Who Are The Plutopians?

Plutopia Productions, Inc.,  was founded in 2006 in Austin, TX by Derek Woodgate, Jon Lebkowsky, Maggie Duval, and Bon Davis as a future-focused entertainment and events production company.  We produce our own signature cultural, arts and entertainment events, as well as a broad spectrum of associated projects for third parties. Our current team consists of:

Maggie Duval, Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer,
Director of Business Development

Maggie Duval

Maggie is a gifted technology visionary and noeticist who offers rare insight into and understanding of current, evolving and emerging technologies. She has been an entrepreneur for over two decades – enjoying a successful career as an independent technology, Web, marketing and creative business development consultant. Maggie began her technology career in 1989 at CompuCom Systems. She broadened her technical knowledge with Exemplar Logic, a technology leader in programmable logic synthesis for UNIX and Windows platforms as both Headquarters Sales Manager and Pacific Rim Distributor Liaison. In 1995 she began working as a freelance Web developer. From 1995-1997 with Pearce Communications of Albany, California, a “boutique” PR firm specializing in Apple/Mac-related start-ups, she handled the tactical implementation of online campaigns and co-managed media relations for Burning Man in 1996.

Maggie is an expert in creating and producing unique marketing events, workshops, and conferences which are immersive, engaging, and iconoclastic – bringing together business, tech and ‘cultural creatives’ in exciting and innovative ways to dialogue and work together. Her current work in this area includes the SXSW Interactive related event Plutopia, the wildly successful Austin Nonprofit Bar Camp (“Unconference”), The 20th Anniversary of the Raid on Steve Jackson Games, sustainable community building workshops and ongoing “emerging paradigm” salons.

She lives in Austin, TX where she is active in numerous cultural, sustainability and economic development initiatives, serves a consultant for the strategic planning, business development and capital sourcing firm Invision Group, and as a partner in Plutopia Productions, Inc. She serves as a board member for Plutopia Productions, Inc., on the board of The Futures Lab, Inc. as an adviser on future-focused event production, and is a former board member of EFF-Austin.

Derek Woodgate, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer

Derek WoodgateDerek co-founded Plutopia as an extension of his earlier highly successful venture, Fringecore (The International Forum for Progressive Culture), in order to provide a platform for the convergence of technology, entertainment and the arts in Austin.

In selecting progressive culture and its futuristic overtones, Derek has managed to build a bridge between his work as a world-renowned futurist /author and a cultural maven. Derek’s projects for Fringecore and Plutopia have embraced artist management, development and representation; performance and event production, as well as publishing. With an emphasis on progressive and avant-garde music, spoken word and the visual arts, Derek has worked with a plethora of international artists including Sonic Youth, DJ Spooky, Diamanda Galas, Michael Gira and The Swans / Angels of Light, Nels Cline, Dinosaur Jr. Mike Watt, Marc Ribot, Jim O’Rourke, Maggie Estep, Bob Holman, John Zorn, Beau Sia, Mike Ladd, The Critical Art Ensemble and many more.

Derek has also worked as a consultant on future program development for MTV, Showtime, WorldSpace, Blastro, Clear Channel and the BBC, as has been a keynote speaker at numerous entertainment-related conferences, including: The California Arts Council, CMJ Music Conference, Cutting Edge Business Music Conference, New Orleans, International Live Music Festival in London and has been a regular panelist at SXSW since 1995.

His books include: Future Frequencies, (2004) hailed as “creating a unique paradigm in the professional futurist field”, Future Flow (March, 2010) with a preface by DJ Spooky, and Calling The ToadsA Burroughs Compendium (1999) co-authored with Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth, Allen Ginsberg and Douglas Brinkley.

Derek has a Masters in Political Economics and has lived and worked in eleven countries and is at home in seven languages.

He is on the board of the Association of Professional Futurists and Dart Music International and President of the Central Texas Chapter of the World Futures Society.

Bon Davis, Co-Founder, Chief Technical Officer, and Technical Producer/Director

Bon DavisBon Davis offers a broad and diverse career spanning the academic, theatrical and cultural realms which gives him an unprecedented depth and breadth of production insight and expertise to supports his vision of presenting unique events that are thought provoking as well as entertaining. Steeped in theater since youth he is fluent in all aspects of theatrical and technical production from the conceptual to the practical. His work spans many head of department and steward positions to work in all theatrical departments such as electrics, carpentry, wardrobe and props. While he enjoys all facets of the theatrical realm, his specialty is large-scale production. He currently works for Ballet Austin and the University of Texas Performing Arts Center.

His dossier ranges from local cultural and corporate events to full-scale opera, ballet and Broadway productions including The Phantom of the Opera, Lion King, The Wizard of Oz, Dead Man Walking, Waiting for the Barbarians, The Nutcracker and Philip Glass and Leonard Cohen’s Book of Longing.

Bon has also enjoyed an active academic career (BA in Classics, MA in Anthropology) with his research focused on the Iconography and Performance of Ritual and Political Leaders in Mesoamerica. He has held several positions in field archeology with universities, private firms and state agencies and served as technical coordinator for the Maya Meetings at the University of Texas. Bon’s participation on the administrative side covers everything from database design, systems administration, and volunteer coordination to event planning and design. Academic experience includes publication, presentation at Professional Meetings and collaboration with scholars from the US, Holland, Finland, England and other countries.

His cultural activities range from visual and multimedia art, to poetry performance and large-scale participatory ritual, to percussion performance and teaching, jazz trombone, and acting, directing and stunt work for film and stage. He has been Leader of the Drum Gods Drum and Dance Theme Camp at Burning Man and at other Regional events. He has also served as a Board member of Drums Not Guns. His artwork has been exhibited and published in several galleries in Austin, Texas and Buffalo, NY. He lives in Austin, TX where he serves as a Journeyman and an Executive Board member of The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts (IASTE) Local 205.

Johnny Villarreal
Director of Interactive Installations and Digital Culture

Johnny Villarreal is an artist and educator with an emphasis on the integration of art and technology. His background in studio art, animation and film has enabled him to tour and lead workshops with his participant driven media lab called The Edge of Imagination Station. Johnny has taught summer camps at the Dougherty Art Center and the Salvage Vanguard Theater as well as an art based after school youth outreach program called Totally Cool, Totally Art. He served as juror for VASE and Jr. VASE, installed art at venues in and around Austin as well as helped organize and participated in numerous Art and Music Festivals such as Chalk It Up, The New Media Art and Sound Summit, First Night Austin, and the East Austin Studio Tours.

Additionally, Johnny continues to create his own works of animation, paintings, drawings, and installations. A large part of his work focuses on the collaboration and the integration of others in order to realize and develop ideas to their full potential.

Chris Hewetson Blome
Production Director

Chris has been with Plutopia Productions since our formation. She has been a professional Theater Technician since 1987 and an I.A.T.S.E Journeyman since 2002, where she has been an active member and served on several committees. She has a strong background in design from her education in New York, Massachusetts and Chicago. She studied Costume Design at The Theater School at DePaul University and Columbia College (B.A. in Liberal Arts). She also spent time studying the healing arts both in Chicago and North Carolina. In the mid 1990′s she started producing multi sensory entertainment events, inviting nationwide participants to artistic retreats.

During her 12 years in Austin she has gained a wide range of technical theater experience, working in all departments for the Austin Lyric Opera, Ballet Austin, The University of Texas Performing Arts Center, The Long Center and Broadway Across America. Since 2001, she has worked conventions and trade shows at the Austin Convention Center and area hotels. She is active in the Austin arts community, serving on the board of Austin Artistic Reconstruction, an organization focused on creating and bringing art and related workshops to the Central Texas community. This varied background gives her great insight as an event designer, producer and director.

Jo Rae Di Menno, Director of Publicity
Principal, Hard Pressed Publicity

Jo Rae is the former Director of Publicity for SXSW for 10 years. Since opening her own PR company, Hard Pressed Publicity, in 1998, Jo Rae has placed stories in most major media, including the New York Times, USA Today, NPR’s “Fresh Air” radio show, Rolling Stone, Harp, Spin, Dirty Linen, Blues Revue, Jazz Times and countless regional publications, radio and TV shows. She’s represented the Canadian and French SXSW music contingents (Canadian Blast 2005; the French Music Office), the Dutch Rock & Pop Institute and Invest Barbados; organized benefits featuring David Byrne, Lucinda Williams, Charlie Sexton, Los Lobos and the reunion of the True Believers. She currently represents Intimate Stranger (international band currently based in Austin, TX), Ian ‘Mac’ McLagan, Trish Murphy, Robert Harrison (Future Clouds & Radar) and more.

Di Menno started her music-biz career as a freelance writer in Houston, which led to a position as editor of the Fitzherald, the house paper published by Fitzgerald’s Nightclub. (She interviewed a 13-year-old Charlie Sexton, as well as R.E.M., Delbert McClinton, the Blasters and many others). She later served as publicist and the first female DJ at Cardi’s. In the mid-‘80s, Di Menno became Ronnie Lane’s publicist and caretaker, an experience that took her to England for four months (they went for the Wembley Stadium Faces reunion), and, permanently, to Austin. In the late ‘80s, she began a 6-year stint as manager, booking agent and publicist for various Alejandro Escovedo projects, starting with the True Believers. She also started Di Menno Public Relations, handling booking and management for several area acts, and began working with various record labels. She took on the SXSW publicity job two years after its inception, and saw it through some of its biggest growth years. She has set up Press Conferences at SXSW for Tony Bennett, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Nick Lowe, Rosanne Cash, Bob Mould & others.

Lisa Morgan Wallace
Director of Brand Development

Lisa Morgan Wallace has an undeniable passion for helping organizations not only succeed, but thrive. Her diverse experiences as a Naval Officer and private sector professional in business development, marketing, digital communications and policy come together in a powerful way that guarantees optimal performance. Lisa’s breadth and depth of expertise in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors make her an invaluable asset to Plutopia Productions and its clients. With a strategic approach balanced by both creativity and pragmatism, she consistently creates positive change through detailed planning and enhanced multi-media communications.

Lisa has consulted for Fortune 500 companies such as Wal-Mart, Calpine, and Jacobs Engineering, as well as nationally recognized nonprofits like Susan G. Komen, American Red Cross and Boy Scouts of America. She holds a Masters Degree in Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School at UT Austin, where her work and influence expanded to government agencies and programs at the international level. These include the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, and the Medicare in Mexico Project.

Austin Shirley
Lighting Designer

Austin Shirley is bilingual lighting designer who has been working as a production manager for the Delfos Danza Contemporania for the last six years while they are on tour in America. He met the Delfos company through a teaching job he was doing at the Centro Nacional de las Artes in Mexico City. Austin attended the University of Texas at Austin and graduated in 2002. After a summer of the Study Abroad Program in Toledo, Spain, he returned to work as a freelance light board operator and designer in Austin.

Austin’s interest in lighting began when he was a child actor in Houston, from 1988-1991, watching the grips place the hot movie lights around the set on scaffolds and lighting trees. This fascination met with instruction at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston where he received his first design training and got his first job as the lighting designer for the play To Kill a Mockingbird. The last 8 years have offered many opportunities for lighting design around the country, and in the city of Austin. Working for Plutopia has been very rewarding and challenging. Austin looks forward always to the next show!

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