Five Questions: Annie Howard and Betsy Lippitt

Annie: "It’s funny because I’ve always viewed myself as a contemporary of women like that. I see myself as inspired by Lena Dunham, but I am just like her. We are colleagues. Which is not realistic because she has Emmy awards and lots of money and she can make anything she wants, but I still see her as my contemporary. I want to sit and discuss themes with her."

Betsy: "Our dogs go to the same doggie day care so I also feel like her contemporary."

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Five(ish) Questions: Duncan Thum

"I had a really wonderful English class in high school. The theme of the class was destiny. The books that we read—one was Joseph Campbell’s Interview with Bill Moyers [The Power of Myth] which was a really pivotal one—and we also read Dante’s Inferno and a few other books. But I remember at the end of the class the professor, in his wisdom, had us write an omniscient perspective—what do you imagine you are going to become in your life and now you have to look back and say what was this whole thing. And experiencing your life from the end of the road when here you are in this precious teenage existence.

So I wrote this essay and it ends up as a massive diary entry of teenage folly and emotions, and it was such an amazing experience to think of yourself in that way. Not in an egotistical way, but just to force yourself to confront yourself and really look at yourself with that perspective is really difficult. And it made me think, 'Wow, I can be more than I thought I could be.'”

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Five Questions: Will Brierly

"You can’t change the world, but you can make aspects of it move in the direction you want to. Through PR you have access to—let’s say if I was a writer for a publication, I’d only be able to write for that publication and my editor would be my boss, but working in PR, I have access to every publication that exists, and can get stories of things that I want in the world out there to shift the whole story. Then I have access to hundreds of millions of people as opposed to the maybe hundreds of thousands that one outlet would have. That’s why you have to be super careful of what you’re putting out there because you don’t want to make something that hurts people."

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Five Questions: Corinne Fisher

"There’s something that terrifies most partners about having a partner who they know if they left me, I’ll be totally fine, and perhaps if I left them, they would not be totally fine. That’s an imbalance of power. I also really expect a lot from people. I expect the best from myself, but I also expect the best from other people. Which is unfair because I shouldn’t really hold people to my own personal standards, but I really can’t. I’ve tried to work on it. I was single for four years and in that time I did a lot of work on myself, but that’s one thing I just can’t get past. If I can’t have someone who’s up to my standards then I could just hang out by myself. I don’t need money, I don’t need someone to constantly be with me, I can find sex when I need that, I don’t want to have kids. So I don't really need anything from anybody else. When I have a mate I just need them to pay attention to me. But that’s pretty much it. Pay attention and be thoughtful. You never have to buy anything for me. That’s never necessary."

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Five(ish) Questions: Elisa Kreisinger

"I love the internet, I came up on the internet, I came up with internet video. Those are my people, that’s where I tried to make the most change initially. I love editing, I don’t like being on set, I don’t like leaving the house, so doing video mash-ups was really a way for me to use the language of pop culture to talk back to popular culture and make these critiques and little video montages. Remixing Sex and the City, remixing Mad Men. These are shows that I really loved and enjoyed, but I also wanted to be a fan and critic of it at the same time. Taking it apart, putting it back together was not only a great way for me to learn how to edit, but how to convey a critical perspective through video in a way, in a language that people already know and understand which is popular culture.

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Five(ish) Questions: John O'Hara

"I had some dark times with drug and alcohol abuse. There were definitely dark moments where I felt outside of the whole experience. I was left isolated. And that was another thing my wife helped with with—she brought me out of that. Not actively, but through my meeting her it evolved me out of that self-destructive state of mind. 

This idea that there’s this source, like a river, and being connected to that, and my biggest fear is being somehow isolated from that or being detached."

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Five Questions: Julia Powell

"If we all sit back and think about our creative heroes—musically, artistically, painters, sculptors—a lot of them aren’t that happy in their lives and they’re filled with angst and there’s tragedy, and I’m constantly thinking, 'Do I need more tragedy in my life to create the kind of brilliance that I want to leave that legacy?' And then you think, 'Does it matter to van Gogh, now that he’s dead, that he’s a hero to so many people when he was so miserable in his life?' So the big question I have is: Is it better to be creating things that people eventually think are brilliant, but you personally, during your life, are not that happy? Or is it better to be stoked every day and wake up—I know a lot of people who I would describe as smart, but simple…where they’re interesting, they’re good people, but they don’t think about the world as deeply as I do and because of that, I think they’re happier. I have a tremendous amount of envy for them."

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Five Questions: Asia Mei

"I’ve never had to worry about not being responsible enough or not being driven enough. That’s also why I excel in the kitchen…I respond well to hierarchy. Whether it’s gymnastics or martial arts or whatever, I love learning basics, I love training basics, and doing my very best with those, and then every day you just push harder, faster, better, and things progress naturally that way. The kitchen is the same way. I grew up in restaurants that were chef-owned and I didn’t realize what an impact that would have on me at the time. Being the chef-owner of a restaurant now, I followed suit. It’s a huge sacrifice and a gigantic commitment for sure. That can be very overwhelming and definitely scary, but even then…it’s not smart to not be scared of anything. It’s not smart to not be daunted at times. But at the same time, you shouldn’t let it overwhelm you. That won’t get you anywhere. So I’ve been worried about what’s going to happen, but those times have been when I reminded myself about what’s important and then you, moment by moment, keep on going.

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Five(ish) Questions: Hannah Medeiros

"Nothing’s going to get handed to you. You need to show that you have a talent, first of all, obviously, but the work ethic that goes behind it as well. I worked full-time at a bakery after I graduated college and on my off days, I would come in [to the tattoo shop] and clean because [the shop owner], right off the bat, told me, 'I’m not going to offer you an apprenticeship.' So I did it thinking that it would just be a good experience and she would give me a good recommendation down the road. So after a few months of doing that, she offered me an apprenticeship. And I had no idea that was coming. I was thinking, 'She hates me, she’s not going to give me anything.' I had absolutely zero idea. I cried. "

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Five Questions: Anna Staniszewski

"Failure is giving up when you shouldn’t give up. You have to know when to give up. There are certain projects that I’ve worked on that I think, 'It’s OK if I don’t finish this, it’s OK if I put this aside. I’ve still learned something even if it’s not done and other people won’t read it.' But if I gave up on something just because it was hard or because I was frustrated with it or if I didn’t give it enough time or focus and then I give up on it, that’s failure. If you work really really hard and something doesn’t work out, you still learn something from it. If you give up or you feel like you failed, but it’s really just because you didn’t give it your all, then that’s failure."

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Five Questions: Adam Wiltzie (Stars of the Lid, A Winged Victory for the Sullen)

"One thing I realize and I love about collaboration is that you could never do it by yourself. After all the years of doing Stars of the Lid, to be able to again find someone like Dustin—because it’s only been since 2011 when we put out our first record, so it’s in infancy still. But it’s been pretty fruitful and it’s resonated with people. It’s actually been great to find a way to collaborate with someone again at this level. I find it very rewarding. I also find it very easy—every artist says they don’t have an ego, I’m sure I do—but it’s nice to realize this later in life that sometimes you have a belief, 'Oh this song needs to sound like this' but to just trust someone else and to give some of yourself to someone else, it’s kind of romantic in a way. It feels good that sometimes I might not think it was the best idea, but someone feels strongly about it you can say, 'Hey man, let’s follow your lead on this one.'"

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Five Questions: Sonny Dyon

"You need to have an appetite for life. You have to say yes to a lot of things and try a lot of things out. And my greatest fear is that I will shut down because I’m afraid of failure and not continue enjoying every day. That sounds scary to me. Struggling with bouts of depression. We have so many things that make us happy—the fear would be the situation where the things that make you happy don’t make you happy any more because you chose something else."

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Five Questions: Cassie Betts

"I had a boyfriend that I was leaving and he kidnapped me. He beat me up and drove me to the north shore of Hawaii and put a gun to my head execution style and told me he was going to kill me. I thought I was going to die. When your life flashes before you—that was before my kids, so it was just life in general. I think now if that happened, my kids would flash first, and friends, family, and just life, just walking down the street. I enjoy just walking down the street and the wind blowing, watching a rose grow out of the ground. Everything is just so much more beautiful after you almost die."

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Five Questions: Chris Nowlin

"When I started meeting my baseball heroes, Charlie Hough and Tim Wakefield and Phil Niekro, you could tell that those guys had achieved something that they wanted to achieve and they’re completely at peace as far as the social side of their lives. When you meet them, there’s zero agitation. When you meet some people you can feel there’s an energy drain and they’re tying to prove something or they’re trying to put up an eminence front about something. And I’m, hopefully, going to be like those other guys. And be completely at peace at some point. So that everybody around me can feel that."

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Five Questions: John Stanley (Stanley's Wet Goods)

"Every relationship has its ups and downs and there have been times when one of us has felt, 'I’m not getting the respect that I deserve out of you. What’s going on here?' So being able to talk through that and have the person on the other end go, 'Oh, you know, you’re right. I’ve been a real jerk about it and here’s what I need to change or else I’m on shaky ground here.'"

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Five Questions: Gaby Soufo

"People ask the cliché, what’s the purpose of life? Why am I here? Do I have a set purpose? Maybe I do. But who’s to say my purpose is supposed to be some grand thing. Who’s to say my purpose is supposed to be the Bill Gates Foundation or giving billions of dollars to the world. Whereas there are so many things that happen in our day-to-day that we contribute to, so then I can go down the rabbit hole…what if one day you say thank you to someone—the butterfly effect. You do something that helps someone else and you don’t realize it. I would hope that me living a good life or being a good person…that has some kind of effect on people. So I’m not too worried about what my goal in life is."

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Five Questions: Esmeralda Vascellari (Lady Sometimes Records)

"I am still asking myself the reason why there is so much beauty, the reason why we are never indulged, the reason why we are still looking for it, but we are not valuing it. So this is a challenge, a very strong contrast between the acknowledgement of the fact that there is so much beauty, which is difficult to see sometimes, and the fact that it is not valued in the right way."

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Five Questions: Zoë Jackson

"I haven’t been playing music a lot lately and that—I didn't realize it at first, but that’s really affected my mental stability and well-being. I’ve been kept busy, but I have on and off depression, so when I’m in a funk, I realize how much I miss music more. It’s so healing and very meditative for me. I can’t go back and change it, but I’d like to go back and try to get back to where I was musically. I just need to get into the right mental place to start it up again."

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