The historic KiMo Theatre has hosted special events and joyous celebrations for more than nine decades, with big names such as Vivian Vance and Bob Odenkirk gracing the stage. On Wednesday, Sept. 21, the KiMo itself will be the star as the landmark celebrates its 95th birthday by hosting a party from 4-7 p.m.
This free event is open to the public; no RSVPs required.
During the party, visitors can enjoy self-guided tours to learn about the theater’s history, live music by the Burque Jazz Bandits, eats and treats from local vendors, and local beer and cocktails.
We’re saving you a seat!
Wednesday, September, 21 from 4-7 p.m. it's the KiMo’s 95th Bday Party. Grab a brew from Tractor Brewing Co., a sweet or savory treat from Alma’s Salsa, Loaded Lemon, Otero Lane, & Yummy’s Mini Dougnuts, & go on a self-guided tour.https://t.co/9Eg9xB11I9 pic.twitter.com/7m2WDu9ndV
— KiMo Theatre (@KiMoTheatre) September 14, 2022
KiMo Theatre history
The KiMo Theatre, built in the Pueblo Deco style, opened on Sept. 19, 1927. Pueblo Deco was a flamboyant, short-lived architectural style that fused the spirit of the Native American cultures of the Southwest with the exuberance of art deco.
The genius behind the KiMo was Oreste Bachechi, a motivated entrepreneur from humble origins. Bachechi came to the United States in 1885 and set up a business in a tent near the railroad tracks in Albuquerque.
Bachechi’s fortunes expanded with the city’s growth; he became a liquor dealer and proprietor of a grocery store while his wife Maria ran a dry goods store in the Elms Hotel. By 1919, the Bachechi Amusement Association operated the Pastime Theatre with Joe Barnett. In 1925, Bachechi decided to achieve “an ambition, a dream that has been long in realization,” by building his own theater, one that would stand out among the Greek temples and Chinese pavilions of contemporary movie mania.
Bachechi envisioned a unique, Southwestern style theater, and hired Carl Boller of the Boller Brothers to design it. The Bollers had designed a Wild West-Rococo-style theater in San Antonio and a Spanish cathedral with Greco-Babylonian interior in St. Joseph, Missouri.
On opening night, an overflow crowd watched performances by representatives from nearby Indian pueblos and reservations. The performers, reported the New Mexico State Tribune in an advance story, included “numerous prominent tribesman of the Southwest who will perform for the audience mystic rites never before seen on the stage.”
A large fire in the early 1960’s nearly destroyed the stage and severely damaged adjacent areas at the front of the auditorium. The KiMo fell into further disrepair following the exodus from downtown that so many American cities experienced in the 60s and 70s. Slated for destruction, the KiMo was saved in 1977 when the citizens of Albuquerque voted to purchase this unrivaled palace theater.
Info from cabq.gov