Tuesday, February 07, 2017

News and Pop Culture Round-Up

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Lady Gaga Announces Joanne World Tour
The tour kicks off in August in Vancouver and will run through December making stops all around North America and Europe, before wrapping up back in the U.S. for a final date on Dec. 14 in Salt Lake City.

Why Lady Gaga Wasn't Paid For Her Super Bowl Halftime Show
Lady Gaga is one of the world's most popular musicians--and one of the highest-paid. She grosses an average of $1.3 million per city on tour, according to Pollstar. And yet, when she took the stage in Houston for the Super Bowl LI halftime show, she'll be performing for free. Representatives for Gaga and the NFL did not return requests for comment earlier this week, but the league's policy has long been clear. “We do not pay the artists,” explained NFL spokesperson Joanna Hunter to me last year. “We cover expenses and production costs.” In recent years, estimates for the total tally of those costs have ranged from $600,000 to $10 million. Yet like Coldplay, BeyoncĂ©, Bruno Mars and Katy Perry before her, Gaga's primary motivation for doing the Pepsi-backed show for free appears to be the exposure.

Related My Review: Lady Gaga, Woody Guthrie, Politics & Super Bowl LI

NCAA Will Pull More Events From North Carolina Unless HB2 Is Repealed, Sports Group Warns
The anti-LGBTQ law could continue to cost the state NCAA championship events, the North Carolina Sports Association said Monday. The law has already cost the state dearly: Last year, the NBA moved the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte, while the NCAA and Atlantic Coast Conference relocated sporting events out of the state.

Democrats Focus On Derailing Anti-Gay Betsy DeVos (Trump's Pick For Education Secretary)
Democrats are mounting a 24-hour blitz to try and sink at least one nomination from President Donald Trump's Cabinet, attacking education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos a day before her confirmation vote. Democratic senators promised to stay up all night debating DeVos early into Tuesday morning and also took to Twitter to urge residents to light up Senate phonelines. But Republicans are still expected to narrowly win her approval, with Vice President Mike Pence set to cast the first the tie-breaking vote in history for a Cabinet appointment.

Nevada Woman Dies of a Superbug Resistant to Every Available Antibiotic
“I think this is the harbinger of future badness to come,” said Dr. James Johnson, a professor of infectious diseases medicine at the University of Minnesota and a specialist at the Minnesota VA Medical Center.

Arkansas Republican Seeks Constitutional Convention To Ban Gay Marriage
An Arkansas Republican has introduced a bill that calls for a constitutional convention to ban same-sex marriage throughout the United States. According to Law Newz, state Senator Jason Rapert introduced SJR7 on Thursday. It calls for a constitutional convention “for the purpose of proposing an amendment prohibiting the United States Constitution or the Constitutional or Laws of any state from defining or construing the definition of 'marriage' to mean anything other than the union of one man and one woman.”

Journalist Charged With Criminal Trespass and Rioting While Covering Latest North Dakota Pipeline Arrests
A journalist arrested in a broad sweep of a “rogue” protest camp near the Standing Rock reservation is facing criminal charges from North Dakota authorities. Jenni Monet, 40, on assignment for Indian Country Today and the Center for Investigative Reporting, has been arrested and charged with criminal trespass and “engaging in a riot” by Morton County prosecutors.

Openly Gay Rower Gavan Hennigan Smashes Irish Record for Atlantic Crossing
Gavan Hennigan rowed into English Harbour in Antigua early on Wednesday night, the fastest Irishman to row across an ocean to finish third overall in the 12-boat Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge and by far the fastest solo rower. The Galway man, 35, crossed from La Gomera in the Canaries in 49 days, 11 hours and 37 minutes. Hennigan looked well but thin after having to put in a tremendous effort in the final weeks. He was excited to see the crowd which had gathered on the Caribbean island. Upon arrival, Hennigan raised the Irish tricolour to salute the large crowd gathered to watch him complete the race. “I’m so proud to have done this. Not many Irish have attempted a solo row across the Atlantic and I feel I’ve done it in style,” said an exhausted Hennigan.

Kellyanne Conway’s Explanation for the ‘Bowling Green Massacre’ Was Also a Lie
After Kellyanne Conway invented the “Bowling Green Massacre” in an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews last week, she argued that she “misspoke one word.” There were, in fact, two Iraqi refugees who lived in Bowling Green, Kentucky who tried to send weapons to Iraq, but they never attacked anyone on U.S. soil. “I should have said ‘plot’ or I should have just called them terrorists,” she explained to Fox News’ Howard Kurtz. But Conway did not misspeak. In fact, Cosmopolitan.com revealed Monday that she used the exact same talking point in an interview given days previously. The magazine had not originally printed her quote referencing the “Bowling Green massacre,” but has shared it in the wake of her using it on MSNBC.

Gay Cop Killer Found Dead In Prison
Convicted killer Stefano Brizzi has been found dead at the prison where he was jailed for the murder of police officer Gordon Semple, He was just months into the 24-year sentence. The Ministry of Justice confirmed Brizzi had died in HMP Belmarsh. They have not released the reason for his death. The Daily Mail is suggesting that he is thought to have taken his own life. Brizzi was found guilty of murder on Monday, 14 November. Brizzi, who was 50 at the time, went to great lengths to dispose of 59-year-old Gordon Semple, by dismembering him and getting rid of him in a manner which “amounts to cannibalism”.

Actor Colin Farrell To Deliver Keynote Address At The Power Of Possibilities Event
Colin Farrell will deliver the keynote address at Gatepath’s annual Power of Possibilities recognition event on Thursday, March 23, 2017, at the San Francisco Airport Marriot Waterfront in Burlingame, CA. “As the parent of a child with special needs, I have learned that disability is often imposed upon a person. Yet what one person deems a disability, another person deems a challenge and, most importantly, an opportunity to show the strength and deep reserve of the human spirit,” Farrell said. “Raising a son with special needs gives me a new perspective on living and thriving with disabilities.” The accomplished Irish-born actor won a Golden Globe for his role in “In Bruges” and is celebrating a Globe nomination for “The Lobster”.

World OutGames Miami Announces Speakers for Global Human Rights Conference
The Global LGBTQI Human Rights Conference will be held during this year’s World Out Games in Miami, and the first round of speakers was just announced. The conference will touch topics including the promotion of inclusivity in sports, health and wellness as well as global social justice. So far, the speakers that have been announced include Austin Bryan and Richard Lusimbo from Sexual Minorities in Uganda, Carlos Quesada from the International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights, Dr. Cecile Houry from Florida International University, Haven Herrin from ILGA North America, Marthe Djilo Kamga from Belgium and Justin Klecha from SAVE. Some of the programs being discussed at the conference include “Politicization of Homosexuality in Uganda: Scapegoating Sexual and Gender Minorities,” “Fueling a Queer Religious Left at the Organization of American States” and “Prejudice Reduction Conversations to Decrease Anti-LGBT Prejudice,” according to a press release.

Learn more about World OutGames Miami 2017 here.

Kylie Minogue Confirms Engagement To Joshua Sasse Is Over 
Australian singer Kylie Minogue has confirmed that her relationship with British actor Joshua Sasse is over. “Thank you for all your love and support throughout this recent chapter of my life,” Minogue wrote on Instagram. “Thank you now for your love and understanding with the news that Josh and I have decided to go our separate ways.”

Related Kylie Minogue Has Signed a New Label Deal for a “Big Pop Record”

Lesbian Coach Alleges Discrimination Files Lawsuit Against Drake University
Courtney Graham said everything was going smoothly with her assistant coaching job with Drake University's women's basketball team. The Bulldogs were building the program, and Graham said she was handling her recruiting and scouting responsibilities well, resulting in bonuses and positive performance reviews. That changed, she said, when she brought her now-wife to a game to sit in the family section in November 2014. In a federal lawsuit filed in late December, Graham alleges that as a result, head coach Jennie Baranczyk ostracized her from the team, told her she was not acting like herself, diminished her duties and asked her to resign in May 2015. Graham turned in her resignation a month later after, she said, undue pressure from Baranczyk.