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*This episode does contain a long discussion about suicide prevention.*

Have you come across someone online whose posts make your day better? That’s how I feel about my friendship with Natali Heuss. This episode is two years in the making! Natali and I have been trying to schedule an hour to podcast since before she opened up UBER DORK CAFE. Now that the shop has been open a while and she’s in a routine, we’ve finally able to make this happen.

A single mom in Milwaukee and now a business owner, Natali is a force of feminism. The only reason I know it’s safe to ask Natali about parenting is because she blogs about parenting and activities for families. This isn’t because she’s female.


It’s the one year anniversary of the Uber Dork Cafe lease signing so it’s the perfect time to celebrate the entrepreneurship. Natali and I talked about what a lengthy process it was, how she stayed patient through all of it, and where things will change in the near future. The shop is basically a combination of a crafting and maker space with a gaming and comic space with a cafe. It’s all together. She’s made the only shop that’s not a library or comic shop that participates in Free Comic Book Day. If you’re in the Milwaukee area and looking for a place to play Dungeons & Dragons or to learn how because you have no experience, there’s a regular schedule of DnD at UDC. They also have a “Stitch n Bitch” nerdy theme night.

uber dork cafe


With the episode, Natali shares personal stories about what it was like when her girls got The Lecture at school about menstruation and the resulting fallout. Natali’s personality is so welcoming that her kids know it’s okay to ask mom anything whether it’s about sex or gender or orientation, she hears it all and finds ways to answer them. We voiced our take on gendering toys. Toys don’t have gender!

“We say there’s a fine line between a hug and a headlock in our house.” ~Natali

Comics and movies marketing – how does Natali handle this when companies fail their demographic? Everything from underwear with comic heroes on them to the new DC Super Hero Girls website, Natali has a forgiving philosophy to find some joy that products are made at all, but recognizes that companies could do better.

One of her daughters she describes as “if Spock was squishy” because she’s so logical and smart. She got to be the mayor of a fictional town put together by the community’s business leaders. Her Leslie Knope qualities have been spotted from such an early age.


Recently, Uber Dork Cafe hosted a tattoo inking event where an artist came in and worked from their safest, cleanest area to give people new semicolon graphics. If kids or people weren’t there for the permanent tats, there were options for temporary ones too. Why semicolons? It’s because of Project Semicolon which was founded by Amy Bleuel to cope with the loss of her father.

Sentences never end with a semicolon in English grammar. The semicolon, because of Amy Bleuel’s project, has come to symbolize that the “sentence” isn’t over and something comes after it; in terms of people it means your story is not over. You have more story to experience after your “semicolon”. Pause and think about the rest of your story.


Natali reported that 50% of the people who came into for the Semicolon Project had never heard of her shop before, so in that regard, it was quite a successful event. She said that there’s nothing on you like a cast or using a wheelchair, except perhaps scars, that would tell someone looking at you that you struggle. Her philosophy is to always be nice to people because you never know if they are having a bad day.

“Everything boils down to don’t be a jackass and love one another.” ~Natali

The importance that public figures, particularly in pop culture, is striking when someone we see as successful and “having it all” ends up taking their own life. Natali and I talk about the loss of Robin Williams. Then there are those who make it through like Jared Padalecki and his campaign, “always keep fighting.”

Uber Dork Cafe is in the process of getting the approval to be a 501(c)(3) organization.


Twitter @UberDorkGirlie


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