Some of which you may know already and some of which you will meet soon, we are proud to announce the newest members of our programming team: R.J. LaForce, Tommy Swenson, Kayla Williams and Laird Jimenez.
If you aren't impressed yet, take it from Tim League, “When we opened the Alamo, our only real qualification was that Karrie and I were movie lovers. As we grow, it is important that we continue to hire obsessive movie fans. Tommy, R.J., Kayla and Laird put my own movie knowledge to shame, and that makes me happy.”
Withour further ado, continue on to get to know each new team member and the outstanding addition they make to the Alamo family!
R.J. LaForce: film programmer and Austin Creative Manager
The first thing you’ll notice about him is that he’s tall. His first love was sports, then when he moved to Austin that passion transitioned to movies in a very unhealthy way. Since then he’s kind of done everything in the realm of film and filmmaking: he went to film school at UT, wrote and directed a bunch of terrible but fun short films and worked on Hollywood productions and TV shows. Fittingly, he now finds himself at the Alamo, a company that has been supporting his love of movies for over a decade. You can chat with R.J. online at @RJLaForce.
Programming Genius: Since I have an academic background in film I’ve loved going to Cinema Club screenings because it’s a casual, fun way to learn about and discuss a film with purpose. That’s what made one of my very first programmed events, a Cinema Club screening of GRAND HOTEL w/ Tom Schatz, a special night.
Favorite Movies: This is a loaded question. So I’ll just name what I can think of: MODERN TIMES, THE EVIL DEAD, CASABLANCA, BOTTLE ROCKET, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, DAZED AND CONFUSED, ZODIAC, DIRTY HARRY, THE 400 BLOWS, WAITING FOR GUFFMAN, GOOD WILL HUNTING, MAJOR LEAGUE, PSYCHO, WITHNAIL & I, GRAN TORINO, THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES, THE LORD OF THE RINGS
Favorite Beers: Pabst Blue Ribbon, Stone IPA, Austin BeerWorks Black Thunder, Real Ale Devil’s Backbone, Sam Smith’s Winter Warmer
Favorite Character: Dignan in BOTTLE ROCKET
Favorite Movie Quote: “So there I am, in Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, at about 3 o'clock in the morning, looking for one thousand brown M&Ms to fill a brandy glass, or Ozzy wouldn't go on stage that night. So, Jeff Beck pops his head 'round the door, and mentions there's a little sweets shop on the edge of town. So - we go. And - it's closed. So there's me, and Keith Moon, and David Crosby, breaking into that little sweets shop, eh. Well, instead of a guard dog, they've got this bloody great big Bengal tiger. I managed to take out the tiger with a can of mace, but the shopkeeper and his son... that's a different story altogether. I had to beat them to death with their own shoes. Nasty business, really. But, sure enough, I got the M&Ms, and Ozzy went on stage and did a great show.” – Del Preston, WAYNE’S WORLD 2
Line to Live By: “If you plan ahead, then when things happen, you're prepared for them.” –Hank Hill, KING OF THE HILL
Tommy Swenson: full time programmer and responsible for all repertory programming at the Ritz
When he was two years old, Tommy saw his first film, SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS, at the historic Blue Mouse theater in Tacoma, WA. Later, he started working for the Alamo Drafthouse. In between, he went to one of those weird alternative colleges that let him write papers on things like “Cinema, Modernity and the Second Law of Thermodynamics”. He has been a projectionist at the Grand Illusion Cinema and is a video veteran, having done time at Austin’s Vulcan Video and Scarecrow Video in Seattle. Before becoming a programmer, Tommy was responsible for creating the Alamo Drafthouse’s preshow entertainment. He once spent a year in India teaching filmmaking to kids. You can chat with Tommy online at @80s_Lightning.
Programming Genius: An old timey spookshow complete with real ghosts, dancing skeletons and live ape.
Favorite Movies: NINOTCHKA, LES VAMPIRES, VIVA MARIA!, Abel Gance’s NAPOLEON, THE NUDE VAMPIRE, MOMENT TO MOMENT, NUITS ROUGES, HELLZAPOPPIN’, THE BLACK LIZARD, THE PATSY, WILD GALS OF THE NAKED WEST, CLEO FROM 5 TO 7, BEAT THE DEVIL, RAISING ARIZONA, BULLET FOR THE GENERAL, BEAUTY & THE BEAST, F FOR FAKE, ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS, DISHONORED, FORCES OF EVIL, I WALK WITH A ZOMBIE, THE BLACK BOOK, CHRISTMAS IN JULY, TARZAN’S NEW YORK ADVENTURE, THE CROOKED CIRCLE. Plus maybe a few others, probably.
Favorite Beer: Root
Favorite Character: Katherine Hepburn as Sylvia Scarlett in SYLVIA SCARLETT
Line to Live By: “Merry Christmas, movie house!” - George Bailey, IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE
Kayla Williams: Director of National First Run Promotions
Right after college, Kayla moved to Austin and got a job as a food runner at the Alamo South Lamar with the sole aspiration of working her way into the programming world. Kayla began working on the “Hey Homo” series at the Ritz and then later got the offer to join the team full-time.
Programming Genius: Hey Homo: WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN with barbiturate spiked gazpacho
Favorite Movies: LIVE FLESH, AUNTIE MAME, BOOM!, GREY GARDENS
Favorite Beers: Red wine, which luckily the Drafthouse carries as well.
Badass Character: Hedwig.
Favorite Movie Quote: “I suppose you think I'm going insane just to be fashionable.” –Jackie O., THE HOUSE OF YES
Line to Live By: “We're all different... Him, especially. But there's something kind of fantastic about that, isn't there?” – Mrs. Fox, FANTASTIC MR. FOX
Laird Jimenez: Video Editor, responsible for creating preshow entertainment
After receiving a degree in digital video production from University of Georgia and a "degree" in video store management from Vision Video in Athens, Georgia, Laird followed the Oregon Trail in his '93 Toyota Camry to Seattle, Washington where he contracted a severe case of cinephilia. Doctors prescribed a tenure at the world's largest video store, Scarecrow Video, and as many repertory screenings as his schedule would allow. After absorbing as many VHS, Laserdiscs, and DVDs as possible, he went back to school for Library & Information Sciences and worked for a film archive. A specialist recommended that cutting together preshows for the Alamo Drafthouse may prove therapeutic in releasing some of the cinematic demons that continue to haunt his psyche. You can chat online with Laird at @pobrecito.
Preshow Genius: One of the best pieces of advice I got from the previous preshow editor was to always make the preshow for my "ideal" version of the movie. For MAN OF STEEL, that got me thinking about all the different ways Superman has appeared throughout pop culture around the world. I had a lot of fun digging through commercials, amateur fan films, cartoons, Turkish, Indian, and other appearances of the man of steel. Cutting together a montage of all of the repeating images of Superman set to the great 1960s pop song "Superman" by Texas-natives The Clique was some of the most fun I've ever had at a computer.
Favorite Movies: That's like asking which is my favorite internal organ. I love quoting RAISING ARIZONA; I love the radical provocations of UN CHIEN ANDALOU; I love the insane action and design of ROAD WARRIOR; I love the anarchistic humor of DUCK SOUP. Suffice it to say, I love movies!
Favorite Beer: Great Divide Espresso Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout
Badass Character: Groucho Marx
Line to Live By: "More brains!" - Tarman, Return of the Living Dead.