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  WINDY CITY TIMES

SHOWBIZ Trans movie, best/worst LGBTQ films, sports items, Whitney
by Windy City Times staff
2020-12-27

This article shared 1375 times since Sun Dec 27, 2020
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Shout! Studios entered into an exclusive deal with Kirkpatrick & Kinslow Productions (KKP) and Scatena & Rosner Films (SNR) to distribute the new LGBTQ-focused documentary The Sound of Identity, a press release noted. The movie chronicles the events leading to international opera star Lucia Lucas' historic moment as the first known transgender woman to perform a principal role in an opera—and it happened in 2019 in one of the most conservative states in the country (Oklahoma).

Gay City News revealed its list of the best LGBTQ films of 2020. The movies included the trans-focused documentary Disclosure, lesbian film The Half of It, gay movie Jose, Antebellum and the genderfluid-centered movie Straight Up. Among those getting "dishonorable mentions" were Kajillionaire, The Boys in the Band, Lazy Susan (which starred Sean Hayes) and the rom-com Happiest Season.

To celebrate the release of the Netflix movie Ma Rainey's Black Bottom—a film about legendary blues singer Ma Rainey that stars Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman—NME gave its readers the chance to travel back in time to the film's 1927 setting by reviving NME's sister publication Melody Maker as a site within a site. Visitors to the microsite (at www.nme.com/ma-raineys-melody-maker&; will see material about the movie, with listening guides on the blues, information about Rainey, playlists for further viewing and more. Many websites have commented about Rainey being a member of the LGBTQ community.

USA Gymnastics concluded its three-part fall series on diversity, equity and inclusion in gymnastics with an LGBTQ-focused panel Dec. 16, USAGym.org noted. Panelists Josh Dixon, Erin Jauch, Cale Robinson, Savannah Schoenherr and Mark Williams talked about their experiences as well as ways to make gymnastics more inclusive for LGBTQ participants. Jessica O'Beirne, creator and co-host of GymCastic: The Gymnastics Podcast, moderated alongside USA Gymnastics' Chief Communications and Marketing Officer Carol Fabrizio.

After two years of controversy surrounding issues of inclusion, USA Powerlifting (USAPL) has taken a step aimed at changing the conversation, Outsports noted. The sporting body announced the creation of a new division irrespective of gender identity and three other new divisions devoted to adaptive athletes. The "MX" category will allow for what the USAPL deemed "a dedicated competition space for any and all athletes no matter how they identify." LGBT Powerlifting Union co-president Chris Morgan—an out gay longtime competitor, multi-time champion and Gay Games ambassador—applauded USAPL's efforts.

Orange Is the New Black star and trans-rights advocate Laverne Cox is set to star in her first podcast, The Laverne Cox Show, which will debut in 2021, out.com noted. The Laverne Cox Show will be produced by Shondaland and will premiere in February. The weekly podcast will feature intimate conversations between Cox and her guests.

The late musical icon Whitney Houston was honored with a mural in Newark, New Jersey, that is just three blocks from the Grammy Museum, ABC7NY.com reported. The artwork is made of 1,000 pounds of hand-cut glass formed by artist Maude Lemaire (whose other works can be seen at www.modsaica.com/&; into a vast, colorful mosaic.

Mariah Carey's perennial holiday hit, "All I Want for Christmas Is You," again topped Billboard's Hot 100 charts—and has set a Spotify record for most single-day streams: 17.223 million, Page Six revealed. Carey tweeted the achievement, adding, "WOW," along with a string of emojis including hearts, Christmas trees and snowflakes. "I know people think I'm making 'coin' (lil' secret: artists make very little from streams) but the real reason I'm sitting here in astonishment & gratitude is seeing the joy this little song I wrote brings to people. THANK YOU & MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!" Carey had already kicked off December with a festive singing collaboration with Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson in Mariah Carey's Magical Christmas Special, on Apple TV+.

Two groundbreaking hip-hop groups—Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five and Salt-N-Pepa—are among the six acts selected by the Recording Academy to receive 2021 lifetime achievement awards, Billboard noted. This year's other lifetime achievement award recipients are slain Tejano star Selena, rock group Talking Heads, opera star Marilyn Horne and jazz musician Lionel Hampton. (Babyface, composer Benny Golson and engineer Ed Cherney will receive Trustees Awards, while digital-technology pioneer Daniel Weiss will receive a Technical Grammy Award.) The honors will be presented at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards on Jan. 31, 2021.

The Long Island Music Hall of Fame is presenting a Best of the Awards Galas TV special on Thursday, Dec. 31, American Songwriter noted. Some of the acts featured in the special include Joan Jett, Billy Joel, Johnny Maestro & the Brooklyn Bridge, Jen Chapin, DMC, Chuck D, LL Cool J and Kurtis Blow, among others. The show, which has been in the works for some time, is now dedicated to guitarist Leslie West, who passed away recently.

The 10-disc Prince-centered Sign o' the Times: Super Deluxe Edition is now available, Spin Magazine noted. This edition brings fans all the audio material that Prince officially released in 1987, as well as 45 previously unissued studio songs recorded between May 1979 and July 1987, and a complete live audio performance from the June 20, 1987, stop on the Sign o' the Times Tour at Stadium Galgenwaard in Utrecht, The Netherlands. In addition, both CD and vinyl sets also have a brand-new DVD containing the complete, previously unreleased New Year's Eve benefit concert at Paisley Park on Dec. 31, 1987—Prince's final performance of the Sign o' the Times Tour stage show and his only on-stage collaboration with jazz legend Miles Davis.

After years of being mistaken for one another by fans, Katy Perry and Zooey Deschanel find that even extraterrestrials have trouble telling them apart in the official video for "Not the End of the World," a press release noted. "Not the End of the World" is a track from Katy's new album, Smile, which has sold more than 1.25 million adjusted albums, with nearly 2 billion combined streams to date. Taylor Swift called Perry's video "genius," according to iHeart.com .

During an appearance on SiriusXM's Quarantined with Bruce, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper spoke with host Bruce Bozzi about life as a new dad, people.com noted. "I definitely feel like this is absolutely what I should be doing. I wish I had done it sooner," he said. "I've been able to spend whole days, all my time with him really, during this pandemic. It's been amazing." Cooper welcomed his first child, son Wyatt Morgan, via a surrogate April 27 and co-parents the baby boy with his former partner, Benjamin Maisani.

On Taraji P. Henson's new Facebook Watch series Peace of Mind With Taraji, Tamar Braxton told co-host Tracie Jade that getting fired from the daytime talk show The Real was the event that triggered a downward spiral, according to BET.com . Braxton said she didn't eat and couldn't function after her sudden dismissal from the show and the gossip that followed, and that it sent her down a dark path that eventually led to a suicide attempt this year. The Braxton Family Values star broke down into tears when asked about why she thought taking her life was the best solution; Braxton said she didn't want her 7-year-old son "to be embarrassed in front of his friends … his foul-mouthed, ghetto mama." Henson responded, in part, "What I love about what you're doing is you're teaching your son about self-care."

A Sex and the City reboot might be coming to HBO Max, according to a vulture.com item that cites Page Six. The show will return with a "limited series reboot" involving all of its original stars, except for Kim Cattrall (who played Samantha), who has very publicly stated that she wants no part of a potential revival. It's unclear if the reboot would incorporate storylines from the never-made third movie, or if Samantha will be recast.

A deal is reportedly coming together for Hulu to acquire Lee Daniels' The United States vs. Billie Holiday, according to Deadline. The movie, which stars Andra Day as the legendary jazz singer, is currently scheduled for a theatrical release by Paramount on Feb. 26, 2021, in time for this year's Oscar eligibility. However, sources said that deal with the studio never closed, and it hasn't been determined if a Paramount theatrical release will be part of the new pact with Hulu.

U2 lead singer Bono, Pharrell Williams and singer Halsey are joining the chorus of Sing 2, as they will voice lead roles in the Illumination Entertainment/Universal sequel to the 2016 hit, Deadline noted. Bobby Cannavale, Black Panther's Letitia Wright, Eric Andre and Chelsea Peretti have also signed to star, joining reprising stars Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johannsson, Taron Egerton, Tori Kelly and Nick Kroll.

Musician Jason Mraz is slated to headline Rock, Reggae & Relief—a festival benefiting hospitality workers and food insecurity—next Aug. 28 in Pittsburgh, TribLive.com noted, Other acts slated to perform include The Wailers; UpRooted. featuring Michael Gablicki of Rusted Root; and Roots of Creation. See https://www.facebook.com/rockreggaerelief/.

K.T. Oslin—a multi-platinum country singer-songwriter who won three Grammys, including one for her breakout single "'80s Ladies"—died at age 78, Deadline noted. She also had the chart-topping country smashes "Do Ya" and "I'll Always Come Back," from her RCA album '80s Ladies, as well as hits like "Hold Me" and "Come Next Monday."

Michael Jackson's troubled Neverland Ranch has found a new owner, Page Six noted. Billionaire Ron Burkle—co-founder of investment firm Yucaipa Companies and a former associate of Jackson—purchased the Los Olivos, California, property for $22 million, the Wall Street Journal reported. The estate first hit the market in 2015 for $100 million.

Leah Remini—a former member of the Church of Scientology who has since dedicated herself to speaking out against the church—penned an essay accusing Tom Cruise of staging a publicity stunt with his now-famous COVID-19 safety rant, USA Today noted. In a piece penned for the blog The Underground Bunker and retweeted by Remini, the actress wrote that Cruise, a high-profile member of the church, had taken the situation as an opportunity to stage concern for the pandemic while privately not believing it poses a real threat, because Scientologists believe their members get sick "far less frequently than before" they joined.

Twenty One Pilots officially set a new record for the longest music video of all time—clocking in at more than 4,264 hours, CNN.com noted. The pop band, known for their hit "Stressed Out," released the song "Level of Concern" in April. Two months later, the duo announced they were making what they called a "never-ending" music video for the song, using content that fans would upload onto a website.

Taylor Swift was erased from Nashville's "Legends Corner" mural—and replaced by country crooner and Nationwide Insurance pitch man Brad Paisley, according to Page Six. Swift was one of only four women in the mural; the others are Loretta Lynn, Reba Macintyre and Dolly Parton. Artist Tim Davis made the switch, opting to "retire" the "Shake It Off" singer, WZTV reported.

Britney Spears' boyfriend, model Sam Asghari, said he recently tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), people.com noted. Asghari shared his diagnosis on Instagram, saying that he has since recovered and experienced very few symptoms. Asghari said he credits his "healthy lifestyle" for only experiencing cold symptoms for one day. He added that he continued working out and eating cleanly while he was in quarantine.


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