Show Up and Show Out

by

David Eugene Andrews

 

The venue had to close, a nightmare began to unfold. Through no fault of their own, Urban Xtreme would not be allowed to perform at the talent showcase in downtown Los Angeles. After practicing and perfecting their vocal renditions and dance routines for weeks, the four young girls dreamed about their chance to perform. Contracts might be signed, stars might be born. Studio executives would be listening in the audience. This up-and-coming band would have finally have their chance, but on this night it would not happen.

With 17 acts, the show had run overtime. Already approaching 9:00 p.m., the competition had lasted four hours. Equipment malfunctions had to be corrected, some individual performances took longer than expected.

The talent was good, if not great. This was no high school production, but a first rate event. Haskell Jackson Entertainment, working with Rena Phillips, presented the New Stars of Hollywood, musicians striving for the big time.

If the stakes were high, the talent proved up to the task. Earlier, when the mic feed to an electric guitar did not sound, the performer simply set down his instrument and broke out into a series of energetic dance moves. He timed the routine perfectly, not missing a beat and returning seamlessly to his song, at the exact place where the unheard riff of his guitar interlude would have finished.

Throughout the evening, no performer (even the 12 year-old first timer) slipped. Whether with Host Eric ‘EZ’ Zuley or the young talent, wireless microphones were handed off, technical glitches overcome, the show moved on. At an unscripted moment, a two-year old ambled onto the stage, but the Texas singer kept performing, working the little boy into her country song.

Originally scheduled to perform early, Urban Xtreme had been rebooked to be the finale, the climactic act of the evening. The four girls were excited. Their mothers had cancelled other engagements and driven two hours so their daughters could attend. Their matching outfits with colorful boots reflected each girl’s personality, ready to shine.

Then it happened. At the bottom of the steps, just offstage, the girls got the word. No performance tonight, time had expired.

“We came all this way.”

“You can only go up for a moment.”

Allowed on stage, Urban Xtreme Crew sang one simple motif, before being rushed off. Their dance routine unseen. Behind them, the stage was already being dismantled.

Hopes turned to despair, tears flowed. How could they win the text voting? Unsigned artist #17 could not win.

Apologies not easily accepted, damage had been done. Hugs were exchanged, the girls sad, their mothers mad.

“Everyone out!”

Crews cleaned up plastic cups and Arrowhead water bottles, earlier sold for $4.00 each.

Guests from the next venue commitment had begun showing up, their upstairs V.I.P holding room already packed. Their contract signed, they had paid in advance. Performance guaranteed, they had reserved the place for the rest of the night and drinks needed to be sold.

~ ~ ~

On the sidewalk outside, Eric ‘EZ’ Zuley, the host for the talent showcase, waited for his father to bring the car to the curb. He conversed with his camera crew from WTV Networks. The extensive footage of unheralded talent needed to be transferred to hard drives, edited and posted, or archived for later use. EZ had not eaten all day, so he suggested a late dinner, but his camera crew had another engagement. EZ dismissed them. The transfer would take place later.

Further up the street, performers mingled by the afternoon’s Media Wall. Most had walked the Red Carpet nearly six hours earlier. Some performers, happy with their energetic and near flawless performance, waited for the tabulated results. Others, publicists and agents, networked and exchanged more business cards.

The mothers of Urban Xtreme brought their cars next to the curb. Unused mic stands and equipment needed to be loaded into trunks.

Inside the car EZ found out about the disappointment of Urban Xtreme. EZ’s dad related how he had told one of the moms, ‘When things do not seem to work out God has a plan’.

“Are they still here?” EZ asked.

The black Hyundai Elantra pulled slowly forward, the girls nowhere in sight.

“There they are!”

Anaya, Alisson, Regan, and Ryan clustered beneath overhanging trees.

“Stop the car!”

The car pulled up to the end of the dead end street.

“Girls, would you be willing to perform?” EZ asked.

“Where?”

“Right here, on the sidewalk.”

Their faces and countenances brightened.

“What about microphones? And music?”

A mother stepped forward. “You can sing a cappella.”.

“My camera crew left,” EZ said, “so I can’t guarantee about the quality. We don’t have lights.”

“How about the streetlights?” someone asked. “If we get out of the shadows?”

“Not bright enough,” EZ’s dad said, “And the batteries of the Flip Cam and the Canon are dead. The backup cameras have been used too much.”

“What about the Tablet?” EZ asked, “but we need more light.”

“We can use my LED pocket light.”

“Bright enough for an interview, but not a performance.”

“We can use the headlights.”

“I’ll have Mom pull up her car.”

“She can play our music, too.”

At the end of the dead end street, three cars shined their beams. With their music playing from the mom’s car stereo, Ryan, Regan, Alisson, and Anaya sang, danced, and performed two routines. The Urban Xtreme crew lived up to their motto: Show Up and Show Out. As they said in the video, they did it The EZ Way.

With smiles, the girls climbed into their cars for the two-hour drive home.

~ ~ ~

Follow the progress of Urban Xtreme on Facebook, Youtube, Instagram and on Twitter @urbanxtremecrew.

David Eugene Andrews is a writer and author. His forthcoming novel The English Slave takes place in Europe around AD 1600. Follow him on Twitter @David_E_Andrews and follow EZ, The Hollywood It Guy, on Twitter @EricZuley.

 

Urban Xtreme Performance videos

Urban Xtreme performing with Bella and Zendea from “Shake it up”