Inspiration Board | Tim & Karrie League

The couple behind the Alamo Drafthouse.

When the Alamo Drafthouse’s Tim and Karrie League say something about film, everyone listens. Like, for example, in October when Tim accidentally started a viral pop culture news story after jokingly Tweeting that Madonna was banned from their theater until she apologized for texting up a storm during a recent screening.

As founders of the Texas—and now national—moviehouse institution (not to mention their distribution company Drafthouse Films, or the countless events and festivals the company has started), the Leagues have created for filmgoers a business that doesn’t just bring movies to town, but does so in a way that contextualizes them in totally innovative and fun ways, be it through food pairings, live commentary, or movie marathons. And, big surprise: try topping the collection of inspirational objects and souvenirs they shared with us. Just like the company they started, it is an assembly of relics that is equal parts nostalgic, earnest, poignant, and very weird.

2013 was a year of expansion for the Drafthouse, as they opened eight new theaters, nearly doubling their size; in the works are outposts in Brooklyn and San Francisco. Yet amid this growth, for the Leagues, the message remains the same as it was from the theater’s humble beginnings in a former parking garage on 4th St. and Colorado: “[We are] making sure we don’t lose sight of what got us into this business in the first place: to have fun at the movies,” Tim says. Fortunately there’s no shortage of that: Tim’s highlight of the year? A Fantastic Fest event called Danger Gods, where, much to the chagrin of the fire department and the Drafthouse’s insurance carrier, “Legendary stuntmen from Hollywood set themselves on fire, wrecked cars in the parking lot, and jumped off the top of the theater.”

  • Handmade 12” Bowie knife: “Our Dallas franchise partner Bill Digaetano presented this knife [to us] on the occasion of the theater opening. We now use this to saber Champagne at all of our new store openings.”
  • Animal mask: “A movie prop from the horror movie “You’re Next,” [which] was produced by, stars, and was directed by Fantastic Fest veterans. It’s a reminder of the new breed of really smart and exciting genre filmmaking.”
  • My Life, My Dog, My Strength, Volume Two “In the Drafthouse Films release “Wrong,” the mysterious guru Master Chang has written a book instructing dog-owners in the art of metaphysically connecting with their dogs. Director Quentin Dupieux and Evan Husney from Drafthouse Films put together the actual book, which contains the script of the film along with the few pages that were written for the movie.”
  • Tae Kwon Do: Philosophy, History, Technique “Through the Drafthouse films release “Miami Connection,” we had the opportunity to get to know filmmaker and Tae Kwon Do master Y.K. Kim, who presented us with his book, a comprehensive manuscript of everything you ever wanted to know about Tae Kwon Do.”
  • Davy Crockett bust: “We named our theater the Alamo, so we have a small collection of Davy Crockett dolls. This one was 3-D scanned and blown up to create the larger-scale busts that flank the stairway at the Alamo Ritz.”
  • Farrah Fawcett heads: “Purchased off the shelf at Urban Outfitters when they were a lot smaller outfit. A reminder that some things should always be low-fi and goofy even as our company grows.”
  • Woman on toilet doll: “This is the most amazing gift we have ever received, from director Eugenio Mira who found it in a dollar store in Spain. It dances, sings, and makes rude toilet noises, all while carrying on a phone conversation. It is motion-activated and is our most prized possession.”
  • The Rock-afire Explosion manual: “A few years ago, Tim bought a complete Rock-afire Explosion band, which is currently in a state of disassembly in our basement. He has pledged to assemble and program the band so it can play for our two-year-old girls’ fifth birthday party.”
  • Moisture Measure: Karrie loves to garden, and has created a nice flower garden in our front yard. Tim also loves to garden, but prefers growing food. He has a greenhouse and several vegetable beds in the back yard.


Photography by Bill Sallans


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