Alive staffers conducted hundreds of interviews this year. Here are some of each writer's favorite quotes.

Andy Downing

“I grew up right across the street from a cemetery ... and my mom tells me that when I was learning the alphabet we’d go hunting for letters on gravestones. So I think my conception of mortality was a natural one growing up, because it was such an everyday part of my landscape.” –Nandi Rose Plunkett, Half Waif

“A lot of people who attack me use my dad as a weapon against me. ‘Your dad would be ashamed of you.’ My dad protested the Vietnam War. My dad went into prisons and worked on behalf of prisoners’ rights. He worked on behalf of Native American rights. He was the most socially conscious musician you could find. He took his cues from Woody Guthrie in that way. It’s puzzling people think I’m doing anything different. ... I like to use [Rage Against the Machine guitarist] Tom Morello’s quote: ‘I didn’t realize I had to lay down my First Amendment rights when I picked up my guitar.’” –Rosanne Cash

“The script process was literally, turn on ‘Under Siege 2,’ watch a scene, pause it, rewrite the scene with raccoons. Then, hit play again, pause it, rewrite the scene with raccoons.” –Travis Irvine

“I would sleep on the floor at this place called the Neilhouse on Neil [Avenue] that had been a dentist’s office many years before. When the dentist’s office closed down, I guess they had all these mason jars filled with teeth they had pulled and kept, and they just dumped the teeth on the front lawn when they sold the place. Whenever I’d go there, I would always end up out on the lawn with a key or a little stick, digging around looking for teeth. I had paper bags full of molars. I still have some of those Ohio teeth.” –Jesse Keeler, Death From Above 1979

“When I went to Lincoln Park High School, that’s when I really learned what inequity looked like. Seeing all my friends, who were white and who I loved, I just noticed our narratives were different. They’d talk about their summer trips to Italy, and on my side of the city we talked about whose funeral we just went to. Seeing those things, I started to see how race and classism were intertwined. I think seeing the two sides of Chicago, it made me want to bridge that gap. It wasn’t that I wanted anybody on the North Side or anyone I went to high school with to have any less, but it was only natural that it occurred to me we didn’t have enough.” –Malcolm London

“I’ve owned a tattoo shop for 20 years and one time — and I’ll take a lie-detector test — we literally tattooed a swastika on a white dude and a black panther on a black dude in the same room at the same time. Do those kinds of tattoos exist? Of course. Me, personally, Dudley, I refuse to tattoo ’666′ on anyone — I always have — and I refuse to tattoo a swastika or a pentagram on any human being. That’s how I am.” –Darrell “Dudley” Ross

“[U2] came to town on May 24, and that’s Don’s birthday. Through The Other Paper, I made a serious but half-hearted effort because I thought it might be funny if Don got up onstage with U2. It took about one phone call to figure out ... nobody at [U2′s record label] found that funny. So that didn’t happen. But Don had it in his head he was going to do it, so we had to find a way to let Don down easy. And it turned out to be, ‘Well, these guys are from Ireland, and over there they drink beer warm.’ And Don did not want to have anything to do with people who drank beer warm.” –Marty Cole on Don B

Joel Oliphint

“Peter Hermann ran Stache’s. Pete was this big, hulking guy. He looked like Pegleg Pete from [Mickey Mouse cartoons], except he had a colostomy bag instead of a wooden leg, and he had a thick, Russian-Jewish accent. He lived in Israel awhile, came to the states and somehow got enough money to buy out [previous Stache’s owner] Shelley Young. He tried to change the bar into a go-go club. He hated live music and walked around with a bullhorn and a golf club threatening people.” –Dan Dougan

“When Suzanne Vega played [Stache’s] I was doing acid, and I started to go up to her to tell her I was the reincarnation of Tim Buckley. All of a sudden her guards grabbed me and hustled me out.” –Ron House

“I woke up the same asshole I was before. I’m still squandering everything good about this world. But at the same time, I’m grateful. That was pretty much all I learned: You have to be thankful.” –Mark Eitzel, discussing his 2012 heart attack

“Some get spiritual because they see the light, some because they feel the heat. I kind of felt the heat.” –Ray Wylie Hubbard

“About a year ago I was [in Woodward Park] walking in the woods and I found a dead deer. It was probably hit on [I-71] that week. Then the day of the show, I got done with work, and I thought, ‘I’m gonna go see if that deer is decomposing.’ And I found all these bones. I took the bones for the show, and I asked Darren, ‘Do you mind?’ And he goes, ‘Do whatever you want.’ So I had this ripped-up leather jacket, and I took all these deer bones and stuck them in my jacket and didn’t tell anybody. And when I was singing, I’d go into the audience and hand out these deer bones. Then the next band was playing them onstage. There were probably 40 bones.” –Andy Clager, Son of Dribble

“If all elements of society can’t have confidence that our criminal justice system works pretty damn well, then how can we expect them to obey the law? How can we expect them to show up for court? To talk to the police?” –Jim Owen, attorney for Dale Johnston

“The apocalypse is only a bad thing if you’re one of the bad guys. For the vast majority of people who live in misery and are suffering, the end of the world would be a relief. ... In the worst-case scenario, you’re only king for a day, and even if it means that civilization is completely wiped out, at least those people won’t be in power anymore.” –Franklin James Fisher, Algiers

Erica Thompson

“When COSI first came in, they really tried to take over,” he said, recalling a failed proposal to change Washington Boulevard to COSI Curve and Belle Street to Fascination Way. “My wife went berserk. You didn’t want to piss her off. ... She wrote a letter and stood up in front of a bunch of mucky mucks and told them what she thought about it, and she shook so bad I don’t know how she read that thing, but she did." –Bruce Warner, longtime Franklinton resident

“I don’t want to be recognized as a woman before being a chef because that shouldn’t have anything to do with this,” she said. “We never use the title with men. ... It’s funny because my parents’ generation of the ’70s fought so hard for feminism and women were trying to get out of the kitchen and assert themselves in other fields. And all we want is to go back in the kitchen and not to be recognized as women, just chefs.” –Chef Sangeeta Lakhani of The Table

“He was very intoxicated [and] I couldn’t understand half of what he said, but the last word was ‘fag boy’ and he pushed me in the chest,” Quil said. The bartender responded by attacking the man with an upright dustpan. “I was beating him with the dustpan portion rather than the pole because I didn’t want it to hurt that bad and it was like flapping [and] double-hitting him.” –Quil at Bossy Grrls Pinup Joint

“I was like, ‘Whoa. You don’t think I know we’re in a hospital, sir? Do you know what I’m dealing with, sir? Are you hooked up to a machine for four hours, sir?’” said McGinley, whose personal nurse eventually calmed her down. “He got Xanax for me right away." –Johanna McGinley, actress and filmmaker

"The original thing was that the ghost would appear,” Willis said. “Then ... the ghost would appear and unlock the gate. Then ... after people started getting arrested out there, it became that a demon would appear and drag you down to hell, which I took to mean the local police.” –James A. Willis, author of “Central Ohio Legends & Lore"

Jim Fischer

“It was intimidating, having meetings, being in front of all of these government officials. I was active, wanted to be more active in the community, but my experience with government officials was as one who was used to being chased by them.” –Mandi Caskey, artist

“My imagination has always been my best friend. I kinda lived in my own head when I was a kid, and to have my imagination and my mind turn on me, which is what it felt like, and become my worst enemy in the world, was heartbreaking.” –actor/artist Robbie Nance on dealing with bipolar disorder

“I wanted to paint things that represent how [bipolar disorder] feels. If they couldn’t see it physically, I wanted them to see through how I painted, to try to paint things that show the chaos inside.” –Cassandra Peters, artist

“Mostly, I wanted an excuse to make 15 paintings of a cat. I’m always looking for any excuse to paint a cat.” –Jen Wrubleski, artist

“When government soldiers came to the village, I didn’t know what was going on. That’s when I had to run. They were coming with tanks, bombing from air and [with] ground troops. Every time when I looked back at my village, what I see is my village is burning, and sounds of shooting and fighting and gunfire, and the smoke is covering everything, flames everywhere. I was on my own, so I just kept moving away from my village still hoping that I would go back and find my family, but all that time there was no way of going back. [Running] away is the only choice you have.” –Bol Aweng, artist

Photo of artist Mandi Caskey