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SHOWBIZ Jake Gyllenhaal, Clay Aiken, Dolly Parton, 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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Jake Gyllenhaal is set to produce and star as Leonard Bernstein in The American, with Cary Joji Fukunaga directing and producing, according to Deadline. Structured in five movements, like a symphony, The American follows Bernstein from conducting the New York Philharmonic at the age of 25 and through a meteoric rise to fame, all while struggling both personally and publicly to be everything that everyone expected him to be, most of all himself.

Clay Aiken put in his two cents regarding the recent episode of American Idol in which drag queen Ada Vox got sent home, Billboard noted. In his guest article to The Huffington Post, he plays devil's advocate by arguing that her elimination wasn't because she ( or her gay alter ego Adam Sanders ) is part of the LGBTQ community, but simply because she wasn't the strongest contestant. In the article, he questioned the countless tweets that made the assumption that America was not ready for a drag queen on Idol, and noted that the hit series is first and foremost a singing competition.

Country-music superstar Dolly Parton has paid a surprise visit to a senior center in Tennessee, where she sang, lifted weights and joked about her age, according to Page Six, citing The Knoxville News Sentinel. Parton came for a dedication ceremony Monday to give the facility a new name: the My People Senior Activity Center, in honor of her parents, Robert and Avie Lee Parton. At the event, Parton gave her own secret to staying young: Be busy, stay active and get involved.

Following its record-breaking second-season premiere—which has already doubled its audience versus season one—Hulu renewed the Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning series The Handmaid's Tale for a third season, Deadline reported. Hulu said it has surpassed 20 million U.S. subscribers, a milestone that shows its commitment to original programming is paying dividends. Hulu has expanded its slate of critically acclaimed original series with new series orders for Four Weddings and a Funeral and Ramy, which join upcoming Hulu originals Castle Rock, Catch-22 and Little Fires Everywhere.

The Washington Post featured some of what it considered to be the highlights of this year's Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute Gala ( @themetgala ), which had the theme "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination." Among said highlights were Rihanna's sparkling pope ensemble, complete with miter; Blake Lively's huge gown; singer Ariana Grande's Sistine Chapel look; Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman's cape; Lena Waithe's rainbow cape; and Sarah Jessica Parker's Nativity headpiece. Also, Vogue noted that Madonna gave a performance inside; earlier in the evening, she appeared on the red carpet in a black Jean Paul Gaultier gown that she paired with a black net veil over her face that was held in place by jeweled crosses and rosaries.

Openly gay U.S. Winter Olympic medalists Adam Rippon and Gus Kenworthy will host the TrevorLIVE New York gala on Monday, June 11, at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City, a Trevor Project press release announced. The organization, which provides a suite of crisis intervention and suicide prevention programs particularly for LGBTQ youth, recently announced that Lena Waithe, Greg Berlanti, and McKinsey & Company's Dominic Barton will receive honors at this year's gala. For more information on TrevorLIVE NY, visit .

Janelle Monae's so-called "vagina pants" ( from the video of her song "Pynk" ) will appear in an exhibit in New York this September—"Pink: The History of a Punk, Pretty, Powerful Color"—at The Museum at FIT, Vanity Fair noted. Dr. Valerie Steele, the director of The Museum at FIT and the exhibit's curator, told Vanity Fair she knew she wanted to include them immediately upon seeing the video. Duran Lantink, the 30-year-old Dutch designer who created the pants, is making a pair specifically for the exhibit. The exhibit will run Sept. 7-Jan. 5, 2019.

It's reportedly over between newlyweds Colton Haynes and Jeff Leatham, noted, citing TMZ. The couple have stopped following each other on social media, although they haven't officially filed for divorce. It is unclear, however, why the actor and florist are going their separate ways—although Page Six noted that Haynes said that Leatham did not cheat on him. Leatham popped the question in March 2017 in Cabo, complete with fireworks and a special video message from Cher. The couple tied the knot in a star-studded wedding in Palm Springs in October; Kris Jenner officiated the nuptials in front of a crowd that included celebs like Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello.

Nate Berkus opted to take the high road despite the social-media attack of former Counting On star Derick Dillard on his sexuality and his family, The Christian Post noted. On his Twitter account, the Nate & Jeremiah by Design co-host posted a photo of himself with his co-host and husband Jeremiah Brent and their children to reveal the objectives of their show. "My hope with having a show like #NandJByDesign on @TLC, where we go into people's homes and welcome viewers into ours, is that we can start to break down barriers & normalize the way our family looks & the way our family loves," Berkus noted.

Following the show's recent season-two premiere, HBO has renewed the Emmy-winning drama series Westworld for a third season, a network press release stated. Westworld returned for its 10-episode second season April 22. A dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the birth of a new form of life on Earth, the show was created for television by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, who are also executive producers. The show debuted on HBO in October 2016 to become the network's most-watched freshman series ever.

Former RuPaul's Drag Race contestant Robbie Turner has issued an apology in the wake of posting a series of car-accident tweets, Instinct magazine noted. Turner stated in a series of tweets in April that he had been in a car accident where the Uber driver was killed—but no confirmation of such an accident was ever confirmed. In part, Turner stated on Instagram, "On the advice of physicians and caring mental health professionals, I am taking a break from work and social media to spend more time with family and practice some important self-care. In addition, I apologize to Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber's CEO, for naming a company I respect in such a negative public way."

On June 29, Geffen/UMe will celebrate the rock band Guns N' Roses with the release of the Appetite For Destruction: Locked N' Loaded Edition box set, a press release noted. Appetite For Destruction will be made available in a four-CD/one-Blu-ray Audio Super Deluxe Edition with a 96-page book featuring unreleased photos from lead singer Axl Rose's personal archive, a two-CD Deluxe Edition, two-LP 180-gram heavyweight vinyl edition, one CD remaster and digital download/streaming equivalents. The next leg of the band's "Not in This Lifetime" world tour continues in Europe in June and July.

However, Guns N' Roses' box set won't include a song that left the band branded as racist and homophobic 30 years ago, noted. The 1988 song "One in a Million" included the line "Immigrants and faggots/They make no sense to me/They come to our country/And think they'll do as they please." At the time of the song's release, singer-songwriter Axl Rose defended the lyrics, recounting "bad experiences" with both gays and immigrants.

GLAAD announced that CBS' Survivor: Game Changers received the GLAAD Media Award in the Outstanding Reality Program category, a press release noted. The announcement came during the GLAAD Rising Stars Luncheon at the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York. Survivor: Game Changers was nominated alongside Viceland's Gaycation with Ellen Page, TLC's I Am Jazz, VH1's Rupaul's Drag Race and NBC's The Voice. The full slate of nominees/winners was honored at the 29th Annual GLAAD Media Awards on May 5.

Actor Ryan Reynolds admitted to the New York Times that he struggles with the publicity part of fame, Page Six noted. "I have anxiety, I've always had anxiety," Reynolds shared. "Both in the lighthearted 'I'm anxious about this' kind of thing, and I've been to the depths of the darker end of the spectrum, which is not fun." To help cope with the anxiety during major press tours now, Reynolds conducts most of his interviews in character, acting as Deadpool instead of himself.

High As Hope, the new album from Florence + the Machine, is set for release June 29 on Republic Records, a press release noted. ( A few of the other songs on the album include "No Choir," "South London Forever" and "Patricia." ) The first official single, "Hunger," premiered May 3, accompanied by a video directed by A.G. Rojas; it's at

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences ( AMPAS ) said its board of governors has voted to expel Bill Cosby and director Roman Polanski from its membership, Deadline reported. "The Board continues to encourage ethical standards that require members to uphold the Academy's values of respect for human dignity," it said in a statement. The act of kicking a member out of the Academy is rare, but the AMPAS board in October did vote to expel Harvey Weinstein after a special emergency meeting in October.

Katie Couric, who co-hosted the Today show with Matt Lauer for 15 years, told Wendy Williams that things haven't been easy for those close to him following reports of his alleged sexual misconduct, The Hollywood Reporter noted. NBC News ousted Lauer in late November as a result of an internal complaint about "inappropriate sexual behavior." Multiple women have accused Lauer of sexual harassment. Williams asked Couric if she thought Lauer could ever return to television. "That's really not for me to say, Wendy," Couric replied. "I think that sort of depends on the path he chooses, and how he decides to handle what has happened."

The Kennedy Center has withdrawn two awards given to disgraced comedian Bill Cosby: the 1998 Kennedy Center Honors and and the 2009 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, Page Six noted. Last month, Cosby, 80, was found guilty in a retrial on sexual-assault charges. A jury ruled against Cosby for aggravated indecent assault in all three counts brought against him by Andrea Constand.

Lifetime said it is relaunching its public-affairs campaign Stop Violence Against Women to raise awareness of abusive behaviors, and the first projects will be a documentary series and movie from Kreativ Inc. focusing on women who say they've been abused by R. Kelly, Deadline reported. The controversial R&B star has a history of alleged abuse of underage African-American girls that largely has been unreported by mainstream media until recently.

Electronica figure Avicii committed suicide with broken glass he used to cut himself, TMZ reported. Our sources say the method of death was a shard of glass that caused massive bleeding. Two sources tell us Avicii broke a bottle and used the glass to inflict the fatal wound. One of the sources says it was a wine bottle. The 28-year-old was found dead April 20 in the Middle Eastern country of Oman.

Bumble, the dating app that allows women to start conversations with male matches, is diving into the content game, The Hollywood Reporter noted. Bumble Presents...The Female Film Force is a new fund granting five female filmmakers 20,000 pounds ( $27,000 ) each to make a short film, with a panel of judges set to include Ophelia Lovibond ( Guardians of the Galaxy ) and Georgine Campbell ( Black Mirror ). The five winners will embody the values of "female empowerment, equality and kindness," with Bumble requesting that all are "created by an all-female creative team of writers, directors and producers."

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