Fringe performer makes hit show, ‘Meatball Séance,’ available to watch at home

By : Jeremy Williams
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(Photo by Paul Clark)

ORLANDO | Orlando Fringe announced March 19 that its annual theatre festival would be cancelled for the 2020 season leaving performers and fans to wait another year before they can get their Fringe on.

To help sate that theatre appetite until Fringe 2021, performer John Michael announced he is releasing his hit show “Meatball Séance” — which played to sold-out crowds at both Orlando Fringe 2019 and its Winter Mini-Fest earlier this year — available to watch at home.

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Diverse talent called to audition for StandUp NBC

By : John Paul King OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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Calling all queer comics: NBC wants you!

The network is reaching out to spread the word to diverse comedians across the nation about its 2020 StandUp auditions, to be held in Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York City, and Dallas.

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Actor Jussie Smollett pleads not guilty to restored charges

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CHICAGO (AP) | Former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett pleaded not guilty Monday to restored charges that accuse him of staging a racist, homophobic attack against himself last year in Chicago and falsely reporting to police that the phony attack was real.

His lawyer, Tina Glandian, entered the not guilty pleas on his behalf to six counts of felony disorderly conduct. She also told Judge James B. Linn that she has asked the Illinois Supreme Court to halt the case.

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Jussie Smollett facing new charges for alleged staged racist, anti-gay attack

By : Wire Report
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CHICAGO (AP) | Actor Jussie Smollett was indicted Feb. 12 for a second time on charges of lying to police about a racist and anti-gay attack he allegedly staged on himself in downtown Chicago, renewing a divisive criminal case that drew worldwide attention last year.

The indictment came from a special prosecutor who was appointed after Cook County prosecutors dropped the same charges last March.

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String of Chicago robberies targeting users of dating apps

By : Wire Report
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CHICAGO (AP) | Chicago Police said Jan. 31 they are looking for a suspect or suspects using a dating app to lure victims to hotel rooms where they use a stun gun to rob them.

According to police, there have been at least five robberies in the downtown area that all follow the same pattern in which suspects arrange on the gay dating app Grindr or other dating sites to meet their victims. Then, once the men are in a hotel room, the suspect displays a stun gun and demands money and other valuables.

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Picking Berry: All My World was a Stage

By : Beneva Fruitville
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I love musicals. In fact, musical theater has been my hobby and lifelong career, a path I chose after I saw the musical “A Chorus Line” at 13 years old. In that one evening of music, dance, comedy and drama, I learned that performing was not only a viable career – but one that I, Berry Ayers, absolutely had to have.

I grew up in church and sang my first solo at the age of four with dreams of becoming the next Sandy Patti. That “Chorus Line” performance still hung in my memory like the first time I saw Dorothy step out into the colorful world of Oz, however; there were people on that stage talking about abuse, sex, hurt, anger, power and ultimately, love.

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Judge orders Google to turn over Jussie Smollett’s emails

By : Wire Report
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CHICAGO (AP) – A judge has ordered Google to turn over a year’s worth of Jussie Smollett’s emails, private messages, photographs and location data to a special prosecutor who is looking into why prosecutors abruptly dismissed criminal charges against the actor.

The Chicago Tribune reported Jan. 8 that it had obtained two search warrants submitted by special prosecutor Dan Webb and signed off by Cook County Judge Michael Toomin last month.

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Chicago activist named new head of National Center for Lesbian Rights

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Imani Rupert-Gordon, photo courtesy National Center for Lesbian Rights.

The new head of the National Center for Lesbian Rights will be a Chicago-based activist who has served as a voice in the LGBTQ movement for black women, the organization announced Tuesday.

Imani Rupert-Gordon, who currently serves as executive director of Affinity Community Services in Chicago, is set to take the reins of the San Francisco-based LGBTQ group on March 16, 2020.

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Wayne Brady heads home to Florida for interactive, improv rock concert

By : Jeremy Williams
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Wayne Brady loves Orlando. The City Beautiful is where he grew up, where he went to school and where he created and honed the skills that have made him one of Hollywood’s most versatile entertainers.

“While I wasn’t born there—I was born in Columbus, Georgia—in terms of my life, Orlando is the place that I claim. I always get a sense of pride whenever I see anyone come out of Orlando that’s done anything really great,” Brady says.

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Special prosecutor named to look into Jussie Smollett case

By : Wire Report
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CHICAGO (AP) | A judge appointed a special prosecutor on Aug. 23 to look into why the Chicago state’s attorney’s office abruptly dropped the case against Jussie Smollett, leaving open the possibility that the former “Empire” actor could yet face charges in what police say was a phony attack on himself that he staged to get attention.

Smollett maintains that he was the target of a racist and homophobic attack in January. But if the special prosecutor, former U.S. Attorney Dan Webb, determines that the charges shouldn’t have been dropped, he could recommend that they be reinstated or that new charges be brought.

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Fox: Jussie Smollet gone from ‘Empire,’ character lives on

By : wire report
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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) | Jussie Smollett is gone from “Empire” but his character will live on, at least in photos.

Smollett’s Jamal Lyon, who last season married Kai (Toby Onwumere), will be away on his honeymoon when the Fox drama returns Sept. 24 for its sixth and last season, Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier said Wednesday.

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Smollett wants Chicago’s lawsuit moved to federal court

By : Wire Report
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CHICAGO (AP) | Jussie Smollett wants the lawsuit that the city of Chicago filed against him moved from state court to federal court.

The motion filed July 3 and released to the media by Smollett’s representatives comes after the city sued the actor in April for the cost of investigating his allegations that he was a victim of a racist and anti-gay attack in downtown Chicago.

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