common ground open mic series

common ground is organized by progressive Vietnamese American community members, artists, and activists committed to cultivating a positive and safe healing space for artistic growth and community empowerment. The common ground collective builds collaborations across communities and supports the work of social justice spaces.

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Our new logo was designed by the lovely Candace Kita.
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OCAPICA’s Mission

The Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance, Inc. (OCAPICA) was established in 1997 with the mission to build a healthier and stronger community by enhancing the well-being of Asians and Pacific Islanders through inclusive partnerships in the areas of service, education, advocacy, organizing, and research.

Covered California is in full swing but at OCAPICA, we understand that many of our communities are still  not insured. This is due to many barriers such as language access, lack of outreach, and just overall confusion on the new healthcare law.

Bio: I stumbled upon the art of magic senior yr of high school and developed unique style during college and have passionately studied the art since. I am a member of the World’s Famous Magic Castle and International Brotherhood of Magicians and have actively performed for galas, corporations, and the college circuit. I have an on going popup show entitled Trickonometry.


Bio: Priska (born Priscilla Liang) was born and raised in Southern California. Though she spent most of her adolescent years being bullied in school, she was able to find solace and comfort in music and found that her strength lay in her ability to express herself through song. Always performing with her heart on her sleeve, Priska will captivate you with her unexpectedly big voice and poignant lyrics.

On her idea of “Movement”: A word packed with meaning and a concept so simple in it’s humble necessity. Without movement and the ability to move, we would cease to be. Movement allows us to collide, collaborate, grow, change, develop and even presents us with the choice of staying still.

Bio: I am a music producer/performer from UCSD that has been playing flute for 9 years. I use elements of jazz/hiphop coupled with technology to bring realtime beatssssssssss.

Bio: Van (rhymes with “fun”) C. Tran uses overhead projectors to display “shadow poems” based off her relational experiences of the everyday.  She received her MFA in Art at the University of California, Santa Barbara and is the recipient of various awards from the Central Coast: Isla Vista Arts, Friday Academy, and smART families from the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Her work has been exhibited at the Contemporary Arts Forum in Santa Barbara (now MCASB), alternative spaces in Los Angeles, Vietnamese American Arts and Letters Association in Santa Ana, and San Diego Space 4 Art, an artists’ warehouse. Van currently lives and works as a teaching artist in San Diego, CA.

On the theme of “Movement”: Movement encompasses many ideas. My use of shadows layered over projected images is one way I like to create movement. The process turns into a storytelling with visual images.  My piece, “Ong 8-fold” is a tribute to my late grandfather. I hope that my piece will not only honor his life, but will also move the audience to feel and think of their ancestors.

Bio: Born and raised in Chicago, Danielle Shorr is spoken word and slam poet living in Los Angeles. She recently attended the national poetry competition Brave New Voices representing Southern California and Say Word Project. She is heavily involved in the Southern California poetry scene and plans to continue her work through performance and published work. She also has an affinity for cats.

On “Movement”: I find it interesting, I don’t often appreciate movement as a whole and for someone who lives in a city that is seemingly always moving, it’s important to take note of it through an artistic eye.

For Danielle’s work

Who we are: The Center for the Pacific Asian Family is a nonprofit agency in Los Angeles specializing in assisting Asian and Pacific Islanders who are survivors of sexual assault and/or domestic violence.  CPAF’s mission is to build healthy and safe communities by addressing the root causes and consequences of family violence and violence against women. CPAF is committed to meeting the specific cultural and language needs of Asian Pacific Islander women and their families.  We have multi-lingual staff and volunteers if you speak limited English. All of our services are free of charge. Services include a 24-hour hotline, emergency and transitional shelter, short-term counseling, and community education and training programs.

ON “Service”: Rachel Naomi Remen writes, “Helping, fixing and serving represent three different ways of seeing life. When you help, you see life as weak. When you fix, you see life as broken. When you serve, you see life as whole. Fixing and helping may be the work of the ego, and service the work of the soul.”  At CPAF, we believe that survivors of violence are strong, whole people, and by serving them we can support their healing from trauma and movement towards a healthier, happier life.

Dj B Chang is the founder of Milk Karton DJs

Milk Karton DJs is a community group based out of Orange County that provides a home to lost DJs. We provide FREE DJ lessons to those who want to learn more about the art form, focusing on the fundamentals, good habits, DJ culture, and etiquette. Our group also serves as a great way to network with other DJs and fans of electronic music. 

We are currently hosting classes at Posch Restaurant and Lounge in Irvine every Tuesday at 8pm. Come by and visit to learn more about what we are all about. No experience necessary, all levels welcome, even those with experience end up learning something new. Just bring an open mind and a willingness to learn.

On our theme: Service - We offer free DJ lessons to aspiring DJs in the local community. We do it because we love the art form and thrive off being able to share our passion with others.


Danthi is a mentee at Project Motivate. She loves musicals and singing. Singing with Jacqueline is a great privilege and she looks forward to performing with her. Danthi is also currently student at Fountain Valley High School.

Jacqueline Dan is a mentor with Project MotiVATe.  She is happy that she can support Danthi tonight through their common interests in singing and the performing arts.  Outside of PM, Jacqueline is an attorney with a non-profit organization called Advancing Justice, where she serves as pro bono appointed legal counsel to immigrants detained in federal custody who cannot represent themselves due to mental illness.  She is also an avid gardener, birder, and rock climber.

Theme Response:

Danthi: Service is important because through it you can show people you care. You can also be doing something you love through service as well as helping others.

Jacqueline: Service is important to me because having a mentor in the Vietnamese community saved me from a childhood of isolation growing up in Texas.  I found meaning in being encouraged to pursue my interests with everything that I had.  Seeing how dedicated he was to helping youth who needed it the most inspired me to take action to help youth in our community find meaning and dream big.