A milestone is among us as the KiMo Theatre celebrates its 90th anniversary in September this year. From Vivian Vance to Bryan Cranston, from The Nutcracker to Finding Nemo, the KiMo’s stage and screen have hosted an array of events since opening its doors in 1927. A year-long season of celebration is underway with a variety of events full of rich history, culture and entertainment planned.
Films adapted from Pulitzer Prize-winning books, performances, a special screening of a classic 1926 Buster Keaton comedy with a live orchestra and the New Mexico Poetry Showcase are just a few planned events. Many of the events will be offered free to the public so the entire community can partake in the season of celebration.
The schedule of signature events kicks off at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 27 with an evening with Douglas Preston, author of City of the Lost Monkey God: A True Story. Preston was recently seen on CBS Sunday Morning to discuss his journey into the unknown heart of the world’s densest jungle. A Word with Writers – a Q&A format with noted authors – features C.J. Box, author of the Joe Pickett series, on Friday, March 24 and a launch event for Anne Hillerman’s third novel Song of the Lion on Thursday, April 13. This series is in partnership with The Albuquerque Public Library Foundation and Bookworks.
Four Sunday afternoon Chautaqua performances, presented in partnership with the New Mexico Humanities Council, are scheduled:
Billie Holiday: Singin’ the Blues with Brenda Hollingsworth-Marley on Feb. 12; Music From the Ranch and the Open Range with Dr. Steve Cormier on March 26; Ritual and Traditional New Mexican Folk Music with Dr. Cipriano Vigil and family on April 23; and Sephardic Jews in N.M. – Stories and Songs with Consuelo Luz on June 25. All show times are 2 p.m.
Plenty of movies will fill the screen at this historic picture palace this year. Scheduled are seven award-winning films based on Pulitzer Prize winners, the Holiday Family Film Festival featuring all eight Harry Potter movies and the 90th Halloween Weekend Horror Film Festival. The 90th anniversary signature film will be Buster Keaton’s The General showing at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16. The Alloy Orchestra will return to the KiMo to perform their original score to this silent comic classic.
For a full list of 90th anniversary events, please visit www.kimotickets.com
A brief history on the KiMo: The genius behind the theatre 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. He envisioned a unique Southwestern style theater and hired Carl Boller of the Boller Brothers to design it. The Bollers had designed several “atmospheric theaters” throughout the Midwest and Western United States and Boller’s design, which is often called Pueblo Deco, was met with great enthusiasm by Bachechi. After a large fire in the 1960s followed by further disrepair, theater was slated for destruction. The KiMo was saved in 1977 when voters in Albuquerque passed a bond allowing the City of purchase the theater and move forward with renovations.