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Expansion of Kimball's Theater to rival area megaplex

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Note to readers: this story was written as part of our April Fools'Day package. Enjoy accordingly.

First came the Hollywood Interquest Theater with 14 screens in 2008; then an XD extreme screen appeared at Cinemark's Tinseltown. But our local indie favorite, Kimball's Theater, was not to be intimidated.

In 2009, the theater transformed itself from Kimball's Twin Peak to Kimball's Peak Three by adding a third upstairs screening room. And then it announced that construction had begun on a fourth auditorium.

So, says owner Kimball Bayles, why stop there?

"Audiences have been so responsive that we're looking for even more room," he says. "I keep telling them — in the words of a former president — 'Tear down that wall.'"

So far, the search for additional space has turned up a large walk-in closet that will be converted into a fifth theater, and a bathroom that will evolve into a sixth. Both will offer a more "intimate" setting for audiences, says Bayles, not unlike the first completed upstairs screening room, which holds just under 50 seats. Current plans indicate the two new theaters may contain one or two seats each when construction is finished, though Bayles insists the unique set-up won't hinder viewers' enjoyment.

"It's the perfect setting for a date night," he points out.

As the theater's expansion continues — Bayles hopes to add up to a dozen screens before he's done — the business owner has begun exploring the idea of purchasing adjacent buildings.

"We'd really love to take over some of the less important downtown buildings, such as the post office — you know, no one sends letters anymore — so that we could eventually put in an IMAX screen and maybe even a parking lot."

Bayles says that despite their size, the new mini-theaters will bring some "seriously big-time" cinema offerings to locals. For instance, the closet's first showing will be an experimental film by Colorado Springs director Pete Schuermann based upon the experimental musical composition "4'33"" by John Cage. The composition is considered an iconic work in musical history, consisting of four minutes and 33 seconds of a man silently seated in front of a piano.

"It powerfully illustrates the point that the environment is continually creating its own music," says Schuermann, "and my film adaptation goes one step beyond the Cage soundtrack by removing all images as well. I hope it will help audiences discover that they have the incredible power of their minds to create images whenever they desire."

Opening night will bring another special treat in the bathroom: a one-night-only avant-garde screening, using talking ViewMasters.

The most difficult part of making the two additional theaters a reality has been in coming up with a new name, explains Bayles.

"First we changed it to Kimball's Peak Three, then we had a brief update to Kimball's Quad Peak," says the theater owner. "But for the fifth and sixth screens, Kimball's Quint Peak and Kimball's Sex Peak just didn't seem right for some reason."

Bayles and theater manager Matt Stevens batted around possibilities before enlisting help from local naming experts with city government.

"We got great ideas from the bunch who named America the Beautiful Park," says Stevens. "So ... from now on we're 'KimballTown.'"

"This expansion may not add much to our bottom line, but it's not about that," insists Bayles as he stands behind the theater's register totaling ticket sales. "I like to think of it as my gift to the city."

fourone@csindy.com

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