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 spoken word feature for February, Jeff DeGuia, performed in our last show during the open-mic. His heartfelt performance led us on a journey, filled with raw emotions and experiences. We are honored to have him back with us, and here Jeff shares with us his take on our February theme “multitudes”,

I define multitudes as layers of myself that have been shaped by some experiences within the last 5 years that have made me the person I am today.   There are parts of me that are visible and also layers of me that are vulnerable that are more hidden.  The Asian American community has played a huge role in giving me different layers of my identity.  I’m an activist, a supporter, a believer, an advocate, a writer, a leader; among other things.  Spoken Word has given me the opportunity to display the different layers of myself — Asian American community inspired and those just taken from experiences out of that context and also just being human.  I think a way of celebrating and relating the different layers of oneself is by sharing it, in my case through performance, it allows those around you to understand you, support you and connect with you through similar experiences.

Visit Jeff’s Tumblr to listen to his favorite tracks, Britney and Beyonce! 

IT’S FEBRUARY! After a calm and enlightening month to practice self-care, we are BACK with an exciting theme, putting hallmark cards to shame.

Common Ground Open Mic presents “Multitudes”


DJ 2-1 // DJ

Audrey Kuo // spoken word 

Albert Chiang // music

Jeff DeGuia // spoken word

Hiep Cao Nguyen // featured visual artist

Partnership of Vietnamese LGBT Organizations // community spotlight

Located at the Vietnamese American Arts and Letters Association (VAALA) Cultural Center/1600 North Broadway, Santa Ana 92706 2nd Floor

Is it free? We ask for a $5 donation at the door, but no one will be turned down for lack of funds.

What time does it start? 

Doors open & Open mic sign-ups start at 6:30!

Show starts at 7:30pm!

Check out and share our Facebook event page

To continue our show’s theme of self-care, our common ground space turned into a yoga studio! 

LIKE this photo if you would like to see more yoga events in the future! 

Our final spotlight is the multifaceted artist and vocalist June Kaewsith, also known as Jumakae. Jumakae describes how Self-Care is connected to the community,

Self-care is as important as community wellness. My art is my conversation with the masses without any interrupted response, and it’s also a conversation between my sub conscious and waking life. It is meant to both heal and disrupt the status quo. If we do not acknowledge our own personal struggles, we cannot heal our communities at large.

Come see Jumakae perform live with the piano this week, you can also learn more about Jumakae on her blog or Facebook

Sometimes the best practice of self-care is movement, whether it is yoga, a good run or even dance. We are so excited to have DJ South at our upcoming show! DJ South explains how being a DJ is a form of self-care,

DJing is a form of self-care for me because it allows me to sift through my bin and stumble upon the tunes in the past that have been able to bring me to the most meditative states I’ve ever been in. Often at times, it’s easy to forget old favorites while trying to keep up with the latest and greatest. It’s very refreshing to bring these songs back into rotation after a few months. It’s like a joyful treat, or a warmth of happiness, like seeing a familiar face. And who knows, maybe the crowd will enjoy or remember it too :)

For more information, check out her Facebook page! 

Once again our good friend Jane Lee is back to perform, this time at our January show! Jane took some time to share with us what self-care means to her,

For me, self-care starts with the self-awareness and humility to recognize that i’m only human, that my capacity is limited, and that it’s ok to ask for help. self-care is acknowledging my own self-worth, knowing that i deserve to be well and that my well-being is worth treasuring, protecting, and nurturing. it’s knowing when to say no, when to let go, when to move on, when to be still… self-care is knowing how to “treat yo self” in constructive ways so you can in turn be a treat to others. 

Come see Jane’s performance at our show this upcoming Thursday, Jan. 3rd. If you are feeling stressed from all the New Year celebrations, you can start self-care by listening to the soothing sounds of Jane’s vocals on her Myspace.

Help share our event through Facebook

Artwork driven by visual art, spoken word and urban environment. As the live artist for our January show, Collin Tateishi shares with us his thoughts on Self-Care, 

Self-care is the love of fear for oneself.  Fear and conflict, the nuclei of my creative inhibitions, necessitate the practice of self-care in order to continue exploring the boundaries and limitations of my conscious and subconscious capabilities.  This practice can be extremely exhausting — physically, emotionally, and psychologically.  For this reason, it seems that life exists somewhere in the balance of fear and self-care.

To learn more about Collin, check out his website or Tumblr

Our spoken word poet for our January show is Trung Nguyen! In a few, simple words, Trung breaks down the meaning of Self-Care,

Self-care is about value and affirmation. Creation is deeply intimate and affirming. Art is a creative process. Art is intimate, art is affirming, art is self-care. 

Follow Trung on Tumblr OR just come out to our show, you know it wouldn’t be the same! 


SAVE the DATE: Thursday, January 3, 2013

Don’t forget to come with your new year resolutions, because the theme for our first show is “self-care”. 


Stephanie South // DJ

Trung Nguyen // spoken word & story-telling

Jane Lee // guitar & vocals

Jumakae // piano & vocals

Collin Tateishi // live art

We ask for a $5 donation at the door, but no one will be turned down for lack of funds.

Doors open & Open mic sign-ups start at 7:00!

Show starts at 7:30pm!

Location is at VAALA: Vietnamese American Arts and Letters Association

1600 N.Broadway, Santa Ana CA 92706

For more information, check our event page here