Welcome…sorta

Original Alamo To KC Press Release
Guns! Girls!! Raw B-Movie Violence!!!!

Back in May when the Craig’s List help wanted ad appeared for the new Alamo Drafthouse Kansas City, we were pretty excited.

After all, any movie house that touts kicking these types of folks out of their theaters is fine by us.

But earlier this month, when the Alamo busted out a press release (that’s the original announcement -there on the upper left) announcing their intentions to take over the AMC Mainstreet space in the KCP&L district, we had some reservations; KCP&L?

So we asked the people involved.

We started with Tim League, founder and CEO of  Drafthouse, then moved on to Henri Maza (Chief Creative Officer) and Caitlin Stevens (who apparently gets to hang with every auteur and cinematic genius who comes into any of their venues…lucky gal.) And here’s what we asked:

1. Why KCP&L? Given the venue’s troubled history in its rather short existence, it seems a wrong fit: the place attracts some of the exact demographic that you won’t want in your theaters.

At the risk of sounding alarmist, parts of KC are prone to sudden violence and the Power & Light district is one of them. We’ve posted that we fully expect it to break out in your theater the first time someone is ‘disrespected’ (keep in mind we certainly don’t want that to happen but find it inevitable.) Yes, we’re sure your employees will be specifically trained for that eventuality, but…how?

2. Is this a new franchise? If so, who are the lucky individuals and when/may we contact them directly, please? And how does Alamo weigh each franchise applicant? What are the determining factors in that process ( beside lots o’ cash.)?

3. Not a franchise – just a broadening of your Corporate Empire? if so, what drew you to Kansas City? 1

And we even got a response.

From: Brandy Fons
Subject: Fwd: Kansas City expansion
Date: Tue, 5 Jun 2012 08:34:04 -0500
To: wnbtv AT willnotbetelevised DOTcom

Hello Nick-

Our Lamar theater managers forwarded your interview request below, we hope to have a formal announcement to share soon! Please note, I am the only contact with Alamo Drafthouse that will be able to provide a company comment/interview. All managers will forward press requests my way.

Thank you!
Brandy

Huh. That last bit? The “… we hope to have a formal announcement to share soon”? Yeah, not so much with that. In fact, you could call that a bald faced lie 2, unless you believe re-posting the exact same press release from 2 weeks earlier counts. 3 What we don’t call it is an ‘accident’ or an ‘oversight’; not from a company as painfully hip to social media as the Drafthouse folks are. 4

Which means, duh, they want to control the message.

And who can blame them?

Drafthouse apparently very willingly got into bed with Kansas City Live, LLC 5; that’s who bought out the Chinese’s interest in the Mainstreet theater. And we all know how KCP&L likes to downplay the little bit of roughhousing, mugging, robbery and rape that has occurred in the District.

In fact we expect it was part and parcel of the contract – say nothing about the District.

And, hell, who knows – maybe the District has cleaned up its act, maybe security has tightened up down there, maybe the Mayor’s son won’t stop in to punch and slap his women in public any more, and maybe, just maybe, some poor anonymous Drafthouse employee won’t get bitch slapped, knifed or worse the first time a thug patron is politely asked to be quite or leave ‘disrespected.’ Though we personally wouldn’t give you odds…

What we are willing to surmise, given Drafthouose’s approach to PR so far, is that the inevitable incident(s) will be downplayed -when reported at all- and receive the normal KC kid gloves coverage from the local media.

So welcome…sorta, Drafthouse. It appears you’ll fit right in. 6

WNBTv - Good TV!

Show 6 footnotes

  1. Don’t laugh; it is surprising how many people will take the time to answer questions if a.) you’re truly interested and b.) you’re polite.
  2. No, it’s not the first time a woman has lied to us.
  3. Okay, okay – they did spiff up their web presence, but still…
  4. Don’t think we didn’t catch the implied threat in “…I am the only contact with Alamo Drafthouse that will be able to provide a company comment/interview’, either. But as Brandy has already blown us off, WTF, areweright?
  5. That’s the KCP&L district folks, in case you had doubts.
  6. Speaking of fitting right in, how come Charles hasn’t yet published an interview with John Bulligton, Drafthouse’s Executive Chef? Surely he will do amazing things with barbeque, right?

4 thoughts on “Welcome…sorta”

  1. Hello. Tim League here, CEO/founder of Alamo Drafthouse. I wanted to clarify a few things about your article. Two weeks ago, we were building an unpublished Kansas City page including the press release in anticipation of closing the deal. Google search picked up the unlinked/unpublished page and someone from the KC media picked it up. We never formally released the press release and we were frankly quite sad that it had leaked out. It pointed to a need for a staging server on our website which we are working on now. It was a mistake on our part that it got out in the first place, a mistake that put us in an awkward situation, as we had not yet closed our deal with the property owner.

    As soon as we formally closed the deal, we made the announcement and published the KC facebook and drafthouse.com webpage, which was our original intent.

    As to the safety of the Power and Light District, we are going to be very involved in the district and want to make sure that future safety concerns are minimized. Our flagship theater in Austin is on Historic Sixth Street, and we face similar safety issues there. We work directly with the police and the city to always try to improve the overall safety of the district.

    Now that we are formally announced and actually in Kansas City working to convert the space, I think you will find our company to be completely transparent and very open and approachable. A couple of weeks ago, we were just in an awkward position due to our own backend technical error. If you ever have future questions, email me directly at tim.league@drafthouse.com. I arrive in Kansas City myself on Sunday. I look forward to doing more exploring, in particular comparing and contrasting Kansas City barbecue to our central Texas variety.

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