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  WINDY CITY TIMES

SHOWBIZ '9-1-1,' Billie Jean King, Lena Waithe, singer Mary Lambert, White Party
by Windy City Times staff
2021-11-21

This article shared 545 times since Sun Nov 21, 2021
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Actor Rockmond Dunbar left the Fox show 9-1-1 after four seasons over a vaccine mandate, Deadline noted. His gay character, Michael Grant, was abruptly written off in the Nov. 15 episode, leaving fans of the first-responder drama stunned. In a statement to Deadline, Dunbar said, "I applied for religious and medical accommodations pursuant to the law and unfortunately was denied by my employer. My sincerely held beliefs and private medical history are very intimate and personal aspects of my life that I do not publicly discuss and have no desire to start now. … As a man that walks in faith, I look forward to what the future holds."

Billie Jean King, Candace Parker and Rob Gronkowski are among the sports legends slated to appear at the 2021 Sports Illustrated Awards (The SI Awards) Presented by Pepsi Stronger Together, a press release announced. The Dec. 7 event, which DJ Khaled and Cari Champion will host, will take place in front of a live audience from Hard Rock Live at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. For more information on tickets, visit SportsIllustratedAwards.com; additional fees may apply.

Lena Waithe signed a big exclusive overall deal with Warner Bros. Television Group, Deadline reported. The studio landed the producer, actor and Emmy-winning writer and her Hillman Grad Productions in a very competitive situation. Under the agreement, Waithe and partner Rishi Rajani will produce new television programming through Hillman Grad for all platforms, including WarnerMedia's HBO Max, external streaming services, cable, and the five broadcast networks.

Queer singer Mary Lambert—possibly best known for singing on the Macklemore song "Same Love"—is officially engaged, out.com noted. The "She Keeps Me Warm" and "Secrets" singer announced the news on her Instagram, showing off her ring and including a video of her fiance proposing at one of the couple's recent live appearances together. Lambert's new fiance, Dr. Wyatt Paige Hermansen, is a non-binary English professor and co-host of The Manic Episodes, a podcast where Hermansen and Lambert discuss bipolar disorder (which both have), queer relationships and body love.

White Party Global (WPG) announced the return of White Party Palm Springs, the largest gay dance music festival in the world, which will take place April 29-May 1, 2022, a press release noted. "It is an honor to continue White Party Palm Springs for my dear friend, Jeffrey," says WPG Executive Producer Chris Diamond. (White Party founder Jeffrey Sanker passed away in late May at age 65, according to The Advocate.) Information on the host hotel, weekend pass pricing, and event details can be found at www.whitepartyglobal.com . (All tickets purchased pre-pandemic will be honored for Palm Springs White Party 2022 and 2023.)

In honor of Transgender Awareness Week, Andy Grammer partnered with the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles (considered by some as the country's first trans chorus, embracing all members of the trans, non-binary and intersex communities) for a special live performance of "Damn, It Feels Good To Be Me," a press release noted. In conjunction with the partnership, a Grammer made a donation to the chorus. The video is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfF9VNpZC5E.

Britney Spears posted a video statement to Instagram commenting on the termination of her conservatorship, iHeart.com noted. It's a really a long time to be in a situation you don't want to be in," Spears said. "So I'm just grateful for each day and being able to have the keys to my car, to be able to be independent and feel like a woman. Owning an ATM card, seeing cash for the first time … It's the little things." Spears praised the #FreeBritney campaign and added she felt like she might as well share a "hint of [her] thoughts] on the Gram" before setting things straight with Oprah Winfrey for a sit-down interview.

In other Spears-related news, she took to her Instagram Stories to post a video of fellow '90s pop star Christina Aguilera, who refused to answer a question about Spears during a recent interview, according to Variety. The video was from the red carpet at the Nov. 18 Latin Grammy Awards, when Aguilera was asked if she has been in communication with Spears following the termination of her 13-year conservatorship. Aguilera's publicist then pulled Aguilera away, as he said, "No, we're not doing that tonight. I'm sorry." (Aguilera did add, "But I'm happy for her.") Spears posted the video of Aguilera alongside the message: "I love and adore everyone who supported me… but refusing to speak when you know the truth is equivalent to a lie !!!!" Spears also praised Lady Gaga, who spoke at length about Spears when asked about her freedom by reporters.

GLAAD released an exclusive first look at the upcoming Amazon Original Series With Love, featuring Isis King and recurring guest star Birdie Silverstein (the child of actress Busy Phillips) in their first non-binary role, a press release noted. The series, debuting Dec. 17, is a one-hour romantic comedy that features the Diaz family as they navigate love and purpose during different holidays throughout the year. King stars as Sol Perez, a trans non-binary oncology resident who is finally opening themselves up to love with a handsome doctor they work with.

SAG Award and Oscar-winning actress Helen Mirren has been named the 57th recipient of SAG-AFTRA's highest tribute: the SAG Life Achievement Award for career achievement and humanitarian accomplishment, a press release noted. Mirren will be presented the performers union's top accolade at the 28th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, which will be simulcast live on TNT and TBS on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022, from The Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California. Mirren is currently filming Golda, in the title role of Golda Meir.

Netflix said it has dropped a character from Uncoupled, an upcoming sitcom starring Neil Patrick Harris, Queerty noted. The development happened after an actress who read the script for the Latina role complained about it; Ada Maris called the depiction "hurtful and derogatory." In Uncoupled, Harris will star as a gay man who thought he had a near-perfect life—until he gets dumped by his long-term partner (Tuc Watkins) and finds himself having to navigate single life in New York in his mid-40s.

Out former "Bachelor" Colton Underwood is selling his place in Colorado, according to TMZ. He recently listed the four-bedroom home for $1.35 million—and he reportedly accepted an offer from an interested buyer just five days after the home hit the market. The place, which is about 25 miles south of Denver, has a game room, media room and a home gym outfitted with high-end fitness equipment.

Eliza Dushku testified before a congressional committee about being "fired in silence" from the CBS series Bull, as she detailed her sexual-harassment claims against co-star Michael Weatherly and then, after she complained, being let go from the series and forced into arbitration and a non-disclosure agreement, Deadline reported. The actress told members of the House Judiciary Committee that she was able to "break that silence" as she was responding to a congressional subpoena to testify. In 2018, it was revealed that Dushku was paid $9.5 million to settle claims on the set of Bull that involved Weatherly.

Warner Records—in association with The Blueprint Group, Roc Nation and Saloon Music—released Bruised (Soundtrack From and Inspired By The Netflix Film), a press release noted. It serves as the musical companion to Netflix's Bruised—the directorial debut of Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry, who also produced and stars in the film. The film is now in select theaters, and it begins streaming Nov. 24. Songs on the all-woman hip-hop soundtrack are by musicians such as Cardi B, H.E.R., Saweetie, Erica Banks and DreamDoll, among others.

Shaquille O'Neal is an executive producer of the film short "The Queen of Basketball," a press release noted. The movie is about Lusia "Lucy" Harris Stewart, who won three national trophies, scored the first basket in women's Olympic history (in 1976) and was drafted to the NBA. "The Queen of Basketball" had its world premiere at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival; during Tribeca, Robin Roberts hosted Harris on ABC's Good Morning America.

Actor Trevor Donovan (90210) is joining the cast of CBS' long-running series NCIS, according to NewNowNext.com . He teased his appearance back with a tweet back in August. He also appeared in i Marry Me At Christmas, which ran last month on the Hallmark Channel.

The OWN drama Queen Sugar is coming to an end with its seventh season in 2022, Deadline noted. "It's a radical act that it lasted this long, and it's a testament to every single pair of hands that touched it and I am so proud of that," series creator Ava DuVernay told Deadline. The rural Louisiana-set series, which debuted in 2016, will return next year for what is expected to be a 13-episode final run.

On Nov. 16, pro hockey teams The Pittsburgh Penguins held their second joint Pride game with the Buffalo Sabres at PPG Paints Arena, CBS Pittsburgh reported. (The first took place in April, NHL.com noted.) Players from both teams wore LGBTQ+ pride warmup jerseys and used rainbow-taped sticks—all of which were auctioned off. Proceeds will benefit charities, including the You Can Play Project. President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke launched the project in honor of his late son, Brendan Burke. Incidentally, Buffalo won the Nov. 16 game 2-1.

A Very Boy Band Christmas will air Monday, Dec. 6, on ABC, and the special will be available the next day on demand and on Hulu, Deadline noted. The show will feature appearances by members of iconic boy bands, including Joey Fatone (*NSYNC), Chris Kirkpatrick (*NSYNC), Lance Bass (*NSYNC), Wanya Morris (Boyz II Men), Shawn Stockman (Boyz II Men), Bobby Brown (New Edition), Michael Bivins (New Edition), Joey McIntyre (New Kids on the Block), Erik-Michael Estrada (O-Town), Nick Lachey (98 Degrees), Drew Lachey (98 Degrees), Jeff Timmons (98 Degrees) and Justin Jeffre (98 Degrees).

Former Twilight star Taylor Lautner is engaged to his girlfriend of three years, nurse/YouTuber Taylor Dome, according to Page Six. The actor proposed in front of a fireplace with a neon red "Lautner" sign hanging underneath dozens of red roses while the floor they were standing on was covered in petals and candles. "IM SO HAPPY FOR YOU! LOVE YOU. And yes I'll be the flower boy," Patrick Schwarzenegger commented on social media.

Billie Eilish and Paul Rudd are set as the final Saturday Night Live hosts of the year, with the singer pulling double duty, Deadline noted. Eilish—whose sophomore album, Happier Than Ever, was released earlier this summer—will host and perform as musical guest Dec. 11, following in the steps of such musicians as Nick Jonas, Britney Spears, MC Hammer and Paul Simon. On Dec. 18, the NBC show's final episode of the year, actor/People Magazine's Sexiest Man of the Year Paul Rudd will host (for the fifth time), with Charli XCX as musical guest.

After a failed attempt to be the permanent host of Jeopardy!, LeVar Burton is slated to team with eOne to develop a TV game show adaptation of classic board game Trivial Pursuit, Deadline noted. He will host and exec produce the project via his LeVar Burton Entertainment banner.

American Idol alum Chris Daughtry was "absolutely devastated and heartbroken" over the death of stepdaughter Hannah Price, the singer said—as detectives reportedly told the family the 25-year-old woman was a victim of homicide, according to Page Six. "I am still processing… I am absolutely devastated and heartbroken," Daughtry said in his statement posted to Facebook. Price's boyfriend, Bobby Jolly, was arrested at Fentress County Jail, TMZ reported, although it wasn't immediately clear if his bust was related to the purported homicide.

Actor Sara Ramirez has quietly updated their pronouns, out.com noted. Ramirez had previously listed she/they pronouns on their Instagram and Twitter accounts; however, the pronouns now listed on the Grey's Anatomy alum's bio are they/them. "Hi, my name is Sara Ramirez, my pronouns are they/them/theirs, and I am an Out100 honoree for the entertainment category!" the activist and actor said, introducing themselves to the audience. Ramirez previously came out as non-binary in a heartfelt Instagram post last summer.

Beanie Feldstein (Booksmart; Lady Bird; TV's Impeachment: American Crime Story) and girlfriend Bonnie Chance Roberts showed up at a New York City screening for Feldstein's film The Humans, The Daily Mail noted. Last year, Feldstein—the sister of actor Jonah Hill—detailed her sexuality in a candid interview, admitting she fell in love with her producer girlfriend without considering the woman's gender. She told Teen Vogue, "Not to sound flippant, but I was in love with her and all of her, and she's a woman."

Actress Demi Moore's rumored partner, stylist Masha Mandzuka, posted a picture of Moore and her child on Instagram with the caption "Happy birthday to you, beautiful angel Demi Moore. So grateful for 9 years of you!!!," according to out.com . She also added the angel, heart, praying hands and rainbow emojis. According to Radar, the couple have been seen together for several years, and in 2017, a Serbian website reported that Moore visited Belgrade to spend time with Mandzuka because they were in an "intimate relationship."

Andy Dick was arrested for domestic battery, with reports saying he allegedly smacked a bottle of liquor over the head of boyfriend Lucas Crawford, Page Six noted. Sources told TMZ that this is the second time in two months cops were called to Dick's home over domestic issues. Dick has had quite a legal history, including pleading not guilty to misdemeanor battery and misdemeanor sexual battery in 2018 after allegedly groping a woman's buttocks.

Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello announced their breakup on Instagram in a joint statement they posted to their respective Stories, Page Six noted. "Hey guys, we've decided to end our romantic relationship but our love for another as humans is stronger than ever," the statement began. The "Senorita" collaborators were recently photographed together in Miami Beach, so this announcement took some by surprise.


This article shared 545 times since Sun Nov 21, 2021
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