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The Revival of the Pub Quiz
Dr. Andy reconnects with 200 old friends while restarting a Davis institution
I’ve been creating weekly trivia contests for Patreon supporters since March of 2020. I approach writing trivia questions the way that other people complete crossword puzzles or solve the daily Wordle. I wonder to myself how a scientific fact or a dramatic news story, such as the unsurprising plane crash of vocal Putin thorn Yevgeny Prigozhin, could be refashioned as a puzzle for pub quiz participants. I challenge myself by challenging others. I also treasure the opportunity to keep learning. As Ben Franklin said, "An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest."
While I appreciate the intellectual engagement, I also recognize how mediated this work can be. I’ve been creating quiz questions in the peace of my own home with my French bulldog sitting in my lap (during colder months) or a tower fan blowing upon me (during warmer months). I prefer not to stay sedentary for very long, and I do miss the dust of the arena, the din of competition, the carnival barker’s use of a microphone. I’ve exercised my legs every day since I saw you last, but I’ve rarely exercised my lungs. After all my lungs went through in 2022, I should see how they are faring.
In a piece titled “Optimism: An Essay,” Helen Keller wrote "Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved." While I have been creating “trials” of sorts for the supporters who have supported my virtual pub quiz on Patreon, I have longed for an opportunity to quiet a crowd by introducing myself and the pub quiz, and with gusto.
Ladies and gentlemen, that day has come. The live pub quiz is back!
This past Wednesday evening at 7, in the renovated beer garden of the Sudwerk Brewing Company (2001 2nd Street in Davis), protected by a panoply of sun shades, cooled by gentle misters, and surrounded by old friends and new, I revived Dr. Andy’s Pub Quiz.
If you live in or near Davis, California, and if you also yearn for time with old and new friends, for entertainment, and for playful competition that might yield you bragging rights and fabulous prizes, I invite you to join me Wednesday nights this season and for the foreseeable future for The Sudwerk Brewing Company Pub Quiz.
The Sudwerk chef is talented and resourceful, the brew-master has won awards for his brews, the wait staff is affable and attentive, and the sound system is new, tested, and ready. The questions are revised and fresh (though one comes from the published quiz from this week in 2022), and the quizmaster was eager.
I found the support for me and for our revived pub quiz rather overwhelming and heartening. We had 42 teams participate. If one imagines an average of four members per team, that means about 200 people turned out for our inaugural quiz, or about the peak that we ever reached at my previous quiz at the late De Vere’s Irish Pub. The Sudwerk Brewing Company is so large; teams that at other venues would have been turned away upon arriving late were instead welcomed inside to take the quiz, with a strong sound system amplified into every section of the restaurant and bar. While we had about 200 last night, Sudwerk cold probably accommodate 300 or more.
Most of all, I loved reconnecting with old friends. I had seen some of these folks every week for more than a decade; others had only just started attending the quiz within a year of the onset of the Covid epidemic. Either way, I had challenged and entertained them in ways that they didn’t find elsewhere, they treasured the opportunity to meet with friends in the absence of phones or TV screens, and they got to, as Billy Joel says, “forget about life for a while.”
Speaking of friends, I would like to thank all the people who supported the Pub Quiz since the closure of de Vere’s Irish Pub in downtown Davis. I send my heart out to the following people and teams: The Original Vincibles, Carol Lynne Conrad-Forrest and Quizimodo, Jennifer Newell and The Outside Agitators, Amy Abramson and The Mavens, The Wallace-Everitt Family, The Inkelas Family, Greg Miller and Bono’s Pro Bono Obo Bonobos, The Vocal Art Ensemble Team, Meaghan Likes, Kristin Kameen, Dana Ferris, Glenn Nedwin, Lois and Bruce Wolk, Doug Desalles, Michael Koltnow, Kari Peterson, Portraits, Faith, Brooke, Vincent Block, Mercedes Ibanez, Jasmine, Josh, Anli Zhang, Catlyn LeGault, Charles Davis, Lori Raineri, Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis, Alex Hovan, Thomas Pomroy, the Inkelas family, Brook Ostrom, Keltie Jones, Sally Madden, Craig Lowe, June Gillam, Richard Deneault, and Gadi. Many of these people pledged on behalf of their teams, and many are still subscribed to the weekly pub quiz, to be shared Thursdays via Patreon.
Thanks for your patience as I fill you in on my news. I hope to see you soon at the Pub Quiz!
P.S. Here are three questions from last week’s quiz:
Four for Four. Which of the following circa 1995 films were nominated for Academy Awards: Babe, Heat, Jade, Nell?
Big Cities. What city is the main core of the largest metropolitan area in the Southern United States and the largest inland metropolitan area in the U.S. that lacks any navigable link to the sea?
Pop Culture – Music. Living from 1919 to 2014, what folk singer wrote songs that became hits for The Kingston Trio; Peter, Paul, and Mary; and The Byrds?