Interactive Storytelling at First Fridays

If you’ve ever experienced something that caused you to shake your head and say, “Only in Long Beach,” you’re not alone. On Friday, April 5, as part of First Fridays in Bixby Knolls, the interactive storytelling event Common Ground: Long Beach will give you a chance to share stories that could only happen in this gritty, diverse and eclectic seaside city we call home.

Organized by the Long Beach Literary Arts Center, Common Ground will provide a public space to share and connect through stories that remind us why we live here, and hopefully give us a chance to bond over our similarities--and even differences.

Attendees can write their “Only in Long Beach” stories on  sticky notes that will be posted to the wall, view and hear the stories behind "Only in Long Beach" themed art, visit an advice booth, or participate in the Main Event to explore similarities and differences with a partner.

Ann Wellman, artistic director of Long Beach Community Theater, will staff the advice booth, and local artist Cory Bilicko is organizing the artists’ area.

During the Main Event, participants will be paired with another person (a friend or stranger) and directed to answer a series of meaningful questions. Both people will give their answers until they share the same answer and can bond over similarities. After discussing similarities and telling their stories, participants can try discussing one of their differences (not on divisive, anger-inducing topics).The idea is that it should be easier to discuss differences once you've discovered your similarities.

Common Ground: Only in Long Beach runs from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Expo Arts Center, 4321 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach, CA 90807. RSVP to save your spot at the Main Event:

-Margo McCall