So… About the Trouble at Thrival Music Festival

Tl;dr: Thrival Music Festival is not my problem. Please stop calling.

It brings me no joy hearing the problems with a Pittsburgh music Festival are public.

This week I’ve received calls from agencies, promoters, etc. about the trouble with Thrival Music and Innovation Festival. Naturally, with any turmoil there is confusion. Let’s clarify. Thrival is owned by Thrill Mill. They’re a 501(c)3 nonprofit. And in my case, I am not working on Thrival.

I had been. Given my long history producing festivals, Thrival seemed like the perfect match. Last fall I began work as a Producer for Thrival. For months, I worked with Thrill Mill clearing the path for the festival. But when it came time to lay out the blueprint for Thrival, I left for two reasons.

The first reason: Dan Law secretly booked the musical talent and hid it from the team. He then withheld the contractual terms. This surprised everyone and halted our progress. He made it clear that Thrival was his baby and a platform to elevate his career. This left no room for the community to design the festival Pittsburgh would be proud of.

The second reason: Thrill Mill engaged in censorship. Before a performance they asked Pat the Bunny, one of the nicest human beings imaginable, to delete his statements and change his lyrics. If he did not, they would bar him from the space. Ironically, I later moved his performance to a church so that he could express himself freely. I won’t work on a festival that will censor an artist’s creative expression in any way. So I resigned from Producer of Thrival.

Months passed since I thought about Thrival. Then the inquiries started this week.

People are wondering what my new role will be since Thrill Mill is shopping out full production of Thrival.  This, compounded with rumors of Dan Law’s job search in the international relations field, caused a lot of confusion. Is he throwing his baby out with the wash?

To answer the escalation of question: No, I am not producing Thrival, nor am I this year’s architect. Currently, I do not care to comment beyond what I have. If you’re looking for an interview about Thrival’s problems, I recommend you contact them directly.

Lastly, every organization has its struggles. Every nonprofit has a mandate for transparency. If they were more open about this, it would be a step in the right direction.


If you’re reading this, you were sent this link because you’re interested in using some photography, audio, or video of mine. Cool.

By default all of my content is licensed as:

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0.
This means if you’re in a non-profit, art gallery, blogger, etc. Feel free to use them.

If this is of a newsworthy event, I usually license those more freely as:
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License 4.0

About this credit thing:

I would like as little as possible. Please do not put my name as a watermark on my own photos. Simply hide somewhere in the article, “Photos by Foo.” Here’s an example:

<a href="">Photos by Foo.</a>

If it’s newsworthy or you prefer something more proper:

<a href="">Photo by Foo Conner</a> - <a href="">@iwasaround</a>

But wait! What if you’re a capitalist enterprise?

That’s cool as well. A lot of my friends’ small businesses and bands require something different. Just shoot me an email with what you need.

In Real Life

The orange mountain sides would extinguish into white ash only to recover with the sprouting of green. At some point, the colors beyond the vehicles’ glass was all I could attach myself to. Through this prism I found solitude and a forgetfulness usually reserved for wine.

I came to cherish the sunlight that nourished my books. I soaked at night in the moon’s blanket. The companion lights of the city never held a difference to the country at night. The long stretches between towns were as welcome as the street lights that quickly piled on top of one another. Coming or going were just ideas connected by kick started heartbeats of the expeditions ahead.

The buses were empty most of the time. The driver and I shared looks of unspoken stories woven about the few travelers among us. They must have wondered the same of me before supplanting their world with earphones. My favorite place was the front window on a second story bus. My backpack would take the seat beside me while the rest went unfilled. However, I was not alone on those rides; a mid-sized town was in my pocket.

Not too long ago I marched on Wall Street. Occupied within me were marvelous dreams and astounding hopes foreign to my own. A policeman in who has lost his pension, a terminally ill artist without health care, and thousands of others connected with me through a magical way called social media. While I shared my world with them – they expanded mine.

I stayed in Liberty Square, or Zuccotti Park, until I could no longer tell the fear of winter from the misguided cops. Days after our eviction, others and I buckled down to coordinate the resulting chaos and mend the broken spirit. Now homeless, several of us parted ways. I left New York as anyone does, with little sleep and a bit thinner.

I didn’t get much rest for the next year. I had dipped my toes into the ocean of revolution and was caught by its enchanting riptide. My shoes wore with travel. I visited every Occupy I could. I met familiar strangers behind tweets. We shared experiences without a hundred forty character limit. Slowly, I discovered the people behind the pixels and realized there was no difference in real life.

Manny Theiner Will Screw Your Band Over

I wrote this article years ago. Manny Theiner was fired from Pittsburgh City Paper for his unethical practices.  Bands still bond with me over their “Manny Story” and they didn’t get paid.

Manny Theiner

tl;dr: Manny Theiner abuses his position at Pittsburgh’s City Paper. He will screw over your band.

Manny Theiner is a contributing writer for Pittsburgh City Paper and local show promoter in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He also runs Garfield Artworks and has made a name for himself on the national circuit for screwing over bands.

When Manny launched a series of personal attacks against me, he boasted that his wrongdoings had no citable examples. It was then I knew I had to blow the whistle.

First, Manny Theiner’s Private Partnerships

In 2007, it became blatantly clear that Manny Theiner and Jim Semonik had a ‘private partnership’.  They would bill the shows as Distortion Productions, and Manny would write them up in the Pittsburgh City Paper. In exchange Manny would be a ‘silent partner’.

After the Front Line Assembly [link] show at Mr. Smalls, Jim Semonik told me the show had lost money, but it had not ‘affected his partnership with Manny’.  We were decent friends until I booked a few shows in Pittsburgh.  Afterward Manny Theiner told me in a phone call, “You can get under me or I’ll watch you burn.” Threats from him are not uncommon. [link]

Putting another production company name allows Manny Theiner to write about it. He’s currently working with Grey Area Productions at The Rex Theater, and has had a long-standing relationship with the 31st Street Pub.  He often inserts articles about his own shows at other venues.

Second: Manny Theiner’s abuses his Position at Pittsburgh City Paper

Working with Manny Theiner offers certain ‘perks’. His writing frequently features performers he works with.  These reviews and mentions are nothing more than “advertorials”. Furthermore, he uses articles as ‘favors’ to entice touring bands to work with him the next time they come to Pittsburgh. (review this)

“It sucks we had to play his show to get into City Paper, but I guess that’s the way it is.”
-Anonymous Band

This is good ol’ boy mentality at it’s best.  No one does anything because they don’t wants to risk their chance at being ‘in’ with the Pittsburgh City Paper.  Once this article was published, Pittsburgh City Paper’s staff uniformly removed me from their social media networks. Only proving the point.

Graph 1: Articles in Music Section by Author

I publicly confronted Pittsburgh City Paper about his ‘Private Partnerships’ in December 2009 [link]. We lightly spoke that night at the Best of ’09 party. [link]. They assured me he was just a ‘contributor’ and would look into it. Afterward, I dropped the issue and even attended their ’10 Music Guide Party. [link]

Graph 2: Author Distribution in Pittsburgh City Paper Music Section

As we can see above, Manny Theiner produces 27.45% of Pittsburgh’s City Paper music section. His statistics are only rivaled by Aaron Jentzen.

Graph 3: Articles By Manny, As a Contributor, or for Garfield Artworks

Contributor? When you add it up, Manny Theiner controls about 1/3 of the Pittsburgh City Paper music content at 34.84% (+/- 3.3% see notes). For all intensive purposes, Manny full time staff, which makes his abuse more grievous.

Graph 4: Mr. Smalls & Andy Warhol Museum exclude due to search errors.

Pittsburgh City Paper’s internal search engine can produce junk results. In this case I did Mr. Smalls and Andy Warhol Museum because of them. Cross referencing them with Google results make me feel confident the remaining statistics are solid.

Graph 5Mr. Smalls & Andy Warhol Museum exclude due to search errors.

There are so many ways you can interpret this. I’ll highlight some points of interest.

  1. Club Cafe is the most notable of the venues according to City Paper.
  2. Manny’s Venue Garfield Artworks ranks #3.
  3. The 31st Street Pub has an interesting Music to Main Feature ratio.

NOTICE: The excel spreadsheet highlighting over 30 specific examples was offered to Pittsburgh City Paper and Post Gazette.

Third: Manny Theiner Will Screw Over Your Band.

There’s a reason Manny Theiner can’t get many veteran punk artists. He screwed them over. There are decades of artists who avoid Pittsburgh because they have been ‘Mannied’. There is a positive side effect, you can bond with almost anyone in the music industry when you ask for their Manny story.

Not paying bands isn’t Punk. It’s theft.

My Joe Jack Talcum Story: Joe Jack Talcum played at the Rex Theater in front of 7 People. At the end of the show, Manny said, “I’m going to the car to get your money.” He left, vanished, and the bands crashed at my house. [Link 1Link 2]

I have a list of bands that have claimed to have been screwed over by Manny; I’ve sent out requests for public statements. Many local bands have shied away from this not wanting to “ruin their chances” of getting into Pittsburgh City Paper.

Note: Manny gives local bands preferred treatment, since he must reuse them as show openers.

Change log 10/5/10.

  1. Article was majorly rewritten. Thank you for the feedback.
  2. “City Paper and Aaron Jentzen go out of their way to label Manny Theiner Shows.” was removed. Research brought this into question.
  3. Research confirmed previous 31st Street Pub suspicions.
  4. The Tesco Vee and the Meatmen have garnered further suspicions .
  5. On statistics. I have tried to be as precise as possible. Third parties helped with the retrieval and processing. Statistics cover “Music” category and does not cover “Blogs” or “Main Features”. The search was preformed by String, rather than “AuthorID” to provide more accurate information. On the third graph, this could mean a difference of 3.3% of Manny’s total. That would make his overall percentage 31.54% instead of 34.84%.
  6. Waiting on examples to be reviewed by third parties.

To Roboto Readers: This article isn’t about popularity. It’s about the right thing.

To Manny:  I’ve tried to be cordial. However, the next time you confront me on the street, I’m calling the police. Live your life, find happiness, and most of all, please do it away from me.

Roboto Board Hate Machine Award

2010 Award Recipient of the Roboto Hate Machine

While I was out getting shit done, it seems I received the Roboto Boards highest award of Hate Machine. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the awards ceremony, but consider this post my acceptance speech so we can all move on.

Oh, Roboto, from you I expected MOAR.

Let me start off by dispelling some common myths:

What’s up with this Iron City Punk?

It’s been years since the last release, and each time it’s changed hands. I was approached to do Iron City Punk vol. 4, and we got permission from Debbie, Rich Bach, etc. to go ahead and use the artwork and name.

Many of the bands are in the studio finishing their tracks now.

I am creating my own Roboto.

Join us at

One board to rule them all… Your posts will soon be contributing to the dystopia that is the Fooboto Boards. I personally certify the Fooboto boards are over 9000% better with our Nigerian hosting provider.

But in reality, Taylor Mervis was just trolling.

IndyMedia in Pittsburgh is Dead.

Just look at Pittsburgh’s Indymedia Website: It’s dead and it’s your fault.

What you neglected to mention was instead of whining, I went out and covered the G20.

Note: Rust Belt Radio is a very different story. Also, Ed Filowatt and Jeff with the Mattress Factory did a great job with the Crows system. Seriously, if you’re reading this: Pittsburgh’s Indymedia needs some major help, please volunteer if you can.

I do not live under the Birmingham Bridge, but I do enjoy drinking with the home-bums.
WTF Guys? Let me Google this for you… I have photos from events all over Pittsburgh and Philadelphia by different promoters (including Manny). I even held the  The Discovery Zone venue in my garage when Taylor Mervis lost her old venue. While you’ve been discussing who I am, I’ve been in throwing Punk Island in New York (18 stages, 130+ bands, 6,748 attendees), threw together D.O.A. in Pittsburgh, and covered the Toronto G20. When’s the last time you left you hipster lair?

222 Ormsby was the right place for D.O.A. to play.

D.O.A. at 222 Ormsby was not Eviction Fest 2010. We put it at 222 Ormsby because we’re looking at strengthening the community, not our wallets. As Joey Shithead said, “You have a good thing going here. Don’t fuck it up.”

The final bill was:

  1. D.O.A. (Vancouver, CANADA)
  2. Destroy Everything (Chicago, IL)
  3. The Dirty South Revolutionaries (Charlotte, NC)
  4. Plastered Bastards (Pittsburgh, PA)
  5. Cast Out (Pittsburgh, PA)
  6. Burning Heads (FRANCE)
  7. Murder Majesty (Las Vegas, NV)

For $7? You all missed one hell of a show.

Stay tuned for more…

How to Invite ALL Facebook Friends to a Fan Page or Event

You’re on Facebook, check. You have friends, check. And now you want them all to know the cool thing you’re doing. Facebook doesn’t allow you to “select all” friends when sending an invite, but there are some creative ways around it to select them all with ease.

Javascript Selection:

1. Go to your Fan Page, Event, Group or page and click “Invite People”.

2. Be patient while your friends load. It will come up without anyone selected.

3. Copy and paste the javascript code below into your browser’s address bar, then hit “Enter”.

javascript:elms=document.getElementById('friends').getElementsByTagName('li');for(var fid in elms){if(typeof elms[fid] === 'object'){[fid]);}}

4. All the invites will go out according to the queue Facebook sets up.

There are several ways to use GreaseMonkey with Firefox, but I am currently testing to find the best solution.

Open Letter to Skatopia Fans

I have received a number of phone calls over the last few days in reference to Skatopia. While I would love to answer all the questions presented, I’ll provide the common answers needed.

I and my brand are no longer associated with Skatopia;
Furthermore, bands booked for Bowl Bash XV by “Foo” have been misinformed.

In January’s announcement of the American Skate Fest, which I was not part of, Bowl Bash XV was rescheduled to June 18th &19th. This conflicts with my work on NY Punk Island which falls on the same weekend. While Brewce and I tried to work out the logistics, the fact remains: I cannot be at two places at once.

I’m not too bummed about it: This is an awesome year to be a punk.

Punk Island has over 100 bands scheduled for 13 stages. I’m working on a Foo Fest in Pittsburgh slated to have over 250 bands. And I’m wrapping up five punk compilation albums including the next generation of the legendary Iron City Punk. Not to mention all the punk bands that have taken their instruments to the road making these things possible.

I wish Skatopia and Brewce all the best.


Channel Three Returns to Pittsburgh

Channel Three, from Southern California, makes their glorious return to the Iron City 27 years after their 1983 tour. The last time they were here, they played the Electric Banana and received the complimentary gun pulled on them.

This show will also help us press up the next Iron City Punk album.

Channel Three

Mud City Manglers

Plastered Bastards

+1 TBA

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How to Disable Faces in Aperture

So, Apple Aperture 3.0 is ridden with bugs. One of the most annoying ones is that it becomes stuck processing… when Faces are in the queue. Even 32-bit mode won’t save you until you process the non-faces items first. So, you’ll need to disable faces for the time being.

How to disable Aperture Faces:

Go to the Aperture>Preferences menu and under the General tab.

Turn off Enable Faces.

Rock on.

Aperture 3 in 32-bit Mode

I’ve lost several days to Aperture 3. In short, Apple should have done better. The Flickr export is sending photos at 1/2 resolution, Faces causes Aperture to hang or simply makes Aperture get stuck Processing… After some trial and error, this is what worked for me.

How to run Aperture 3 in 32-bit mode:

In order to use any plug-ins with Aperture 3 (currently), you will need to launch Aperture in 32-bit mode (in Snow Leopard).

To do this, go to Aperture, File > Get Info…, and select the “Open in 32-bit mode” checkbox.

This will be fixed as plug-in developers recompile their plugins.

(Note that using a plugin from 32-bit mode is supposed to cause Aperture 3 to quit and restart in 32-bit mode transparently—it will then restart in 64bit mode on next launch. YMMV)

via tychay

Hopefully this works for you.