AAA Electra 99 Hosting Mayoral Debate?!

Richard Johnson
, owner of the decade-old gallery/performance venue AAA Electra 99 in Anaheim, understands the ridiculousness of the idea he’d host a debate between two buttoned-up Republican candidates for elected office.

“It is unbelievable, but true,” he wrote on Facebook. “The next Mayor of Anaheim at the punkest place in the OC—on the same stage as you saw Punk As a Doornail and Sarcastic Bitch and home to the Spinning Head of Big Prizes. . . . What a world. Maybe world has gone mad or Anaheim is getting cooler?”

Oct. 28 will see mayoral contenders Tom Tait and Shirley McCracken come to the small, warehouse-like space to talk about issues in an event that’s free to the public and moderated by OC journalist Jerry Hicks.

Johnson says he landed the debate because he knew Tait and McCracken from back when Johnson was trying to open AAA and they were on the Anaheim City Council. McCracken was opposed but came around; Tait was a supporter from the start.

“[Tait] came down back when we were a tiny dirty warehouse . . . not much different from how we are now,” Johnson says.

So when he saw Tait at some function, Johnson, mostly jokingly, pitched him on the idea of a debate. Tait said yes—but only if McCracken would agree. “We’re gonna get all these Republicans coming down to Electra, looking at the monkey heads—it’s gonna be crazy,” he says. “This could be Orange County history. These two [candidates] are such squares! And there’s no place more punk in the county. They might come out here and yank my permit. They’ll be like, ‘We let this shit in here?!’”

What’s more, this might be the last gig at AAA Electra. Johnson’s lease expires on the first day of 2011, and he’s set to open a space at the Emergency Arts collective in Las Vegas.

Why move? Vegas offered him a deal, AAA Electra is a money-suck, and one other thing: “If the kids would do something new, I wouldn’t be so damn bored,” he says. “If we hear one more cover of ‘Mongoloid,’ I’ll stab someone.” From an Oct. 5 Heard Mentality post by Spencer Kornhaber.

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Long Beach-based, Grammy Award-winning Isaiah “Ikey” Owens, famously known as the keyboardist for Mars Volta, is taking time off from his main band to focus on his long-standing project, Free Moral Agents. As Ikey expanded his 2002 solo project into a full band five years ago, he corralled the talents of Mendee Ichikawa (vocals), Reid Kinnet (Rhodes), Jesse Carzello (guitar), Dennis Owens (bass) and Ryan Reiff (drums) to form the group, which will tour this month to support their new album, Control This (Chocolate Industries). Ikey says the album was recorded four years ago, so it’s about time the world heard these songs live. From an Oct. 6 post.

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Skateboarding icon Mike Vallely is producing and curating the first Glory Bound Festival, a music and skating event, on Nov. 13 at the Hollywood Palladium. Vallely says it will give both music and skating the same level of importance and feature an outdoor, professional-skateboarding All Star jam—dubbed “The Legends Jam”—with Tony Alva, Steve Caballero, Christian Hosoi, Lance Mountain and more, after which there will be a concert headlined by Pennywise, Alkaline Trio, Authority Zero, Nations Afire and even Vallely himself (performing with his new band, Banished). From an Oct. 4 post.

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