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Daniel Franzese, who played Damian in “Mean Girls” (one of my all-time favourite movies) ten years ago, has just decided to publicly come out, and he wrote a pretty cool letter to his  character.

Via IndieWire:

Dear Damian

It’s been a long time since our last encounter.  Ten years to be exact.

I was twenty-six; you were sixteen.  You were proud of who you were; I was an insecure actor.  You became an iconic character that people looked up to; I wished I’d had you as a role model when I was younger. I might’ve been easier to be gay growing up.

You WERE beautiful in every single way and words couldn’t bring you down.

What you may not know…

When I was cast in the role of “Damian” in ‘Mean Girls,’ I was TERRIFIED to play this part.  But this was a natural and true representation of a gay teenager – a character we laughed with instead of at.  (You can thank Tina Fey and Mark Waters for that.  I can only take partial credit.)

When we first made this movie, I’m not sure any of us knew how loved and quoted this movie would become.  You certainly hope when you pour your heart into something, that people will respond – but to paraphrase Gretchen Wieners, “we can’t help it that we’re so popular.”

So, why the hell did it take me so long to come out of the closet?

Here’s why:

When I first became an actor, I wanted to play lots of roles – Guidos, gangsters and goombahs were my specialty.  So, would I be able to play all of those parts after portraying a sensitive, moisturizing, Ashton Kutcher-loving, pink-shirt-wearing kid?  I was optimistic.  Hollywood?  Not so much.  I was meeting a “gay glass ceiling” in casting.

For example:

One time I wanted to audition for a supporting character in a low-budget indie movie described as a “doughy, blue-collar lug of a guy.”  The role was to play the husband of an actress friend of mine who I had been in two movies and an Off-Broadway play with.  She and I had even moved to L.A. together.

I figured I was perfect for it.

They said they were looking for a real “man’s man.”  The casting director wouldn’t even let me audition. This wasn’t the last time this happened. There were industry people who had seen me play you in Mean Girls but never seen me read in an audition but still denied me to be seen for “masculine” roles.

However, I did turn down many offers to play flamboyant, feather-boa-slinging stereotypes that always seemed to be laughed at BECAUSE they were gay. How could I go from playing an inspirational, progressive gay youth to the embarrassing, cliched butt-of-a-joke?

So, there it was.  Damian, you had ruined my life and I was really pissed at you. I became celibate for a year and a half.  I didn’t go to any gay bars, have any flings and I lied to anyone who asked if I was gay.  I even brought a girl to the ‘Mean Girls’ premiere and kissed her on the red carpet, making her my unwitting beard.

It wasn’t until years later that grown men started to coming up to me on the street – some of them in tears – and thanking me for being a role model to them. Telling me I gave them comfort not only being young and gay but also being a big dude. It was then that I realized how much of an impact YOU had made on them.

Meanwhile, I was still in the closet.  Deleting tweets that asked if I was gay, scrubbing IMDB Message Boards for any indication, etc.  (It’s important to note that I was actually DISCOVERED singing in a Florida gay bar by casting director, Carmen Cuba, for my first role in Larry Clark’s ‘Bully.’)

I had the perfect opportunity in 2004 to let people know the REAL Daniel Franzese.  Now in 2014 – ten years later – looking back, it took YOU to teach me how to be proud of myself again.  It’s okay if no one wants to sit at the table with the “art freaks.”  Being a queer artist is one of my favorite things about myself. I have always been different and that’s rad. People have always asked if I was really gay? While my reps usually lied to protect me. My friends and family all knew the truth but now it’s time everyone does. Perhaps this will help someone else. I had to remind myself that my parents named me Daniel because it means “God is my judge” So, I’m not afraid anymore.  Of Hollywood, the closet or mean girls.  Thank you for that, Damian.  (And Tina.)

By the way…in June I am the Celebrity Grand Marshall of the Portland Gay Pride Parade.

so…

We go Glen Coco.

With love and respect,

Daniel Franzese

P.S.  I hate it when people say I’m “too gay to function.”  I know you do, too. Those people are part of the problem.  They should refrain from using that phrase. It really is ONLY okay when Janis says it.

From Billboard:

The topic of endangered tigers is a complicated one to build an indie-pop song around. But psych-rock outfit Portugal. The Man was up for the challenge, and have teamed with the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park Conversation Biology Institute and ad agency DDB for “Sumatran Tiger,” a song inspired by the endangered subspecies of tigers that inhabit the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

Like the animal, the song is “endangered” itself, released on Earth Day (April 22) to 400 influencers from all walks of life (politicians, wildlife conservationalists, artists, journalists, etc.) on 400 vinyl albums, numbered after the remaining tigers estimated to still roam Sumatra. The vinyl albums themselves are “endangered,” designed to actually degrade and “disappear” over repeated listens. In order to reproduce the song, listeners with a USB-enabled record player are asked to upload the song or record it with their iPhone to keep the music alive.

Neil Young played a two-set solo acoustic show in Dallas last week filled with songs, as he does, from throughout his career and a number of covers. Towards the middle of the second set Young was telling the story behind his Martin D-28 guitar when an audience member cut him off by repeatedly yelling “Play it!”

See…Nobody tells Neil what to play, or do, or ask.

Young responded “I don’t think I’m going to play it” and went on to say, “I’m trying to remember the last time I did what somebody told me to do. What is this, a job?…How about you talk, and I’ll listen?” He then offered a fairly hard take on “Harvest Moon” he noted, “Funny — that song is not supposed to be angry, You get what you demand.”

Via JamBase

From Zanesville Times Recorder:

When Helen Felumlee passed away at the age of 92 Saturday morning, her family knew her husband Kenneth Felumlee, 91, wouldn’t be slow to follow her. The couple couldn’t bear to be apart very long, and Kenneth passed away only 15½ hours after his wife of 70 years.

“We knew when one went, the other was going to go,” said daughter Linda Cody. “We wanted them to go together, and they did.”

After Kenneth had his leg amputated 2½ years ago because of circulation problems, Helen became his main caretaker, making sure he got everything he needed. She continued this up until three weeks before their deaths, when she became too frail to care for him.

“She was so weak, she could hardly do it,” Cody said. “But she was still pushing his chair; she was still filling his water cup.”

When Kenneth’s health started to fail, Helen began sleeping on the couch to be near him. The two hadn’t slept apart in 70 years, the family said. Years ago, when the two took an overnight ferry equipped with bunk-beds, they chose to both sleep on the bottom bunk rather than be separated for even a night.

Soon after Kenneth, Helen’s health also started to go downhill, and she was confined to a hospital bed near the end of her life. Kenneth took this particularly hard.

“He would just reach out and grab her hand, but he would keep his head down because he couldn’t stand to see her hurting,” Cody said.

Upon his wife’s death, Kenneth was ready to join her, family said. “She was staying strong for Dad and he was staying strong for her,” Cody said. “That’s what kept them going.”

subpop

You can’t fault record labels for signing soundalike successful bands from other labels – it happens every year. In the early 1990s, every major label was in Seattle looking for the next Pearl Jam, Soundgarden or Nirvana. So you can’t blame thousands of indie bands sending in their demos to those very same ground-breaking labels like Sub Pop. They were so flooded with demos at that time, the label decided to send out their own rejection letter to the unworthy bands, addressing them as “Losers.” I’m sure more than a few bands were just happy to get a note from the coolest label on the planet at the time.

In 1990, Mr. Rogers wrote an unbelievably adorable letter to a six-year-old fan who had asked to come visit the set. The young boy’s father was so moved by the letter, that he sent one back to let Fred know how his son “was beaming all afternoon the day he received it,” to which Mr. Rogers yet again replied. Why would any of us be surprised by Fred’s polite and beautiful response – he was, after all, one of the world’s greatest human beings.

mr_rogers

Via Mental Floss