Anxiety, Agoraphobia and Altered Esthetics

Every now and again I’ll wake up in the wee hours of the morning, not to roll over and doze back to sleep -- but wide awake, my mind racing and full of thoughts. I’ve come into contact with other creatives frustrated with insomnia -- but insomnia isn’t exactly what this is. There’s a clarity and sharpness about these wee hours that’s unrivaled in the busy clutter of the day. Often I’ll wake up with a letter formatted, a poem aptly carved, a grant narrative more fully fleshed out, or a blog pre-written, emerging from webby corners of thought that need sweeping out. Over time I’ve learned not to fight this, and I’m not the only one. Apparently these “waking hours” are a past product of a bimodal sleep rhythm and have served as the golden hours for many artists over time, responsible for some of history’s great works of literature and philosophical inquiry.

(This post is neither of those things.)

Rather, it is a personal exploration of a dusty topic, shelved for a little too long.

I have a happy memory of an art opening at Altered Esthetics, circa 2006. The show was one of our classic videogame art shows, Level_13. A Mario mural by Lauri Svedberg adorned the wall, a circle of pixelated sculptures centered the room, and Caly opened the evening with some 8 bit glitch. I didn’t wear a black outfit and a beret, nor did I sip wine. Nothing against berets or wine, but instead I wore a Rainbow Brite hoodie, comfy pants and fuzzy slippers. Professional? Questionable. But that wasn’t the point - I was comfortable and the show was warm and open, as was the creative space we had cultivated.

There are certain things I’ve come to terms with as a community organizer, and they seem to be things I must re-evaluate and re-commit to on a regular basis. A commitment to convening and inviting folks to the table, even when the topic is challenging. Sending meeting reminders and reminders and reminders. Project management. (A not to distant memory that you were often *that kid* when you did group projects in college and high school.) But it’s not a bittersweet equation, it just involves an acknowledgement and appreciation that everybody has a different skillset and brings something unique to the table. Some of my favorite projects were ones in which I had little creative role at all, and instead worked within my skill-set alongside a group of talented individuals to make something remarkable happen. Big Funny, Rock Ink Roll, actually Altered Esthetics in general.

But there are other things that were a harder pill to swallow that seemed to be necessary parts of the equation. Public speaking. Shameless self promotion. Small talk.


Oh god, the networking.

Especially when I was on the board of the gallery I felt obligated to go out to other events - making appearances is part of the protocol, after all. But openings in particular were challenging. For one, it’s hard to actually see the art at a crowded opening. But then, there was the crowd itself.

j-me box head

j-me box head

So while working a crowd was one thing - there were always things to be done, places to tuck away and take a mental moment. As I learned more about myself, I came to know better when I had the energy to put myself out there and when it was a better option to stay home. I learned more about what exactly a panic attack was and how to avoid triggers. It was a weird thing to dissect, and a weirder thing to admit. I can be quite calm at as an event organizer... but what is it about other people? Was Sartre right this whole time?!

The longer I worked in the arts, the more that I met other people that felt *exactly* the same way. We found each other in crowds. We had conversations in bathrooms, relieved to find somebody else feeling a little bit out of place and awkward. Not quite introverted, not quite extroverted, but not quite good at whatever this social scene experiment was - but mostly, little by little, we discovered we weren’t alone. But I watched as these anxieties manifested themselves in a variety of ways.

I’ve left events early with artist friends that have spent all their social energy and need to remove themselves from the crowd.

I’ve worked with curators that have missed their own openings because their anxiety was so severe.

I’ve worked with more artists than I wish to count that stopped creating art or music because they couldn’t handle the social requirements involved, and that is a fucking tragedy.

I've had friends who have decided that enough was too much, and that one is almost too heartbreaking to list.

I once worked with a board member who was set on making sure artists had marketing skills so they could be better about self promotion. I countered that especially for some of our most talented artists, that wasn’t a part of their skill-set, nor was "getting themselves out there" a part of why they were creating. “Well, they should know how to do this” the board member said.


The older I get, the better I know myself - and all my flaws. I can be dry and humorous on occasion. I can be warm and thoughtful. I can also bring the awkward pretty hardcore. But I haven’t had a panic attack in more than five years, and I’m quite proud of that. I re-affirm my commitment to being the hardworking girl behind a spreadsheet and I’m far more comfortable with that role than I am schmoozing in a crowd, and I’m okay with that too.

Okay so - is there a point to this late night ramble? Telling these bits of my story is a rather long context.

I think if we want to be really successful as an art community - and I believe we’re getting a lot better at this already - we need to be more willing to accept everybody at their level. That includes cultivating a better understanding of anxiety and depression (among others,) and creating a variety of engagement opportunities for everybody active in this field, along with a willingness to accept those that for whatever reason may not engage in a traditional sense. There are more than 40 million Americans that suffer with an anxiety disorder annually and over 20 million suffer from some type of depressive illness. ( From my experience in the arts I would also hypothesize that a disproportionately higher number of artists suffer from these things, however I don’t have the statistics to back that theory up.

Statistics or no, here are a few small suggestions on how we can be a continually more understanding and welcoming creative village:

  • Artists, consider providing other opportunities beyond crawls and openings for friends and patrons to visit your studio. Regular open hours, drop-in windows, etc. Not everybody can handle a crawl and the truly shy might not call for an appointment.

  • Share your stories, your personal struggle or achievement, your awkward moment... There is safety in numbers.

  • Keep inviting your artist / caretaker / socially challenged friends, and try not to take it personally if they don’t make it out. It’s (usually) nothing personal.

  • Extend the welcome by including quiet spaces at your events for artist or guests. Places for conversation, thought, (nursing!)

  • Be kind and tend towards forgiveness rather than judgement. The adage “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about” is apt here.

  • Do what you need to do to be comfortable and don’t let anybody guilt you about your choice.

  • And last but not least, it’s cliche but important. Be yourself. Let your freak flag fly! People are often compelling and relatable because of their flaws, not in spite of them.

And now, I sleep.

Some resources of interest:

Lutefisk, Lutefisk, Lutefisk, SUSHI!

Taking yet another break from NP management to bring you this super awesome blog post.

Once again I had the opportunity to work with the good folks from the International Cartoonist Conspiracy and Big Time Attic for Altered Esthetics' Annual Comic Art exhibit.

This show (in terms of both process and product) fuels my faith in the collaborative creative process. There were about 15 people on the planning and curatorial committees (all volunteers) and more than 50 artists that contributed to the show itself. Was it chaos? Maybe a little at times, but far less than you'd think with a planning committee that large. Mostly it was just fun and inspiring, and the final results were fantastic. The gallery exhibit itself has over 100 original works of art. The Bento Box full of mini comics is killer. The show made the City Pages A-List. I could gush on and on.

All of us did this while working our other full time jobs, and not one single person was crushed with work or overwhelmed. That's SO huge! If you would have told me that four years ago, I may not have believed it was possible!

I hope a lot of my friends and family join us for the reception tonight, or come see the show some time in August. Not only is it an exceptional show in its own right, but it's also a huge testament to the growth of Altered Esthetics and our role in the arts community. It's also a fantastic example of the excellence and creativity of Minnesota cartoonists.

Even though I woke up at five am today, I'm buzzing with energy and excitement. I couldn't be more proud to be a part of this.

Best. Opening. Ever.

Danno just put up an awesome post with great pictures from the opening. It was super super super awesome. Words cannot describe, so I send you along to see the pictures at Danno's blog: (

Shiny happy people having an awesome time. Me and the Klonowskis - Nichole, Natasha, Danno, and Autumn. (Well... Autumn is behind the camera.)

Big Funny Stolen?!

Police Report Case Number: BF S8008

Incident: Breaking and Entering, Stolen Property, Unauthorized use of Munition

Reporting Officer: A. Mutt

At about 0100 hours on 3rd August 2009, Northeast Resident Jamie Schumacher returned to her workplace (one Altered Esthetics) to retrieve a forgotten purse. As she entered the premises, she noticed the west window had been smashed.

Ms. Schumacher dialed for aid immediately, at which point she was approached by the purported culprit. Witness reports a thin, odd-looking man of moderate height with an articulated beard, a black hat, and otherwise "arduous dress." The culprit retrieved a large stack of papers from atop a counter display case and "with a small bang and a cloud of smoke, he disappeared."

In corroboration with the witness account, gunpowder residue was found at the scene. No vehicle was seen. Due to the nature of the residue, the nefarious description of the culprit and the implications involved, detective D. Tracy has been assigned to the case.

Reported Missing: 1,973 copies of publication "Big Funny" 50+ works of original art 1 calendar 1 box matches 1 comb

Artist depiction:

Residents of Northeast Minneapolis are advised to be on the lookout for unscrupulous characters. Altered Esthetics is offering a reward to anyone with information that leads to the arrest of the persons responsible for this henious crime.

Long days, car accidents, record stores.

Today felt like one of the longest days ever, and it started last night. At about 7pm Nick and I heard the neighbor's dogs going crazy - not our immediate neighbor but an unidentifiable neighbor down the street.  The dogs would chill out anytime somebody approached the house, but would bark like crazy otherwise. You may know what kind of barking I'm talking about - that frantic, stressed and anxious bark.  It kept on until about 2am. I still have no idea what was going on - my best guess is they left the dogs out and were out until bar time, but who knows.

I woke up late but got to work on time, though I had hoped to arrive early as I planned to take a longer lunch. Nick was leaving today for tour again, and I had plans to drop him off at the studio space. Lunch wound up being longer than I expected though, for largely the wrong reasons. I came home from work about 12:45 and we left the house shortly after. As we approached the 94, turning left off of Broadway, a car sped past a red light, screaming toward us and clipping the back of our car, smashing the front right side of theirs.  They didn't stop. Instead, they ran another red light and raced onto the 94 going in the other direction. (The other direction we were headed, not the opposite direction of traffic.) Several witnesses identified the car and a guy on a bike got the license plate number.  It took over an hour for the cops to arrive, but we waited for them so we could file a report and get on our way. My back is a little bit sore but other than that, we're okay and uninjured. The car itself is a bit banged up - who knows how expensive that will be to fix. Thankfully we are INSURED and LICENSED so aside from our deductible, I think we'll be okay. (And I've yet to hear a good reason for anybody regularly driving while uninsured or unlicensed, so I'll go ahead and remain judgmental about that one.)


Wait - come back - don't you need these pieces of your light?


I dropped Nick off at the studio space and we were a bit surprised not to see the R.V., as we were over an hour late ourselves. (Thank you, Mrs. Hit-And-Run.) Apparently Daryl and Melanie were a bit delayed as well, so we unloaded Nick's gear to the studio and then I had to get back to work. It seemed (understandably) as though this departure was a lot less dramatic for the band. My goodbye to Nick was heartfelt, but my standard message to "drive safe" was a bit more meaningful.

Bicycle Theory was super understanding about me being late from the car accident, they've been pretty understanding about everything and super awesome and supportive in general. Crazy to think that my last day is Wednesday. (More on that later, I haven't announced that here I suppose.)

After work I met with Kristin and some of the curators for our fall shows. The meeting was long but incredibly productive, and I'm super excited about our shows for the rest of the year. A big concern of mine has been the quality of our exhibitions: I want to make sure we're keeping up the quality of our shows as we go through this next transition as an organization, developing our board and growing together. I have no doubt that the shows from August onward are going to be some of the best we've ever had.

On my way home, excited from the meeting but tired from a long day, I noticed what looked like a new record store on 13th. To my delight, it was - and a super awesome record store at that. Like, the kind of record store I would spend hours in throughout high school and college. They had the work of my artist-friend on the wall and that sparked a conversation; I talked to the owner and one of the store's designer's for about an hour. Super nice people, super awesome records, and they support artists too. Woot! There website is just a coming soon page for now, but in the meantime you can find them on facebook.

Shuga Records

This is Adam, one of the owners. He had an 18 hour day and was super tired, just like me... You can see John's work on the wall - freaking fantastically talented, that guy is. If I wasn't going to be out of a job come Wednesday, I would totally buy some of his work. :) Until then, I'll just have to support artists the best I can through Ae... and my new friends in the district too. That's all for now. Time to cuddle with Molly and read a book.

Strange habits and sore legs

So, sometimes after a successful event or opening I come home with the warm fuzzies, super grateful, super excited, super encouraged. Often times I'll write little thank you emails to certain board members/interns/volunteers.  Sometimes I'm super excited, other times I just say thanks... but it comes from that late-night-tired-happy place and sometimes I worry - maybe I'm TOO excited? So, this morning when I woke up at 7:30 (without an alarm, go figure) achey and sore from unloading a gazillion cases of beer and wine from my car and all the running around, I thought ohhhhhh, what did I write last night, I hope it wasn't too over the top.

And I went through my sent box and re-read the emails, it seems like everything was okay. But still... what a weird thing for me to have to check. I guess it's like my own version of drunk dialing... oh, what did I say last night? (And no, I wasn't actually drunk, unless you can get drunk off of 4 cups of orange juice.)

Last night's even at Ae was awesome.  So many people helped put it together, so many artists donated works to support the cause, so many faces came out to celebrate, all in all it was fantastic. I feel very grateful this morning.

Altered Esthetics + Grad School = Help me with my homework!

As part of one of my graduate classes we are conducting some group "Action Research." I'm fortunate to be on a team of people focusing on a project for an organization I'm pretty excited to be working with - Altered Esthetics. ;) Our goal is to reach and directly connect with 50 new artists, volunteers, and/or organizations. We're trying to do so with an outreach program that includes mailing, phone calls and some good old e-communication as well. I thought I should post to my personal blog too, since that just makes sense.

There are lots of different ways we'd be able to partner with a person or organization. We've got a lot of open calls already posted to our site for the rest of the year to which artists can submit work. Organizations can post an open call or event like our Día de los Muertos, or people can volunteer too.

We're trying to directly connect with people and the best way is probably through... people! So, I'm asking the people I know. Do you know an organization that might be interested in participating or telling their guests about any of our upcoming shows? Do you know an artist that you've been meaning to tell about the Awesome Ae and you just haven't gotten around to telling them yet?

Now's the time!

Altered Esthetics will appreciate any help... aaand so will the other people in my group in class.

You can direct people to me (, or send them to the website

If you want to post information to your profile, we've got some helpful text here:

Thank you!

You can return to the regularly scheduled boring j-me blog post. :)

Random Thoughts - Ae and the Future

Ae is quickly approaching its (her?) 5 year birthday. Though still getting our balance financially in a very shaky economy, structurally things are getting better and better.

As we open things up more and as we nurture transparency within the organization, we are rewarded with greater participation and better engagement all across the board. We are seeing more initiative on the part of our board members and volunteers as they assume more active roles and responsibilities. Our interns have become an integral part of our organization, continuing our mission as they go through their own learning processes. Though I am still very much engaged throughout the organization, the additional help and support has freed me up to work more earnestly on infrastructure and sustainability. All things considered, I feel quite fortunate to be where we are currently at.

Though as with any organization there are things to be concerned about, I'm very excited about 2009 and what the end of this year will bring for Ae, both creatively and for the organization as a whole. I'm excited for the day when we will have a communicable version of this construction, one we can hopefully share with other arts organizations in the community.

I've been watching the burgeoning shifts in the business world with excitement. I wonder what the next few years will bring for the business world as a whole, and how the sharing of information and spread of technology will shape and shift the business and education structures we are so entangled in.

Blogging homework!

We have to blog as part of our classwork. As you can imagine, I'm super peeved about it. (yay!) We even have a class blog, which you can see here:Today was my week to lead the blog discussion, so I'm putting my post up here as well. For posterity and such.

Seven Zones for Leadership – Acting Authentically in Stability and Chaos

Good evening!

As I read through the excerpts from “The Challenges of Leadership,” I followed the advice of the author. “This book will be most helpful to you if you keep your own organization in mind as you read and reflect.” That is precisely what I did, and with this post I plan to share a part of that process with you.

I enjoyed the last class discussion greatly and think the diversity of perspectives in the class make each discussion lively and thorough. I look forward to reading about how you related this reading to your organization and in what ways you found it helpful (or not helpful.)

A bit of background information: the organization I'm “internalizing” this process with is Altered Esthetics, a nonprofit community art gallery in Northeast Minneapolis. Our mission is to sustain artists' role as a voice of society and we do so through group exhibits, artists discussions, and more. We work with a lot of emerging artists as well as quite a few established artists, both locally and internationally. We're just under 5 years old and have been working actively towards a sustainable, community-centered structure.

As many startup organizations we began with a more hierarchical structure, with much radiating from the founder/director. As we've grown, we've pushed toward a more heterarchical/flat structure. This is for several reasons, sustainability but a heterarchical structure also encourages active engagement with the community. We're in the process of this transfer, so applying these organizational and leadership tools is both interesting and useful – often times it helps point out the ways we are doing well while also helping to clue us in to things we can do better.

Since the author tied the zones along with the segments of the action wheel, I will do the same here. I'll review what the wheel segment and correlating zone is, then apply my own questions and experience to the puzzle.

Existence The history that limits and launches what we do Zone 1: Serving the Past

A few years ago, as we looked at our current structure and thought about how we would grow, we asked ourselves: what are the things we have done well in the past? What worked in the past for our organization and the people we serve, and what didn't? In what ways have we seen other organizations in the community succeed and/or fail? What methods and ethics do we want to continue, and what do we want to change? The organization itself was born out of a need in the arts community. We wanted to make sure that as we grew, we kept our function and mission at the center of our processes and actions.

Resources The things that we use in what we do Zone 2: Building Core Competencies

We asked ourselves, what are the resources we currently have as an organization? What are our needs, and how will we separate wants from needs?

The structure we are growing into was born both out of the current strengths, while allowing room to grow to fill our areas of weakness. It was not established overnight, but was created after months of examination and deliberation of what we do not need to do, what we should do, what we have to do, what we do well and what we can do better.

Structure The form and process that support and sustain what we do Zone 3: Systems Thinking Zone 3a: Designing Sustainable Systems Zone 3b: Affirming Shared Identity

Finding a sustainable structure for a nonprofit arts organization was tricky territory. How does one create a structure that promotes sustainability, considers accountability, yet encourages creativity within both the members as well as the people the organization serves? Accessibility and engagement were key clues for this transition. Accessibility to the community and the members of the board, and engagement across all platforms. Finding a structure that allowed board members and participants to be unique participants of a shared collective was also tricky. To make this process successful, we all had to think with more “we” and less “I.” Fortunately, our shows and our mission is much about collaboration, and fortunately many of us had already learned firsthand that often the best results come out of a collaborative, labor intensive process.

Power The commitment and passion that energize what we do Zone 4: Creating Ownership

I've been a part of several nonprofits that have had “sitting” board members. Not very engaged, not very helpful, for lack of a better term, they served as seat warmers. We wondered: how could we engage board members in a way that was helpful to the organization? We did this by creating specific roles for board members beyond the traditional roles of Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer. The first edition of this was NOT a final draft, nor is it a final draft. As we transition, we are working with current board members, finding strengths and weaknesses, and filling positions not just based on the needs of the organization but also based on the skills and strengths of the board members themselves.

(A chart of the board structure can be found here:

Mission The aim and priority that give direction to what we do Zone 5: Focusing on the Future Zone 5a: Setting Direction Zone 5b: Anticipating Change

How does one reconcile a myriad of opinions, skills, weaknesses, and desires? Our organization solved this by making sure everything was driven by our mission. “Altered Esthetics works to sustain the historical role of artists as a voice of society through our exhibits, events, services, workshops and programs.” You might call it a “mission filter.” Though initially this filter might seem easier for nonprofits, I think for-profit businesses can have a solid, engaging mission as well. For example – eBay's mission is “to provide a global trading platform where practically anyone can trade practically anything.” For eBay, accessibility and openness is key. Target's mission is “to drive sales profitably while delivering a Target brand shopping experience.” My point is this: missions don't have to be entirely altruistic to be a good filter as an organizational goal.

Often times during our board meetings you'll hear the question pop up “Well, how would that reflect our mission?” or “What does that say about Ae? (Altered Esthetics)” We've avoided several bad choices simply by reminding ourselves why we are around in the first place, and what our long-term mission is.

Setting direction was a huge component of transition. We didn't just “switch” into a new board structure. Change involved and involves long-term implementation. Along with new structure came timeline, goals, and tools of measure. This also wasn't a one-stop, permanent change.

Meaning The justification and significance that tell us why or for what we do what we do Zone 6: Creating Meaning in Chaos

If you take a look at the board structure we created, you'll notice that there are lots of dotted lines or fuzzy boundaries between our board, the community we serve, the community we are in, our interns and our volunteers. While having roles is a good “guideline,” being in touch with the people connected to our organization has only helped us as we've grown. In other words – we've gotten more out of inviting artists, volunteers, and community members to be a part of our conversation than we have by shutting them out. By listening to our constituency we've also been able to make some important changes.

Fulfillment The completed action that embraces existence, resources, structure, power, mission, and meaning. Zone 7: Serving the Promise of Authenticity. Zone 7a: Making Wise Choices Zone 7b: Probing Deeper

Well. As far as being “complete,” I can't say that we're quite there yet. I like to think as an organization we'll always be susceptible and willing to change.

I think as long as we're operating though our mission we can practice authenticity. As we grow fortunately there are other organization we can look to – such as the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits – for help making wise choices. (Tools such as the “Principles and Practices of Nonprofit Excellence” have been tremendously helpful.)

I think as long as we continue to ask the question “how can we do what we do better” both of our selves and our constituencies we can constantly probe deeper and grow as an organization.

About the reading

Though I tend to be wary of “maps” and “steps to success,” I must admit throughout our planning we did include many of these components, at least in some capacity. The one thing I found somewhat lacking in this reading – and perhaps this comes later in the text – was any discussion of “soft skills” that would accompany this type of transition. For an example, as we grew as an organization, not everybody was on board with change. People communicated at different paces and with different comfort zones. We gained board members as past members trickled out. Maintaining communication and connectivity throughout this process was and is key. I think those gray areas of these types of transition are unique from organization to organization.

About the author

While doing a little bit of research about the author, I came across the following memorial. While I wasn't 100% sure that this is the same author, after some additional library hunts, I'm fairly certain. Perhaps Dr. Crosby can confirm this. In any case, I wanted to share this with you, so you have a little background on who wrote this text and what he's done as a leader, helping other people lead.

“It is with deep regret that we inform you that Bob Terry, Ph.D., founder of Mobius Leadership International, died peacefully in his sleep on September 20, 2002, due to complications of ALS (Lous Gehrigs disease).

Bob Terry, Ph.D. Former president of Mobius Leadership International, was a leadership architect, executive mentor, author, public speaker and seminar conductor, and peer advisor to leadership educators in the Twin Cities. As Director of the Reflective Leadership Center at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota and scholar in leadership studies, plus having led a for profit organization, he was positioned uniquely as a leadership educator. Bob was known for his depth of content, delightful sense of humor, passion for the subject matter and total engagement with his audiences, clients and customers.”



What role do you play in your own organization?

How could you apply/have you applied the “zones” to your own organization?

What are some of the “soft skills” that you think go along with being a good leader?

What areas, if any, do you think the “action wheel” or “zone” left out?

Helpful Links: Minnesota Council of Nonprofits – Principles and Practices for Nonprofit Excellence:

Altered Esthetics - Board Sustainability Presentation

After doing research about leaderless organizations and writing the Ae Case Study, I had to present a new structure to the board. This is the simple presentation I used. I outlined the past structures of Ae, our goals, the new structure and my proposal for implementation.

Creative Commons License
Altered Esthetics Structure and Sustainability Board Presentation by J. R. Schumacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.


Last Friday we opened the third installment of Level_13, Ae's Biennial video game art show. It was... incredibly fun. Jobot played again, along with Caly McMorrow and Mike the 2600 King. Level 13 - Jamie, Liz, Kova and Toneski The curators for the show - Me, Liz, Kova and Toneski.

Level 13 - Jamie and Jim Me and my buddy Jim.

Level 13 - Steve and Nora My friend Nora (Jim's beautiful wife) and my friend Steve.

Pictures are courtesy of Digital Crush Photography - one of our veteran board member's (Kate Iverson's) photography business.

Too many pictures of me in this post but... blog posts w/out pictures aren't as much fun. :) Plus, my sweater is super sweet.

Is it November already?

Since we returned from Tacoma things have been moving at an increasingly rapid pace.  I should be hitting the books pretty hard right now but I thought it would be fun to just take a moment and reflect on the past few weeks... and also to start downloading the images I've been taking with my google phone (woohoo!)... There will be time for more studying tonight. Plus, I'm proud of everything we've done in the past few weeks at the gallery and want to post a few pics! So here goes: Friday October 24th, we had a closing reception for the Tales from the Black Lodge show featuring Mouth Babies. (yes, that's their name.)

Tales Closing Reception

Sometimes the gallery is definitely more play than work. :)


I juggled a few meetings around so we could attend a Wild game with Nick's cousins. I like spending time with family, but I'm starting to think hockey just isn't my game. (This was my second hockey game, ever...)

The Wild


At work on Halloween we took the afternoon off to carve pumpkins together. We also watched Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and Shaun of the Dead. Guess which pumpkin is mine?

Work Pumpkins


Halloween at home was pretty mellow. Nick had a guitar he wanted to try and I had a paper to write, so we stayed home, watched another movie (Wallace and Gromit) and carved pumpkins.

Now there's really no guessing which one is mine!



In between working at Bicycle Theory and writing papers, things have been very busy at Ae. We were getting ready for the fastest turnaround in our wee history. Saturday morning Nov 1st, we took down the Black Lodge show (one of our largest shows ever) and hung the Día De Los Muertos exhibit and celebration. The festivities took place on Sunday, culminating with a candlelight procession around Logan Park.

We took down the show on Sunday night, and on Monday we began hanging the 3rd installment of our biennial video game art show, Level_13.

--- Tuesday was of course the election. After voting, work, and class - we got to see Bob Dylan play at the University!

Bob Dylan

The show was incredible and it made for a pretty incredible election night experience as well.  Many folks were on their various cell phones/iPhones/etc throughout the night, and about halfway through the set a murmur started to filter through the crowd "they're calling it for Obama, they're calling it for Obama." Dylan and the band stepped off stage before the encore and when the returned, Bob Dylan said "looks like things are gonna be changing" and the crowd pretty much freaked out.  After he was done, everybody gave him a standing ovation... and shortly afterward the crowd was chanting "Obama! Obama!" As we were seated on the balcony, we chatted waited for the masses to disperse rather than struggle with the crowds. Once we finally emerged, we saw a scene outside the auditorium... A drum circle surrounded by hundreds of people, girls running around shrieking "OBAMA! OBAMA!" like it was a greco-roman festival.


Somebody got a pretty good video from the center of the crowd: YouTube.

We went to Stub and Herb's to get some food and watch the election speech, returning home after that.


Last but not least: on Wednesday, a bat flew into the office. He was super cute and wanted to stay, but the boys moved him outside. (and were able to do so thanks to Jeremy's awesome ninja bat catching skillz.)

This is the best picture I could get:


Friday night was the Level_13 opening... and I'll post some pictures of that later. Meanwhile, time to study... I just got scolded.

Ae Volunteer Recognition Event - Oktoberfest

Altered Esthetics held our first Volunteer Recognition Event - Oktoberfest Style! My mom, Noelle and I cooked over 30 lbs of mashed potatoes, 70 awesome bratwurst and played polka music throughout the night. It was a blast! Having my parents in town was awesome, our awesome volunteers were there, I got to wear my lederhosen, it really just doesn't get any better than that you know? Liz, Curatorial Superstar and Toneski, Board Secretary Extraordinaire.

Toneski and Liz

Tony and Mindy - having a "really good time!!!"

<br /> Noelle and Natalie

Noelle, our Board Treasurer and Natalie, one of our volunteers who is super awesome (and might I add - the ONLY OTHER PERSON besides myself that dressed for the event!)

Tony and Mindy

Nick and Jamie. Awwwww

Jamie and Nick

More Oktoberfest Pictures here