KiMo Theatre

From Masq
Description Gallery
The KiMo Theatre -- Albuquerque

 The KiMo Theatre opened in 1927 as a Picture Palace, complete with elaborate Wurlitzer organ. The KiMo was ornately decorated in the "Pueblo Deco" style, which combines the Indian cultures of the Southwest with the flavor of Art Deco. The interior included plaster ceiling beams textured to look like logs and painted with dance and hunt scenes, air vents disguised as Navajo rugs, panoramic murals depicting the Seven Cities of Cibola, door handles shaped like Kachinas, chandeliers shaped like war drums and Native American death canoes, wrought-iron birds descending the stairs and rows of garlanded longhorn steer skulls with eerie, glowing amber eyes.

 Stylish in every way, the KiMo almost met the wrecking ball in 1977, but was saved when the citizens of Albuquerque voted to purchase this unrivaled palace. Beautifully restored in 2000, the KiMo is the city's crown jewel of indoor venues for the performing arts, putting on an eclectic program of concerts, opera, dance, theatre, and live bands. As the focal point of the burgeoning arts community, the KiMo is a proud reminder of the past and a symbol of the city's future.

~*~+view and places are available here~*~

Obvious exits:
KiMo Cafe <KC>   Central Avenue <O>

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The Stage:

The original KiMo stage was destroyed in 1963. However, the restored stage was made to match the destroyed version. Just like in the original Theatre, the proscenium arch is painted with myriad of rain clouds, birds, and swastikas that are Navajo symbols for life, freedom and happiness. The stage is 55 feet by 26 feet with an orchestra pit for 30 to 40 musicians.

The Balcony:
When the theatre is packed, the balcony -- which spans the east to west walls without support and was designed to give and sway -- will drop four to eight inches in the middle. Not to worry -- it has been seismically reinforced! The view of the various kinds of artwork, especially the von Hassler murals, is fabulous from up here!

The General Seating section:
Now a performing arts center, the KiMo seats 700. Various levels of seating are available, but all the seats are uniformly lush and comfortable. Whether you are here for a concert, a theatrical performance, or a ballet, your viewing experience will be unique and comfortable.


Carl von Hassler was a member of the ashcan school of art in Greenwich Village before he moved to New Mexico in 1922. His seven murals present a panoramic view of low mountains, cloud-filled skies, and peaceful pueblos. Painted into one scene is a striped Navajo blanket draped over the wall separating spectator from the landscape. The murals were painstakingly restored during the late 1980s.

Display Case:
A display case shows photographs and documents from the 1920s and 1930s about the original KiMo Theatre and its history. A series of photographs and articles shows what was done to restore and seismically reinforce the Theatre and bring it up to safety codes. For example, the wrought-iron, bird-figure balcony railing was 11 inches too short to meet safety codes --- lengths of iron were inserted to make the birds taller, and the craftsman who did the restoration ironwork was the son of the man who had made the original railing.

Pueblo Deco:
Another display case tells of the architectural style embodied by the KiMo Theatre: Pueblo Deco. Pueblo Deco was a flamboyant, short-lived architectural style that fused the spirit of the Indian cultures of the Southwest with the exuberance of America during the 'roaring twenties.' It appeared at a time when movie-mad communities were constructing film palaces loosely based on such exotic foreign models as Moorish mosques and Chinese pavilions. Indian motifs appeared in only a handful of movie theatres; of those few, the KiMo was the undisputed king.

Another display case offers up answers to some commonly asked questions about the KiMo Theatre:

~*~The KiMo Theatre:~*~
  • Q. "What does KiMo mean?" Answer: "KiMo" is a combination of two words literally meaning "mountain lion" but more liberally interpreted as "king of its kind." The name could not have been more appropriate!
  • Q. Who owns the KiMo? Answer: The KiMo Theatre, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is owned by the City of Albuquerque.
  • Q. How do I find what's playing? Answer: Check the Albuquerque Tribune for listings.
  • Q. What was the first movie shown here? Answer: The first movie shown in the KiMo was "Painting the Town Red," and the first talking movie was "Melody of Broadway."