June 11th, 2009
04:03 PM ET

Sonny and Cher's daughter to become man

Update:

We just got statement from the office of Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack who was formerly married to Sonny Bono:

"The congresswoman loves and supports Chaz and is hopeful that his privacy and very personal decisions will be respected during this time."

Original post:

Chastity Bono, the daughter of the late Sonny Bono and Cher, is in the early stages of transitioning from female to male. Bono’s representative, Howard Bragman, confirmed a TMZ report, telling Showbiz Tonight:

"Yes, it's true - Chaz, after many years of consideration, has made the courageous decision to honor his true identity.

He is proud of his decision and grateful for the support and respect that has already been shown by his loved ones. It is Chaz's hope that his choice to transition will open the hearts and minds of the public regarding this issue, just as his 'coming out' did nearly 20 years ago.”

Bono is a well known author and gay rights advocate. We’ve reached out to Cher for a comment and when we hear back we will let you know what she has to say!

June 11th, 2009
03:20 PM ET

This just in- Carrie Prejean fights back!

This just in!

Former Miss California Carrie Prejean has just released this statement to Showbiz Tonight:

“Let me begin by saying I treasure the opportunity I’ve had to represent the great State of California, and I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to the thousands of Californians, and other Americans, I have met and who have stood with me through this controversial firestorm. One of the many enduring things about being Miss California USA was the opportunity to get to meet and know so many wonderful people. I would not be the strong, courageous woman I am today without your support, and prayers.

I would like to thank Mr. Donald Trump and his organization for his support and defending me through the most challenging time of my life. I am so grateful for him, and the opportunity I've had to get to know him. I admire, and respect him. I wish Tami Farrell the best; I know she will do a great job.

I hope Americans watching this story unfold, take away the most important lesson I have learned through all of this: nothing is more important than standing up for what you believe in, no matter what the cost may be. I’ve done my best under the difficult circumstances to handle the vicious attacks with integrity and show respect to others, even those who don’t agree with me.

I worked in good faith to meet my responsibilities as Miss California USA. I have met every scheduled appearance, and responsibility, as recently as May 31st. I have followed the proper protocol requested of me and haven’t made any appearances or speaking engagements without the consent or approval from the Miss California USA or Miss Universe Organizations. I have not signed with any book publisher or taken on any business proposals. As of today, June 11, 2009, I have done everything possible to honor my contract.

I am proud to be an American, and blessed to have had the opportunity to exercise my freedom of speech. I am excited and looking forward to where God leads me in the future. I know He has big plans for me. I am proud to be the strong woman God has molded me to be. I will always stand for the truth, respectfully, and never back down.

Thank you and God Bless.”

For much more on this developing story, don’t miss Showbiz Tonight at 11pm Eastern and Pacific on HLN!

June 11th, 2009
09:15 AM ET

Bonnaroo or bust, baby!

Bonnaroo, a massive four-day music and arts festival held every June in Manchester, Tennessee, begins today, and quiet panic is setting in at the Wheatley household.

bonnaroo

In less than 24 hours, we’ll be swimming in a sea of sweat and patchouli. But right now we still need to find someone to feed our cat, and pick up our share from the farmers market. Sarah - my lovely wife - thinks I need a bigger hat. She’s right. My sensitive skin will likely take a beating soon.

Going to ‘Roo is no small undertaking. It is a feat of endurance. Rock concerts begin around noon and push through 4 in the morning. The blistering sun heats your tent like an oven so you can’t sleep past 9. That is, if thunderstorms don’t turn the grounds into a muddy bog.

That may not sound like fun. But, for music lovers, Bonnaroo is practically paradise – sporting one of the most diverse lineups in the country.

The event, which began in 2002 as a jam-band festival geared toward the Dead-head crowd, has shed much of its hippie-fest reputation in recent years by showcasing mainstream artists like Metallica, Radiohead, and The Police. It’s now arguably the best rock festival anywhere and this year’s lineup aims to thrill.

Headliners Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and Phish (playing two nights) anchor a cast of more than 100 performers - from established acts (Beastie Boys, Nine Inch Nails, Wilco) to legendary performers (Al Green, David Byrne, King Sunny Ade) to indie darlings (Bon Iver, The Dirty Projectors, Of Montreal).

Something for everyone, but the stacked lineup also provides for some near impossible choices. Take Sunday night - as Snoop Dogg, Band of Horses and Neko Case occupy separate stages during the same hour.

My own must-see list continues to swell - in addition to the artists above, I’m psyched to see country legend Merle Haggard, the reunion of rap pioneers Public Enemy and the incomparable dance-party mash-up that is Girl Talk, the later of which begins at 2:15 a.m. Friday night!

Tens of thousands of tent-towing music fans are already making the pilgrimage to the sprawling 700-acre farm that houses the event. With any luck, I’ll be arriving tomorrow morning with ample time to set camp, cover every inch of exposed skin with SPF 75, and catch the all-female Norwegian quartet Katzenjammer. I kid you not.

If you're going, please share your stories on iReport.com.

I’ll be keeping you updated with pics and show reviews right here on the Marquee Blog, and you can also follow my exploits on Twitter.

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Filed under: Bonnaroo • Music
June 11th, 2009
09:04 AM ET

Spears to hit up Australia

Britney Spears will take "The Circus starring Britney Spears" to the Outback in November. But she's not done with touring the U.S. just yet. Plus, director Tim Burton show's off his creativity at a museum. Here's the latest:

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Filed under: Music
June 11th, 2009
08:19 AM ET

'Little House on the Prairie'

Growing up, I was a huge "Little House on the Prairie" fan. I couldn't get enough of Walnut Grove, the Ingalls family, the one-room schoolhouse, Pa's fiddle… even Nellie Oleson. So naturally I jumped at the chance to attend a Q&A followed by a book signing where I met Melissa Gilbert - Laura Ingalls Wilder herself - whose tell-all memoir, Prairie Tale has just hit bookstore shelves.

(Left to Right) Melissa Panetta, Summer Panetta, and Elaina Benfante share a love of “Little House on the Prairie” and were thrilled to meet Melissa Gilbert.

I at least thought I was a big LHOTP fan… until self-proclaimed "Little House fanatic" Chris Czajka informed me that rabid fans are known as Bonnetheads. One word.

Czajka creates educational materials for the "Little House on the Prairie" musical; a 40-city tour of the show is set to kick-off later this year. Czajka also told me that Bonnetheads regularly attend the show in full on prairie-era costume. Rocky Horror, anyone?

I interviewed Gilbert; and being the LHOTP fan I am (I am not cool enough to call myself a Bonnethead… yet!), I  strictly talked "Little House."

Katie McLaughlin: On "Little House on the Prairie," did you acquire any skills that didn't quite translate over to modern-day life, yet are fun to show off at parties (IE: butter churning)?

Melissa Gilbert: I can drive a stagecoach, fire a rifle, rope a horse, and play a mean game of poker.

KM: Do you have any mementos from the "Little House" set?

Actress Melissa Gilbert poses for a photo while signing copies of “Prairie Tale.”

MG: I have the first dress I ever wore on the show - the red one from the credits –- framed and hanging in my house. I have the original pilot script; I have my motel key from when we filmed the pilot in North Carolina, and the sign from Wilder Room and Board.

KM: Your favorite episode, "The Lord is my Shepherd," was about how Laura moved to a mountaintop to be closer to God because she felt guilty that she did not pray for her sick infant brother, who died. Do you realize that there are no mountains whatsoever on the prairie?

MG: Yup! Why do you think it took me so long to get there?

KM: Do you have the covered wagon-shaped, 60-disc "Little House" complete series DVD set?

MG: Yes, and I had to buy it on Amazon myself.

KM: I can't believe you had to buy it yourself! By the way, I think it would have been cool if the DVD set was shaped like the house itself - instead of a wagon, don't you?

MG: That would be nice. It'd also be nice if I got a cut of the profits.

– Katie McLaughlin, CNN

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Filed under: Books • television
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