Open Mic series in Filipinotown – Janice Sapigao interview, Sunday Jump

posted in: Community, Featured | 0

Sunday Jump is a free Filipino-founded open mic series in Los Angeles’ Historic Filipinotown in the greater neighborhood of Echo Park, Los Angeles, CA. The open mic series takes place at Tribal Cafe every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month at 5:00 p.m. Sunday Jump was co-founded in 2012 by a trio: Eddy M. Gana Jr, Janice Sapigao, and Stephanie Sajor. Each co-founder has his/her own inspirations and motivations for co-founding and developing the series. Echo Park Forums reached out to Sunday Jump for short interviews with each of the co-founders. This is the third installment in the interview series: Janice Sapigao’s interview.

Their next open mic series is this weekend, Sunday, September 21, 2014. Check out the flyer below for more information, and read our brief questions for Janice as she expands on our first two interviews with Sunday Jump.

Sunday Jump Historic Filipinotown Echo Park Tribal Cafe


Interview with Janice Sapigao, Sunday Jump

Q: Tell us about Sunday Jump–what are the basics of what Sunday Jump is?

Ditto what Eddy and Steph said! 

Q: What was the inspiration behind the founding of Sunday Jump?

For me, personally, I was inspired by the spaces initiated by so many people, such as these spoken-word groups and poets: I Was Born With Two Tongues, re:verse, 8th Wonder, iLL-Literary, Yellow Rage, Native Guns, and folks like Bao Phi, Alvin Lau, Hanalei Ramos, Jenny Lares and Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai. Oh man! I’d be lying (or being secretive) if I didn’t say that they inspired the poet I am now.

Seattle had the Isang Mahal collective open mics, Philadelphia has Family Style Open Mics, Washington, D.C. and New York City each had the Sulu Series; the Bay Area has the re-write and Minneapolis/Twin Cities has The Loft with its poetic programming.

In my early 20s, I’d taken myself to some of these open mics just because I loved poetry and the community that the Asian American/Pacific Islander spoken word artists created and organized. I wanted to continue the work of this legacy. I still do.

Q: What was and is the connection between the 3 co-founders of Sunday Jump?

We met in Kabataang maka-Bayan (KmB Pro-People Youth), a Filipina/o American political youth organization based in Los Angeles’ Historic Filipinotown. We’d also had some previous Twitter and Facebook correspondence about the seminal Asian Pacific Islander American Spoken Word Summit (a.k.a. The Summit) and possibly bringing it to Los Angeles. Poetry was what we had in common. Poetry is our connection. Poetry still keeps us together. That, and friendship.

Q: Do the co-founders have a history of living or being in Historic Filipinotown/Echo Park?

We have a history of investing in the community Historic Filipinotown/Echo Park. I currently live in the Bay Area–where I teach and am from–but I was living in LA’s Chinatown as a grad student at CalArts when I approached Eddy and Steph about starting an open mic. I’d also been to Historic Filipinotown throughout college for the annual rally for Filipina/o American World War 2 Veterans and their fight for equity, recognition and benefits.

When I was living in LA, I was working at a non-profit organization and tutoring students in an after-school setting in the Downtown LA/Echo Park area. The work I did in the LA was very similar to 1) the work I did in the Bay Area, 2) the community and change I wanted to work towards and 3) what I wanted to do with my time. I invested in the youth, so I invested in the community and I was in.

I feel it necessary to say: I am not a native Angeleno and I was not born in Echo Park. I, however, was born and raised in San José, CA, which is predominantly Latina/o, low-income (at least, where I am from), diverse, in need of securing support for undocumented students and workers, and is subject to gang violence, inter-generational struggles, and in need of consciousness-raising. San José has yet to take its place as a politically and progressively-active force in the Bay Area, but it shares many similarities to the issues and social problems I learned about when I worked and organized in P-town and Echo Park.

In addition, poet and playwright Chinaka Hodge talks about her love for her hometown Oakland, and how it was her safe haven, the only place she and her friends could go–not beyond the city limits or the Bay Bridge to San Francisco. She writes about “having just what we had” and I think this is the approach I had to living and working and investing time and energy into P-town and Echo Park. We just had poetry, we just had a mic, we needed a space and we worked hard for that and for any listener that we had.

Q: How did Sunday Jump establish itself in Tribal Cafe?
Here’s my write up on the history of Sunday Jump.

Q: Is there a fee for those who are part of the audience? And is it drop-in or reserve?


Q: What is the best way to stay in touch with Sunday Jump? 


Thank you Janice and Sunday Jump for all three interviews! 

Upcoming Event

As a head’s up, Sunday Jump will also be co-curating the Literary Arts of the Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture on October 4-5 in Downtown, Los Angeles (Grand Park).

More information to follow!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *