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  WINDY CITY TIMES

SHOWBIZ Wanda Sykes on TV, trans jazz musician, book award, 'Red Table Talk'
by Windy City Times staff
2021-06-27

This article shared 2178 times since Sun Jun 27, 2021
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Wanda Sykes has been tapped for a recurring role in the upcoming fifth season of Robert and Michelle King's legal drama The Good Fight, on Paramount+, Deadline noted. She will play Allegra Durado—a brilliant, strategic attorney who's been away from the law for a decade while trying to finish her book. Sykes joins fellow actor-comedian Wayne Brady, who also is joining the fifth season of The Good Fight in a recurring role.

Transgender jazz musician Billy Tipton is the subject of Oscilloscope's latest documentary feature, No Ordinary Man, according to out.com . Directed by Aisling Chin-Yee and Chase Joynt, written by Chin-Yee and Amos Mac, and featuring commentary from prominent figures and leading voices in the trans community—such as Marquise Vilsón, Scott Turner Schofield, Susan Stryker, C. Riley Snorton and Thomas Page McBee—No Ordinary Man shows what it was like when Tipton's career as a jazz musician was taking off, and what his contributions to music and culture meant for later generations of transmasculine folks, who are still underrepresented in many facets of the entertainment industry.

On the heels of last month's Silver Medal Ben Franklin Award win from the Independent Book Publishers Association, first-time author David Eugene Perry won for Best Gay Book at the San Francisco Book Festival for his Italy-set mystery thriller Upon This Rock, from Pace Press, a media release noted. The General Fiction winner was Tiffanie DeBartolo's Sorrow while NL Fix's Life and Death on a Contested Island: Surviving Sakhalin took top honors in the General Non-Fiction category.

Actress Maria Bello joined Red Table Talk with hosts Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith and Adrienne Banfield-Norris for a special Pride Month interview titled "Love Without Labels: Maria Bello and Her Fiancé Dominique Share Their Story," a press release noted. Bello opened up about her sexuality journey—from having a son with her longtime boyfriend, to her upcoming wedding to French chef Dominique Crenn. She revealed the challenges of blending families and being judged, as well as the heartache of Crenn's near-fatal cancer diagnosis. The episode is at https://facebook.com/redtabletalk/videos/959161461606845.

Series The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Ted Lasso and I May Destroy You as well as film anthology Small Axe were among this year's Peabody Award winners, which were announced on Twitter this year, USA Today noted. Disney's The Owl House, which features a LGBTQ teenager, also took home a Peabody in entertainment, presented by Kristen Bell. The LGBTQ documentary Welcome to Chechnya, the program Post Reports: The Life of George Floyd and journalist Judy Woodruff were among some of the other winners, per the Peabody Awards website.

The documentary Ailey—about dance pioneer Alvin Ailey—will open exclusively in New York on July 23 and expand nationwide Aug. 6. A press release stated the film "traces the full contours of this brilliant and enigmatic man whose search for the truth in movement resulted in enduring choreography that centers on the Black American experience with grace, strength and unparalleled beauty. Told through Ailey's own words and featuring evocative archival footage and interviews with those who intimately knew him, director Jamila Wignot weaves together a resonant biography of an elusive visionary."

George Clooney, Kerry Washington, Don Cheadle, Mindy Kaling, Eva Longoria and other Hollywood stars are co-founding a public film school in Los Angeles to help high schoolers from underserved communities break into the industry, NBC News reported. In partnership with the Los Angeles United School District, the star-studded advisory board are spearheading a magnet program to provide students with curriculum, practical training and internships centered around the television and film production industry. The Roybal School of Film and Television Production—housed at the Edward R. Roybal Learning Center, and initially for underclassmen only—is expected to launch in fall 2022.

Madonna sported a see-through mesh top and a series of leather harnesses while performing at the Boom Boom Room to kick off New York City's Pride weekend, according to Page Six. Commanding the SRO crowd, she wore a skin-baring vintage Tripp NYC top that she paired with leather shorts and a vintage Jean Paul Gaultier corset; she also donned a blue wig and long pink fingerless gloves. According to EW.com, guests included Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen, Lance Bass, Adam Lambert and Billy Eichner; Zachary Quinto was the emcee (and matched the last $25,000 donation). Proceeds went to the Ali Forney Center and Haus of US.

Rosie O'Donnell—called the "Queen of Nice" when she had her own daytime talk show—appeared on Sirius XM's The Jess Cagle Show and discussed Ellen DeGeneres' recent decision to end her talk show in 2022, after 19 seasons, EW.com noted. "I don't think it was the 'be kind' thing that got her," O'Donnell said. "I think that's oversimplification. But it was a lot of things, and it was complicated, and I'm glad that she's, you know, going to be finished and she can get some time to herself." She added, "I have an understanding of the cycle of show business, and kind of what happens in people's careers, and when enough is enough—and, oftentimes, people don't know that."

Tony winners Patti LuPone and Nathan Lane, Tony nominee Amy Ryan and Kylie Rogers have joined the cast of the theater production Disappointment Boulevard, according to Playbill. Deadline reported the Joaquin Phoenix vehicle will see the Oscar winner playing one of the most successful businessmen of all time, but plot details beyond that have not been revealed. Later this year, LuPone will star as Joanne in the gender-swapped Broadway revival of Company. Lane has a couple of screen projects already in the works, with roles in the theatre-stacked The Gilded Age for HBO and Hulu's Only Murders in the Building.

A technicolored Pride Prom at the Parrish Art Museum hosted by fashion brand Alice + Olivia got a good omen when a rainbow appeared in the sky—at the exact same moment actress/talk-show host Drew Barrymore showed up, Page Six noted. Guests like Glee alumna Lea Michele, Huma Abedin, art-world heirs Vito and Stella Schnabel, actor Cuba Gooding Jr. and TV personality Eboni K. Williams mingled amongst rainbow-hued installations with royal thrones, inflatable yellow rubber duckies, pink flamingos and bright orange teddy bears. The event benefited the Ali Forney Center, which helps LGBTQ youth.

The multi-platinum-selling Los Angeles rock band The Go-Go's announced 2021-22 West Coast dates to celebrate the band's upcoming induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, a press release noted. The new live dates include intimate shows in San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego as well as New Year's Eve & New Year's Day performances at Las Vegas' Venetian Theatre. The band's hits include "Our Lips Are Sealed" and "We Got the Beat."

Sesame Street became even more diverse on Father's Day weekend when it celebrated "Family Day" by introducing viewers to two gay dads and their daughter, out.com noted. The episode, which aired June 17, introduced Sesame Street viewers to family members of the show's regular cast, including Dave (Chris Costa), the brother of Nina who owns a bike store on the street; his husband; Frank (Alex Weisman); and their daughter, Mia.

The Falcon & The Winter Soldier star Anthony Mackie drew backlash when talking about fans of the show "exploiting" what he called, "something as pure and beautiful as homosexuality" by shipping his character Sam Wilson with Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), according to out.com . "It used to be guys could be friends, we could hang out, we could do this, and it was cool," Mackie said on the Variety Awards Circuit podcast. "You would always meet your friends at the bar, but you can't do that anymore, because something as pure and beautiful as homosexuality has been exploited by people who are trying to rationalize themselves." In 23 movies and lots of shows, the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) has only barely touched on including LGBTQ+ characters and has done even less to include LGBTQ+ creators. (To date, no LGBTQ+ directors or writers have helmed MCU movies.)

Sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson won a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team with a dominant win in the 100-meter women's sprint event at the Olympic track-and-field trials in Eugene, Oregon—and thanked her girlfriend over that weekend, out.com noted. The colorfully coiffed Richardson (who sported orange hair) posted a rainbow emoji to Twitter and thanked her girlfriend for the hair-color choice two days before the final. After the race, Richardson also revealed that her biological mother had passed away in the past week, and she thanked her grandmother and family for raising her and keeping her grounded.

Fresh off of its premiere at the 2021 Tribeca Festival, Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story, directed by Laura Fairrie and produced by John Battsek and Lizzie Gillett, will now premiere for television Sunday, June 27, at 9 p.m. ET and PT on CNN, a press release noted. The film will be available beginning Monday, June 28, on demand via cable/satellite systems, CNNgo platforms and CNN mobile apps. More than half a billion copies of Collins' 32 novels have sold in more than 40 countries; eight of her books were produced as popular movies. She was the sister of actress Joan Collins.

Oscar winner Jordan Peele (Get Out) unleashes a fresh take on the urban legendary figure Candyman when the movie of the same name comes out in theaters Aug. 27, a press release noted. In this Chicago-set film, a chance encounter with a Cabrini-Green old-timer (played by Colman Domingo) exposes Anthony (played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) to the tragically horrific nature of the true story behind Candyman. Anxious to maintain his status in the Chicago art world, Anthony begins to explore these macabre details in his studio as fresh grist for paintings, unknowingly opening a door to a complex past.

From his latest album, Femuline, Todrick Hall released the video for the song "D*** This Big," a press release noted. The visually vibrant clip—which Hall directed and executive-produced—was all shot at his home, and features 1920s-style choreography, costumes and scantily clad gentlemen. The anthemic and cheekily named song is meant to be a celebration of self, and features TV personality and LGBTQ activist TS Madison. The video is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFD6_Gb-xPE.

Michael B. Jordan apologized for the name of a line of rums he planned to launch, EW.com noted. After critics accused the actor of cultural appropriation, he posted a lengthy statement on his Instagram stories in which he apologized for calling the new line J'Ouvert—after a Caribbean carnival that is celebrated over two days in Trinidad and Tobago and throughout the Caribbean. Social-media users pointed out that Jordan has no apparent ties to Caribbean culture and therefore should not be appropriating the festival's name.

Singer Macy Gray wrote in an op-ed that it's time for the U.S. flag to be updated as it "no longer represents ALL of us," according to Yahoo! News. Writing for MarketWatch, the Grammy winner likened the current flag to the "tired" Confederate one, citing the insurrectionists who carried the Stars and Stripes when storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Gray also suggested a redesigned version, one with 52 stars—a nod to the statehood efforts in Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico—in the "colors of ALL of us, your skin tone and mine, like the melanin scale," with stripes that were "off-white."

Sharon Stone trended on Twitter after saying that Viola Davis is just as good an actress as Meryl Streep in a recent interview, Newsweek noted. During Stone's interview with Everything Zoomer, Stone took umbrage to the direction of the conversation, when writer Johanna Schneller started a statement about when the actress "finally got to work with Meryl Streep" on Steven Soderbergh's 2019 Netflix film The Laundromat. "I like the way you phrase that, that I finally got to work with Meryl Streep," Stone said as she interrupted her interviewer. "You didn't say, 'Meryl finally got to work with Sharon Stone.' Or we finally got to work together. … Viola Davis is every bit the actress Meryl Streep is. Emma Thompson. Judy Davis. Olivia Colman. Kate Winslet, for f***'s sake. But you say Meryl and everybody falls on the floor."

Emmy-nominated comedian, actor, singer and satirist Randy Rainbow is partnering with Sean Hayes' Hazy Mills Productions on a new podcast endeavor, Deadline noted. Rainbow is best known for his popular YouTube series, The Randy Rainbow Show. Formed in 2004 by Emmy Award winners Hayes (Will & Grace) and Todd Milliner, Hazy Mills Productions started with the breakout hit Hot in Cleveland, followed by their drama Grimm for NBC; each series ran six seasons.

Scarlett Johansson—whose long-awaited solo Marvel movie Black Widow finally hits theaters and Disney+ next month—is being honored this fall as the 35th recipient of the American Cinematheque Award, Deadline noted. After going with a virtual presentation last year for 2020 honoree Spike Lee, the organization's marquee event returns to normalcy, with its Nov. 18 ceremony taking place at the Beverly Hilton where it was held last in 2019, when Charlize Theron was the recipient.

The Tony Awards Administration Committee will present three Special Tony Awards to The Broadway Advocacy Coalition; David Byrne's American Utopia and Freestyle Love Supreme, according to a press release. The Tony Awards, presented by the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, will host a multi-platform celebration Sunday, Sept. 26. (The improvisational Freestyle Love Supreme will return to Broadway with a strictly limited engagement at the Booth Theatre; previews begin Thursday, Oct. 7 and performances will run until Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022. Utopia returns to Broadway beginning Sept. 17, 2021, with all the original songs and all the original musicians.

George Unda, known for his role as Detective Martinez in the YouTube series Where the Bears Are, has passed away, Instinct Magazine noted. Previous to Where the Bears Are, Unda was part of the 2012 short film The Rookie and the Runner. Unda also wrote for Manhattan Digest, in which he discussed the complexities of social-media engagement.

Professional WWE NXT wrestler Toni Storm came out as bisexual, out.com noted. "I'm bi and it feels good to say it," the New Zealand grappler said on WWE NXT's Instagram Stories. "It's something I've been really comfortable with for a long time. I just never expressed it." Storm, whose real name is Toni Rossall, is not the first wrestler to come out this year; in January, The Hitman for Hire, Mr. Grim, came out as pansexual.

Dave Koz & Friends will return to the road this summer, bringing the Summer Horns 2021 tour to venues across North America, a press release noted. Koz will be joined by jazz/soul/gospel saxophonist Kirk Whalum; jazz/blues saxophonist Mindi Abair; and multi-instrumentalist Vincent Ingala. Vocalist Kenny Lattimore will join the lineup on Aug. 6-8 and Sept. 2-3. Some of the stops on the tour will include Orlando; St. Helena, California; Houston; Los Angeles; and Cancun, Mexico.

The Warner Bros. Pictures and DC full-length HBO Max Original feature film "Zack Snyder's Justice League" arrives on 4K, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD on Sept. 7, a press release noted. In Zack Snyder's Justice League—a four-hour version of the original Justice League—determined to ensure Superman's (Henry Cavill) ultimate sacrifice was not in vain, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) aligns forces with Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) with plans to recruit a team of metahumans to protect the world from an approaching threat of catastrophic proportions. United, Batman (Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and The Flash (Ezra Miller) try to save the planet from Steppenwolf, DeSaad and Darkseid, and their evil intentions.

The Red Hot organization unveiled Billy Porter's rendition of Juliet Roberts' chart-topping club classic "Caught In The Middle," a press release noted. It'ss the very first track created and conceived exclusively for Red Hot + Free—the HIV/AIDS-fighting non-profit's double album of dance music out July 2. The lyric video is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6f6a31W1oU&feature=youtu.be.

Tyler Posey announced he will be hitting the road this fall as part of the "Internet Killed the Rockstar Tour" presented by Big Noise, a press release noted. With MOD SUN headlining and girlfriends supporting, this lineup will go on a 12-date run, including Chicago (the Park West), Philadelphia (The Foundry at the Fillmore) and Dallas (South Side Music Hall). Tickets are on sale at https://linktr.ee/Tylergposey.

On the heels of announcing the album, Tyler, The Creator released Call Me If You Get Lost, a press release noted. Out via Columbia Records, the album includes the previously-released songs "Lumberjack" and "WUSYANAME" as well as "Juggernaut," whose video also directed by Wolf Haley is now out. The album is accompanied by new merch included in two different CD/poster/T-shirt box sets and two different cassette/poster/T-shirt box sets; limited amounts of CDs and cassettes are available as well. See CallMeIfYouGetLost.com .

NBC canceled the drama Good Girls—starring Christina Hendricks, Retta and Mae Whitman—after four seasons, Deadline noted. The show will end after the network airs its five remaining episodes between now and July. The series will not be shopped elsewhere by studio Universal Television, despite being a decent draw on Netflix.

General Hospital and Kelly Clarkson were the big winners at the 48th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, EW.com noted. The show that was hosted by The Talk's Sheryl Underwood was pre-taped June 12-13, when every nominee was asked to give acceptance speeches—but the recipients didn't find out they actually won until the telecast aired on CBS. Some of the other winners included the late hosts Larry King and Alex Trebek, The People's Court, Red Table Talk and Entertainment Tonight.

Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum selling band Goo Goo Dolls officially released their brand-new compilation album, Rarities, a press release noted. A retrospective collection of 20 songs spanning Goo Goo Dolls' career from 1995 to 2007, the record is available now in digital, vinyl and CD formats via Warner Records.

New York-based LGBTQI+ multilingual singer, songwriter and producer Kento released his video for "Silhouette," a press release noted. The statement said, "On the track, the artist celebrates the power of being unforgettable, inspired by Adam Rippon's grace as a figure skater and his unapologetic queerness." "Silhouette" is the first single off from Kento's upcoming album, Strangers, slated for release later this year.

M.I.A., Modest Mouse, the Shins and Interpol will headline the second annual Just Like Heaven festival, heading to the Los Angeles area on May 21, 2022, Rolling Stone noted. Just as sister festival Cruel World focuses on the artists from the Eighties' New Wave era, Just Like Heaven's lineup brings together early 2000s (and still) indie powerhouses together on one stage at Pasadena's Brookside at the Rose Bowl. Other acts on the bill include Bloc Party, Santigold, Franz Ferdinand, Cut Copy, the Hives, Chromeo, Peaches, the Raveonettes and Wolf Parade.

A compilation video posted to TikTok showed old footage of Billie Eilish singing Tyler, the Creator's song "Fish," which included an Asian slur—and now Eilish has responded, according to Yahoo! Entertainment. The "embarrassed" seven-time Grammy winner apologized for the behavior she said makes her "want to barf." On her Instagram Stories, she said, "There's a video edit going around of me when I was 13 or 14 where I mouthed a word from a song that at the time I didn't know was a derogatory term used against members of the Asian community. I am appalled and embarrassed and want to barf that I ever mouthed along to that word."

Blink-182 bassist/vocalist Mark Hoppus, 49, announced that he has cancer and has been undergoing chemotherapy for the past three months, Today noted. "It sucks and I'm scared, and at the same time I'm blessed with incredible doctors and family and friends to get me through this," he wrote on his Instagram story and Twitter. "I still have months of treatment ahead of me but I'm trying to remain hopeful and positive. Can't wait to be cancer free and see you all at a concert in the near future."

Days away from sentencing for her involvement in the NXIVM cult, federal prosecutors recommended that Smallville actress Allison Mack get a lighter sentence for her help in nailing group founder Keith Raniere, Deadline reported. Mack faced years in prison after pleading guilty to racketeering charges in April 2019; the FBI arrested her in Brooklyn on April 20, 2018, on charges of sex trafficking, sex-trafficking conspiracy and forced labor conspiracy pertaining to her role in NXIVM. Mack's sentencing is currently scheduled for June 30; Raniere is behind bars, after being convicted last year and sentenced to 120 years in prison.

Former Real Housewives of Orange County co-star Braunwyn Windham-Burke confirmed to Page Six that she is dating Fernanda Rocha, who also appeared on the Bravo series as a friend of Tamra Judge in season six of the show. However, they are not in an exclusive relationship. The couple attended the GUARDaHEART Foundation Unmasked Heart Disease Featuring DIABETESpredict event together recently, and they were kissing and cuddling before posing for photos together.

Rachel Lindsay officially ended her contract with Bachelor Nation in April, but has now shared exactly what led to that choice, US Magazine noted. In an op-ed for New York Magazine, the first African-American Bachelorette explained her relationship with both "toxic" Bachelor Nation fans and the producers behind the scenes, who had full control of the narrative.Lindsay, who found her happily-ever-after with Bryan Abasolo, said she was "prepared for how much the casting would prioritize people who might cause drama in the house," and added that a lot of the "drama was largely centered around race," according to EW.com .

Arrow star Stephen Amell spoke out after being removed from a Delta flight following an altercation with his wife, Cassandra Jean Amell, USA Today noted. "My wife and I got into an argument Monday afternoon on a Delta flight," the actor tweeted. "I was asked to lower my voice and I did. Approximately 10 minutes later I was asked to leave the flight. And I did so immediately. I was not forcibly removed." He added, "I rebooked myself on a Southwest flight 2 hours later and traveled home without any further issue."

Ben Zobrist—the former Chicago Cubs utility player and 2016 World Series MVP—filed a lawsuit accusing his former minister of having a sexual relationship with his wife, Julianna, and defrauding Zobrist's charity foundation, The Chicago Tribune reported. The lawsuit against Byron Yawn, CEO of the Nashville-area counseling firm Forrest Crain and Co., seeks $6 million in punitive and compensatory damages through a jury trial.

Drake Bell, who played Drake in the Nickelodeon series Drake & Josh, pled guilty via Zoom to a felony charge of attempting to endanger children and a misdemeanor charge of disseminating material harmful to juveniles stemming from a 2017 incident in Ohio involving a teenage girl, Deadline reported. The charges against Bell stem from a December 2017 meeting between the then-31-year-old actor and a 15-year-old girl, when Bell was in Cleveland to perform a concert. Sentencing was set for July 12; Bell could receive a prison sentence of up to 18 months for the felony charge, with a fine up to $5,000.


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