I'm a huge fan of LOST. So when I heard that Rope's next monthly trivia night was going to be LOST-themed, I just had to know more. I chatted with trivia host Jess Liese about her event, and what to expect on February 3.
1. How often does Rope hold trivia night?
Trivia happens once a month, usually on the first Tuesday. For February, though, we're postponing it until Wednesday so that it won't conflict with the Lost premiere. A good number of trivia regulars are avid fans, and I figured if President Obama can rearrange his schedule to accommodate Lost fans, so can I!
(...and okay, fine, I didn't want to miss it either.)
2. What are the rules? How many people per team, and what's the prize?
Teams are typically 3-5 people, though we've had as few as 1 and as many as 8 playing on one team. Basically, there are four rounds of competition - two where I read the question and your team writes down the answer, a music round, and an "identify the pictures" round. After the second and fourth rounds, I tally up the correct answers and review the standings, share snarky wrong answers, and hand out a couple of prizes.
Prizes are many and varied. Everybody pays $2 each to play, and the winning team gets everybody's money, with shots or rounds of drinks going to the runners-up. I offer bonus questions occasionally, which earn teams the chance to spin our Bonus Prize Wheel. Most of the wheel prizes are either free booze or free candy, but there are a number of really oddball things (mostly junk I find at the dollar store near my office) up for grabs as well.
At the last trivia night, I found so much cool stuff at the dollar store that I wound up giving a prize to every team. There were some very awesome plastic robots and I should have just bought the whole lot. But part of the fun is coming up with stuff to give out, so I'm sure I'll find something just as cool this time around. (I'm looking to stock up on Lost-themed stuff for February, so expect some polar bears, backgammon, and Virgin Mary statues.)
3. How did you end up running Trivia Night? How long have you been at the helm? What's your "day job?"
I've been hosting trivia at Rope for about five months now. Years ago, a bunch of coworkers and I regularly attended a weekly trivia night in the west village, and after awhile I started hosting that on occasion. Eventually the bar closed, I changed jobs, and I never did find new trivia as awesome as that had been. Fast forward a few years and one of my ex-coworkers, now tending bar at Rope, heard they wanted to re-establish a trivia night there. She immediately thought of me. I was excited to get back into it, especially as they've let me design my own game and bring in theme nights.
By day, I work for an educational publisher, developing content and features for online reference databases. My trivia credentials are many and varied, though. In addition to previous hosting experience and basically getting to absorb useless facts for a living, I competed on Jeopardy about four years ago. (Unfortunately, I didn't win, but I only missed one question!) I keep trying out for Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and passing the test, but their contestant pool is a lot smaller. I guess I'll stick to this side of the trivia podium for the time being.
4. How do you pick your questions? Is it difficult to bring fresh material to quiz night on a regular basis?
Initially, I thought it would be. But actually, coming up with questions is the most fun part of the whole experience. Usually I have a theme night, and if not a theme night then theme categories. In November, I hosted a night devoted to my favorite trivia category, U.S. presidents, which brought a huge crowd of history teachers and assorted pedantic trivia nerds. It was so much fun, and came so naturally to me, that I've been coming up with themes ever since. It is far easier to come up with, say, ten questions about medically-themed TV shows than it is to come up with ten questions about anything at all in the world.
5. Where do you live, and how did you come across Rope?
Technically, I don't live in the neighborhood. I'm a short G train ride away in Park Slope. I've been hanging out at Rope on and off for about five years, though, and I love the area. I was coming to the neighborhood even way back when I had to take two trains and a bus to get there!
6. Tell us a little more about Rope - the clientele, the vibe, etc. What makes it a cool place to grab a drink?
Rope is exactly the kind of bar I have been wanting to hang out in since I was old enough to want to hang out in bars. Come to think of it, it's probably good that I don't live in the neighborhood, because I'd probably be an alcoholic if I did. It's cool but not elitist, the drinks are thoughtfully prepared but won't kill your budget, the music is listenable but not overwhelming. The crowd is basically a cross-section of local residents - not just hipsters and Pratties, but people who've lived in the area for decades, young professionals, regulars. It's really the kind of place you can visit once or visit daily and you won't feel out of place either way.
Also, they have DUB pies and there is nothing not awesome about that.
7. Give us the 411 on the LOST-themed trivia night in conjunction with the season premiere. Can non-Losties participate? And while we're at it, who is your favorite Other?
The great thing about LOST, and one reason I've been so addicted to it throughout its often-infuriating five seasons of "let's explain this one tiny thing you don't care about while introducing six other new questions" and "let's spend half a season focusing on characters that don't further the plot only to kill them off when we realize you're on to us" is that it pulls in so many elements of history, science, literature, philosophy, and pop culture in a way that adds to the suspense and mystery. So if you're into any of those things, regardless of whether or not you're a Lostie, you'll probably get a few questions right, as I do plan on exploring that in at least one round. (Although it may benefit you to have a rabid fan on your team!)
And I don't know how anybody's favorite Other is NOT Ben Linus. That dude owns the entire show.
8. Favorite restaurant in the neighborhood?
Big fan of Graziella's and the General Greene (which I realize is about two blocks out of the neighborhood...hopefully it still counts!).
9. If you could change one thing about the nabe, what would it be?
It is perfect in all ways but one - it should be closer to a major train line. I'd move there in a heartbeat if I could be close to a number train or the Q.
10. If you were a flavor of ice cream, what would you be and why?
Raspberry basil with a vanilla-mascarpone swirl.
A note to CHB readers from Lesterhead- Bring your A game to this event. I have been watching LOST since it began and my knowledge is no joke. See you there!