Updated: Punk Art Space AAA Electra 99 to Host Anaheim Mayoral Debate Before Shutting Down

​Originally posted Oct. 5 at 6:49 p.m. Updated Oct. 7 at 11:20 a.m. with the sweet official poster. See bottom of post. 

Richard Johnson, owner of the 14-old gallery/performance venue AAA Electra 99 now based in Anaheim, understands the ridiculousness of the idea that he'd host a debate between two button-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 O.C.–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 Anaheim mayoral contenders Tom Tait and Shirley McCracken come to the small, warehouse-like space to talk 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 they were on the Anaheim city council and Johnson was trying to open AAA up. McCracken was opposed but came around. Tait was a supporter from the start. 

“He came down back when we were a tiny dirty warehouse… not much different from how we are now,” Johnson told us over the phone minutes ago.

So when he saw Tait at some function, Johnson, mostly jokingly, pitched him on the idea of a debate. Tait said yes, if McCracken would agree. Johnson said she did. And voila, this strange event was born. 

“We're gonna get all these Republicans coming down to Electra looking at the monkey heads, it's gonna be crazy,” he said. “This could be Orange County history. 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 ever gig at AAA Electra. Johnson's lease on the Anaheim venue expires on the first day of 2011, and he's all 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 said. “If we hear one more cover of 'Mongoloid,' I'll stab someone.”

The debate will feature cupcakes.

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