Summer with the Dallas Skyline: James Wallace, Alamo Drafthouse Creative Manager, Has Crafted a Season of Awesome.

We recently got the opportunity to probe James Wallace’s brain about Alamo DFW’s
new summer lineup of fantastic events at the Vetted Well, his thoughts about Free Fire (and the Director’s Q&A), the MST3K showing with Frank Conniff and Trace Beauleiu, and some other items. It looks like he and his teams have gone out of their way to craft some really fun times.

Kate: So, it looks like we can look forward to a summer full of patio-themed entertainment events. I think the inspiration there is obvious, but if there’s something specific there, I’d love to discuss it. What’s your favorite aspect of the Vetted Well’s patio? It’s quite nice. 

James: Well, it’s hard to ignore that beautiful view of the skyline! I think that’s everyone’s favorite aspect so any excuse to have fun stuff going on outside when the weather is nice is a bonus.

Beyond that, it’s just coming up with creative ways to use the Vetted Well space outside of just being a place that people may grab a drink before or after their movie.

That was the concept of Vetted Well from the inception really – to go beyond just the movie theater lobby bar and have a multipurpose entertainment space that was connected to the theater and could tie into events there but could also exist on its own with its own programming. And it’s been great to see that happen; where people just come to Vetted Well for the karaoke rooms or Geeks Who Drink or Outdoor Comedy or any of the other signature programming we have had going on up there.

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The Vetted Well is a great place for cocktails, brunch, karaoke, or just an overall good time.

I’d say our crowning jewel in the new programming is Funky Brunch (at least that’s my favorite!) and that inspiration came out of just trying to come up with a really fun and unique brunch on Sundays. Dallas is such a brunch city with a pretty competitive market for it, and everyone who does it has their hook. So we had to have ours, besides of course having great brunch offerings. I have to admit that the concept really started with the punny name and pretty naturally and quickly developed out of that.

That theme really informed the inspiration for the menu and the vibe. Then we found the perfect DJs for it in PICNICTYME & Cory Kilduff who are not only Funk & Soul aficionados but spin vinyl. And then it all came together!


Kate: Free Fire is a film I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. Good to see you guys have set up an awesome Q&A. Are there any burning questions you’re looking forward to asking Ben Wheatley?

James: Me too! Yeah, you know Ben Wheatley is one of those filmmakers that I see as kind of part of the Alamo Drafthouse extended family. I remember when his first feature DOWN TERRACE has its world premiere at Fantastic Fest 2009 (Alamo’s film festival in Austin).

I remember seeing the film there and just being blown away and so excited to see what else he was going to do. And here we are eight-years-later with KILL LIST, SIGHTSEERS, A FIELD IN ENGLAND (which Drafthouse Films released), HIGH-RISE, and now FREE FIRE.Looking at his filmography, I think he just makes the kind of films that we’re all about at Alamo. And FREE FIRE looks to be very much that type of movie. Not to mention it’s from A24 and we’re all such huge fans of the movies they release.

I do have a lot of questions I’d love to ask him but firstly I think I would have to ask him how it felt shooting a shirtless Tim League with paintballs.

Kate: It looks like we have a lot to look forward to when Frank Conniff and Trace Beauleiu come to visit Richardson at the end of the month. Do you have a favorite MST3K moment?

James: Oh man, you have no idea how excited I am that we get to have The Mads at Richardson! I mean it’s Dr. Clayton Forrester and TV’s Frank live and in-person riffing in the theater! And it couldn’t be better timing with the premiere of the new MST3K on Netflix. 

I have so many fond memories of watching the original run on Comedy Central when I was a kid and then later on the Sci-Fi Channel in my formative teenage years as a budding comedy nerd and genre film nerd. But there’s one that sticks out and, at the risk of being boring, I have to say it’s the episode with MANOS: HANDS OF FATE. That was the moment that my eyes were really open to the world of “best worst movies” that would inform so much of my tastes as a fan of those gems of obscure ’60s/’70s genre movies.

Side Note: Someone should do a movie mashup called MANOS: HANDS OF FATE OF THE FURIOUS

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Tickets available in advance at https://drafthouse.com/dfw.


Kate: Are there any films on your radar you consider a Drafthouse must-see?

James: Well, there are the obvious big ones coming next month – GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2… ALIEN: COVENANT….

But in terms of indie fare that might not be on people’s radars, there are a few in the next couple of months that I’m really excited about – IT COMES AT NIGHT, BABY DRIVER, and A GHOST STORY. COLOSSAL is also great and now playing at an Alamo Drafthouse near you!

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