Dayna Frank, CEO, First Avenue and Board President, NIVA

Dayna Frank

‘The NIVA Superheroes’

Dayna Frank
CEO, First Avenue and Board President, NIVA  

Dayna Frank had an unbelievable year, going from running one of the most iconic venues in the country in Minneapolis’ First Avenue to landing in the national spotlight in her role as board president of the newly formed and essential National Independent Venue Association. Consisting of some 3,000 venues, promoters and festivals in every state in the union, NIVA was wildly successful in galvanizing support for independent venues to the tune of $16.125 billion in federal funding – the largest arts grant ever by the U.S. government.

In truth, Frank, last year’s Pollstar Impact 50 cover subject, is tired of getting disproportionate credit for NIVA’s accomplishments, which are strategized and executed by a veritable army of brilliant members. “I just feel like I am getting a lot of undeserved and undue personal attention,” she says. “It is a team effort. And there are so many people that all contributed equally to the effort.”

Consequently, for this year’s Impact 50, Frank insisted on giving shine to the band of “superheroes” who have enabled NIVA’s success. Here, then, are some of NIVA’s superheroes
and their vital superhero stats:

Audrey Fix Schaefer

Superhero Name: The Queen

Superpower: Credibility

NIVA Gig: Director of Communications

In Brief: “It’s the way she’s able to tell our story and communicate the dire situation and the circumstances that’s unparalleled.”
Birth Name: Audrey Fix Schaefer
Day Gig: Director of Communications, I.M.P., Washington, D.C.

Rev Moose

Superhero Name: The Prime Mover

Superpower: Uniting people

NIVA Gig: Executive Director

In Brief: “He’s incredible at bringing people together, having them collaborate and effectively work together.”

Birth Name: Rev. Moose

Day Gig: Managing Partner, Co-founder, Marauder, New York City

Adam Hartke

Superhero Name: Captains’ Captain

Superpower: Doing everything better than others
NIVA Gig: Advocacy Chair

In Brief: “He got all the Kansas representatives to care about live music. When we saw that, it blew our minds. Kansas Senator Moran called the Congressional hearing.”

Birth Name: Adam Hartke

Day Gig: Operating Partner, The Wave; co-owner, TheCotillion Ballroom, Wichita, Kan.

Lennora Jules
– Lennora Jules

Superhero Name: The Marketing Maven

Superpower: Persuasion, herding Type A cats

NIVA Gig: Director of Marketing
In Brief: “She was incredibly effective on the Save Our Stages campaign.”
Birth Name: Lennora Jules
Day Gig: CMO, Pabst Theatre Group, Milwaukee

Katie Tuten
– Katie Tuten

Superhero Name: The Godmother

Superpower: Building rock-solid foundations
NIVA Gig: Illinois Precinct Captain
In Brief: “She helped us get the lobbyists early-on and created the foundational and formation support we so needed.”

Birth Name: Katie Tuten

Day Gig: Owner, The Hideout; Founder, CIVL Chicago

Amy Madrigali

Superhero Name: The Heart

Superpower: Killing with kindness

NIVA Gig: Los Angeles Precinct Captain

In Brief: “The L.A. Times Troubadour article blew everything wide open for us, because that’s what made the music industry care.”

Birth Name: Amy Madrigali

Day Gig: Head of Booking, The Troubadour, Los Angeles

Blayne Tucker

Superhero Name: The Charmer

Superpower: Casts hypnotic spells, poet

NIVA Gig: Precinct Captain
In Brief: “Oh he’s a charmer with that Southern drawl. He got Senator John Cornyn on board and he lives in San Antonio.”

Birth Name: Blayne Tucker

Day Gig: Lawyer; Owner of The Mix, Limelight, Floore’s Country Store and 502 Bar, San Antonio

Niva Trio

Superhero Names: The NYC Wonder Triplets

Superpower: Relentless battlers

NIVA Gigs: Board Member, Vice President, Precinct Captain

In Brief: “‘Relentless’ is the word I always used. It was like, ‘How did you guys do this?’ They never stopped.”

Birth Names: Grace Blake, Justin Kantor, Jen Lyon

Day Gigs: Artist Relations & Promotions, The Iridium; Co-founder, Director of Operations, (Le) Poisson Rouge; Owner, Artistic Director, MeanRed Productions

Chris Cobb Exit/In

Superhero Name: Keeping It Real

Superpower: Authenticity

NIVA Gig: Precinct Captain

In Brief: “Amazing what he was able to do for us while he was fighting developers for his own place.”

Birth Name: Chris Cobb

Day Gig: Owner, The Exit/Inn, Nashville

Tobi Parks

Superhero Name The Wonder

Superpower: Unruffled leadership

NIVA Gig: Co-Head of NIVA’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusivity Task Force

In Brief: “Tobi breaks barriers, defies odds and shows us the way.”

Birth Name: Tobi Parks

Day Gig: Owner, xBk Live, Des Moines, Iowa


Lindsay “Fortitude Fosterer” Brandt
Mary “Marketing Guardian” Wilson
Jason “Voice of Calm” Anderson
Sean “Checklist Charlie” Watterson
Liz “Pinnacle of Patience” Tallent
Jim “Soul Soother” Brunberg
Adam “The Kid” Valen
Tom “Force For Change” DeGeorge
Hal “The Head & The Heart” Real
Patrick “Artist Whisperer” Wilson
Jamie “Video Genie” Loeb
Jason “Creative Force” Griel
Stephen “Rainmaker” Sternschein
Stephen “Savior of Stages” Chilton