Kat (3)

Kat smiling

Kat smiling

(3/3)

Lucky Us Show was something that I wanted to do before I couldn’t. I wanted to make my own thing and I wanted to tell stories that people might relate to. I feel like I’m surrounded by really brilliant people and I’m lucky to be friends with them. I grew up in a very tight knit family and we always said that ‘If somebody could put a camera on what’s happening right now I would watch this, this is hilarious.’ It was genuinely funny. And I’ve always been really lucky to be surrounded by people like that and there’s so much that happens in life that is so freaking absurd that it deserves to be told.

Dané and I have both been involved in projects before that went belly up, so I said, ‘Hey, I know you’re not going to back out and I’m not going to back out, so let’s make this, let’s do something together.’ That’s how it started. Everything’s based in a little bit of reality, kind of a hyperbolic version of that.

I hear people all the time saying they’re not creative and that’s ridiculous. If you pass down stories that your family always told, that’s an art form. I’m very introverted and so are a lot of my friends. I’ve collected this circle of introverts. I have a girlfriend of mine who said, ‘I’m so excited for you that you’re doing this, this is really cool. I want to write my short story, just for me and for the first time I feel like I could do that.’ I hope that’s what the show does, that it inspires others to be creative.”

“What’s one piece of advice that you would give to others reading this?”

“This is advice that my mom gave me when I was early in middle school and that is to ‘remember that nothing anyone does is about you.’ For example that person who wasn’t paying attention on the freeway wasn’t cutting you off to inconvenience you. They were in their own space. And so it’s a way to just keep things into perspective and be a little bit kinder than necessary and to give a little more understanding.

If we took things a little less personally and took ourselves a little less seriously, I think we’d have less conflict.”

Kat (2)

Kat looking at camera

Kat looking at camera

(2/3)

“My mom is my hero and one of the most fascinating people I know. She’s always educating herself and always learning more. I was 11, was when my father left us, so my mom told us from very young that we had to work hard to buy our own school supplies. My biological father was quite a character. He was mentally ill and a pathological liar and a lot of different things, so no one really surprises me because some of my earlier experiences were really shocking and surprising.

When people show great kindness and compassion, when people remind me that they are capable of those things, I think it’s more uplifting now. Looking back, I’m grateful now that it was all part of my experience. It wasn’t going to be any other way. I’m more discerning about connections. I will filter out and keep people at a distance that have that energy about them. I’m not easily taken in. It really makes you appreciate the connections that you have that are really authentic and really genuine even more.

I’m incredibly passionate about helping people come through trauma. I’m going into social work and I want to go into private practice and go into therapy and I also want to publish. I want to help people create a framework where people are more empathetic with one another, where they can more naturally step into another person’s shoes. Neither one of us arrived at our belief system nor who we are today in an instant. We arrived here through all of our cumulative experiences. And I think that there’s got to be an easier way to help people to be able to step into that empathy and say, ‘I may not like a thing about you, but I get why you are the way you are.’

I have a lot of theories about empathy in general and how we can use that and I think that we can do better in schools, in governments and just better across the board. Someone like Brené Brown is really inspirational to be me because I believe that stories and conversations are so important because it lights things on fire and it arms us all with a common language where we can talk about vulnerability and we can talk about these themes that are really, really important. I don’t know what form that’s going to take, but that’s what’s next for me. I want to see where social work takes me. I want to help people through traumas caused by sexual and domestic violence and the only way out is through.”

Kat

Kat smiling at sunset

Kat smiling at sunset

This is Kathryn Keyes (she goes by Kat), she’s the co-creator of the web series Lucky Us Show and a producer and filmmaker at MotoVike Films.

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“I’m a very open person, but in the last several years I’ve struggled with being vulnerable. Being open and being vulnerable are two very different things. I’ll talk about anything you want to talk about, but actually being seen is a very different thing. I think at its root, connection is the most important thing. That’s why we’re here. We’re here to connect meaningfully. We’re here to develop really important relationships with people and we’re all on this journey together. There’s never going to be a point in my life when I’ll say, ‘I’m self-actualized, I’ve arrived!’ That’s not how that works.

I’m going to fight the same battles and I’m going to fight them over and over. So, fighting that battle of trusting self and trusting myself to be open with people and letting people in is my challenge. I kind of hate that because I love people. I like connecting with people, but every single time I meet someone new I ask, ‘Are you safe?’ That’s affected me in the way I recharge, the fact that I’m very introverted, the friends that I’ve chosen, the activities that I’ve chosen, the way that I work in a daily basis and what distracts me and how.

My biggest challenge right now is being patient. I love learning and I have all of these ideas and I’m constantly reading and learning. I want to be doing more, but there’s only so much time and there are only so many hours in the day. I love what I’m doing. I do feel like I’m helping move the needle with organizations that need to have a voice. We work with the YWCA for example and organizations that are doing a lot of good and every second of that is meaningful and I want to give myself to that. But I also feel kind of pulled. I’ve done that work for so long in that sort of realm in helping communicate on their behalf that I want to take that even further, so my challenge is getting there. I’m working full time and going to school again.”

Dané (3)

Dane standing and smiling
Dane standing and smiling
(3/3)

“Recently I started reading a book by Leslie Odom Jr. and he had a whole section where he was talking about mentors. And I was like, I need some of that. I don’t really have mentors. I do a handful of things and I think I do them pretty well, but they’re all self-taught. There are things that I want to see and the only way that I get to see them is if I make them happen myself. I learned to draw and color my own artwork. I also learned to write because there are roles that I want to play and I felt that no one was going to give them to me. I learned to sing because I wanted to do musicals.

So everything that I’ve learned to do I taught myself and it’s all raw. I don’t know the right way to do anything. It’ll be nice to have someone, at least for one of those things that I do, help me channel it. It’s all raw, it’s all untamed energy and it’ll be nice to have someone to help me focus all that. There are tons of people who have inspired me and that I respect and that have made me better by example, but there’s never been anyone who took a special interest in me.

I remember watching a recent awards show and it was great seeing all those colorful faces. Donald Glover is doing some great stuff right now. Mindy Kaling and Issa Rae are, too. There are so many wonderful people of color out there looking like they’re having the time of their lives and that’s where I want to be right now. I am like one degree of separation of black excellence and the frustrating part is not knowing how to reach out and make that connection. I just don’t know how to make that leap over the fence.”

 

Dané (2)

Dane smiling

Dane smiling

(2/3)

“What I try and tell everyone is to do what they want. I see lots of people give up on their dream. Since I wanted to be an actor, since high school when I started that, there are lots of people who used to be with me in that and I’m the last one. I’ve also seen lots of things change. It used to be you had to move to the coast to be an actor and follow certain channels, but I never subscribed to that. I’ve never had this romantic idea of Hollywood. I’ve always wanted to do my own thing. I’ve always wanted to tell my own story.

I’ve always felt that if you went out there, you’re going to become part of a school of fish and no one ever pays attention to a fish in a school. But if you’re doing things out here they’ll say, ‘What’s that fish doing over there? No one does anything over there. What’s going on with this fish?’ So I always try and do my own thing. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that your dreams are unrealistic because I feel that ‘unrealistic’ was invented by people who gave up on their dreams, so don’t ever let that be the case.

Also, everyone else seems to think that they know your dream better than you do. I’m like ‘Man, it’s my dream! Give me the benefit of the doubt! Maybe I have done some of my own research on how to do what I want to do.’ So yeah, ultimately when it’s all over I want people to say ‘Dane Shobe was stubborn, but he got things done the way he wanted to do them on his own terms and did not compromise. He did it his way.'”

Dané

Dane looking at camera

Dane looking at camera

This is Dané Raphael Shobe. Dané (he really wants you to know that it’s pronounced ‘Daynuh’ and Shobe, like ‘globe’) is the co-creator for the web series Lucky Us Show. Dané’s passion for acting stems from his love of Power Rangers and pro-wrestling when he was younger. We talked for a while. This is part one of three. ‘Like’ the page to be notified when part two comes out tomorrow and please share with your friends.

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(1/3)

“I don’t want to have kids because I don’t want to bring another brown baby into this world with the way it is right now, because I’d be afraid for that kid every time they were out of my sight.

I had a heavy conversation with a friend of mine the other day about this. There’s no way I could protect that kid. I phrased it to her this way, ‘You think highly of me and that’s great, but if I were to be killed by the cops, you’ll have to watch a bunch of strangers on the Internet try their best to justify my murder. You’d have the media digging through my social media past looking for examples of me being a thug and more than likely you would have whatever officer did it walk away with no repercussions or consequences and that’s what my mom would have to go through. If I had a wife that’s what she would have to go through with our kid if it happened and I’m in no hurry to experience any facet of that.’

Nowadays is the scariest that it’s ever been in our lifetime. One day recently I was walking home from a bar real late and I was walking down 17th street and I saw some white cats way down the way and maybe a couple of years ago I would never think to do this, but this time I went and hid in the neighborhood and waited until they passed because you just don’t fucking know right now.”

Francisco

Cisco looking at the camera

Cisco looking at the camera

This is Fransisco (he goes by Cisco). He started performing at the Topeka Civic Theater in 1999 when he was just a teenager. After a 13 year break, he began performing once more in 2013.

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“It’s like any high. It’s the thrill of doing it. The first show I did when I came back was Les Mis. When we did Les Mis three years ago, each night was a standing ovation before we finished the final note and so that is super gratifying.

The people you meet here are people are usually people that will be with you for the rest of your life. Right now we have someone who is on liver failure and I’m on the board of the organization to create a foundation to get funds for his transplant.”

‘You mentioned that during your 13 year break, you lived in Los Angeles. Would you ever go back?’

“No. It’s exhausting being perfect all the time. You have to maintain like 2 percent body fat and constantly workout and if you eat wrong, your friends judge you. It’s tiring. It’s super, super tiring. Your worth was based on who you knew, what you looked like or what you brought to the table.

But I think the next step for me is to move to Denver or Chicago, a place that’s a little bit more lenient. My final location is not going to be in Topeka. Eventually I want a family and I don’t see that happening for me here. A lot of the gay people that I’ve met in Kansas so far, a lot of them have a lot of repressed anger and anxiety and also hatred of themselves because they haven’t been to a place where no one cares who you are or what you do. They are always stuck in the mindset of ‘I have to be careful, I have to be careful because someone is watching me at all times.’

Well, it doesn’t matter if someone’s watching you. It is that person’s idea of you. You can’t make everyone happy. I don’t want to spend my life worrying about when I can or can’t do things, or who’s going to be mad that I have a kid who has two dads or something like that. I rather live in a city where I don’t have to worry about those things.”