Shannon Sedwick, President
Co-producer of Esther’s Follies for 44 years with Michael Shelton. Besides producing the comedy shows, “The Follies czarina” (Robert Faires, Austin Chronicle) also performs, playing the likes of Madonna, Ann Richards, Patsy Cline and Hilary Clinton. She is co-owner of The Velveeta Room, Patsy’s Cowgirl Café and along with partner Michael Shelton have recently re-opened The Tavern, a beloved Austin institution. She has produced thousands of live shows and been in several movies as well, including Scary Movie, American Detective and the Cohen brothers’ first major production, Blood Simple. She won the 2009 B. Iden Payne Award recognizing outstanding contributions to Austin theater, and is active in downtown politics. Besides her long tenure with PSA, she serves as Vice President of the board of ECHO, served as past president of the 6ixth St. Property Owners Association and on the boards of the Downtown Austin Alliance, the Austin Arts Commission, and the Task Force for Street Closures (focusing on Sixth St. closures). In 2018, she was the recipient of the “I am Austin Woman!” award.
Brian “Bydeeman” Joseph, Vice President
Bydee Art Gallery
Self-taught artist, poet, author and motivational speaker, Brian’s colorful, joyous paintings reflect the spirit of the Pecan Street Festival. His art focuses on education and diversity, and his books, such as “People Come in All Colors,” “Color Me Bydee,” and “We Love Teaching” reflect this philosophy. His art has been commissioned by the City of Austin, Texas A&M University, the Texas State Reading Association, the University of Texas and the National Education Agency, to name a few. His murals can be seen around the country and Austin, such as at Kealing Middle School, Del Valle Middle School and at Live Oak, Blackshear, and Oak Springs Elementary schools. His awards include the TNOYS Spirit of Giving Award and The Austin Links Honoree of Community Arts. He’s been featured in KLRU’s “In Concept” documentary. Born in Trinidad, he has a BA in Sociology and Anthropology from Tougaloo College and a MA in Urban Studies from Trinity University.
Cynthia Pérez, Treasurer
Co-winner of PSA’s 2017 Heritage Award, co-owner of La Peña art gallery on Congress Ave., council woman of Alma de Mujer/Center for Social Change, and Austin change-maker, Cynthia joined the board in 2019. She is a familiar face in the fight to maintain Austin’s heritage, while providing incubation for artists and activists alike.
Honored by a multitude of organizations, including the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and AIA Austin – where, in 2016, she and her sister Lidia were named “Collaborators of the Year,” Cynthia still reigns as dean of “The University of Rice & Beans” as the waitstaff t-shirt aptly claimed at her former Las Manitas restaurant that lost out to gentrification-gone-amok in downtown Austin.
Pastor Jimi Calhoun
Author – Musician – Storyteller – Pastor
Musician, storyteller and author of “The Art of God: Reflections on Music, Diversity, and the Beauty in You” and “A Story of Rhythm and Grace, What the Church Can Learn from Rock & Roll about Healing the Racial Divide.” Jimi is a world-class bassist who has performed and recorded with Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Mick Jagger, Dr. John, Rare Earth, Parliament-Funkedelic and other rock and roll greats. A gifted storyteller and popular speaker, he’s made numerous television appearances and hosts a weekly radio program. He is the co-chair of Community Dreams, an Austin-based non-profit serving urban youth, and a member of the Austin Interfaith Inclusion Network, which serves people living with disabilities. He is on the boards of the Interfaith Arts Council, Humanitarians in the Arts, and the Exnihilo Art Center in Deadman’s Cay, the Bahamas.
Co-producer of Esther’s Follies for 44 years with Shannon Sedwick, Michael Shelton has designed the fanciful stages and sets, creating its trademark style. He is also co-owner of The Velveeta Room, the standup comedy club next door to Esther’s, Patsy’s Cowgirl Café and most recently, The Tavern. As a partnership, Shannon and Michael have produced thousands of shows, started several restaurants such as Liberty Lunch, Phillies’ Diner, and The Buffalo Grille and managed performances at a variety of venues. Michael has remodeled and restored dozens of houses in East Austin and has created an arts village in eastern Travis County where he has moved an eclectic assortment of historical cottages from East Austin to create a thriving living/working compound. His and Shannon’s professional history is explored extensively in a new book by Jesse Sublett.
“If there are any two people who have done more to ‘keep Austin weird’ than Esther’s Follies co-founders Shannon Sedwick and Michael Shelton, I’d be hard-pressed to name them.” – Virginia B. Wood, Austin Chronicle.
Gavin Lance Garcia
As publisher/editor of Austin’s premiere multicultural new, arts/entertainment and lifestyle free monthly newspaper, Gavin promotes the concept of “community” in our ethnically diverse city. TODO Austin celebrates our common heritage while closely mirroring the changing demographics of Austin, and seeks to provide a platform to profile the individuals, groups and organizations that present a positive vision in the community. Gavin also serves as: director of Austin Dias de los Muertos; executive director of Humanitarians in the Arts; and assistant director of UT’s Project on Conflict Resolution. A native Austinite, Gavin is also a musician and event producer/promoter known for being well-connected in many communities, and has been dubbed by the Austin Chronicle as both a “longtime scenester” and “scene fixture.” He served in the late ‘90s as the Austin Convention and Visitor’s Bureau’s “Austin’s Music Liaison” back when “The Live Music Capital of the World” moniker was born.