Albuquerque’s most distinctive building is the KiMo Theater (423 Central Ave. NW, 505/768-3522 or 505/768-3544 event info, www.cabq.gov/kimo).
In 1927, local businessman and Italian immigrant Oreste Bachechi hired Carl Boller, an architect specializing in movie palaces, to design this marvelously ornate building. Boller was inspired by the local adobe and native culture to create a unique style dubbed “pueblo deco”—a flamboyant treatment of Southwestern motifs, in the same vein as Moorish- and Chinese-look cinemas of the same era. The tripartite stucco facade is encrusted with ceramic tiles and Native American iconography (including a traditional Navajo symbol that had not yet been completely appropriated by the Nazi party when the KiMo was built).
To get the full effect, you must tour the interior to see the cow-skull sconces and murals of pueblo life; enter through the business office just west of the ticket booth, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekdays, or 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturdays.
© Zora O'Neill from Moon Santa Fe, Taos & Albuquerque, 2nd edition