Bil Browning

31 Days: It's Amazing What You'll Find in the Basement

Filed By Bil Browning | September 13, 2011 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: celebrity gossip, Corey Monteith, Glee

The backstory behind this photo is after the break.


I'm doing a series of posts for 31 days that will feature a photo from my personal collections and the backstory behind the picture. I'm trying to stick with shots that have not appeared on the site before. I'm using the stories as a writing exercise to help me prepare for writing a book. You can find the rest of the series posts here:

I'm cheating a wee bit on this photo. While it's never run on Bilerico Project it did make it onto AfterElton when it happened.

The National Equality March happened a few days after my birthday. I threw a big bash that year at the Helix hotel that had hundreds of guests. Since you have to properly prepare for a big shindig like that, Jerame and I went shopping at Filene's Basement - a discount chain that specializes in cheap designer clothes.

I'm slender and, well, the average Hoosier isn't. Indiana usually tops the list for obese and overweight citizens, so it was unusual for me to find jeans that didn't look baggy and hand-me-down. In DC, people do this thing called "walking" and it helps keep the general population a little slimmer. I can find a size 28 here; in Indiana it was almost impossible.

A birthday party meant that Jerame and I had to look great. New jeans and shirts were mandatory.

As we started scrounging through the mens' section, Jerame leaned over and whispered to me, "Isn't that Corey Monteith from Glee?" Sure enough, there he was - looking cuter than he does on TV!

Even though I hate it when people approach me on the street to ask for an autograph or a few words, I became exactly what I hate. I walked over, told him how much I loved the show, and asked if I could take a picture with him. (Jerame, a little mortified I'd approached a celebrity in a store, wasn't so embarrassed he couldn't introduce himself too and ask for his own photo!) We exchanged pleasantries for a few minutes and then went back to shopping.

This was the same day that President Obama spoke at the HRC dinner. Some of the Glee cast were appearing along with Lady Gaga at the soiree, and Corey was in town for the event. Jerame and I were also attending - but as press.

When the Glee stars came in to do the mandatory stand and pose for photographers in front of the big HRC logo, Corey came in last. We were standing in the press line waiting to take photos and get quotes, when he stopped in front of us.

"Aren't you the guys from the store?" he asked.

He told us to hang around after the photos were done for a moment while the other members of the press looked at us with jealousy in their eyes. When the pictures had been taken to the media's satisfaction, the other cast members started filing out, but Corey lagged behind to chat for a few moments longer.

When I joked that our biggest problem was no one knew how to say Bilerico correctly, he gave us a quick shout out on video that we still use today as a pronunciation guide for new visitors. After recording his handlers rushed him out of the room. What was he doing making unauthorized shout outs for sites they'd never seen?! It was a kind gesture and it meant a lot - at least to us.

The next morning I (and a Bilerico Project reader) were quoted on the front page of the New York Times reacting to President Obama's speech, but meeting Corey Monteith still remains one of the highlights of the days leading up to the March.

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I've loved reading your stories about your life, both in the blog and away from it. And what often starts out with me thinking, "what an odd picture" ends up with me thinking have beautifully you closed the circle of your tale and picture. Thank you for sharing these lovely chocolate box memories with us.