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Leverage Sacramento offers open mics, entertainment

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What do a Sac State student, an entrepreneur, an emcee, a visual artist, a photographer and a sound technician have in common? They’re all part of Leverage Sacramento, a new arts organization seeking to expose untapped local talent.

The group threw a launch party Monday night at Tré Nightclub with several local spoken word performers, comedians, and hip-hop, soul and R&B performers. Hosting the event was The CUF emcee Marc "Crush" Hayes, who also sits on the seven-member Leverage board of directors.

The party, which was only expected to draw 50 people, drew an estimated audience of 200.

The idea of creating an arts promotion company began when 24-year-old entrepreneur Justin Eve was asked to promote a Second Saturday event for Bisla’s Sports Bar. He realized that he had several friends involved in art, music and fashion, but none of them worked with each other.

Of the seven friends, three have strong ties with the hip-hop community — emcees Crush and Carlos "Cawzlos" Lopez and Sacramento Hip Hop Congress Administrative Chair Nina Rebultan.

But it’s not about hip-hop, or any other artistic genre for that matter. It’s about talent.

"We’re a very modest board, and we’re worried about helping the lives of the music scene in Sacramento," Rebultan said. "Eventually we’re making this a non-profit organization. We would like to make money to donate to sponsoring charities, and we’re planning to have a quarterly event."

Aside from quarterly events at My BBQ Spot, the group also plans to have weekly open mic nights and a competition for entertainers vying for a prize. Their next event, Feb. 1 at Tré nightclub, will be a free open mic night.

"The goal is to change Sacramento so that every day of the week you’ll be able to go somewhere and see entertainment," Eve said. "We’re the capital of the greatest state in the world and we have to show people that."

The group will post events on their Twitter and Facebook page, and is developing a website at whatisleverage.com.

"It’s unification of every aspect of Sacramento that we’re striving for, (and) we’re going to lead by example," Eve said. "The more people involved in a process, the quicker things move."

Photographs credit Zaved Khan.

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