Kimo Theatre

The KiMo Theatre is a historic landmark located in Albuquerque, New Mexico’s finest art centers. The venue was originally built in 1927 and consisted of a unique blend of Art Deco-Pueblo Revival Style architecture that used adobe building styles, decorative motifs from indigenous cultures, and the famous soaring lines and linear repetition Art Deco is known for. This combination gives The Kimo a unique look and flavor all it’s own that keeps theatre-goers coming back for more week after week.

The idea for the KiMo came from Italian-American entrepreneur Oreste Bachechi and his wife Maria Franceschi Bachechi. Mrs. Bachechi wanted to offer tribute to the Native Americans who, at the time, had embraced the family as part of their own. After spending time traveling meeting with various architects, the design was accepted by Carl Boller of the Boller Brothers architecture firm. The design was further expanded after considerable research was done to understand and match the characteristics of the native pueblo architecture as well as the strong verticality of Art Deco skyscrapers. This decision to incorporate two seemingly different designs resulted in a successful blend of indigenous motifs that weave seamlessly into the lines and bold designs that Art Deco was known for.

The name for the venue came from a June 1927 competition, sponsored by the Albuquerque Journal, that offered $50 for the winning name. The contest had a special stipulation that any chosen name had to keep with the spirit of a truly American Theatre without overshadowing the Aztec, Navajo, and Pueblo origins of the design. The name also had to be an Indian Name with no more than six letters. The contest resulted in over 500 entries, with the winning entry coming from Pablo Abeita, the former governor fo Isleta Pueblo. His entry, “KiMo” or “mountain lion” (sometimes translated as “King of the Beasts”) had become the name of the theatre and stayed with it ever since it’s September 19, 1927 opening.

The opening night had a program including Native American dancers and singers, a performance on the newly installed $18,000 Wurlitzer theater organ, and the comedy film “Painting the Town”. The venue became famous almost overnight, with many congratulatory telegrams being sent to the venue, including one by Cecil B. DeMille who wrote, “The erection of such a theater is definite proof of the great progress being made by this industry of ours.”

Today, the KiMo may be expanded and different than its original design, but it still retains a love for its origins. This can be seen in the replica of the theater’s original neon sign that was commissioned and installed in June 2011.

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Kimo Theatre Seating Chart:
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