Replacing Abdul, one gay judge at a time

They took away the only ray of sunshine on the _American Idol_ judging panel. And though it was a sad day for everyone except Paula Abdul â?? who is filthy rich and doesnâ??t need your pity â?? the news has only gotten better and better as the substitute roll call of guest judges for Season 9 goes on. First it was the Posh Spice announcement (Could any thinking person question her judging prowess after her _Project Runway_/Christian Siriano lovefest?), and now Renaissance Gay Neil Patrick Harris, who seems intent on insinuating himself into the hearts and minds of every last person in America, has already taped segments where he assists Randy, Simon and Kara in weeding out the people who show up dressed as The Statue of Liberty and Baby New Year. You wonâ??t see it until January of 2010, of course, and by then NPH will probably have run for Senator of Utah and won in a landslide.

Beatles manager to hide his love away on film

Itâ??s never the first bit of trivia you learn when discussing the Beatles, that a gay guy more or less discovered and managed the band until his death in 1967. Brian Epstein remained closeted until he died at age 32 of an overdose and was even rumored to have had a brief fling with John Lennon. (Lennon said it never happened, though the 1991 indie film _The Hours and Times_ imagines another scenario.) And now Epsteinâ??s short but very interesting life is being turned into a film called, for now, _A Life in the Day_. No casting news yet, but expect a downbeat no-happy-endings sort of thing (not counting the aesthetic thrills to be had from period details and advancements in the creation of realistic moptop wigs) to emerge when the final product hits screens in 2012.

Gus Van Sant is still _Restless_

Who likes young talent more than Gus Van Sant? OK, maybe some other big deal directors do on their days off, but Van Sant has consistently found new creative energy to champion publically, especially when that energy looks like Matt Damon. To be fair, how young blonde and tousle-haired screenwriter Jason Lew happens to be is unknown at this time, but his script, _Restless_, has the _Milk_ director smitten enough to take it on as a new project. The story of a gloomy, graveyard-obsessed _Harold and Maude_-like young man and the romance he begins with a girl who has only six months to live will be Van Santâ??s next small film (budget: approx $15 million, a drop in the bucket by Hollywood standards) and is all but guaranteed to become a touchstone of Emo Kid cinema culture. Time to start clearing the rights to those Morrissey songs.

_Guiding Light_ lesbians go viral

After approximately 200 years on radio and then daytime TV, _The Guilding Light_ will see its last episode air on Sept. 18. Everyone gets cancelled eventually. But what about â??Otalia,â? the combo name fans have given lesbian characters Olivia and Natalia? Where will they go? What will become of them? Well, actresses Crystal Chappell and Jessica Leccia, who play the dynamic duo, have decided to keep a version of their story alive via online webisodes. Though the names will be changed thanks to silly entertainment laws, the pair will be featured on a new online series called _Venice_, which is also set to feature the best _L Word_ villainess ever, Elizabeth Keener (Dawn Denbo!), in a recurring role. In other words: Hurry up, Internet! This canâ??t happen soon enough for Romeoâ??s taste.


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