's Day Shift, Deadline noted. The film follows a hard-working blue-collar dad (played by Foxx) who wants to provide a good life for his quick-witted daughter. However, his San Fernando Valley pool-cleaning job is a front for his real source of income: hunting and killing vampires as part of an international union of vampire hunters.

The Captain Underpants book series is losing one of its titles due to controversy over "passive racism," Movieweb noted. Scholastic announced that the publisher will no longer distribute the book The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future, a spinoff of the Captain Underpants series. In a letter posted to his YouTube account, author Dav Pilkey offered an apology of his own.

Ricky Martin shared an Instagram post debuting a massive wave tattooo on his right shin that wraps around to his calf and spans from just below his kneecap all the way down to his toes, Yahoo! News NZ noted. "@roxx_____ your vibes, your talent, your friendship," the Puerto Rican superstar added, tagging Los Angeles-based tattoo artist Roxx. The tat comes after Martin debuted a drastic new look in January, revealing on Twitter that he bleached his beard.

A source close to Justin Timberlake said the singer/actor was "completely unaware" of a recent comment his manager Johnny Wright made to Janet Jackson via social media to forgive Timberlake for his role in their infamous 2004 Super Bowl "wardrobe malfunction" blunder, according to Page Six. Wright's comment comes nearly two months after Timberlake officially apologized to Jackson and ex Britney Spears "for the times in my life where my actions contributed to the problem, where I spoke out of turn, or did not speak up for what was right."

Armie Hammer has dropped out of upcoming Broadway production The Minutes amid sexual misconduct allegations and an ongoing LAPD rape investigation, Page Six noted. "I have loved every single second of working on 'The Minutes' with the family I made from Steppenwolf. But right now I need to focus on myself and my health for the sake of my family," Hammer said in a statement. He has vehemently denied the claims against him, which include rape.

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