Kate M

An Open Letter to The Alamo Drafthouse: Please stop with all the Ala”bro”ing.

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Alamo Edit

Freelance reporting in a city built on oil money will, as The Silver Jews’s frontman David Berman notes, “Make you want to sit with the bad kids in the back.” I unceremoniously turned away from two freelance posts earlier this year because the work would not jibe with my sense of morality.

In the end, I can say it was all a lot of flash, but in all journalism I’ve ever had the opportunity to commit, I have to say that this round had very little substance behind it, and very little heart.

And if I am to be frank, the in-crowd/out-crowd “cul-de-sac” geometry here is killer. I’ve never lived on the “right” one, and I’m probably not going to. I suppose that’s the most solid reason why I don’t do much writing any more, when it comes to the subject of Dallas. But when I am asked to pick up my pen by a former colleague, I suppose I must, even if it’s coming out of a long period of hibernation and transformation. It’s not like I’ve got a lot to risk by saying what I think anymore, and maybe that’s what that period of my life was really about.

When I think of “#gamergate” I think of things. A lot of things. Various and sundry things, and yes–I will stop being vague and describe the “things” in just a moment–but perhaps the most important concept that comes to mind when I consider the phenomenon is the absolutely polarizing and negative effect the situation had on most forms of internet-based feminist commentary.

The short story: It’s my theory that few people want #feminism to be exactly what standalone posts or blogs on Tumblr and Anita Sarkeesian and crew are presenting. I mean, we’re happy for some of the points that various Tumblr collectives and Sarkeesian are presenting, but unless we consider all the voices on Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook as some sort of chord struck by the hand of a larger and imaginary “4th wave monogloss,” they’re neither representative of the holistic picture nor any monolithic voice.

So when voices like Adam Baldwin’s, or even voices like Doug Stanhope’s come out and decry some public attempt a woman makes at starting personal feminist discourse surrounding a subject, and hordes of internet followers work together to shut it down before it can truly begin, I feel like it’s an entirely reasonable reason to be upset.

The conversation surrounding events like #gamergate, or the Penny Arcade Dickwolves controversy, or any specific point of interest or never gets into the nitty gritty details that explain that Women’s and Gender Studies departments often have entire classes and blocks devoted to “Studies in Masculinity” and that feminism is for everyone, and not always just about the shitty way female tropes are portrayed in media and how we need to address that (and that we do need to address it, and that we are addressing it with better ones). I wish I knew how to start that conversation more often, and effectively. It’s difficult.

No one wants to get into arguments on the internet anymore, and I suppose I don’t blame them, if topical and transitory arguments on the internet are taking up too much of our collective time.  It’s time that we could better spend catching Pokemon or taking body-positive Snapchats as we learn to love our respective thigh-gaps, collar bones, and curves.

But not engaging in some kind of robust discourse surrounding the issues that affect us, in one way or another is equally problematic. We need to argue on the internet, sometimes. We might just need to be a lot more selective about what, when and why. And maybe how. If we looked for the areas of our concerns that intersected in some sort of “Rogerian” trying to understand each other bliss, we might do a lot better than we are currently.

So that all said:

Alamo Drafthouse, I love you, but your problem is not exactly one specific itemized concern here. It’s all a lot harder to address than just telling you to do a “thing.” You should really do a lot more things for the sake of diversity.

When I was at your press roundtable for your Cedars opening, your lack of concern about showing some kind of block of film featuring people of color in the middle of the Oscars Boycott was unsettling. I appreciate that you offered that you were planning events centered around queer film, but it wasn’t enough. I’m sorry if the question was uncomfortable, but I was incredibly uncomfortable in needing to ask it.

I appreciate your Afternoon Tea and Slumber Party themed events, but I haven’t seen anything so awesomely feminist I had to attend it, because not doing so would be a travesty, since your Jem and Breakfast Cereal viewing with Samantha Newark in 2014. It was awesome.

So I feel it’s fair to say that your events *do* need some help. Not because Devin Pike and the rest of your crew are bad MCs, not because it took you forever to get your food and drink right between the theatre and Vetted Well, but because of some of the attitudes that direct your programming.  Sometimes they’re just not very “shiny.”

Seriously.  You Keep Using That Word; I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means. Unless maybe you mean “(mi)s(o)hgyny” with some silent letters as are listed in parenthesis. I don’t think you do. But if you do, there is absolutely nothing shiny at all about that.

Your Serenity event would be far more shiny if you had at least one other, female cast member (okay, I know that’s expensive) or like some other counter-balance to address the fact you’ve got a pretty controversial guy at your quote-along.

I don’t necessarily expect you to fix it, but it’s a reason I don’t spend a hell of a lot of time at your theatre. If I want queer film, I’m going to a CinéWilde event, because they’re already doing entire picture diversity much better. If I want a feminist film, well, I know where I can see a screening of No Mas Bebes without running into too much trouble, save a bit of an uncomfortable scuffle with a theatre manager who was only kind of into me sometimes, maybe, but not enough to actually pursue anything to actually do with me in a series of events that has made visiting the place far too awkward.

If it weren’t for that, I’d drop in for a moment or two of Women Texas Film Festival in August, because it’s going to give me a whole lot more of what I actually want, as The Texas Theatre is prone to do as an institution, at least since they decided not to let that shitty white supremacist, rape apologist perform there.

I mean, it’s not exactly a competition. Everyone can do better.

But it would be cool, and I bet it would be a decent potential market to tap, if you could just consider getting a bit more flexible with what you’re doing, Alamo. That’s really all I’m trying to say.

22 Responses to An Open Letter to The Alamo Drafthouse: Please stop with all the Ala”bro”ing.

  1. AC July 28, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    With the appeal of Alamo Drafthouse clearly being beyond you, I can plainly say so long and enjoy your movie going experiences elsewhere.

  2. Kate M July 28, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    Well, if you can’t read this as a soft request that the Alamo, as an institution reconsider its latently racist and misogynistic programming decisions, then I really don’t know what to tell you!

  3. Zach July 28, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    Kate, sorry but you are full of s**t. I am almost a Top Brass member of the Alamo, and this institution does not have any racist and misogynistic programming decisions. My wife and I have quite enjoyed everything they have done. We see races of all working there and different lifestyles. Because you had one bad experience. Enjoy going to S**T Cinemark where they don’t kick people out for talking, it’s disgusting and not clean. You know what? Why don’t you just stay at home and watch movies, that’s where you belong.

  4. Kate July 28, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    Dude. The programming choices absolutely do not represent a robust sampling of films made by women or POC. When I asked a question about it at a press roundtable, I was shrugged off.

    Alamo needs to address this, if they ever want my business outside of Devin Pike’s karaoke nights.

  5. Zach July 28, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    So does a Coming To America Quote Along not do it for you? Or the MULTIPLE GIRLS NIGHT OUT events this theater has had. Like Dirty Dancing Quote Along, or Pitch Perfect Sing Along, or Kanye Dance Alone or Girl’s 90′s videos sing along. YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT THE F*** you are talking about. Go home and have your own programming to make yourself happy.

  6. Zach July 28, 2016 at 11:15 pm

    And I agree with Chad on this, your question was terrible, something Ryan Seacrest would ask at the Oscars. Ryan Seacrest is an A**hole. Take that for what you will.

  7. Kate M July 28, 2016 at 11:46 pm

    I disagree, and at the time, though I don’t want to speak for them now, the Movie Bruthas and I had a conversation about my question and its necessity.

    Also, I find Coming to America to be a movie containing a lot of offensive tropes, so no, I do not count that.

    Dirty Dancing is an important movie because it covers the topic of safe abortion, but still not a movie that meets my standard for feminism because it focuses on a father/daughter and woman obedient to lover relationship rather than a woman’s autonomy and independence.

    Pitch Perfect is definitely not a movie series that would meet my standards on that notion either.

    Kanye is problematic for every reason, and you know, unless I knew what videos were happening at the Girl’s 90′s videos sing along, I can’t say I’d know for sure if that would be appropriate.

    As someone who volunteered to screen several movies for Justina’s project, I *know* TWFF meets my standard.

    You sir, don’t even know what you’re talking about.

  8. Kate M July 29, 2016 at 12:10 am

    Sorry, WTFF. I do commit the sin of making typos sometimes, even if they are not in the first two paragraphs.

  9. Fartknocker July 29, 2016 at 12:24 am

    What must it be like to have a life where the programming choices of a movie theater are the greatest injustice thrust upon humanity. Why did you waste anyone’s time with this? What is your real beef here? Did they kick you out? Did someone that works there dump you? You are the problem with society today. You are looking for a reason to complain and throw someone under the bus. Last I checked this is s movie theater chain. They aren’t an activist group. They aren’t beholden to some mission statement seeking to affect moral and societal change. They’re people that like movies and want to cater to people that like movies. Along the way they seem keen on helping their local community. I’m not sure why you expect so much from them. Do you have similar “articles” prepared for every other theater chain, restaurant chain, gas station, corner store and local market that isn’t working to promote feminism according to your unpublished requirements? Let me know when you encounter some actual problems in life. Clearly it”s been an easy ride for you thus far if this is what set you off.

  10. Kate M July 29, 2016 at 1:28 am

    I write on film. A former colleague called me out of sabbatical to write this. It’s important to women in the Dallas Film Community.

    Sorry you feel a need to trivialize that here.

  11. Zach July 29, 2016 at 11:17 am

    I like Fartknockers comment. Clearly Kate, you are part of the problem with 2016. You know what the problem with people of 2016 are? They are part of the ButtHurt 2016 movement. You basically had a problem with EVERY single film that I listed because of some trivial BS excuse. It seems like everything and almost everyone offends you. You clearly need to shove some ice up that ButtHurt of yours…make yourself feel better. Zach out.

  12. Jason July 29, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    Haha! Wow! You honestly sound whiney and obviously trying to push your own ideals so why even try to hide behind others? The Alamo in the DFW has many areas in where it needs to grow, however, diversity is not it. I worked there for two years. You see the programming comes from several places. The Alamo Austin, the programming management, the employees, current events, and even the most awesome Alamo guests. It has nothing to do with anything except love of the films. If you have programming ideas :D send them in! Haha its just that easy. The Alamo drafthouse is the little big progressive company that is fighting for diversity in the industry and standing up for equality. Best bunch of crazies I have ever worked for. Oh but they didnt sgow the movie I wanted… Maybe they couldn’t… Maybe their hands are tied. The Alamo in Richardson was not going to back down and play The Interview, but Sony said no. We were pissed and decided we would show Team America in its place as protest. Paramount said no. In a 48 hour period the company, our location, as well as many employees had received death threats. We stood our ground. I was on bomb watch for the rest of the month! What we did was fight, but what you saw was, we had a controversial movie and then cancelled it. This company fights, you just wont know unless they win.

  13. Kate July 29, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    This is going to be my last comment, because I have better things to do than engage in argument with people who haven’t examined this article critically. 1.) I have a problem with the Alamo’s programming decisions because they pale in comparison to the actual small-scale progressive cinema in favor of creating a product that is marketable mostly to men ages 18 – 55. 2.) Texas Theatre and WTFF are where it’s at if you agree with me. 3.) I actually broke up with the theatre manager at Texas Theatre like at least three times and still have glowing things to say about it, so it’s not girl angst or horomones or witch magic talking here, and 4.) I am actually cool with Adam Baldwin talking anywhere so long as there is a fair and balanced perspective, and recommended how that could be reached. I tire of your pathos and ethos appeals that are linked together with no chain of logic. I’m bored. Yawn.

  14. Nicole July 29, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    How about you actually make some suggestions of “things” that would make Alamo diverse or feminist enough for your liking.

    I get that you don’t like Adam Baldwin. Pretty sure most people who attend Alamo events don’t agree with his personal views on some issues, but he’s not coming to talk about those controversial issues. He will be there to talk about Serenity with fans.

  15. Kate M July 29, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    Actual last comment: I made suggestions Nicole.

    1.) More events with an awesome positive spin on feminine identity like the one with Taffeta Darling and Samantha Newark.

    2.) Adam Baldwin can say whatever he wants, and his fans can pay to see whatever they want, but if Alamo does not want to look like a sexist institution, they will address the fact they are sponsoring the guy who started Gamergate at the comic show in a for-profit event by creating better for-profit events that benefit women as a full market, and not just “wives,” that aren’t speaking for themselves here.

    You all really didn’t even read my piece in any way that lead to an examination of what I’m saying. It’s kind of sad.

  16. Falon July 30, 2016 at 12:47 am

    Huge Alamo supporter, partner in a company myself and I’ve learned you can’t please everyone- most frustrated piece about bring passionate about what you do. While, you’re entitled to your own opinion, and although I highly disagree with you and find several things to be blown out of proportion like you caught a Jada Pinkett Smith syndrome, your profession is a journalist, and spitting your own wisdom/opinion is what we’re all best at.

    And, hey at least it’s something different than Hildabeast and Trump making America great again!

  17. Kate July 30, 2016 at 2:01 am

    Don’t care that you disagree with me Falon. That’s your prerogative. You didn’t dox me, threaten my family, my livelihood or invent red herring arguments and made cogent fucking points as to why you have a different opinion. I salute you.

  18. Kate July 30, 2016 at 2:02 am

    However “Jada Pinkett Smith” syndrome is absolutely real, and it is about responding to institutional discrimination people don’t readily want to admit exists.

  19. Kate July 30, 2016 at 2:22 am

    And I am a journalist and a scholar. Just because I have needed to make money in marketing and politics to survive, and because it’s what I am good at, doesn’t mean I have turned my back on what journalism should be as a fourth estate. This is definitely a creative non-fiction personal narrative hashed with a rant about Dallas’s film culture.

  20. Kate M July 30, 2016 at 3:00 am

    I have committed (and colluded in) many acts of journalism in my lifetime, and have no intention of stopping any time soon.

    I’m just going to drop my entire portfolio here, since, I guess I’m not done commenting.

    (Not mine, obviously, but was waaay too happy to drop intel.)

    Looks like I know some other places to go see a movie.

    And where they’re shot:

    And how to critique them:


    But like, I have also written on Tech and Finance:

    And I’ve also built some very powerful social accounts, ‘n stuff, so like–I don’t know. I do things. Even if there’s not a newsdesk editing me or a well-paying position. Sometimes we need to do what we love even if it’s not a good idea.

    And I love journalism. The real, old fashioned, Hunter S. Thompson, Spider Jerusalem, Nellie Bly, in your face subversive kind. I’m glad I got a chance to do some.

    You can take it or leave it.

  21. Kate Elizabeth Morgan August 8, 2016 at 12:41 am

    Important Update: After a visit to someone’s LinkedIn page, it looks like I may have gotten a professional position incorrectly sussed.

    Rando can’t-commit guy is more of an “auditor.” Gonzo journalism is gonzo journalism because it’s not always super objective. I did a piece in the style of, and I have “no ragrets,” but when made aware of facts, will of course update their noteworthiness.

  22. Pingback: The Alamo Drafthouse Totally Made Me Eat My Words. They Were Delicious. | The Electric Feast

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