Five Questions: Gitamba Saila-Ngita

“I’m a lot like my dad. I’m not very vulnerable. That’s mostly because I tend to be 1) A black man in America, and 2) I work in a field where I’m a black man in America and I have to be able to prove twice as hard that I’m right compared to whoever else might be in the room. Sex, race, gender, whatever, be damned. I’m learning now, that as much as I have a gift for empathy, I am a vault sometimes. So I'm trying harder to make space for myself and the people around me. Also new people. Because I want to be inspired. I think friction makes the work better. I like bumping up against other good minds, other good intellects, other good creativity, other expressions, other forms, other function. To do that though, you have to continue to be somehow open.”

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Five Questions: Sophia Moon

“Being in love is discovering a part of yourself through someone else. According to my husband, we have this agreement where we’re the only people we’ve ever loved, we have no past. [Laughter] And that kind of works for us. But the truth is any time you feel like, or I have—I won’t speak for everybody—I have felt like I was in love—and there’s all kinds of love too, right? There’s the friendship, there’s family. And let’s be real, even [with] family, there are people that you love and connect with more than others, right. But that always resonated or burned something within me because I was discovering something about myself in that person. I also think that when people break up it’s really that tragic. It’s because you’re breaking up with a part of yourself that you identified in someone. Whether it’s something you aspired to or even sometimes you’re attracted to the self-justification, the negativity. Relationships [can be] toxic. You don’t always fall in love with the people you’re supposed to fall in love with. But I think it’s because somebody mirrors something to you. Whether it’s the promise of it or the actuality of it, you see something reflect back.”

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Five Questions: Will Dailey

"Art happens no matter what. If you are going to stifle music education, if you're going to try to keep black people from having music education, you're just going to fuck yourself later on. And Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar are going to fucking make you look like an asshole. And sound like an asshole when you question what they're doing on stage. I love that, I'm so entertained by that. But the white male, right now—with the #MeToo Movement, with Black Lives Matter, with our rampant inequality,—needs to have its own awakening. What happens when I think of Robin Williams, when I think of Chris Cornell, when I think of Scott Weiland, being white men, there are a couple steps I need to do to be a hero and it's not that hard. That takes nothing away from their beauty, but there are a lot of white men in despair because we've been sold this automatic thing that's becoming less automatic. The worst of us are having a horrible back lash to that. We have to admit that mens' lies have been fodder for rich men for millennia. We're told that we're the ones who... 'Oh there's some bad guys in a building at Nakatomi Plaza. You just need one guy with a gun and no shoes and the whole problem will be solved.' Great movie, but I grew up thinking, 'If I'm struggling, if my feet are bleeding, and if I persevere, I can do it all alone and I don't need any help. My vulnerability is only my own.' That whole thing is just a lie to get men to give up their lives or to give up their empathy or to hold on to the idea that they deserve everything eventually. We need to have a course correction on that."

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Five Questions: Kalmia Traver (Rubblebucket)

"I love nature and I grew up with so much access to it in a rural place in Vermont. Not just access, but that was more my home than inside. What I think about now, all the growth I've done, and learning about my nature, I think about the discoveries I made in the woods and I'm like, 'I was really learning about life then.' I remember my first moments of self-consciousness where I was standing—I remember it so distinctly—and just having this feeling like, 'Whoa! I'm me!' It was a period of a year where I kept being like, 'This is so weird. I'm a thing. And it's kind of awkward.' It's still happening now."

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Five Questions: Jeremy Ogusky

"Being able to be vulnerable with my partner and open myself up, which is difficult for me, to be honest. It's really difficult to discuss certain things, to open myself up to criticism, to change in partnership with someone. That's a big part of love for us. Something, like I said, I struggle with, I'm not good at, but I need to commit to being better at it. It's something I'm not good at necessarily, but because I love my my wife, I'm willing to become better at it."

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Five Questions: Maria Molteni

“There’s that phrase, ‘If you love something, set it free.’ I think that’s a principle that’s really difficult for everyone. Myself included. But it is something that I come back to sometimes. If you love something, you’re not trying to possess it or control it. That being said, I do think a lot of people are afraid of love and afraid of being vulnerable. Personally I think of being 'in love' as being willing to be radically open and radically vulnerable. I don’t really know another way to be. I usually try to demonstrate that to a partner. Being honest and open and sharing your emotions and sharing your spaces and sharing power.”

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Five Questions: Karen Jerzyk

"I can dig in deep to what I'm doing, I can lose myself in this stuff, I can take those feelings and somehow make them into something visual. And that was important to me. Even if it didn't come out (as) what I was thinking, it was just everything coming out of me in a therapeutic way. And after a while I learned how to corral that when I started feeling better. It's like, OK, this is how I'm going to piece these puzzles together. I always think, 'Where would I be?' And it scares me thinking if I didn't have this outlet...I don't know where I'd be right now."

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Five Questions: Carl Shane (Kal Marks)

"I've been in situations where I tried hard to make a relationship work, but it made me more unattractive. So that sometimes doesn't work. I feel like I've had a plethora of different kinds of relationships. Whether it just be a really really fun casual one or one where it was—the last person I dated, I was like, 'I'm probably going to marry this person.' And it didn't work out. She wanted a commitment sooner than later and I was down, but it was a long distance relationship. She wanted me to move to New York and I said that I totally will once my lease is up, but I think she was feeling some kind of pressure. She's a great lady. She was the greatest person I ever dated. I still regret it to this day."

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Five(ish) Questions: Terry Marshall

"Realizing in life, there’s racism that exists. There are all these different systems of oppression. And then realizing when you come to terms with—I remember when I was younger, way younger, I thought maybe some things were bad, but my personal belief is that we live in a system, multiple layers of systems that benefit a few. There’s elite and the rest of us. I had to come to terms with realizing that what I wanted to do in my life was to fight back against those systems or at least create conditions for people to thrive no matter who they are. This is what I want to do with my life. And committing to that and guiding my life in a way to do that."

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Five Questions: Kimbra

"There were some things I missed out on in some ways. My friends left for university and I was ready to do that, but I went into making a debut album. I knew with my heart it was what I wanted to do. It felt like a calling or a deeper purpose. But that idea of journeying with friends and going to university and having this tight group going through all these experiences together, it wasn't really something I had. I made new friends but a lot of them were a lot older than me and we got into music together, but I didn't have that same sisterhood feeling of, 'Yep, we went through college together.' But in saying that, you come to different maturities at different times of your life. I have that now in a really profound way. A really strong sense of female friends and male friends that I've made and shared so much with."

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Five Questions: Betsy Schneider

"I was married to a man, to Frank, who I told you about, and I met Meredith. It was a moment that I had to tell him that I had fallen in love with a woman and maybe I was gay. I still don't know if that label works. I could really make myself start bawling right now. Being honest with him. It took me eight weeks to realize that's what I had to do. Tell him. Hurt him like that."

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Five Questions: Jasha Klebe

"It's when your thoughts turn off up here and it becomes just a feeling. I've been in a love with a person, yes, and I've been in love with music, I've been in love with art. It doesn't need to be a person you can be in love with. It's when all your thoughts go away and it just becomes a feeling you can't even control at that point. It's also an act of...you're putting that thing beyond anything else. I don't think I could put in a 16-, 18-hour day and not be in love with what I do. Because at four in the morning, if you're still there, trying to figure it out, and you're just loving that moment, either you're a bit crazy or a bit in love."

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Five(ish) Questions: John Walsh

"When your days are done, did you do anything? There's this thing in your head and you have to get it out on the paper. So the inertia of...when all is said and done, did you do it? Did you do it? If not, for me, 'Oh God, I failed.' But then there's the everyday inertia. Did I get to the drawing table today? Did I get to the computer and write something today? The inertia of...you have all these other responsibilities to take care of, you have all these other tasks to get done, you have your own issues that you fight. A lot of people wait for motivation to show up in the room. It's never going to. You just have to do the work. And inertia wants to tell you no."

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Five Questions: Adam Wasserman

"My ability to feel a real sense of joy and pride—healthy pride—and ownership over some of those great accomplishments that have happened in my life, I never really did. And I have to say that now my greatest accomplishment is actually being able able to say, 'I can't do this and I need help.' I can't do the work of figuring out how to relate to people and deal with my abandonment and the adoption and all that stuff, I can't do that on my own. But the accomplishment was being able to say, 'My life is not working out. It hasn't been working out in the ways that I want it to work out and I continually fall short and it continually fails.' Now to be able to say, 'And here's why.' Now I can't be afraid of it. I have to embrace it. It's part of my story."

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Five(ish) Questions: Victoria McDougal

"I was always a big worrier. My whole life I was always stressed about things. Stressed about going to the dentist and whatever doctor, always worrying about things. But [going into back surgery] was the first time in my life that I was completely fine. Because I knew it was going to help. And I was in so much pain, every day of my life. I was in so much pain. I would take naps all the time because it was just fatigue. It was hard to think. It was a lot. And when I woke up from surgery—obviously I was groggy and out of it and in pain—but I immediately felt better. I could breathe. I never realized that my breathing was impacted, but I woke up and I was like, 'Oh my god, I can breathe.'"

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Five Questions: Mia Schaikewitz

"I still have the journal that I had when I was fifteen. I wrote an entry that was basically, 'I want to die. I can’t imagine being in a wheelchair all my life.' I’m so glad I have that. And my handwriting was even horrible, chicken scratch, that’s how depressed I was. Seeing that is crazy. People have asked me if I can relate to that girl. There’s part of me that’s in there, but then there’s a side of me that sees it as just the circumstance. Even though those were valid feelings, I can see now how life plays out in the sense that there’s a core you that can go through anything and those circumstances will overflow. It’s just like water. You can be on top of the water, under the water, you can be feeling like you’re drowning. Then at the end of the day it’s still you there figuring out that this is a shit storm. Then, wait, there’s land. And you can see the water from a different perspective."

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Five Questions: Yosi Sergant

"Being shaken into consciousness whatever that shake is. The AA slang is your bottom is when you stop digging. For some people it takes a stroke. For some people it’s a broken nail. For some it’s real arrests and real problems. Everyone’s shake-up happens. Not everyone, but a lot of people go through this. You hope it happens in soft and gentle ways, but unfortunately that’s not always the case, sometimes it’s too late and there’s real damage done. Going through it isn’t easy. Once you emerge, perspective becomes real. How you live in love, how you live in gratitude. For me it dramatically shifted.

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Five Questions: Lenne Chai

"When I started out as a photographer—and even until now—I don’t really get any help. I never had a mentor. I tried asking people if I could assist them and they weren’t keen because I was already getting jobs very early on, so it was a conflict of interest. When I wanted to learn how to use studio lights, I had to buy studio equipment and start my own studio and just figure it out from scratch. It was really time-consuming. A constant uphill climb."

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