Anniversary Interview

Less of an Interview, More of a Love Letter

KiMo Theater courtesy of Karen Blaha
KiMo Theater courtesy of Karen Blaha
/ Creative Commons

What do Alfred Hitchcock, Bryan Cranston, The Nutcracker and Finding Nemo have in common? The KiMo! Albuquerque's premier historical theater is listed on the US National Register of Historic Places and N.M. State Register of Cultural Properties. It's also an Albuquerque Historic Landmark.

The KiMo was created by immigrant Oreste Bachechi (the entrepreneur and owner of the Bachechi Open Space property) and designed by Carl Boller of the Boller Brothers architecture firm, based in Kansas City, Mo. Erected in 1927 (opening on Sept. 19, 1927), with an Art Deco-Pueblo Revival Style, the KiMo was named after the Tewa word for mountain lion as suggested by the Isleta Pueblo governor at the time, Pablo Abeita. One of the most well-known and intriguing stories about the KiMo is the explosion of 1951: a terrible accident resulting in the death of one child who is now said to haunt the building. The staff tends to the spirit of the boy, Bobby Darnall, by leaving him gifts and offerings—like toys and candy—in the backstage stairwell.

The theater became decrepit after a fire in the 1960s and was meant to be destroyed until a bond passed by voters in Albuquerque in 1977, allowing the city to purchase the building and renovate the space. Now it serves the community as one of the paramount cultural centers of the city.

The celebration of the 90th anniversary for the building begins at 7pm on Friday, Jan. 27, with author Douglas Preston discussing his novel. The Lost City of the Monkey God is about the legend of a 500-year-old cursed, city, where anyone who enters dies. For a full list of 90th anniversary events, continue to follow the KiMo event calendar and visit www.kimotickets.com.