Hello, or aloha, as they say in Philadelphia (hmm…). Last night, the BQT made its sophomore appearance in our nation's maiden capital, another All-Music Spectacular at the fine, fine World Café Live. The lovely Sherry (NYC door girl and linchpin of team Jefferson Davis Starship) was my guest sidekick, and the show was the culmination of a very sweltering but somehow very pleasant couple of days in the city. I hadn't spent time in the city of my mother's birth in a decade and a half, but like NYC and like Boston, Philly is the way a city should be: real, charming, historically interesting, lots of character, and reasonably walkable. And not teeming with idiots. I will die before I do the Big Quiz Thing in Phoenix or Plano or Fresno or wherever, I swear.
We stayed with an old friend, proprietress of the excellent Sazz Vintage, a clothing store in Old City where I bought a new frilly shirt and a soon-to-be-blinged-out-by-Sherry new stage jacket. We saw the Liberty Bell (smaller yet more interesting than you'd think) and what Sherry deemed a world-class museum gift shop. Best stop: the Mutter Museum. Basically a gigantic exclusively medical-themed cabinet of curiosities, the Mutter is famous (I'd heard of it years ago), and famously creepy. Giant tumors, plaster and wax casts of hideous lesions, informative models of conjoined twins (Chang and Eng definitely represent; see above), and a crapload of skeletons of everything from deformed giants to aborted fetuses (that was the most disturbing part for me). Fascinating and fun, though it would take a will of battleship iron to not get either the heebies or the jeebies from this place.
But back to the quiz: The Philly trivia geek—a hardy breed, I've discovered—is also a slippery one: Last time we were there, our questions were pitched at a far too easy level for them. This time, it felt too hard, which is probably better, all else remaining equal. And besides, a few frighteningly hard-core squads were up to the challenge, and seemed appropriately appreciative (more on that below).
But as I do with gigs like this, I whipped out some of the greatest hits. On the video tip, we did both "The World's Ugliest Musicians" and "Rock Logo-A-Go-Go." For the former, I upped the challenge by demanding that spelling counted, which definitely threw a wrench into the works. (Yes, really, it's Flavor Flav.) For the latter, I will say this: The nigh-on-impossible logo depicted below stumped everyone, but several New Yorkers were able to name the band in question back when. NYC forever!
Audio round was "Three Degrees of Musical Separation" (a.k.a. the "R. Kelly/Kelly Clarkson/Sonny and Cher" game), which is always fun, especially now that I've mastered sound-equalization technology. (Try this; it's fun.)
The three-way finale: We had Squirrel, You'll Be a Woman Soon; Naomi Campbell Blood Diamond; and, a full seven and a half points behind the second place team, Smart-Ass Points superstars Shell Shock. To be fair (and dramatic), I deemed that SS had to score three points before the others scored two, in order to come out on top. But no luck. Shell Shock did manage to know "In 1974, music critic Jon Landau wrote: “I saw rock & roll’s future and its name is BLANK," but SYBAWS was just too smart and claimed the prize with "In an incident that inspired a 1979 hit song, what did a 16-year-old San Diego girl say after she shot several teachers and students at an elementary school?" And thus:
Plus, oh-so-exciting: The champs told me that they're keen to journey NYC-ward and crash the New York City Clash of the Trivia Champions on September 27. Seriously, people, if an out-of-town team wins the $1,000 grand prize, the stain of shame will never be erased.
Very good chance that we'll be returning to Philly, though the venue has expressed interest in something a little different, a movie quiz rather than a music one. Oddly, I've never done that, but I'd be eager to try (bank on "The Bipolar Movie Challenge"). Like/friend/fan/tolerate us on Facebook to stay updated.